Tellagami App

This app allows you to create an animated avatar that speaks. You can customize the look Animated Avatar Appof an avatar and create a background, and then you can use text-to-speech (for English text) or have students record their voice (great for foreign language class). It only allows 30 seconds of narration, so it can be used as a quick assessment or just for practice in class. This app is free on the itunes store.

I recently had my students write out their daily routines by filling in a blank 24 hour schedule for homework and then record themselves in class. With 30 seconds, many were not able to fit in their entire day, but it was the first time we used the app, so they were engaged in trying it out and it was just for practice. Check out this student example:

Spanish Speaking Tellagami

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Put in order

A good activity for students to practice new vocabulary or to check for understanding after reading is to have them arrange sentences in order. If you cut out sentence strips, this tactile activity is great for students to practice reading comprehension.

Arrange Sentences in Order

I also use these activity with song lyrics for listening practice as well. Download our free sentence strips for De Que Me Sirve La Vida by Camila.

After students have read an article, type out several sentences for the students to put in order as they happened in the story.

I also created this activity for students to practice reading comprehension in our daily routines unit where students had to arrange 15 sentences using such clues as time, the word depués, and linking vocabulary such as ending one sentence with “El va a la cafetería para almorzar” to the next sentence “Come mucho y ya no tiene hambre.”

Rutinas Diarias


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Sports Listening Video

This year my students have been following teams in La Liga. With the biggest game taking place over Spring Break, I used our first day back to watch a match recap and answer some questions in Spanish. I was able to download the youtube video and send it out on the iPads so that students could watch and listen at their own pace. Using iPads to listen to sports highlights in SpanishHere’s the video:

Resumen de El Clásico

  1. ¿Quién marca (scores) el primer gol: cómo se llama y qué número lleva en la camiseta
  2. ¿El primer gol de Real está marcado con el pie o la cabeza?
  3. ¿Cómo se llama el jugador del tercer (3) gol?
  4. ¿Qué color de camiseta lleva Real?
  5. ¿En qué minuto del partido marca Messi su primer gol?
  6. ¿Quién marca un penal? ¿Dispara (shoots) con el pie izquierdo o el pie derecho?
  7. ¿Cuál equipo recibe una tarjeta roja?
  8. En total, ¿cuántos goles marca Messi? ¿Cuántos goles anota CRonaldo?
  9. ¿Quién gana?

Read more about El Clásico. The league has their own Youtube Channel where you can get match highlights and news in Spanish. You can also do the same for other sports by using videos from or Deportes Univision. For those students who are sports fan, they can use their previous knowledge about the sport to help them understand the commentary in Spanish. Consider watching a segment or reading an article about March Madness, the NBA, NFL, MLB, or any other sports your students may be interested in.

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Lo curioso de cultura

Besides teaching how to communicate in a language, world language teachers also teach about culture and share our experiences from living in or visiting other countries. These stories also seem to fascinate the students. Students get to see how things work outside their own community and around the globe. Naturally, our inclination is to compare the unknown to our own experiences. However, I make sure to advise the students of their word choice. Many students question how things are done in other parts of the world and their first reaction might be: “That’s weird.” weird differentWeird has a judgement to it. I want my students to be accepting of other cultures and understand that things are not going to be the same as in the United States, because it is not the United States. Other cultures might deem what we do as “weird”, but that is our culture. Different is a not a bad thing.

Here are some example of cultural differences that my students have found interesting. Share your stories in the comments section below and we can all learn together.

1. Do you want gloves with that?
Eating Chicken with Gloves in ColombiaStopping for lunch one day at a Colombian chicken Continue reading

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March Madness in Spanish Class

I saw a tweet with a “Tournament of Books” in relation to the NCAA Basketball tournament that is going on right now in sports. I asked my PLN on twitter on ideas on how to incorporate this idea in the WL class.

I already have my students following a La Liga Spanish team, and we will do a World Cup unit before the end of the school year, so I wasn’t necessarily looking for something sports related.
march madness booksWithin minutes I had a response from @senordaves :   “Best Spanish artists? Musicians?”

