March Music 2020

There are some teachers who like to plan months in advance. I am not one of those teachers, but I do know what I will be doing come March. My classes will be engaged in our 7th annual music competition. Our competition takes 16 songs that have been released since last year (current music!) and students vote on their favorite song to advance to the next round.

We have set up our March Music Madness 2020 headquarters (the same place where voting will take place) at

In the meantime, we have set up the “SpanishPlans March Music Madness” Facebook Group for teachers to collaborate, ask questions, and get the sneak peek of this year’s songs!
We’ve already released 5 songs from this year’s bracket (barring any changes), so join the group now and invite your colleagues to the group! We have many special perks planned for this group that you won’t want to miss out on!

If you don’t join, we will eventually post the bracket and all other necessary information here on the blog so you can listen along come March.


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Frase Secreta: Spanish Passwords

With a new year upon us, now is the perfect time to start a new routine in your classroom. I know most teachers are familiar with the work of Harry Wong, but how many of us apply those practices every day despite their incredible benefits? Let’s take a look at the reasons for implementing a “greeting” system into your class:

  1. We acknowledge and honor a student’s presence.
  2. We model proper social behavior in welcoming someone’s arrival.
  3. It establishes a positive classroom climate in which students feel a sense of connection and belonging.
  4. It establishes a positive relationship between teacher and student.
  5. Research* has shown it increases student engagement in class.
  6. Research* has shown it decreases disruptive behavior.

and if these reasons aren’t enough for you, let’s look at the benefits in a world language classroom who can go a step further and implement a “password” or “secret phrase” where students must respond with a special phrase of the week. The curriculum benefits are:

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Teaching Graphic Novel Billy y las Botas

With the release of a new graphic novel by the Señor Wooly company, we wanted to give you some ideas on how you can teach with a graphic novel. If you are not ready or don’t have the funds to purchase a class set, don’t worry… graphic novels are a great addition to your FVR classroom library that students will be motivated to read on their own. However, if you have a class set you can also use it as a little unit. So here are some tips on teaching the graphic novel “Billy y Las Botas”:

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In the past, we’ve used our Passport Template to include stamp-able pages in the Passport Template and Stampspassport. There are many applications for using this: marking off I-Can-Statements, marking off completion of certain tasks or units of study. Personally, in my classroom, I use them as students finish reading novels about Hispanic culture. Recently, we re-designed some of our stamps and one of our customers and fellow Spanish teacher shared with us a template she uses with her stamp set.

You can download the one page template for free here which has a space for every Spanish-Speaking countries (image on left)  See how it looks filled up with our stamps (on right).

Passport Page BlankPassport Page Stamped Filled Out Continue reading

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Graphic Novel Winners

With over 400 entries, we are pleased to announce the winners of our Graphic Novel Raffle: Melanie M, Zack D, and Elizabeth D. Winners have been emailed.

Melanie was our grand prize winner and will be receiving 2 Graphic novels straight from Colombia (Toy Story 4 and Coco), 2 Senor Wooly Graphic Novels (La Casa de la Dentista and Me Llamo Victor) as well as an Avengers comic book in Spanish.

If you didn’t win, don’t worry, we have more raffles and giveaways planned for this month, so stay tuned! (INCLUDING AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST)

But for those who are interested in Graphic Novels, you can download a 10 page preview of the Toy Story 4 Graphic Novel (link below)

You can also check out these graphic novels of popular tales on Amazon (although the quantities are limited, so if you are interested, I’d suggest moving fast on the purchase):

  1. Cenicienta: La Novela Gráfica
  2. Hansel y Greta
  3. La Bella y la Bestia
  4. Rumpelstiltskin
  5. Caperucita RojaOther illustrated books that I have in my FVR and are super funny and comprehensible:
  6. Darth Vader y su Princesa
  7. Darth Vader e hijoThe Fly Guy series and Mo Willem books also feature high-frequency words with accompanying illustrations to aid comprehension.

On this product page, click “leer un fragmento” for a free 10 page preview.

ANOTHER CHANCE TO WIN: Continue reading

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Graphic Giveaway

With the release of a new graphic novel and November being the month to show thanks, we wanted to host a giveaway for Spanish teachers. One of the best things about Graphic Novels or Comic books is that the illustrations are a huge aid to comprehension. Also the willingness to read typically skyrockets which means we get to provide our students with enjoyable input, a key component to any FVR time.

So without further ado, let’s see what you can win: Continue reading

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Inspiring Latinas

Something we teased on twitter a while back, we finally finished. We’ve added more famous latinas to our inspiring women bulletin board that we have labeled as “Las Poderosas”. This joins our bulletin board of female presidents from Latin American, titled “Las Presidentas”.
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A 3 day lesson with storytelling

If you haven’t seen our latest video on YouTube, we walk you through a 3-day lesson on using a story. You can watch it below and follow our YouTube channel. If you find any videos helpful, please click on the like button and share them on your social media:

Here’s what you’ll learn:
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Me llamo Victor Graphic Novel

Me Llamo Victor Graphic Novel As you may know, the latest graphic novel from Señor Wooly is titled “Me llamo Víctor Parte 1” and is almost available. Hopefully you have pre-ordered it, as it is expected to ship in the coming weeks.

When I found out that Wooly had an advanced copy of this book, I took a page out of Federico’s playbook and decided to do something drastic…. Robé la oficina de Señor Wooly.

Robé la oficina porque TENÍA que leer esta historia.  I have been patiently waiting for this book since I appeared in the final installment of the Victor trilogy, FEO. Pero nunca me rindí.

Let me tell you, the wait was worth it! Here’s what I thought of the book:  Continue reading

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What students say about acquiring vocab through reading

I love asking for student feedback. So after our classes read El Escape Cubano or El Capibara Con Botas I asked for student feedback using google forms. Both of these books include many cognates, but I also wanted students to hear the correct pronunciation of the words, so we listened to the audiobooks. The main comment was that students could hear the proper pronunciation but also the tone of the reader also helped their comprehension. I’ll be interested in seeing how this affects if more students will use the audiobooks during our FVR time this year. See full student responses here.

Then I asked students  to respond to a Krashen quote with their experience. The prompt was: “Stephen Krashen says that “Picking up word meaning by reading is 10 times faster than intensive vocabulary instruction”. Respond to your experience so far in picking up words through reading.” The students responses are rather enlightening…. Continue reading

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