Song of the Week: Yo contigo, tú conmigo

¡Hola hola!


I think I have finally recovered from Homecoming, the Iowa World Language Association’s conference, parent-teacher conferences, and the first seven weeks of school! How are you holding up? Make sure to take some time in your day for YOU!!! Sit by the fireplace, scratch your puppy in her favorite spot behind her ears, treat yourself to some Dairy Queen, whatever it takes!

Every week I select a song of the week to share with my students, and we do various activities with it as our openers for the week  so students can get used to hearing it, sing along, and at the end of the year we can use it during our Locura de Mayo bracket!

This week, the song of the week is Yo contigo, tú conmigo by Morat and Álvaro Soler. My students love singing the ¿por qué por qué por qué? part to each other – and you just can’t go with with Álvaro!!

These are our warm up activities for class during the week:

Monday: students will match the English phrases with the Spanish phrases, then listen to the music and count how many times they hear the phrases (page 3)

Tuesday: students will listen to the song and fill in the blanks with the sound they hear. I tell them I don’t expect them to fill in the blank with a word ~ they are novice babies, they won’t know the word, but can they get used to hearing a Spanish sound and knowing what it is? I follow along with them on the projector so if they get lost they can see where we are. (page 2)

Wednesday/Thursday: Gilbert has block days so we have 90 minute classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It works out great though because we have extra time for music! I cut out the music from page 4, play the song for students and they work either on their own or with their partner to put the song in order. I pause the song after the first two or three cards so they have time to process. When we check their work they get in practice with the alphabet, and sometimes we even listen to the alphabet song!  They love singing it, and if I’m feeling generous I let them play hangman with their partner to practice the alphabet even more!

Friday: the students favorite day! I cut out the options on page 6. Students work spread them out between them and their partner. I play the song for them and when they hear the word, they grab the card. At the end, I announce one card and whoever has that card in their possession wins the game! If they’ve been good during the week, I play the video of the song for them for YouTube viernes. They LOVE it! And the video for Yo Contigo, Tú Contigo has the minions which they just LOVE. (Don’t forget on Fridays, as they come in to play the viernes song for them – it will be their favorite part of Spanish Class!


How I did it: Sustained Silent Reading

I have been looking forward to starting Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) all year and am very excited to begin! My students were super excited to hear they could finally use the couch they’ve been forbidden to sit in all year.


I was able to explain it without students moaning and groaning too much, which was kind of a shocker, so let me try to walk you through how I did it.

Step One: Getting Reading Materials

Free Materials: THANK GOD FOR MARTINA BEX!!! I was super excited to use the E-Zine Literal by Martina Bex. I printed off all of the versions of it, stapled them together, and put each one in a page protector to help keep them together. I also printed off a couple copies of the “Correcaca” and “Sir Whines A Lot” ~ the kids get a kick out of poop stories and who can resist a thieving cat?! Last year I had printed off some copies of the “Héroes del terremoto” to use in class and kept them after all the effort.


Shout-Out to Katrina Ryan Burchfield and the CI Non-Fiction Library! I was able to use some of their work to fill up some more spaces, and I also wrote a few of my own. Feel free to use them (but please excuse any errors, be gentle, I’m not a native speaker, I do my best)

Last year during Mascota Especial miércoles (inspired by PBL in the TL) I kept the pictures and the stories so I printed them off. The students LOVE  them, and some of the students were excited to see their own pets inside! #YoungerSiblingProblems.

Not-Free Materials: I was able to set up a Donor’s Choose to acquire reading materials for my classroom. I am so grateful for the donors who made this possible and am looking forward to being able to pay it forward one day however I can. I used the amazing list put together by John Sifert, Mike Peto, Martina Bex, and The CI Reading Blog. I also referred to the list assembled by Mr. Bryce Hedstrom. I am so grateful for the work they put in to organize these. I also used materials from Señor Jordan El Zombi Feo, Juan Cena, and Al mono le gustan los plátanos.

Step Two: Organize Materials

A friend who was moving gave me the magazine holders I’m using as organizers for everything I printed off, and I am so grateful!! Otherwise I was just going to use old shoe boxes covered in duct tape so they looked “pretty”. The bookshelves were in the school, and some of the bins came from my Donor’s Choose. I organized everything in alphabetical order (ignoring el/la/los/las) to make it easier for students to put materials away and find them again. Also, as a former library page, it brought me happiness.

