Monday, December 5, 2022

Sub Plans for Spanish Class

 It's that time of year when you never know when you might be out and need sub plans! I'm actually writing this on a Monday morning after being up all night with a sick dog so at 3:30 in the morning I double checked my emergency plans and then put in for a sub. 

Last week I was out for curriculum writing and my sub left a note about how organized and detailed my plans were and how it made the day much easier. Happy subs are much more likely to return! Here are my top tips for sub plans. 

My NUMBER ONE TIP - leave your plans in a slide deck. 

Subs just pull it up and advance the slides. You can embed any videos, activities, and/or screenshots of worksheets you want completed while you're gone. I had to cover a second grade class last year and the teacher left her plans like this and it made everything SUPER easy. Since my students are used to me teaching from daily slides this makes it so much easier on the sub. I also have a sub binder with different tabs with more information, but I have found that few subs look through it. The slide deck is the most often used. 

In my sub template this year I include several things:

1. A slide with a note from me explaining why I'm out and to please be extra respectful to the guest teacher.

2. A slide with the class rules. We go over these every single Spanish class and it helps with continuity for students. 

3. If I know I'm going to be out and know the schedule I make slides for each class period and add the time at the bottom so the sub knows when class starts and ends. 

4. Slides with the videos to watch during class. When they're embedded in Google slides you don't have to worry about ads!

5. A slide with the screenshot of where to go on Google Classroom and what activities to complete OR a screenshot of the worksheet they are to complete after watching the videos together. 

6. For emergency plans (like today) I have the same lesson for all grade levels. For a 25 minute class my go to formula has become a Read Aloud + True or False questions done orally with the sub + coloring or activity page. I include a video of the read aloud as well a copy in the sub bin just in case and I keep copies ready to go. I also include a slide with the answers to the True or False questions. 

7. Emergency plans take a little time at the beginnning of the year but once they're done I don't have to worry about them. I try to have around 3 different emergency plans for the year since I don't get sick often. When I get back tomorrow I will pull out the second book, make the copies, and double check the slide deck is ready to go for the next time I need to be out last minute. 
What do you include in your sub plans? Do you have any tried and true ways to make sure class goes smoothly when you're out? Share in the comments below!

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Sunday, October 30, 2022

Healthy Food Resources for the Spanish Class

In second grade we have been learning about making healthy food choices. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen some fun activities we've been doing as wrap up this unit. 

In the past I have struggled somewhat with this unit because there are so many different ways to look at this. Do you use my plate from But then you have to teach food groups and those aren't really high frequency words I can spiral back in later. What about the food pyramid? Those are better but outdated. 

I finally stumbled upon stoplight posters for nutritional choices and it was an AHA moment! Students can review their colors and use frequency words! Once I knew what to search for, I found some really great resources. Like really really good!

I started with this poster to introduce the idea of comida saludable y comida chatarra. 

We sorted into two categories to start because that was easier for this age group (I added in the third category later). We sorted first as a group and then in pairs in a google slide I had assigned via Google Classroom. 

Our whole group sort

Students then sorted in pairs or indiviudally 

Once they felt comfortable with sorting them into saludable y poco saludable we moved onto the stoplight poster. Taking a strategy from the book Common Ground: Second Language Acquisition Theory Goes to the Classroom, in the first class we made predictions as a class about where different foods would go on the poster. To do this I just cropped the picture and put in my food pics to move around. In the next class we checked our predictions against the actual poster. Click here to see the full resource from the CDC. 

Our class prediction

The actual poster

I actually showed them two posters. They had some items in different places so it was a great way to quickly stop and in English explain that there are many opinions of what healthy eating looks like and so different sources will show different things. Click here for the second poster. It also comes with a cute worksheet that we didn't have time to get to!

We also played this interactive game! I had students whisper to their partner where they thought it should go and then one student came up and pushed the button. Later, I put the link in Google Classroom so they could play on their own. This one was a BIG hit with all my classes. Click here to go to the game. 

All of these activities were woven in with talking about foods around the world and talking about what foods we like and dislike. After students finished their writing page about what foods they liked they could choose to make their own stoplight poster on paper, with my play food, or play the stoplight game on their chromebooks. I'm hoping to take our photos and papers and make a display in our cafeteria. 

I received a huge gift of play food this summer and my students had a blast sorting and labeling it!

I have really enjoyed this unit and so have my students. The best part is you can really do this at any age and it fits well into both IB and AP themes. If I had more time or older students I would have loved to compare posters from different countries. Or even make a poster for someone who is vegetarian or gluten free, etc. 

What are your favorite resources to teach about health and/or healthy eating? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Día de muertos Ideas and Resources for Spanish Class

It's that time of the year! Halloween and Dia de muertos are fast approaching. Here are some ideas and resources to get you started!

