¡Pan! Introduction Lesson

Here is how I will be introducing the vocabulary to Señor Wooly’s ¡Pan!

Materials needed if teaching 5 classes: 5 loaves of french bread ($1.50 each) / 5 bunches of bananas ($2/bunch) / a roll of toilet paper / butter / knife / cutting board / napkins

  1. Warm-up is always silent reading.
  2. Then I’ll ask the class: ¿Cómo estás? ¿Quién está cansado? ¿Quién está feliz? ¿Quién tiene frío? ¿Quién tiene calor?
  3. We’ll do actions with the new vocab: tiene ganas de comer, pide, trae, and tiene hambre.
  4. Show the slides and ask about the pictures: Liz Lemon tiene una pizza. ¿Liz Lemon tiene ganas de comer? ¿Tiene ganas de comer una pizza? ¿Tiene ganas de comer fruta? ¿Tiene ganas de comer pizza o fruta? ¿Tiene ganas de comer una pizza pequeña o una pizza grande? ¿Por qué tiene ganas de comer una pizza grande? (¡Porque tiene hambre!) ¿Ron Swanson tiene ganas de comer el banano? No, no tiene ganas de comer el banano. Talk about the pictures as much as you have their interest.
  5. Personalize it. Ask students if they feel like eating pizza in the morning. Do you feel like eating cold pizza or hot pizza in the morning? Do you feel like eating bananas in the morning?
  6. Then…. ask students WHO is really hungry. Ask them: ¿Tienes ganas de comer pan? Con mantequilla o sin mantequilla? Introduce “Quisiera.” Have a student who REALLY wants bread to say “Quisiera pan.. (con mantequilla)” Tell the class. ¡(Bob) quisiera pan con mantequilla! ¿Bob pide pan? Sí, Bob pide pan. ¿Bob pide papel higiénico o pide pan? ¿Bob trae pan o Bob pide pan? ¿Por qué pide pan? Etc. FINALLY, give the student his bread with butter. Then, ask the class: ¿Cómo está? ¿Tiene hambre o está feliz? ¡Está feliz porque tiene pan con mantequilla. Ya no tiene hambre.
  7. Repeat with more students. Offer them bananas, bread (with/without butter), and toilet paper.
  8. Exit: translate 3 sentences.

Here is the powerpoint with the pictures and gifs to discuss.

Here is a pdf of the lesson.


Baby Steps to 90% or How to Manage Chaotic Classes

1_ZthF3S3oOXtqYDKz5xdM6ASarah Rasay and I presented at CCFLT on how to get yourself and your students to 90% TL.

If you are struggling to stay in the target language, of if even one of your classes are struggling,  here are our recommendations:

  1. Teach pop-up theory in student-friendly language. Teach it OVER and OVER, as if it were content. Get students to start voicing the WHY behind each activity.
  2. TEACH interpersonal skills and back it up with a grade. Do NOT just use the grade to extrinsically motivate them. Teach them HOW and WHY the interpersonal rubric will help them be successful.
  3. Have Target-Language call-backs and resets.
  4. Use TPR actions to anchor the class. Every student can be successful with this. And it requires NO student speaking.
  5. Start mini-personalization lessons with INPUT- not output.

More information and examples of these five topics are available in our presentation at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/123W9LoTJnbYacZPGpyCnsYRfctfHi3KtLzOTigjo2-E/edit?usp=sharing

BONUS: I highly recommend visiting Mary Overton’s blog at maryovertonblog.wordpress.com

Last semester, I used Mary’s Reading Rubric to reset my chaotic classes. It has absolutely changed my life. The classes that I could NOT get to settle down, now know what is expected of them from BEFORE the bell rings through the reading and the warm-up. It sets the stage for a productive and positive class.


7 Activities for Volar by Álvaro Soler

Working songs into my routine has been difficult this year. So, I just decided to make it part of the warm-up.