Step Three: Tell the students

I watched this video from Tina Hargaden and CI LIftoff about four times, and added my own flair. I have a “chant” in my room where I say “Clase, ¿Profe es normal” and the students reply “NO” and I say “Clase, ¿las actividades de Profe son actividades normales?” and they reply “NO” generally with some kind of commentary that I will sometimes engage in because let’s be honest, I’m a bit ridiculous. What was convenient though was we had just finished finals, which I took La Maestra Loca’s advice on and ALL of my kiddos showed they had progressed and gained knowledge of some kind. So I added to my “chant” and asked “Pero, los estudiantes tienen más español que en septiembre” and they said “¡sí!” So we carried on in English. I talked about how “I spent time over the summer researching second language acquisition and how to learn language the fastest and there is an activity that research says is the best, and we are going to try it out! If you have comments/reactions, keep it to yourself”. Then I walked over to my books and started pulling up some – I never called them books. I called them stories. Kids love stories, books have such a negative connotation unfortunately. So I pulled them out and talked about how “this one was written by our student teacher’s teacher and is kinda sorta like the TV show lost”. Then would pause and look around for another book, amp up the excitement and say “This one, the author is from Des Moines and I went to college with him!” and amp up the excitement again “this one is my favorite one so far – it’s so intense it’s like a movie!” Then I divided up the bins and let students dig through them and look at the books, flip through them, read the back, and pick out three to five they didn’t think would be “too bad” and we started reading! At the end of our three and a half minutes, we put names on our bookmarks as inspired by Señora Chase to use as bookmarks and put them in the book that was a best fit for them!


I do give students a grade for reading, using this rubric inspired by Ms. Tina Hargaden and Ben Slavic and it is worth 10% of their final grade. Every day before we begin reading, I say (in L1) “I know some of you think I’m trying to torture you, but I’m not. I’m trying to help you acquire as much Spanish as I possibly can in a short amount of time. Here – look at what people who study how to learn language say!” and I display one of the slides here. Then we discuss the rules as listed out by Mr. Bryce Hedstrom. And we read! I read with them – and glance around the room from time to time – and have conversations with students as needed!

Step Four: Let students shine!

When students finish a story, they get to write the name of it on a sticky note and put the sticky note on my door. When the door is full, I will bake cookies and bring them in for the class. (they are SO food motivated) That isn’t working out so well, they keep falling off. So I’ll need a new system for that one, anyone have any ideas?



Hope this helps somebody! We’re all in this together! Keep shining!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Only two more days, only two more days, only two more days. We can do this people! Here’s something that might help! This activity lasts a little less than 20 minutes.


Step one: Divide the total number of students participating in the activity by four. Print off that many copies of page one.

Step two: Chop up page one so every student can have one hundreds chart

Step three: Display slide 2 as students come in the classroom so they can gather the correct materials.

Step four: Hit the go button.

Step five: sit back and let the chaos ensue! As the slides go through on their own, it will make a sound to alert students there is something new to look at. It starts out slow and then picks up speed! When it is done you can click play on the YouTube video and if you have 40 minute class periods you’re done! Otherwise here’s a game you can play to entertain them until the end of the day!


Class Opening Games: Part 1

Sometimes I really enjoy starting class off with a game. I only allow them to play for five minutes, but it gets us started in Spanish right off the bat, and helps put everyone in a good mood. Now for those classes that can’t handle it, I either don’t give them the option to even play or we don’t play for the full five minutes. If I have to walk over to my respect sign three times, that’s the signal for we are done.


My students call this “not sparkle” (if you ever played the game “sparkle” to practice spelling, this’ll make sense. If you’ve never heard of that, it’s ok don’t worry about it I will teach you)


Step one: students make a circle, the teacher is not in the circle

Step two: display on board the list of Spanish numbers 0-100 by ten – review with students the numbers. You may leave it up or take it down during the game. I will typically leave it up for a few rounds and then take it down.)

Step three: select a student to go first

Step four: that student will say either 1, 2, or 3 numbers (ie 0, 0 and 10, or 0, 10, and 20) and then it is the next students turn (play ALWAYS goes to the left). If the student makes a mistake or takes too long to say a number (you decide how long too long is) they are out and stand against the wall.

Step five: that student will say 1, 2, or 3 numbers to continue where the previous student left off. If a student makes a mistake or takes too long to say a number (you decide how long too long is) they are out and stand against the wall.

Step six: when a student says the number 100, they will look to the student on their left and say “adiós” as that student is out. The student who is out stands against the wall.

Step seven: repeat steps four, five, and six.

Play until everyone is out or five minutes are up!

You don’t like it when students are out? Me neither. That’s why I have the “Javi-bear” expansion.

Javi-bear is a teddy bear a former student of mine was gifted for Valentine’s Day, but she didn’t wish to keep him. So I gave him a happy home in my classroom and he is now beloved and famous!