1. Build your ofrenda! This year I put mine in the hallway so that students can see it every day on their way to their specials classes. The gym teacher overheard a kid calling it the "Coco table!" I only actually teach Day of the Dead to 2nd grade since their focus for the year is Mexico but other students love seeing the table and posters.

I use fake apples and flowers from the craft shop. The papel picado came from Hobby Lobby. The calaveras came from Rite-Aid last year and the posters are from Teacher's Discovery. I like to use butcher paper and label everything so students can easily see what the names for each item are in Spanish.

I also added this make your own ofrenda page this year! Students can color and write a description of their own ofrenda. Or have students decorate their own ofrenda using Google Jamboard. 

2. Watch some videos! These videos are in English but they are short and are a nice introduction to the holiday. It was a nice introduction this past week to Día de muertos.

3. Read some books! I checked this book out from the library. It's English with lots of Spanish mixed in. My plan is to "read" it in Spanish to my students, where I will just simplify the language and describe the pictures for my students. And then fingers crossed maybe some of them will check it out and read it on their own later.

I also have this book, which will be good to review the family members honored during Día de muertos celebrations. After I use them in second grade, my plan is to put them out on the ofrenda so students can look at them.

I also added this cute booklet this year - perfect for novice learners!

4. Have students show what they have learned! I will have students look at the ofrenda, the posters in the hallway, and Día de muertos infographics to label an ofrenda. Then they can color it. 

We also do a compare and contrast activity. I've used hula hoops in the past and my students thought that was super fun. I also just got a new venn diagram pocket chart that I'm dying to try out! 

You can get your own word wall words, labeling and matching worksheets, and links to the infographics in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

What are your favorite Día de muertos activities and resources? Share in the comments below!

Adios Monstruo - Teaching Body Parts in Elementary Spanish

 A few years back my district wrote a K-5 World Language curriculum and benchmark assessments. It was great to have some direction and all the teachers were teaching the same things but it also meant that a lot of my favorite projects got the ax because they didn't fit in where they used to. One of those was my Adios Monstruo class book I used to do in second grade (read more about it here). 

Technically, in kindergarten we don't learn about body parts and emotions until the third unit after winter break BUT I have found that if I wait until then to introduce body parts they will not know them well enough for our benchmark assessment in March. So instead I introduce our body parts song on the first day of school and body parts are included in our classroom expectations (piernas cruzadas, manos dobladas, bocas cerradas, y ojos en la maestra.) 

This year more than usual I've been getting into the Halloween vibe (maybe it's this awesome October weather we've been having in Kentucky?) So I decided to hit body parts harder at the end of our first unit to make monstruos. It's also given us a chance to practice colors and school supplies (which is one of the focuses of unit one.)

Learning Intention - I am learning about myself and my classroom so that I can follow directions and participate fullly in class. 

Success Criteria

I can recognize and list different colors. 

I can list school supplies I need in class.

I can list parts of my body.

I can listen and follow directions to create a monstruo. 

To start we watched Adios Monstruo. I paused it to review each body part and we practiced Tengo miedo and No tengo miedo.

In the next class we did a spin and draw activity. This page is nice because you can make it an independent activity OR you can do it in whole group. Since kindergarten students aren't quite ready for independent work AND staying in the target language, we did it in whole group using the website (here is a link to mine already made.) The kids had a lot of fun as we drew our monstruos.

In the final two classes we've been making monstruos de papel. I give them the black paper and a smaller green paper to get them started. Then they make the mouth, nose, ears, any arms or legs with scrap paper that I put in the middle of the table. I also used the Ellison die cut machine to make circles for eyes. 

Pro Tip - I went around with a silver sharpie marker and wrote their names on the back since most of their names are still hard to read this time of year and because the black paper made it hard to see them.

In the last class, we use marker to add deatils and then we cut and paste our labels on. This is not your cutsie social media perfect project where they all come out the same, but each kid got to make it their own way and I absolutely love how they turned out!

Because we had been practicing body parts from the beginning of the year as well as colors and supplies I was able to stay 90% in the target language. I modeled for them how to cut and glue and then went around and narrated what they were doing in Spanish. While they're working is also a good time to ask them in Spanish about what colors are they using, what body part are they gluing down, etc. 

Click here to get your own Spin and draw monstruo page.

Click here to get the Adios Monstruo class book project.

And follow me on Instagram for ideas and inspiration!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

I'm back! And presenting on Cooperative Learning Strategies in the World Language Classroom

 So it's been awhile since I've posted here (although you can find me on Instagram and Twitter!) What has kept me from blogging? Well, the pandemic obviously but I got my Education Specialst degree and princpal licensure in December of 2021 which kept me very busy. I'm also on the board of KWLA (Kentucky World Language Association) as the Communications Director and PD Committee Chair.

