Friday, August 26, 2016

Redefine your first weeks of Spanish 1 with these input rich activities


How to use input-rich videos for structuring simple activities in Spanish class 


This upcoming week marks my first week of classes and I am super excited and a little anxious. Although I have taught Spanish for 11 years and counting, I have always had Spanish 1B classes. This is the second year I will teach Spanish from scratch.

So, what are my goals for the beginning of the year? My main goal this year is for my students to:


  • be involved and immersed in the language and culture from day 1


This post will feature two activities that I have created around the use of basic level 1 Spanish. I struggled with teaching the first month of Spanish so I am really digging deep to make the experience as much as enjoyable as intellectually stimulating. The activities are designed to give students exposure to a wide range of simplified input that ties into the cultures of Latin America.

Los Saludos en Español

I found this really cute video about greetings and leave-takings in Spanish. In this video they interview a host of Spanish-speakers from different parts of Latin America. These people share what a typical greeting is like in their country. They are authentic, animated and of course natural in their sharing.

This video is very chévere because it:
  • Features people from all over
  • Has a wide range of diversity and races from Latin America
  • Is dialectically rich.
*I learned some new one from La República Dominicana. ¿Qué es lo que?- qué tal- chévere ¿verdad?

How am I using this resource?
  • My students will watch the video once without notes (Give them a chance to take it all in)
  • Ask students what greetings did they hear, where were the people from (2 minutes)
  • Watch a second time this with this video activity.
  • Click on Video
  • Download activity here.
I went over this activity a few times as a student and I realized the first time that it would be hard pinpoint to greetings:

  • So I inserted the pictures of people next to their written text.
  • Not all the people in the video are captured because they are some repeats.
  • I also added a Banco de Palabras
  • Pero ¡Ojo! I still wanted to make it challenging so students will have to pay close attention to what the hear and see as there are palabras que sobran.
My journey this year to redefine the beginning of the year. If you have any suggestions or activity, please comment below and add your website.

¿Quién eres tú?

This year, I am bent on redefining how I teach the first few week. I was very inspired by Spanish Mama's blog on her first two weeks of teaching Spanish. She mentioned how she was developing and formulated a new philosophy of teaching; something that I am journeying on as well.

I admit that I have not been as motivated in the past to teach the basic tenets of Spanish because I am super passionate about teaching my school unit, Agentes Secretos, my sports unit and my problem-based travel to Spain unit. But, I realize the importance of the first few weeks so this year I am committed to giving it some my best and just having fun. Here is one of the activities I came up with the practice the verb Ser.

This activity has four main objectives:
  • Practice the forms of the verb Ser
  • Familiarize students with Spanish speaking people (family of origin)
  • Role play
  • Identify Spanish speaking countries
Play by play
  •  There are four sets of cards each with 8 people
  • Each student receives a card with the name and picture of a Hispanic person. I limited it to a few professions. You will notice that some people were born here but have family roots in Latin America.
  • Students will study their card for two minutes after which they will get up to introduce themselves as that person.
  • Introduce a friend from their country (using él/ell es/ somos de)

Prior learning 

I am planning on doing this activity the 4th day of class. Prior to this activity students have interacted with basic greetings and questions such as:

  • Cómo estás 
  • De dónde eres tú
  • Cómo te llamas
The goal here is practice saying where you are from. Since some countries repeat themselves, I have students from similar countries to group and introduce themselves as a group: 
  • Nosotros somos de Panamá 
  • De dónde son ustedes 
  • De dónde son ellos
Download file here. If there is an issue with permission to this file, I will send you another link. The permissions issue seems to be corrected.



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