Back to school “SOY YO”

If you took a vacation under a rock then maybe you have not heard of Bomba Estéreo’s AWESOME song “SOY YO”

In fact I know I am late to the game creating plans for this song

Sometimes I start the year with the same lesson plans for 6th-8th grade with little modifications between classes. It is unifying for them across classes, and makes an easier beginning of the year for me. This year I choose to start the year with the song “SOY YO.”

So what did I do?

First few days:

I projected Niki Tottingham story of the music video. 

  • I went through each slide. If I had a new student with NO SPANISH experience then at the end of each slide we translated the whole slide into English. Otherwise I would spot check a few words here and there. I focused on the phrases:
    • soy yo
    • no se preocupa

I didn’t get through the whole story in one lesson because I had administrative beginning of the year stuff to do with them. Also I didn’t want to rush it. They started to lose interested after 5 slides so I would stop and move to something else.

  • At the end of each story reading session, I would show the video (and to avoid mutiny.)
  • When I finished the whole story we watched the video again.
  • I passed out the lyrics to the chorus. One side had the lyrics in Spanish and the other side was blank. As a class we translated the chorus into ENGLISH and wrote it in the blank box. I started the translating with what they knew. Then I translated the rest for them.
  • We listened to the video again. Students had to sing along during the chorus OR follow along with their finger on their sheet as they listened. (I sang…loudly…with dance moves)


PDF version of image above HERE

  • Lastly I had students discuss in groups how they would translate the phrase “SOY YO” into English not literally but in the message the artists wanted to communicate. We discussed these translations and wrote them on cards for my bulletin board later.


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  • I had students draw their name on a half sheet of card stock. They had to incorporate 2-3 things that described them. It could be a hobby, interest, or a favorite food/book/movie. It could be ANYTHING they wanted their classmates and I to know about them. (Learned this from Ben Slavic And Tina Hargaden- CARD TALKS)
  • I showed them my example first. (I quickly explained what I choose to incorporate but I didn’t do a long presentation in Spanish. That is for later.)


  • Then the class got to work on their own drawings while we listened to music. I walked around asking questions and commenting on their work. Students could use technology to look up how to draw different things if they wanted.
  • ON THE BACK- they had to translate (using a online dictionary- after a quick lesson of how to use dictionary for good and not evil) their 2-3 things. They could write it in complete sentences -I like sushi.- OR just the important part –videojuegos = video games- (This made my job easier when we discussed the cards later.)


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What now?

  • Then we discussed the cards one by one. (I started with my own to give them an example.) I chose one student at a time and asked them questions about what they drew. I had 2 student jobs during these interviews
    • Summarizer- This student wrote down the information that we discussed in class in English, Spanish OR a mix of the two.
    • Quiz Maker- I had a student write True/False statements with the answer at the end of the statement. I had the student write 10-12 person knowing I wouldn’t use all the statements.
  • The day after we finished an interview I either…
    • had the students read independently or in partners the information typed up in Spanish by me beforehand.
    • OR I had groups write in English or Spanish what they remembered about that person’s interview then I wrote/typed up the information in Spanish to then give them to put in their folder.
  • I am trying something new this year. Not sure yet if I will like it. I have groups pick 3-5 vocabulary words/phrases from the information to add to their dictionary in their folder. It has to be IMPORTANT words/phrases to the student interview reading AND words/phrases that we don’t know well or are brand new. I use Martina Bex’s dictionary page on TPT HOWEVER I use it differently than her plans.
    • The students write the word/phrase in SPANISH and ENGLISH
    • In the first box they write a sentence from the student reading that uses the word/phrase.
    • The second box is an illustration of that sentence.

** See Martina’s blog post with FAQs for more information on her approach)

  • I gave them a TRUE/FALSE quiz after every 2-3 student interviews.

Finally – OPTIONAL Bulletin BOARD


  • I make color copies of the students name drawings and staple to the bulletin board along with the cards the students used to describe their group’s translation of the phrase “SOY YO.”
  • Here are the large SOY YO letters from my bulletin board which I printed on card stock, cut out and laminated.

** These interviews were inspired by Bryce Hedstrom’s “La Persona Especial”


Me gustan los colores. ¿Sabes porqué?

