Mad Pooper

I feel that as a world language teacher, I am obliged to tackle current events, so students can be knowledgeable citizens of the world. It is my duty. 

So, here is some nonfiction reading, taken directly from the news, and written in novice-friendly language. #correcaca

Click to access the doc and PDF versions in Google drive.IMG_6710


Song Unit for Homecoming

This unit was PERFECT for homecoming week.

Song: DUELE EL CORAZON Enrique Iglesias

LYRICS “duele el corazon” ready to be cut up in chunks.

For 2 days in a row, before you use the song in class:
Play DUELE EL CORAZON as they enter. Do not talk about it. This is very important to create buy-in and to get them to hear and feel the song without judging it.

Day 2: 
PQA: “estás enfermo? ¿qué te duele? with pictures or with students.
PQA: vas a ir a homecoming? vas a bailar mucho? has comprado zapatos nuevos? los zapatos son cómodos? te duelen los pies cuando bailas? GOLDEN QUESTION: “¿Qué prefieres: qué te duelen los pies o te duele el corazón?”

Day 3
Continue day 2’s PQA
TPR and PQA: le da and se va

Students have a bag of cut up lyrics. Students listen to the song and find the chorus part 1 and part 2. When they hear the chorus part 1, hold it up. When they hear chorus part 2, hold it up.

Exit ticket: Translate with your partner “Con él te duele el corazón, conmigo te duelen los pies.”

Day 4:  Friday before Homecoming!!
Students work with a partner to put all of the lyrics in order. They will probably ask to hear it twice! Let them!

Then, play this song and let them dance!!

My rules for dancing:
1. Everyone must be standing. You do not have to dance, but you have to stand.
2. Everyone must be facing the board.
3. No videotaping. What happens in Spanish class stays in Spanish class.
4. You do you! We’re not here to judge other people.


Wildebeest for Spanish 2 Past Tense

I repurposed the Wildebeest MovieTalk to review high frequency structures in the past tense with Spanish 2.

Target Vocab:
– había/ there was
– dijo/ said
– quería(n) saber /(they) wanted to know
– pienso que/ I think that
– (agarró)
– (tocó)
– (miró)

Drive Folder Contains:
Link to the Folder

7 days of slides
Screenshots to PictureTalk
The video
A six-frame to draw the story
Screenshot cards ready to print
Fan N Pick cards ready to print
Reading Quiz

Day 1:
TPR the new vocabulary
PQA: ¿Qué quieres saber?
– Discuss what they want to know: to speak Spanish? if aliens exist? do you want to know the future? do you want to know what people think about you?

Practice TPR words like mira, agarra and toca, with body parts. Mira el dedo, toca el dedo, agarra el dedo, agarra dos dedos, besa el dedo, etc.

(Picture Talk Brad Pitt in the movie Seven… “What’s IN THE BOX??”)

Put random prizes and silly things in a box.
Ask them: ¿Quieres saber qué hay en la caja? Circle that question.
Prompt them to use “Pienso que…” by dividing the class into teams. If you give an answer, your team gets 1 point. If you answer using pienso que… that’s 2 points. If you answer using “pienso que” and you’re right, you get the keep the object!

Day 2: 
Show screenshots of the Wildebeest story. PictureTalk the screenshots. Name the two Wildebeests. Ask them who they think is smart. Ask them what they think is in the water. Ask them what they think will happen.

Había dos animales. Los animales se llaman ñus. Los dos estaban en la playa. Querían saber qué había en el agua. El primer ñu miró el agua y dijo “Pienso que es un cocodrilo.” El segundo ñu dijo “Pienso que es un tronco de un árbol.”

El primer ñu agarró una roca y la tiró. La tiró porque quería saber qué había en el agua. El segundo ñu repitió “Pienso que es un tronco de árbol.” El primer ñu repitió “Pienso que es cocodrilo.” El primer ñu agarró una rama. Agarró la rama porque quería saber qué había en el agua. El primer ñu miró la cosa y saltó encima de la cosa. De repente, la cosa comió el ñu.

El segundo ñu pensó: “Era un cocodrilo.”
El tercer ñu dijo: “Pienso que es un tronco.”

Ask them to predict the ending, then show the video. After the video, have students read and draw the story.

Day 3:
Shoimage2w the video again

Fan N Pick Activity
Fan N Pick cards ready to print in the Drive Folder
Student 1 fans out the cards.
Student 2 picks a card and reads it in Spanish/shows it to the group.
Student 3 translates the card to English.
Student 4 writes down the translation on a separate sheet of paper.
Then rotate jobs.

When they finish, have students put the cards in chronological order.