Let’s say that Billy is the first student to get out in the game. Billy will receive Javi-Bear to hold onto and “play with”. Then, let’s say Jane makes a mistake. Jane will take Javi-Bear from Billy and Billy will take Jane’s place in the circle. If James makes a mistake, he will take Javi-Bear from Jane and Jane will take James’ place in the circle. If Sadie gets out because she was the one after the number “100”, she will stand NEXT to James, but will not take Javi-Bear. Javi-Bear now shows me who the first student is in line who needs to come in if a mistake is made.

If a student is out because they were the one to be after the one who said the number “100”, they do NOT get to come back in. Someone only comes in if a mistake is made. There will eventually come a point where students don’t make mistakes and don’t come back in, but keep an eye out! Sometimes little mistakes happen!

Hope that makes sense! Students love to play this game ~ betrayals happen so quickly! 🙂

TPR Gestures Part 2

These are the gestures I use on a regular basis with my students – I always say the word in the TL at the same time I use the action – no matter what activity we are doing! They have really helped my students to comprehend, and when they are writing or speaking I’ll see them use the gestures to help jog their memory. Muscle memory is a powerful, real thing! Plus, they open the door for all kinds of fun games you can play (like the wave). Shout out to La Maestra Loca and Ms. Tina Hargaden for inspiring some/a lot of these!



The wave?!

TLDR: Use “the wave” to practice TPR gestures with your students!! Here is a video of students doing the activity in my class, and directions are below!


I remember being in 4th grade at a giant youth rally, and they had us all do the wave. Little me had so much fun watching everyone around the arena throw their hands in the air, yell “woo!” and have it go all the way around the arena in one big giant circle. It was one of the highlights of my childhood (lame I know, but it was sooo cool!!)

Then, I went to an Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) conference several years ago and heard Ms. Lisa Sobotka talk about how she used a similar idea in her classes to practice weather phrases, and I have used it in my classes ever since (with my own twist)! It is so much fun. My students look forward to doing it so much so that I open one class a week with five minutes of weather phrase practic…games! They love to see how many phrases they can get going around the circle at once.

How to play the first time (and I do this all in the TL. Very rarely do I need to explain the activity as I allow them to learn by doing):

  1. Everyone stands in a circle
  2. Remind students of the wave and practice the wave around the circle a few times. If students do not say “woo” as well as making the action of throwing their hands in the air I stop, move to a different location in the circle, and start over. Eventually students figure out they have to say “woo” and throw their hands up for it to make it all the way around. Make it a BIG deal when they make it all the way around the circle. ¡Celebración!
  3. Say one of the phrases, do the action for it (since I primarily use this with weather, I’ll say the phrase “it’s sunny” in the TL and throw my hands in the air in a big circle), and look at the student to your left/right. They will look to the person next to them and say the same phrase with the same action, and so on.
  4. Wait for this phrase to make it all the way around the circle, praise praise praise, and then move to a new location in the circle to have a new starting person. Sometimes it won’t make it all the way around and that’s ok! If someone is spaced out and misses their cue, move to a different location in the circle and start over.
  5. When it makes it all the way around, move to a new location in the circle
  6. Do the phrase you just practiced, and after it makes it halfway through the circle, throw another phrase in. if they make a mistake, find a new place to stand in the circle so you have a new starting person, and try again. When they make it all the way around, praise praise praise, and then find a new starting place.
  7. Send three phrases now!
  8. Find a new starting place and send four phrases now!
  9. Send three phrases, and then the fourth send the other direction in the circle. This takes them a while to get used to – having phrases going in both directions. It’s HILARIOUS to watch, and so fun to celebrate with them when they figure it out!

After you have played for five minutes or so, stop the activity and move on. Even if interest is high, STOP PLAYING!! Otherwise students lose interest and don’t look forward to doing the activity anymore. If at ANY time there is too much side conversation and students aren’t paying attention, call students out on it. If it continues, end the activity (or if it just one or two students send them out. This game is distracting enough without additional distractions).

As students get used to the activity, you can have the same number of phrases going one way around the circle as the other way – sometimes they’ll make it all the way around, sometimes they won’t – just keep moving around the circle to give students the opportunities to have different timings in the circle. My students have told me this is so good at helping them feel prepared for real conversations because everyone talks really fast, there are distractions, and they have to be ready to respond at a moments notice. I say if it helps them build confidence, I am all for it!

Here is a video of students doing the activity in my class – I hope it helps give you an idea!

YouTube Viernes

TLDR: YouTube videos for the last 5 minutes of class will save your sanity!!!


I love to make Friday’s special for my students ~ and for me. So every week on Friday is YouTube Viernes (Friday)! Students look forward to it – we always have to draw a YouTube symbol on Friday during calendar talk because students look forward to it so much. It is a video that I play without pausing or interrupting, just for their enjoyment. I do have the rule of “no comentarios, pero reacciones son normales” – no commentaries, but reactions are normal. No one likes people who talk in theaters, and no one likes students who talk through YouTube Viernes.