I use Martina Bex’s curriculum for 6th-8th grade. In Unit 8 one of the target structures is “sabes.” I use a song called ¡Colores Colores! with my little students, and it fits well with this unit. It is a children’s song written for a younger audience, but I created resources to use the premise of why you might like a color.

The packet includes:

  • Lesson plans (2-3 days of class)
  • Lyric activity (match the color to the profession in the song)
  • 2 readings- The first reading is about a child asking their family members why their grandmother likes the color purple. Each family member gives a different reason, and then questions the reader which one of the reasons seems correct. The second is the grandmother giving her reason.
  • Creative writing activity where students write their own verse

You can purchase the plans and resources HERE.

Screenshot 2017-03-06 18.51.57

(**Side Note- This is based on a true story. My grandmother LOVES the color purple. So when I was thinking of a story to go along with this song, I immediately thought of her. I had to call her to ask because I had never asked why. It was because she remembers as a child going to church all the ladies who wore beautiful hats. Her aunt would come to visit and she had a big purple hat that was so beautiful next to her white hair.)

Celebrating Señor Wooly Week

If you haven’t heard, it is SEÑOR WOOLY WEEK!!!! There are surprises each day for subscribers starting today with the release of the video “NO LO TENGO.”

My students LOVE Señor Wooly, and the subscription to his website is money well-paid! So I thought we would enjoy Señor Wooly week to the fullest at my school.

So I created the SEÑOR WOOLY TOURNAMENT BRACKET which includes the bracket in PDF form, an editable Word document, and ballots for voting.

I got the the idea from the people below who have done this with Popular Spanish Music:

**  Bethanie Drew


**  Mis Clases Locas

How did I divide the songs?

  1. I divided 20 videos into 4 subcategories: Older videos, Newer Videos, Animated Videos and Wild Cards
  2. There were 5 videos in each category, so the math doesn’t quite work. So, I chose my favorite from each category, and it got an immediate pass to the second round.
  3. The second round has a choice of 3 videos instead of 2.
  4. There are technically 21 videos, but my students have never seen Me Duele in my class.  I took that one out because it made the math easier.

Now what…

  1. Each of the students fill out their own bracket (just like a March Madness tournament bracket).
  2. Each day we watch the videos from that round, and then the students vote by secret ballot. **The second round has 3 videos to choose from instead of 2.
  3. We call out the votes, and reasons for each vote.
  4. Each class votes and the video with the most votes moves on to the next round, and is added to the large classroom bracket.
  5. If everything goes as planned, we will have a CAMPEÓN Friday afternoon.

My students are really excited! I can’t wait to see who wins.



El Pollito Pío- VIRAL VIDEO

So I have followed Annabelle Allen  in provided DANCING brain breaks. SO MUCH FUN!! I want to share some of the songs I have been using. One is the Viral Video – El Pollito Pío. (This song has been translated into 20 different languages!)


I use this song as a Brain Break as well as an addition to “Los Pollitos Dicen”. It is a song about animal sounds. It also uses “hay- there is/there are“.

PLUS- They are so many different videos to show your kids and there are MOTIONS!! YAY! I like to switch it up and show them different videos to keep it special.

I have resources I made for this song below that go along with DICE unit 1 of Martina Bex’s Spanish 1 curriculum.-

El Pollito Pío Lyric Sheet

El Pollito Pío Resource Packet.


Motions video

SLOWED DOWN VERSION (for learning the motions and lyrics first)

Videos with lyrics


Funny lip-sync version

Language Lab- Observations – Annabelle Allen (iFLT 2016)

Elementary Spanish – Annabelle Allen

Classroom environment and technology

DOCERI (technology to project from iPad and laptop at same time)

Deck less- turn and use your seat for a desk

Pre-planning- general order of a unit

  • 2/3 target structures
  • establishing- TPR, photos, PQA
  • Story
  • Reading
  • Alternative reading using same structures
  • Writing


Student draws the story instead of actors (novelty)- checking with them and whispering to them in english if needed- then student shows drawing to review the story

Designated sounds to certain kids. One kid always cries. One always does the car sounds etc. (**Jason Fritz idea-“try-outs” during TPR to see which kid does the sound well)

When asking a question- Ask questions and say ESPAÑOL ESPAÑOL ESPAÑOL (pointing to your brain to remind them to respond in español) then ask question again