I was inspired by Jim Tripp and his blog post http://www.trippsscripts.com/single-post/2017/09/05/My-Music-Routine-Explained

My daily routine:
1. Students spend 5 minutes silently reading.
2. Students spend 5 minutes with the song of the week (or two weeks) completing an activity.
3. TPR actions for that day’s vocab
4. PQA/MovieTalk/Story/Reading Activity with brain breaks
5. Listening Quiz

Here are 7 activities you can use for a warm-up or just for teaching the song Volar by Álvaro Soler. Great for Spanish 1! If you notice typos or errors, please be merciful! But do let me know! 🙂

volar actividades docx (editable)

volar actividades pdf

Tracking Writing = Empowerment and Intrinsic Motivation

This year I changed schools from a suburban, upper-middle class, majority white, charter school, to an economically and racially diverse urban school in the middle of Denver. It has challenged me and made me grow in a lot of ways.

That said, I struggled this year to give students the scaffolding, support and motivation they need.

One thing I was going to give up was my writing portfolio system. I just didn’t think it would work. But I decided to try it 2nd semester and the results have been notable.

Here is the system:

  • Students keep their notebooks in class, thanks to my sweet Craigslist find! (I would require only composition books next time.) I recommend this to everyone, junior high, high school, anyone.
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  • Students taped TWO items in the back of their notebooks: a blank graph and a writing rubric.
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  • Every time they write, they track their words per minute in the graph.
  • I walk around the room and ask students if they increased or decreased word count. I celebrate their successes. If their word count decreased, I ask them to analyze that data. What made today different than last time? Perhaps, they are just showing growth in a different way. Maybe they are writing in past test or using new vocabulary.


WHY is this great?

  1. Students are seeing their personal growth. They are becoming intrinsically motivated to improve.
  2. Due to #1, students are more engaged and less resistant to the writing process.
  3. It gives me something to recognize and celebrate. I try to find the student who needs some praise. I help them discover HOW they are growing in their writing.
    • Whenever I see a student feeling proud of their writing, I recognize them for their achievements.
    • When I see a student feeling down, I try to show them that growth is not always linear or can’t be counted.

How did we get there?

I added some steps to the Free-Write process for my beginner students. Instead of “write for 5 minutes, retelling the story, GO!” the process looks like this:

  • First 1-2 times: I write under the doc cam. Students copy what I write.
  • Next: I write under the doc cam, I underline the details (Mad Libs-Style). Students change the details, if they want to.
  • When ready, I write under the doc cam, students write on their own. If they are stuck, they can copy what I am writing.
  • Al final, they write on their own, no training wheels.

I am so lucky to have such brilliant coaches and teachers, like Diana Noonan, Connie Navarro, Sarah Rasay, Mary Overton and so many more in DPS who have helped me become a more effective teacher. It’s a lifelong learning process!

Señor Wooly Mafia

Before the game: 

TPR the words goes to sleep, wakes up, dies, helps

Basic Mafia Vocab:

go to sleep, wake up, attacked, died, wanted to help/save, helped/saved, I accuse.

Basic Mafia Gameplay: No cards necessary. Personalization, a must!

CREDIT: Nina Barber and Sabrina Janczak.
Do NOT say, “We are going to play mafia, here are the rules.” Instead, say “You are all so lucky. You live in a wonderful town. The town is called (in the case of Nina Barber) Barberlandia. Everyone is very happy. Until one day, the mafia came in. They attacked a citizen. Now, the citizens are very scared. Luckily, we have the world’s best doctor. We also have a famous police force. At night the town goes to sleep. Close your eyes and go to sleep.

Tell them that you will tap 3 members of the mafia. Mafia wakes up and silently decides on one person to kill.

Tell them that you will tap 1 doctor. Doctor wakes up and silently decides who to save. If they guess correctly, that person lives.

Tell them that you will tap 1 police officer. The police officer wakes up and silently decides who to accuse. You silently tell them if they are right or not.

The town wakes up. You explain to them that one person has been attacked. You narrow down who is could have been by describing their whereabouts. (If they play hockey, say “this person was coming home from hockey practice… etc.” Incorporate ANY details you know about their personal life, that they have shared with the class.) 

Tell if the doctor was able to save them or not.

Then have the class accuse 3 people. “Acuso a…” The class votes on who of the three people. That person dies.



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Wooly twists:

The twins don’t kill. They just dance and say their horrifying cry “es una ganga”. The people gets SO SCARED that their heart stops beating.

The doctor is VERY crazy. The person is already dead. But the doctor wants to save his life. He takes out his heart and puts it in (a shoe, a pie, a water bottle, limonada, the microwave… a backpack perhaps?)

During the night, when the twins attack, I play the Ganga karaoke soundtrack.

