differentiation strategies for Spanish activities

3 Differentiation Strategies for Spanish Activities

Many teachers ask for help with differentiation strategies for Spanish activities. How can we differentiate for all the different needs and levels? It’s hard enough to prepare for the 3 or more preps we teach each day without those differentiations! This blog post will give you some practical and achievable ways to differentiate activities for your Spanish students.

Give the Differentiation to Everyone!

One simple way to provide differentiation to those that need it is to think of what those students may need to access the activity. Let’s say that some students need sentence starters. If you are making a chat mat or sheet of expressions, give them to all students! Those that are ready for a challenge can be encouraged to come up with other ways to start their sentences. Reward them with verbal praise if they are able to be more creative. At the same time, the students who needed some extra support will have been able to access the activity too. This is one of the quickest differentiation strategies for Spanish activities!

Here is a slide from Question Practice Task Cards. I print and laminate a class set. Everyone can use them if they need to. Students who don’t need this stop using it naturally!

Use Flexible Grouping

As you get to know your students better, you grow to learn their strengths and weaknesses. When you plan your activities, an easy way to differentiate would be to use partners or groups. Depending on what students need, select partners or groups with care. Ideas include pairing students with a similar need. This allows you to float over to the groups that might need more of your guidance. Another strategy could be to pair a stronger student with one that needs more support. The stronger student can act as a support while you are circulating and checking on other groups.

Differentiate With Different Versions

Do you need to differentiate for leveled classes? We have courses that carry honors weight and those that do not. So how can you keep lesson plans and activities manageable with the limited time we have? Make 2 versions! Here is an example. Students are learning new vocabulary related to a topic. You create a partner speaking activity to target both listening comprehension and creating with language. Student A reads the start of a sentence, and Student B finishes the sentence logically. You can make your original version. Then copy and paste that version and add a few more sentences. Maybe your other group can do more in the same amount of time. Or, ask students to elaborate their responses with some targeted transition words. Add those instructions to the 2nd version and you have a very quick way to increase the challenge and rigor for students who are ready for that!

differentiation strategies for Spanish activities

Create Something Totally Different!

The last of my differentiation strategies is the hardest one to accomplish. If you are noticing a need to have more differentiation, whether it’s within one class or to help students in different levels have the right level of challenge, you can and should create completely different activities. This is tough because it means creating another lesson plan and activity. And our time is already stretched very thin.

However, set a reasonable goal for yourself. Can you differentiate one lesson a unit? Can you manage one totally different activity per week? Maybe you have a colleague that you can share this responsibility with. Discuss ideas that will be beneficial for your different groups of students, and then divide and share what you made! Save everything and before long, you will have lots of ideas and saved activities.

We know differentiating is the “right thing to do”. So let’s not overwhelm ourselves. Start small and make steady progress!

Resources: Built-in Differentiations!

Spanish Partner Conversations about Travel and Vacation: Guided Conversations

Task Cards Spanish Questions

Spanish Writing Growing Bundle: Prompts, Peer Edits & Scaffolds

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differentiation strategies for Spanish activities
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