With many of us doing review, games really come in handy.  This year, we really don’t want to do a review unit but instead we are creating a unit that teaches new material but at the same time recycles the main concepts of last year.  Games are so great for this.

One of our department goals this year is to create an environment for more cooperative learning.  We have a new RTI initiative and one of our beliefs is that through more group work we will have the opportunity to have more one on one time with the students.  We’ve spent a lot of department time discussing this and sharing ideas for cooperative learning games and activities.

One activity that came up is one I now call “relámpago” or lightning.  For this game I create a set of cards with questions, prompts or scenarios.  On the card I have the question/prompt/scenario as well as the possible answer(s).  I give each group (usually 4-5 students) the set of cards and pick a leader.  In the first round, the leader is charged with the task of picking a card from the deck and asking the question to one student.  If the student gets the answer correct, they keep the card, if not, the card goes into the lightning round pile.  The leader does this with the rest of the students in the group until they have gone through all the cards.  In the relámpago, or lightning round, the leader then takes the cards that were left from the previous round and one at a time asks each question. The students in the group have to try to answer the question quickly – if they get it right they keep the card.  The student with the most cards at the end wins!  You can then choose another leader and play again or not.  I also use these cards for ask, ask, switch speaking activity.

I’ve made a few sets of relámpago for different topics and recently uploaded a restaurant themed one to TPT. Check it out 🙂

This particular unit is vocab heavy – what strategies do you use with your students to help them learn key words and phrases?  What cooperative games do you play?


Let’s support one another!

Hi all!  So as I mentioned in a previous post I decided a few weeks back to open up a little side business.  It’s called Chévere Apparel and it’s a little shop that will focus on cool tees for children and adults inspired by pop and Latino culture.  I’ve finalized two designs and have attached them below.  The shop is on Instagram for the time being and I won’t be doing pre-orders for them until I get 1000 followers.  So please show me some support and if you’re on instagram go follow and share @chevere_apparel so I can release the tees!  You know you want one!!!


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Remind 101

Hello all!  So, I don’t know about you, but with everything going on in my life I need a way to help me remember what I need to do.  I’m sure that our students do too with all of the stuff they have going on as well- sports, school (many different classes), family, friends, etc.  A few years ago I discovered Remind 101 through one of my son’s high school teachers.  It’s a site where teachers can sign up for FREE and set up text messages for their students. Like I said it’s totally FREE and the students don’t have your number and you don’t have theirs.  Remind 101 gives you a special phone number in your area code that the students send an initial text to and then you set up reminders for them that they receive on their phones!  Parents can sign up too of course and it’s great because it keeps them in the loop.  As a parent myself I thought it was fantastic because I always knew what was going on!  I know, I know… students should write down their homework in their planner but let’s face it – we’re human and we forget things!  This is just a great way to keep the lines of communication open with students and parents.

Have you used Remind 101 or any similar site?  Comment below!!!!

Class Syllabus

¡Tanto tiempo!  It’s been a LONG time since my last post and so many exciting things have happened over the past few months.  I had a baby in June and this past month I decided I’m going to open up a little side business selling t-shirts inspired by pop and Latin culture!  More of that to come later…

I start school after Labor day, so I have a little bit of time left to enjoy my little ones and get prepared and pumped for the new school year.  The start of school can be overwhelming for everyone – especially since I’ve been checked out and in baby mode for so long.  A BIG thank you so much to the Creative Language Class blog for helping get motivated with their BTS teacher stamp sheet.  It’s great!  Today I decided I’m going to get my “stamp” for my class syllabus.  Last year CLC did a post on this topic and really motivated me to upgrade my syllabus.  Here is a link for my syllabus in my TPT store if you’re interested – it’s at a super low BTS price and in a word doc so all you need to do is edit!

Do you normally give students a syllabus?  What other documents do you give them?  Do you hold them accountable for it?  Do they sign it? Their parents?  Share below!  Thanks!