The townspeople want to help. When the townspeople decide who they are accusing, I make the whole town give an expressionless stare at the person before they kill them.

Note: I have NOT taught Ya Está Muerto. I am using this game to teach the vocabulary. I have also NOT taught Amnesia. I am trying to enhance the creepiness of the town and the Ganga girls before I get to it.

Do you see the vocab?! Ya está muerto vocab. Amnesia vocab “el pueblo quiere ayudar”, maybe ¡qué asco! with 

Check out my powerpoint so you can see how I weave the story and make it comprehensible.

How to Generate and Use Memes

Here’s how to make some incredible student-driven memes for your class! If you do not have a subscription to senorwooly.com, I feel sad for you. However, you could totally do this with any MovieTalk or PictureTalk you are using. 

This activity was taken straight from Annabelle Allen’s presentation at CCFLT, only I used pictures of Es Una Ganga, and added the meme part.

PART 1: How to Collect Student-Generated Jokes 

  1. Go to Extras and download Slideshow of Stills. Print out your favorite 8-12 stills from the powerpoint from Senorwooly.com Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 11.24.30 AM
  2. Tape them around your room or in the hallway. Tape some blank paper below it.
  3. MODEL HOW you want them to complete this activity. (silent or not? can they move on their own or do they have to wait to switch? are they writing in Spanish or English? are they writing BIG or little?)
  4. As you pass out markers, be aware of the 1-2 students who may write something inappropriate and give them a specific color marker. Also, give a specific color to someone who needs a little recognition that day. Praise those answers at the end, without revealing their identity. (This ideas are ALL from Annabelle Allen!)
  5. Round 1: Students write as many sentences as they can in Spanish, for as many photos as they can.
  6. Round 2: They have 2 minutes to choose 1-2 pictures and write a meme. ***English allowed.*** IMG_8641
  7. Have one student in each class take a picture of the memes with your device, so you know which jokes/descriptions belong with which pictures.
  8. Have one student take down the writing, leaving up the pictures for next class.

I am so happy I permitted English for 3 reasons:

  1. It gave students a chance to be creative and be funny.
  2. It gave them some background knowledge and buy-in for the next day’s activity.
  3. They didn’t waste time looking up incomprehensible words on Google.

Part 2: How to make the meme

  1. I chose my top favorites from each class.
  2. I translated them into comprehensible language. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT. I do not want my students reading wrong/Google translated/incomprehensible Spanish. I translate and edit all memes before sharing them with students.

Then, I saved the picture from the ppt to my desktop.

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I Googled “Meme Creator” and got the site imgflip.com/memegenerator.

Click “Upload your own image”
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Grab it from your desktop.

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Add the top and bottom text.

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Drag them to your desktop. Drag them to a new powerpoint.

Part 3: Ok, that was pretty fun. But what do I do with them?

  1. Students find a partner. (Three ways to partner up: show me how many brothers/sisters you have, find someone who has the same number. Show me how many brothers/sister you have, find someone with a different number. Find someone who is wearing the same color shirt/shoes/socks as you.)
  2. Grab one whiteboard between the two of you.
  3. Work for 20 seconds to translate the meme on their board. (I walk around and praise and help and personalize.)
  4. They hold up the whiteboard on the count of 3. I look at all of whiteboards quickly.
  5. I do a tiny pop-up grammar if necessary (what does the TE do in TE habla?). Or I show one of the best ones to the classes. Or I ask a student, who I had previously checked in with, to explain WHY they wrote the ‘to you’?

OR: Save them for Meme Martes and share one each day. Use it as a launching point for PQA.

Here are mine!ganga memes Share yours with me if you do this!



Post-Reading Activity from Cynthia Hitz

I wanted to share with you this gem of a reading activity from Cynthia Hitz. It was highly engaging, low-prep, and student-centered. Thank you, Cynthia!

Read all about it in her blog post here: https://palmyraspanish1.blogspot.com/2016/02/3-step-no-prep-extended-reading-activity.html

The only prep it really requires is:

  1. a reading that the students are already pretty familiar with
  2. a way to group/pair your students

I am going to add a 4th step and make a quiz for tomorrow, using their questions.

***I did tell them to COPY sentences from the reading, so they are giving each other correct input. However, some went a little rogue. I plan to make that MORE clear next time.

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