La Noche de Las Velitas

La Noche de Las Velitas is the official start of the holiday season in Colombia.  It is a very special night in which families gather to light candles and lanterns in honor the Immaculate Conception. The festivities begins at sunset on 7th December and ends at sunrise on 8th December. People place paper lanterns and candles on their windowsills porches, balconies, streets, sidewalks, squares and parks.

Here is a video with more info!

In my 8th grade classes we do a unit on December holidays and focus on holidays in Colombia and Spain.  We begin the unit by talking about holidays they celebrate and the first holiday we learn about is this one.  One special video we watch is this Home Center video – it is a great video to build vocabulary and if you have higher level students talk about indigenous tribes, environment and giving back to the community.


Here are two activities I do with La Noche de Las Velitas – one reading and one listening. Do you teach December holidays? Which ones?! Share below!

¡Vamos al supermercado!

I really enjoy finding new ways for my students to learn vocabulary!  Long gone are the days of boring powerpoint presentations and vocabulary lists.  Students truly enjoy exploring authentic media and there’s no better way to learn vocabulary than to experience it hands on.

Yesterday we started a new unit on food with my Novice Level 1 students.  I’ve presented this vocabulary in a variety of ways but last year thought that it would be interesting to see what students came up with if I asked them to create their own vocabulary lists (with guidance and structure por supuesto).  I provided them with a list of supermarket websites and told them to find 6 items (or more) for each food group.  The students had so much fun looking through the sites and online catalogs and seeing how currencies work in different countries.  They also discovered some food items they’ve never seen here before so that is always a great conversation starter.

Here is the list I gave them – do you have any favorite supermarket sites? Share them in the comments!

Supermercado links:

El abecedario

I’m finishing up my mini-unit on el abecedario.  It’s not my favorite unit, as I have struggled with finding authentic resources to use with my students.  I came across a post on Neil Jone’s Resources and Ideas for Language Teachers Blog where he created a PowerPoint using a clip from the Spanish game show Cifras y Letras.  Amazing- I was so happy to finally find some authentic audio with letters!  If you search the game show on youtube you’ll find TONS of episodes that you can use in your class, not only for the alphabet but for numbers too!  I used many of the episodes as audio practice in class and today I used 4 segments from the show for a listening assessment.

Here is my assessment – 7grado_Unidad1_Prueba_Numeros_Letras

And here is the link for the video with the minutes for each segment.

1. N I M A M A C F N (5:34)
2. L E T E ñ I N U T (7:00)
3. L I I A J O T E N (12:55)
4. T E X O M I S A S (14:13)
Here are some more resources from another post I did on the alphabet.
What resources do you use to teach the alphabet?

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 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?

¡Mueve tu cuerpo!

I’m teaching body parts soon- I really enjoy this unit!  The kids do too! Here are a few resources for teaching body parts.

José Luis Orozco is a bilingual educator, author and musician that has several books and CD’s with great music that can be used for many different levels.  Juanito Cuando Baila is one of my favorites and the students love it too!  Here is a YouTube video with the song and lyrics (I didn’t make it- just found it).

@karajacobs shared a video Juanes made with the Sesame Street characters a while back- I haven’t used it but imagine that the students will love it because it’s so upbeat and well it’s Juanes and who doesn’t love him???!!!

Cantoalegre is an organization that creates children’s music in Colombia.  They have beautiful children’s songs on their website that you can download for FREE! Yes free!  They also have a few video stories and Karaoke activities you can use.

They have two songs I use- El Baile del Esqueleto and Los Veinte Ratones – you can check these out on my TPT store!

Here is the link:

Do you have any favorite songs to teach this vocabulary and get your students moving?

Where do I find resources???

I’m now in lesson plan mode, thinking about all of the wonderful things I want to do with my students.  It’s really important that as language teachers, we do our best to bring the language and culture to life with authentic resourcs- but how???  How do you do this especially if you have more than one prep, a family, a busy life, etc…  It all starts with having some great go-to resources.  Here are just a few places I visit online to find what I’m looking for.  Hopefully this will save you hours and hours of surfing 🙂


This link will take you to the Despierta America page on Univision’s website.  It’s fantastic!  It has the videos from the show’s segments- cooking, interviews with celebrities, fashion, news- everything!  Right now they have several videos for back to school- everything from school supplies to fashion to school lunches!

Youtube is your best friend- you can find just about anything here.  But what do you do when that video about paella has been deleted!!??  Make sure you save the video using a site like the one below.

If you teach beginners search no further than children’s programming!

Pocoyo is a show from Spain.  The videos are only 7 minutes long and are super cute.  My students love him 🙂

Doki is the discovery channel en español mascot.  Most of their commercials are him teaching kids about all sorts of stuff.  Here’s an example… (search doki descubre on youtube and tons of videos will come up).


To be in the loop about new music, I have a bunch of stations on Pandora with my favorite artists and I just shuffle and play in the car and at home.  I also like and follow my favorite artists on Facebook and Twitter- this way you know when they’ve come out with new music.  Here is a list of some of my favorites…(list of songs by genre and topic in the works and coming soon!).


Marc Anthony

Prince Royce


Maite Peroni

Paulina Rubio

Chino y Nacho

Carlos Vives

Jesse & Joy

Joe Arroyo

Juan Luis Guerra

Jarabe de Palo

La 33


My absolute favorite blogs are Zachary Jones’ Zambombazo and The Creative Language Class Blog.  These are really my go-to sites when I’m stuck and need some inspiration.

How do you keep all of this info organized???? Pinterest of course!  I have tons of boards on Pinterest for different topics related to teaching.  It’s the perfect place to store all of your favorite links, videos and pictures.

What else would you add to this list of resources?



Videos sobre la familia

I’m beginning a unit on family and family celebrations this week and I have been reviewing previously used videos and looking for new ones.  Here are some of the videos I use and some that I found but might not use because of time and difficulty.  On my previous post you can find the cloze activity for the San Fernando commercial. I also made a listening checklist for the video too to do before the cloze activity- remember change the task not the text!

Here is the activity 🙂


Here are all of the family videos I came across. (this is the one for the above activity)




Te quiero mucho mamá

My 1B’s will soon begin the unit on family. It is one of my favorite units because there are so many great authentic resources out there.  I love to use commercials in class and this topic lends itself quite well to using them.  In the next few posts I will be sharing some of my resources and ideas for this unit and would love to hear what other people are using too!

I love this commercial- es súper tierno and great for practicing family vocabulary.  My students last year loved it too.  I have uploaded the cloze activity for you to use as well. Enjoy!

8grado_Unidad3(5A)_Anuncios de familia

¡Más música!

Currently, my 1A’s are learning about leisure time activities.  One of the things I like to discuss with them are pastimes  in the Spanish-speaking world and how music and dance play a big role in many of the activities we do in the Spanish-speaking world.  Every year I do a unit on music and dance and it’s always a lot of fun because the students get to listen to music and dance!

Here are some online resources I use for this unit:


Here are some online activities I have created using the above sites- I posted them to teacherspayteachers since they did take me a very long time to create- sorry!

Do you have any resources you use to teach music and dance?