Using current culture in story to engage students Example- Pokemon Go – la pelota de Pokemon

Tell in present tense and review in past but with the same pictures. (only list the structures with translation to prompt oral review, not the whole narrative)

Slides of places for the characters to go in story- use local location pictures

Slides- use .gif for action then have students mimic

lots of brain breaks (see below)

“va a”- use the maps to ask where the character goes

Use KIDDLE to google information during a story to show kids real pictures. (It is a kid friendly Google search)


Reading chorally- using laser pointer to read together. when you get to a word you want to focus on then repeat them over and over. El gato tiene…el gato tiene…

Sentence strips- “Carlos” messed up our story and now we have to put it in order again with a partner- (drops the sentence strips “accidentally”) Change a detail and then in review you ask about the change.

Comprehension Checks- Example: Teacher says “¿Cómo se dice ‘tiene’ en ingles? 1,2,3” Students say  – he or she has (with gesture) The counting allows for think time for students.

Classroom Management

  • REGLAS (15 minute explanation/discussion on the first day in English but review other days in Spanish) Talk about processing speeds, you make mistakes and I make mistakes
  • Story-asking- Freeze, no audience interruptions
  • If you have a funny slide then pause to laugh at first then move on to the language
  • Spend the time training your kids
  • Training- build community letting them know it is safe, run off of relationships (know their stuff)
    • Told them about me
  • Picking groups- “Without words put yourself in a line in order of birthday month” Students use fingers then go down the line to check in Spanish. Then pair up the students by 2s down the line
  • On-going tally PUNTOS for good response to directions. Class vs. Teacher (puntos)- then change – points don’t really count for anything
    • Speaking Spanish (points to students)
    • Speaking English (points to teacher)
    • Not responding to questions or call & response (points to teacher)
    • Following her directions correctly (points to students)
  • Change up your classroom management point system to create novelty (, Puntos etc.)

FRASES de Annabelle

  • Teacher “pero”- students -“buuuut”
  • 30% of Spanish is cognados
  • “se me olvidó” – I forgot
  • Gestures- tiene (cross body) tenía (cross body then thumb back to indicate past)
  • Teacher – Yo Yo Yo when the verb ends in O it means “yo” What does Yo mean? Students – I, I,  I
  • “Se sienta normal” (desk less)
  • “¿en serio?” – Really?
  • “I need 100% for a class response.”
  • Primero (writes “1st”) Segundo (writes “2nd”)

Brain Breaks 

  • Follow the leader dancing to a song clip (starts class with a dance)
  • Evolution Rock Paper Scissors (egg, chicken, dragon) 1, 2, 3, DALE- when a dragon beats a dragon then that student wins (María ganó)
  • MIX- They dance around to song and then do Rock paper scissors with the person next to them when the music stops
  • Rock Paper Scissors- if you lose then you go behind the winner and create a “conga line” as the winner finds someone else. If they win again the other person’s “chain” joins them until there are only 2 lines. Winner of that wins or pays the teacher.
  • TPR- (in 3rd person) OR “Simon dice”

There is a revenge video – Check out the YouTube channel

Establishing Meaning

Project structure with translation on screen for whole class, student draws on her iPad and class tries to guess (“QUIERE-WANTS” students draws a dog.) Then PQA around the picture. Erase the picture on iPad and have another student draw something else using the same structure.

Cheat Sheet (vocabulary sheet) Name in Spanish for the word “cheat sheet” from certain region (POP-UP Culture)-

  • Dictionary page with the structure and English translation. Then at the bottom students add a picture and out-of-bounds vocabulary from the board. They can only add 3/4 of the words from the board.


¿Cuántos?- Ask students to come up and have students show on hand then bring up to front to cover


Practice OUTPUT (Not to introduce vocabulary)  – Yo quiero ______ . Practice saying. Each student gets a card with an animal. Practice again. Ball up and snowball fight when you hear music. Pick one up and find a partner. Say the phrase (Yo quiero ______), high-five then wait for music to snowball fight again. Rinse and Repeat.