Typically, when students walk in I play the Friday song in Spanish for them, and then at the end of class I will play our song of the week’s music video. If there isn’t one, I pick a Translator Fails video which students also love (I just make sure to screen them first as sometimes the lyrics aren’t always “classroom appropriate”). Sometimes those extra five minutes of peace at the end of class are enough to give me an energy boost to survive the next class until I get to go home to my dogs.  Simple, no effort, and the kids love it? It’s the trifecta of teacher happiness!!

Sing and make music from your heart

TLDR: Song of the week for this week is Burrito Sabanero by Juanes – with free activities to accompany them!


I adore music. I love listening to it, making music, dancing to it, music to me is the universal language. Music and laughter. I love playing music in my classroom whenever I can – it totally changes the mood of the room, and my students love it too! I have students who make their own YouTube/Spotify playlists with their favorite songs, and my kiddos who don’t have aux chords in their cars burn CD’s so they can have Spanish music in their cars! (yes, it’s 2018 and they’re burning CD’s!). Every week I pick a “song of the week” for us to “study”, and then use these songs for our March Madness activity after Spring Break.

I do the same type of activities each week with my students to help them listen intently to the song and pick up words/phrases from it, and to help them internalize the songs. Perhaps not super CI, but my students frequently say it is the part of Spanish class they look forward to so I haven’t stopped doing it. It only takes between 5 and 10 minutes of class, so we continue!

Instructions: Print off all materials. Page 1 contains Monday’s fill in the blank activity (Page 2 the answers) Page 3 Tuesday’s matching activity, Page 4 Wednesday’s put in order activity, Page 5 Thursday’s “race” game. Make as many copies of pages 1 and 3 (back to back) as you have students in your biggest class (for me that’s 31) and put in page protectors with a whiteboard marker so they can be used with all your classes and stored for next year. Make enough copies of page 4 as students in your  biggest class, cut up and paper-clip together. Make enough copies of page 5 as half the number of students in your biggest class, cut up, and paper clip together.

Every Day: play the song as students come in the room

Monday: Fill in the blank ~ I am sure to tell students that it is NOT an activity to test their spelling or their vocabulary, but practice with their listening. Can they hear Spanish sounds and make a guess as to what the sounds are? Their goal is one letter per line. As the song plays, I follow along with them on my laptop screen that is projected on the board so they don’t get lost and give up. They listen once, and then I show them the answers.

Tuesday: Ask students to match up the words ~ go over them when they are done. Then tell students they are going to listen to the song, eliminating words they hear to see if they can find the word they haven’t yet heard (they aren’t allowed to turn their paper over to the other side, that’s called cheating) or they are to count how many times they hear the word “mi”.

Wednesday: Hand out the cut up sections of the song – as the music plays they put it in order. After the song has played (gauge your students, you may need to play the song twice) tell them the answers by writing the letters on the board (practicing the alphabet in “context”? Yes please!!)

Thursday: Hand out the cut out words – one set per two students. Tell students it is a competition to get to the correct word before their partner does. They are not allowed to block each other away from the cards or strike a card until Juanes is done singing the word. All of course in the TL with demonstrations when needed

Friday: check back tomorrow!


In all things, give thanks

TLDR: Free Thanksgiving Activity with (almost) no prep!


I am tired. I love my job, I love my students, I love my coworkers, but I am done. I am so ready for vacation and to decorate for CHRISTMAS!!!

Image result for i love christmas elf


To help me get through tomorrow, I am going to do my normal Monday routine: (1) introduce our song/artist of the week (Happy by Nacho feat Los Mendoza. Students love how he is singing with his kids, and they also love his name. Nacho. We talk about how his real name is Ignacio, his full name is Miguel Ignacio Mendoza Donatti, why his name was so long, and then experiment with writing our names the Spanish way), (2) have students do their conversation circles for about 5 minutes, (3) then we will do our Thanksgiving Glyph, because everyone loves coloring! And turkeys are so fun to color!

Image result for turkey color by number 11


Students will color in this activity by answering the questions in this presentation. I will walk through this activity with students, doing some PQA, along the way. When they select their answer to a question, they will not color in the turkey at that time, but will instead circle the number at the bottom of the turkey (as seen here). When we are done going through all the questions, they will be able to color their turkey without me bothering them. If they chose more than one color, I encourage students to have stripes, dots, or designs! The best part is – with our 45 minute class periods they won’t have time to color today, so they’ll color tomorrow! Two days of activities out of one!!

Good luck – may our chocolate be stronger than your students this week!