You learn a lot about a culture by living there for a few months. Here are some items that I can now appreciate thanks to my experience in this great country.

Colombianada senora

1. The language itself is very formal. Usted is used more frequently than tú (although some places do utilize vos). However, in Colombia the custom is to respond to your mother with “Señora”. If your mother calls you and you respond with something else, expect to hear an earful!

Aguapanela cura todo

2. If you sick, you’re best chance at survival is drinking some hot aguapanela. Everyone’s favorite home remedy is a typical drink as well (Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar). I had a cough for weeks and it wasn’t until I had some panela did I actually feel better! I’m a believe now. Continue reading

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Raquel Sofia

If you have not heard any music by the talented boriqua Raquel Sofia, you are missing out. She has toured as a backup singer to Colombians Juanes and Shakira and is now breaking out onto the scene as a solo artist. Her music is fresh and catchy and your students are going to be asking to hear it again and again. You raquel sofiacan listen to her older music on SoundCloud or buy her new singles on iTunes.

Letras de Agridulce
Letras de La Ecuacion
Letras de Hombres Como Tu

Continue reading

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Why I hate Pobre Ana

Ok, this post may be a bit controversial. But I’m hoping we can have an honest and open discussion here about a very popular teaching resource. I know many schools use the Pobre Ana series (Patricia va a California, Ana bailó Tango). So today I ask the question: WHY?!

Who is really the poor one here? Ana? Or our students? Here is some student feedback courtesy of instagram regarding what the students really think: Continue reading

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Colombian School

I’ve been volunteering at a Colombian school since August and over the months I’ve compiled several notes on the differences between my school in Chicago and the school here in Colombia. The following are a few of my observations.

It should be noted that everything in this list may not be typical of every school in Colombia. Just as my school in the U.S. varies greatly from neighboring school districts. But hopefully, it will give you an idea on some practices. This particular school is located in a rural area in the coffee region of the country.

The School System:

Primary grades: Kinder – 5th
Secondary grades: 6th – 11th

Class schedules:

Continue reading

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Making your classroom more classy

Looking for an easy way to “class”-up your classroom on the cheap? We’ll show you how you can turn an ordinary month-to-month calendar into a piece of art.
How to Class up Your Classroompinit
Step 1:
Find a monthly calendar on clearance in December or January. You can buy one of famous artists and their paintings, scenery, landscapes, or anything else you fancy. This purchase will offer you at least 12 inspiring images to brighten your work space.
Price: $5.00

Step 2:
Buy a 12×12 frame. Check a frame store or craft store, such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby (you can usually find coupons for these stores) or get a 3-pack online at
Price: $5.00-$6.00
Step 3:
Purchase a package of 3M Command hanging clips. Sticks to any type of wall and come off without leaving marks or taking off paint.
Price: $3.00

For $13 you can enjoy your new framed-picture making your classroom look more elegant and offering a beautiful picture for students to appreciate and inspire them.

Alternative: You can use any sized frame (easy to find at thrift shop or dollar stores) and with some nice stationary, you can print off your own favorite quotes.

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Spanish Gifts


Posters: Now on Sale

If you are looking to do some holiday shopping, but the Black Friday crowds have you scared of going to the mall, we have the perfect opportunity for you. We are re-opening our Store until the end of December.

Our sales are now open for great gifts for any Spanish teacher (perhaps a colleague, your own teacher, or even yourself!) We are offer posters, postcard pack, and our verb cards at our lowest prices ever. So get them while they last!

We’d also like to announce our two newest (and BIGGEST) products that we’ve added to our store on TeachersPayTeachers. Click on the image to find out all the amazing products that are included in these mega-Bundles.
Spanish Project Bundle Spanish Teacher Lessons

And if you want to save even more money, shop TpT on Cyber Monday for an extra 10% savings at checkout with coupon code “TPTCYBER”.

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Immigration Resources

The following resources can be used during an immigration unit in your Spanish class:

“A las Tres” por Enanitos Verdes: A migrant worker missing his family
Pobre Juan by Maná

30 Days” Illegal Immigration: A border patrolling minute man lives with an undocumented family for 30 Days.
Drop the “I” Word: What is the meaning behind the word illegal?

-This link features some statistics about the number of Hispanics in the US, as well as other foreign-born populations.

-The Children of the Drug Wars: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis.

-Undocumented Immigrants aren’t who you think they are. This article dispels many of the perceived thoughts on illegal immigrants. For example, many people assume that almost all undocumented immigrants come from Mexico. In reality, only 52% are Mexican.

Facts about Immigration

The best place for any articles including research and studies can be found from the Hispanic Pew Research Center.

number of immigrants die crossing border

Most hispanics in the US are AmericanThis chart from the Pew Research Center of Statistics on Hispanics shows us that a majority of the Hispanics in the United States are actually born in the US. And of those were not born in the US, roughly 33% of them have become citizens. They are American.

Have students read novels about Hispanic characters. Some books regarding immigration are Crossing the Wire, Esperanza Rising, and La Linea.

Additional Sources:
Check our this Pinterest board full of immigration resources.

More resources to be added. If you have a link, please leave it in the comments or tweet it to us @spanishplans.

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We are all Ayotzinapa

Surely, you have heard something about this story. And hopefully because of you, your students have as well. Because if it’s not taking place in our own borders or in the middle east, the traditional media doesn’t give much attention. But this issue is so important, we must not let it go unnoticed.
Ayotzinapa Students“The 43 Mexican students who disappeared in southern Mexico in September were abducted by police on order of a local mayor, and are believed to have been turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing some remains in a river.

There are plenty of ways to teach this horrific event in your classrooms. The best source is actually from social media, such as twitter and instagram, were you are going to find resounding and powerful images.
Continue reading

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Making a Fortune Teller

Most of us remember these from our childhood.

But how many of us remember what they are called. I asked my facebook followers what names they used for this in English or Spanish.
Here’s what we got: Continue reading

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Brain Break Hand Game

My students in Colombia have been playing these hand games and I thought it was would make a good activity for a “brain break” in the Spanish classroom. You can see the example below.

Choco Choco La La
Choco choco te te
choco la choco te
choco la te

mari mari po po
mari mari sa sa
mari po mari sa
mari po sa


The first syllable you use your palms, the second syllable you use the back of your hands, and the third syllable you use your knuckles. The idea is to go as fast as you can without messing up.

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