Spanish Teacher Questions

Ask Me Anything! Your Spanish Teacher Questions Answered!

High school teachers can often feel very isolated in their work. Spanish teacher questions may go unanswered because we’re a department of one or because we don’t have much free time to collaborate with our colleagues. Recently, I asked my email list to send me their questions. They didn’t disappoint! This post will contain answers that are a bit quicker, and future posts will be dedicated to other questions that may require longer answers! I will include links to longer posts where appropriate.

Spanish Teacher Question: How Do I Manage Planning For Multiple Preps?

Almost all World Language Teachers have multiple preps, and it is VERY time consuming to plan for so many different classes. Many teacher contracts have language in them about how many preps the district can require you to teach. If you are really struggling, that could be one thing to investigate.

If a reduction in preps is not an option, here are some quick tips.

  1. Learn how to say no to other things, politely and professionally.
  2. Plan your lessons for at least one full week at a time. Take the time to do this so that you are always working on lesson plans for the coming week. Try to get yourself out of the hamster wheel of living day to day.
  3. Make the most of your planning time. Have an idea of what you will do each day. Close your door and cover your window, and really use that time wisely.
  4. If you can, collaborate. Find a colleague you can share the load with. If you don’t have someone, give yourself permission to purchase what you need sometimes. (I wish I had this mentality far sooner.)

Teacher Life: How To Say No Politely

How To Create Perfect Lesson Plans for Spanish Class

How To Make the Most of Your Planning Time

Overwhelmed Teacher Strategies

How Can I Get Students Excited To Learn Vocabulary?

This is such an important question! What holds my struggling students back more than any other thing is a lack of vocabulary. The problem snowballs as they get pushed along from year 1 to year 2 and beyond. Here are some things that work for me.

  1. Use a variety of ways to introduce, practice and assess vocabulary. Straight memorization is out of style now. Many WL educators prefer to use CI or contextualized ways to practice and assess vocab. But I also require my students to simply memorize at times, so that we can move into more communicative things faster.
  2. Games are always a hit! They not only help students acquire new vocabulary, but they build class community as students work together and have fun together.
  3. Have students read!! Give them reading that is slightly above their current level. Have a class library and give them time for free reading!

5 Vocab Games for Spanish Class

6 Ways to Reinforce Vocabulary in World Language Class

How Do I Encourage Writing?

Not surprisingly, writing is often something students do not enjoy. It’s time consuming, requires a lot of thought, and frequently, my students lack confidence. They will write for an assessment, but they avoid writing for practice.

That is, until I found some activities they really love to do! I have some specific suggestions, but here is what they all have in common.

  1. The students are given at least 2 choices about what they will write about.
  2. Students are allowed to work collaboratively
  3. There is some reward for good work (and good work can mean a lot of things)

How To Encourage Group Work in Spanish Class

Using Task Cards in Spanish Class

My students’ very favorite kind of writing is when we do “Group Challenges“. Students work in groups of 4. Everyone in the group must write the same thing. They must work together to make sure they are meeting requirements and that everyone agrees on what and how to write. I collect all the papers, but I shuffle them. I only grade the one on top, and the whole group gets the same grade. Then, I find reasons to award prizes to 1-2 groups per class! (Ex: Most creative, best teamwork, most efficient, most improved group, best meeting the requirements, best mix of new and old vocabulary). I vary the themes from topics related to our unit of study to holidays, seasons, and others!

Another kind of group writing is the follow up activities to my reading scavenger hunts. After they have solved a mystery by figuring out the clues in the reading, the students use what they know to explain further. In this way, they are drawing conclusions and making inferences, but they’re allowed to work together and be creative! There’s no right or wrong answer, and that is a relief to students!

My last idea is my situation task cards. I have a set of 20 situation for just about every theme, season and time frame. Usually, I display one card on my SmartBoard, and students talk about it with their neighbor. But sometimes I will print 4 on a page. In class or for homework, I ask students to pick one and write for 10 minutes. They do this alone, but having a choice really helps motivate them!

Spanish Teacher Questions

There were many more questions! I will continue to answer them in the coming blog posts! But you are always welcome to email me at Jamie@SpecialtySpanish.com at any time! It feels great to connect with others and to know that so many others have the same questions and frustrations!

Resources

Spanish Writing Growing Bundle: Prompts, Peer Edits & Scaffolds

Spanish Task Cards The Four Seasons Bundle

Spanish Spring Festivals in Spain Reading Scavenger Hunt w/ Follow Up Activities

Spanish Teacher Questions
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