Speaking of KWLA we had our first in-person conference since 2019! I presented on cooperative learning strategies in the World Language classroom. I've written about the Kagan structures I use in class before but it was fun to talk about and demonstrate them in person. Below is a link to my presentation! 

Title page to presentation All Together Now

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Winter lesson plans - Los pingüinos

Are you looking for some ideas for winter that are NOT about holidays? I try not to focus on Christmas because not all of my students celebrate it. Some don't even do any winter holidays. Earlier this year in first grade we learned about alebrijes and the students described their favorite animal. A LOT of my students really like penguins so I'm doing a short lesson before the break focused on penguins - it's the perfect winter lesson that's not holiday focused. Check out the resources below!


This cute video has a fun dance to get kids up and moving

I like that this Pinkfong song includes some vocab I've already taught like salta, grande and has footage of real emperor penguins.

My students also love looking at live webcams of different animals - like this one at the Georgia Aquarium. You can practice numbers by counting how many you see or have students describe their color and actions, whether they like them or not, etc. 


I love this book Los Pingüinos Adoran los Colores. It's super cute, easy to understand, and a great way to review colors. The blog Teach and Tell Us also has a super cute freebie to go along with it. Check it out here!

If your school subscribes to Pebble Go they also have a LOT of articles in English and Spanish on different types of penguins. You could use and scaffold for novice speakers or just give the link and let them explore on their own. 


My kids also love to draw. I'm doing this directed draw with K-2 so I wanted to keep it very simple. Before we start we're going to review with our body parts song so they could more easily recognize the different parts as I drew them. I also suggest logging into zoom on two computers so that you can pin the video of the camera where you're drawing. That makes it bigger so students can easily see what you are doing. 

At the end they have a cute picture that is wintery. For older kids you could have them label it or do a writing piece with it. Or you can have them add a hat in their favorite color to go along with the book!

Do you teach about los pingüinos? What resources or activities do you do with your students? Share in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Asynchronous Elementary Spanish Lessons

 Well this is a year we'll never forget. It's hard to collaborate and share ideas right now because it seems like everyone is doing something differently - live, on-demand, hybrid, from home, from school, on a cart. 

My schedule is completely asynchronous. I post a lesson each day for one grade level and then field emails, comments, and Dojo messages that afternoon as kids and families complete the lesson. I am by no means an expert (and I don't really trust anyone who says they are right now!) but here is what is working for me.

Challenges in the spring - We had very low participation partly because of the following reasons: All the Special Area classes were in different places so it was confusing and overwhelming for families to know where to look each day. I just threw up links on Google Classroom with little direction on which ones they should do. There was no way for me to know if they had completed an activity or not (at least not how I set them up.)

Solutions for this fall:

How to post and organize each lesson - Special Area now has its own Google Classroom for each grade. Check out this post to see how we set it up so that it is easy to find that day's activities. It also is super helpful that we went from some kids having technology in the spring to being fully 1:1 with Chromebooks.

How students know what to do during the lesson -  My school does not have a paid subscription to Pear Deck or Nearpod but if you have access to one of these programs I highly recommend them. The free versions are great for synchronous teaching but you have to pay for the student-paced versions (you're paying for the reporting that comes with it.) Check out this video to see a demonstration I did back in the spring for KWLA. 

I like the Nearpod architecture and especially how it guides students through a lesson with - and this is super important - all of the links, videos, and activities in the same place. This part of these programs is just a slide deck, which is easy to replicate in powerpoint or Google slides.

Because we use Google Classroom all of my lessons are in Google Slides. The first slide has the essential questions and learning targets along with a short video from me explaining and modeling the day's activities. I've written about before how I start the year in English so that students understand the expectations and procedures in Spanish class. These videos are in English now but just if we were in school they will become increasingly in the target language as students get used to how to navigate the online lessons.

Then students click to the next slide which has our daily agenda (something I do regularly in the classroom so it's familiar.) Next, they click through to slides that have Youtube videos to watch and links to click to take them to sites like Quizlet.


For K & 1st I included audio files (and modeled how to use the buttons) for those kiddos who can't read yet. This way parents can get them started but then walk away and let the students work independently.

How to know if students completed the lesson and formative assessments - My final challenge has been setting things up so that there is some accountability and I know that the students have actually completed the lessons. I also need to get some formative assessment so I know how to plan for the next lesson. 

For the older students this is fairly simple. The last slide of their lesson is a link to an exit slip in Google Forms that they fill out. 

Exit slip for elementary Spanish

For grades 1-3 I have one slide where they have to drag pictures of animals or food depending on the grade under columns labeled Me gusta or No me gusta. I also included a video on the last slide that shows how to turn in an assignment on Google Classroom. This is especially important for Kindergarten because they can't produce any language yet. I just want them to turn it in so it is marked done and I can get an idea of how many students are actually watching the lessons. 

So that's currently what I'm doing. How are you structuring your asynchronous lessons? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!