Exit ticket: Look at 4 sentences on the board, put them in order of the story.

Day 4:
Reading and Quiz
1st time reading: Project the reading. Read, circle, clarify. As you read it, one side of the class plays the part of the the 1st ñu. The other side plays the part of the 2nd ñu. They say their lines as a group.
2nd time reading: You read, they do the gesture
3rd time reading: Students volleyball translate with their partner, as you coach.
4th time: Chorally read as a class

Then give students the quiz. It is very similar to the previous day’s exit ticket.

Day 5:
Students take one screenshot card. They have one minute to think about how to describe it. If they are not ready, come around and coach them.

Then, they tell it to their neighbor. They speak for 30 seconds, their neighbor speaks for 30 seconds.

Then, students stand up and form 2 lines facing each other, or inner/outer circle.
Inner circle has 30 seconds to describe their card.
Outer circle has 30 seconds to describe their card.
Say “buen trabajo.”

Switch cards.

Switch partners. Keep going.

Free-Write: When they are done with that activity, students will write their own version of the story for 5 minutes. Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 11.08.48 AM

My first day of class: ¡Como yo!

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 6.09.00 AM

I learned this protocol from Connie Navarro, who used it as a community-builder during our CCFLT meeting.

I applied it to my first day of class. As I PQAed “What do you like to do?” I encouraged students to shout “¡Como yo!” (just like me!) if they heard something that also describes them. Modifications: Instead of snapping, I think I would’ve just had them say Ooohh “because everything in Spanish class is the most interesting thing you’ve ever heard.”

I started out in English with:

  • Jenny goes to East High School.
  • Frank is a sophomore.
  • Jessie has a notebook.

I then went on to describe a little bit about myself, in Spanish.

  • I am from Chicago.
  • I like to eat. I like to eat pizza. I like to eat Chicago-style pizza.
  • I have a friend. (When no one said “como yo” I made fun of them for having no friends.”)

Students had written their name and drawn an activity they like to do on their name card. So I jumped into some PQA.

  • Riley likes to play baseball. etc.

The cool thing about this activity was that:

  1. It created instant connections among students.
  2. It was an easy comprehension check.
  3. …and this is the best one… It has seeped into our daily class. When we PQA, students use “como yo” when they hear something like them! It validates the person who is talking. It shows that we are not alone.

Visual Supports for Novices

Great for early PQA about emotions. And the little words that we sometimes use without explicitly teaching.
For TPR practice and teaching class procedures in the TL.
I taught these signals on Day 1, just like TPR. Students can help co-create the signals, or you can create them. Or you can pretend like they created them, but you actually did. “I saw someone in the back do this action. I love it!” ;P
I never thought I would use this one very much, since we don’t have to teach them to fill in the blank with “jugar”____ (él). However, using these naturally, with the visual support, provides more ease and fluidity during PQA.
I LOVE this necesita poster, from my new colleague Arturo Acosta. Below, the flags, are where I will keep track of the class’ PAT points. Each class will be represented by a country.
I ❤ my new rules poster! Borrowed significantly from Scott Benedict.
What a view, right? I created a few locations in the room (las montañas, el cine, and el parque) to aid in acquisition of place names as we TPR. “Walk to the park. Look at the park. Run to the mountains. etc”
New this year: A place to write today’s high and low temperature and the current temperature. This idea was stolen from Sabrina Janczak who has her students guess the temperature.


Look at this beautiful school!
First day selfie!

First Days Survey and Exit Ticket

I will give a survey students on the second or third day of class, after they have had some time to get to know me. I will model my answers before asking them to share theirs.

This survey will allow me to be more culturally responsive, to be more aware of my students’ preferences, and to celebrate the talents of students who know more languages than English.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 4.56.55 PM

first day survey doc
first day survey pdf

I also have two exit tickets to gauge student comprehension and take some feedback. These were adapted from Scott Benedict’s first days lesson plans on

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 7.20.01 AM
day one class reflection doc
day one class reflection pdf

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 7.20.14 AM

day two class reflection
day two class reflection

I hope these help you build those relationships on the first days!

101 Memes for Spanish class

On the eve of reporting back to school, I decided to take a few hours to gather all of the memes I’ve saved and put them in a slideshow.

I included the basics of how I will introduce and train this procedure, along with some sample PQA questions for the first couple of memes.

The two goals of Meme Martes are:
1. expose students to authentic materials (materials made by Spanish-speakers for Spanish-speakers).
2. use the pictures to launch personalized questions so I can provide more compelling, personalized, silly input.

If you have some great ways that you implement Meme martes, or memes in general, please share!

101 memes for Spanish class ppt

101 memes for Spanish class pdf