Starting a New Unit in Spanish Class

Starting a New Unit in Spanish Class

Do you struggle with finding a way to spark interest and excitement when starting a new unit in Spanish class? Bored of the same old “pass out the new vocab list” kind of thing? Well keep reading- because I have some GREAT ideas and a FREE Hook Activity!!!

New Unit “Hook” Activity

This is my new FAVORITE way for starting a new unit! A “Hook” Activity is something that provides interest in the new topic and perhaps even controversy! I find these kinds of activities really easy to do with my upper level classes because they have a lot more language.

Here are some examples:

-provide a short list of provocative questions related to the new topic. Ex: unit theme is Travel. Questions could be things like: Where would be the BEST place in the world to win a free trip to?

After students have had a little time to think about or write about their answers, you can do a whole group discussion or a turn and talk. Anything opinion-related is sure to spark conversation!

-Give them something to vote on! (This is another spin on matters of opinion.) Ex: unit theme is Art and Aesthetics. Provide a Slide show of images of different kinds of art from the Spanish-speaking world. Ask students to vote on whether each object is beautiful and aesthetic or NOT. Ask them to defend their opinion! Download it for free!

4 Corners

This activity for starting a new unit is great for lower level Spanish classes. It’s a fun way to get kids out of their seats and working with brand new vocabulary. To play, you need some signs to hang up in the corners of your room. They can be Sí y No, Siempre y Nunca, Me gusta y no me gusta, etc.

You will make up a series of sentences or questions. Students move to the corner that is true for them. Ex. The new unit’s theme is Travel. Maybe one of the new vocab words is país (country). You say, ‘Yo viajé a 3 o más países.” Some students will move to Sí and others will move to No. Then you can ask questions! Keep the language in your statements simple, and with just one new vocab word, if you can. Students should move around with their vocab lists so they can look up the word that they hear that is unfamiliar. This is a great way to get students to look at their new vocab list without sitting in their seat and repeating words!


A great way for starting a new unit in Spanish class is by activating prior knowledge! To play scattergories, you have almost NO PREP! All you need are some topics to call out. For example, if your new unit’s theme is Vacations, you might use the following topics: Clothing you bring on vacation, Foods you eat on vacation, people you go with on vacation, activities you do while on vacation. You get the idea.

Then, break your students into groups. There a lots of ways to play this game.

Option 1: Groups of 4. All members contribute ideas and one person records all the ideas.

Option 2: Groups of 2: Each member is competing against the other member.

To play: Teacher calls out a topic. Teacher sets a timer (1-2 minutes is usually long enough). During that time, the students generate as many words as they can in Spanish related to that topic.

Once time is up, scoring begins. Essentially- you score points for each word you have that no one else thought of. So, you also have options for how to score.

Option A: For the groups of 4: choose a group to read out their words. If students in other groups had a word- they need to say so. All groups who had that word crosses it off. When that group is done reading off their words, ask if any other groups have more words that were not said yet. Repeat this process. Then, groups tally up how many original words they had! Repeat for each round/topic.

Option B: for the groups of 2: They compete only against each other. They still will read their words to their opponent, and any duplicates are crossed off by both.

In both cases, the teacher can serve as judge in the event that students don’t think a word qualifies.

In the end- the topics you have chosen remind students how much they already know that can be used in addition to the new learning that will take place in this unit! They start happy and confident as a result of this game!

Do you have any fun ways to start a new unit? Leave your ideas below!

And don’t forget to grab your FREE AP Spanish Hook Activity for Unit 3: La influencia de la belleza y la estética from my free resource library!

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Starting a New Unit in Spanish Class