Fruterías Patty

I’m currently teaching a restaurant unit and have been on the search for authentic resources.  This is an easy unit to find resources for as I have a ton of menus from my travels and there are many online.  I’ve been looking specifically for restaurants that had not only an online menu, but authentic dishes too.  In a previous post I mentioned sopasypostres.com.co – a restaurant from Colombia that serves authentic dishes.  Today I found Fruterías Patty – a restaurant that focuses on serving dishes full of fresh fruits and veggies!  Their site doesn’t have too much information – but their menu is in PDF format (http://fruteriaspatty.com/documents/2013eneroPROOF.pdf)  and I was able to take some nice screen shots and make a http://www.lingtlanguage.com activity with it.  I like using lingtlanguage because I can have the students do listening, reading and writing and it saves paper!  I also found a commercial for their restaurant!  Their facebook site does have a lot of info and daily specials!  Check it out!

What restaurants would you recommend using in this unit???

Restaurantes Colombianos

I love teaching this unit!  There are SO many authentic resources out there and of course – who doesn’t like talking about food??!!  For this unit I really wanted the authentic resources to be the main point of my lessons so I designed several online activities that have students look at and interpret authentic menus and websites from restaurants – mostly restaurants from Colombia because those are the ones I’m familiar with.

Sopas de mamá y Postres de la abuela is an authentic restaurant with many establishments throughout the country.  Their website is AWESOME and a great springboard for so many different activities.

I created this webquest that has students interpret what they see on the site and on the menu.  The menu is great because its chock full of authentic ingredients they may not be familiar with so it will lead to great discussion.  It’s here on my TPT site if you’re interested.

I also created a http://www.lingtlanguage.com activity too.  If you have an account just search restaurants I (it’s free).  If you aren’t a member yet – definitely consider becoming one because it’s an amazing resource!

What restaurant activities do you do with your students?  What other restaurants would you recommend exploring with students?

Around the world

In a few of my previous posts I discussed how I wanted to incorporate more games into my lessons. Not only do the students enjoy playing games but they really do learn best through interactive and fun activities.

Around the world is a game I’ve played for years and the kids really like it because it can get pretty competitive.  I’ve made a few Around the World PowerPoint activities to go along with different topics we are covering in class.  I’ve uploaded them to my TPT site if you’re interested.

You can also play without a Powerpoint of course, but I like having a visual for the students too. To play, have the students get into a circle – they can stand or you can move your desks.  You then decide on a topic – say food vocabulary and then have the first students compete to give an answer.  You can give a clue, show a picture or say it in English.  The student who gets the answer correct, moves on and competes with the next person.  I usually give a prize to the student who has made it around the most spots.

What games do you play with your students?

Tingo tango

This game I got from a dear colleague of mine.  It’s a Colombian game – similar to hot potato.  Have the students form a circle.  You then have them pass an object around – ball, microphone, stuffed animal- whatever you have is good.  I usually use a ball or microphone. As the students pass the object, cover your eyes and say tingo repeatedly until you feel like stopping.  When you stop yell TANGO!  Whoever has the object should then answer a question/prompt depending on what you’re working on.  I’m not sure why but the kids LOVE this game. Probably because of the suspense and trying to avoid being the one holding the object when I yell TANGO!  You can also just use music and not say tingo, tango- the kids like that too because they get to listen to Spanish music.

Do you play a similar game?  What games do you play?


My students LOVE this game and request it almost daily.  One thing I strive to do is to make learning fun so I’m always on the search for great learning games- not games that will just kill time but games that will really help my students with their language learning.  I came across the vocabulary review game ALTO a few years ago on the http://www.bablingua.com blog, tried it and I absolutely love it and thought it would be worth sharing.  It’s basically like the game scategories where you are given several categories and have a certain amount of time to complete them.  This is the same idea.

To play, first create a table with several columns- one for each topic you’d like to review/practice.  Then to play you just give your class a letter and their task is to complete each category with a word that begins with the letter you gave them.  I don’t usually time them and the group who calls out ALTO first gets a point. Below is an example of what we did today in class.   I do mine on the board and the students just use scrap paper but you could always make up a board in word.  Another important thing to remember is to prepare the letters ahead of time, especially at the novice level where they don’t have too much vocabulary.

What games do you play in class?

Alto board