Of course! I play music all the time in class. My students know I am a huge fan of artists Jesse & Joy and Juanes. I could put together a “Sweet 16″ bracket of songs that we have listened to in class. I can have students fill out their brackets at home. Each day, we can preview 2 songs and class and poll the students to see which song they like better. At the end of the day, when all classes have voted, we have a winner who advances to the next round!

You can find a blank bracket with 16 spaces and fill in your own songs. [Update:  @senordaves found a great online bracket maker.]

In the meanwhile, I’ve created a bracket of 16 Juanes songs.
Juanes Sweet 16 BracketPost your picks in the comment below. Which song do you think will go all the way?

Update: We’ve decided to have a 12-song Bracket this year. Download it yourself. We created a playlist on youtube where students can watch/listen to the songs and then write 8 vocabulary words for each song. Here’s a FREE PDF.
Spanish Music Activity

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Cesar Chavez Day

March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day.cesar chavez stamp

Here are some resources to teach your students about this important American.
Cesar Chaves quote

Same video in Spanish.

Youtube also has a PBS document “Chicano: Stuggle in the Fields.” My students already have some knowledge of the farm workers’ strike by reading the novel Esperanza Rising.

Check out tons of images including quotes related to César on Pinterest.

César Chávez: Lucha por los trabajadores del campo por Eric Braun is a graphic novel Cesar Chavez lucha por los trabajores del campothat teaches about this legendary American and his fight for workers’ rights in a comic book format. You can find new and used editions on Amazon or buy new from the publisher.

Capstone Press publishes other graphic novels in Spanish. You can check them out here. How engaging for your students to read about topics in a comic book format with a lot of dialogue!

Know of other resources for Cesar? Post them in the comments section below!

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Authentic Reading

In my advice unit, I usually have kids write a letter to “Dear Abby” asking for advice. Well, when we happened upon an Advice section from the Mexican teen magazine Tú, we hit the jackpot on authentic readings. We have pulled out 7 extracts from the text and added in a vocabulary section and several questions for students to answer. This reading can be adapted for ANY level, by adapting the task you ask students to perform.

For more information on buying issues of the magazine, read our Revista Tú post. For an ready to use, adaptable powerpoint, check out our resource on TpT, (and if you buy today, get 10% off at checkout by using promo code “TPT3″. Check out all our available resources here and stock up at discounted rates)

Authentic Spanish Readings

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Teaching Commands through Context

I used to give students a handout of a graphic organizer for making the positive and negative tú commands. I would first go over the rules for making the command form and go over the irregulars with them. Then I would give them a chart and have them write in the positive and negative commands themselves.

I am so glad I found a better way to engage my students and expose them to language in context. With the help of pinterest and image search, I compiled images of commands being used in actual context! A lot of the images were funny/punny: what better way to engage the students! Now, I show them the images and have them fill in the chart. So when they see these two images, they can figure out what they mean and which is a positive command and which is a negative command.

Come No me comas

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Prounciation Assessment

Last week, we wrote about how to get our students to improve their pronunciation. And as promised, here is our example script with sample audio by a native speaker.

We decided to take excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in Spanish. Students do not need to be familiar with the words in the text, because the purpose is to work on letter sounds, not comprehension. I decided to choose this particular text because many of my students also had to memorize the speech for their LA/LIT class, so I thought having this same text across curriculum areas would be a good tie-in for a students. You could also use poems or songs in Spanish.

Discurso de Gettysburg Below you can listen to the recording done by a native speaking from Colombia and Spain, respectively.

Check out the 4 steps on how to use this as an assessment.

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America is Beautiful

Who would have thought that a television advertisement for a soft drink would have such a strong message, that it would make a wonderful message of teaching tolerance? That’s just the case with this Coca Cola Super Bowl 40 commercial titled “America the Beautiful”. In the commercial, several young ladies sing a version of “America the Beautiful” in their heritage language.

The video itself is amazing, but the commentary by the young girls about the project is just as great. These young girls are able to articulate what makes America such a great nation. They have an understanding about what it means to be an American that, unfortunately, some adults don’t even have.

Watch this playlist as these girls sing the song in Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese-French, Hebrew, Mandarin, Arabic, and English.

After showing the original commercial, I had a discussion with my class. Many adults (and therefore children) believe that everyone in the United States needs to speak English. We must remind them that the United States has NO official language. Continue reading

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