Little POMPOM game- Student throws pompoms into the cup their partner is holding for each Spanish phrase (starting with the same structure). Example: “Yo quiero un carro. throw pompom Yo quiero un perro. throw pompom” with language that they have heard and understand MULTIPLE TIMES. (not new language) **My idea- Maybe groups of three- 2 students throw to the other holding the cup but they have to agree before they throw saying the nosotros form. Example “Queremos un perro”

After story listening/writing the story in simple sentences with drawings- “Do I care about your spelling??” NO NO NO

  • Students write the sentence as the teacher says the sentence of the story multiple times. Then the teacher writes it on board so kids can check their work. Then on to the next sentence of the story. (There is a box next to or above the sentence for students to draw the sentence)
  • GREAT opportunities for pop-up grammar

TRUE/FALSE quiz “This quiz is for me not for you. It is to see how well I did today.”

  • Teacher says Spanish sentence from the story. Students write if it is true or false.



(All her activities up till now were about Mickey.)

VERY SIMPLE SENTENCES – corre rápidamente, llevan/tienen ropa rojo, ¡Qué chistoso!

Ask questions: ¿Es un animal pequeño? Es un ____ toro (draws a picture on the board with Spanish word)

¿Al toro le gusta rojo?

Stopped and paused for the first 3 minutes then just let the video run.

Reading activities for the cultural parts of the video- La Tomatina, Running of the Bulls


Kids said about Annabelle Allen “You are much more fun” “Exciting” “You are the best teacher of my life” “It is different because you have energy” “Best teacher in the universe” “You are funny””We don’t fall asleep because you aren’t boring” “You have happiness in your voice” “There was a lot more Spanish than English” “We do a lot more acting” “They (stories) are fun to act out”

**Check out Annabelle’s blog- She is planning to post her resources from this week on her blog.

If you see any typos, feel free to email me. Typed up quickly.


¿Te gusta la pizza?

I like to introduce the words “quiere” and “tiene” to my Kindergarten class early in the year.

I love to use one of my favorite songs from the CD Charlotte Diamond’s “Soy una pizza” My students love this song! Check out the link to get the whole CD which is great!! My students love to watch a youtube video that uses this song.  

***Disclaimer “Soy una pizza” doesn’t use the words “quiere” or “tiene” but…

This song helps me kick off a unit of talking about pizza. What do you want on your pizza? What do you NOT want on your pizza? What does the pizza have on it?

First I teach the song with lots of motions. I have the students draw their “ideal” pizza. I use the ingredients from the song and their pictures to talk about what they “want” on their pizza. (I can use “con/sin” because the song introduces this concept)

  • I also use pictures of pizzas to talk about different types of pizzas.
  • We tell stories about different characters wanting crazy things on their pizzas.
  • I use GPTV Salsa Episode 114 about the three goats that order crazy pizzas.
  • Then we make our own pretend pizzas. I walk around with fake ingredients asking “¿Quieres queso? ¿Quieres mucho queso?”
  • We take a picture then talk about what Ben’s pizza compared to Anna’s pizza.


This is a great unit that leads us into the main story from ConversaBooks “¡Quiere pizza!” about a boy who is looking for 9 special pizzas.

My students and I have a great time talking about pizza and it always ends up bringing up the words “¡Tengo hambre!” because at the end of the each lesson we all want pizza.

NTPRS – Top Take aways (4-5) Technology that is worth it!

In a previous post I mentioned some of the most important things I learned at NTPRS in Chicago this summer. I mentioned TIME, PROPS, and PQA treasure hunts.  In this post I wanted to highlight some very simple technology tricks that I saw at NTPRS.

I love technology. I love making videos and presentations. I love new gadgets, and new websites, …BUT that being said

I have made the mistake in the past of letting the process of creating a product overshadow demonstrating the content. 

I had grand plans for my students to use technology for a project, but spent twice the time teaching the technology and the content got left behind. I am all for teaching technology skills, but if the content isn’t there first then the technology becomes a distraction not a demonstration. At the end of the day if a pencil and some paper does the trick… then why bother?

(climbs off soapbox)

So I was excited to pick up some SIMPLE technology tricks that ACTUALLY enhance my student’s learning. Most of these come from the Elementary Workshop with Leslie Davison.

NÚMERO CUATRO- PHOTOS capturing the moment

Take photos of your stories! (better yet, let the students do it for you)

Blog images.002

It has been a simple addition to my storytelling that has had a HUGE impact. First, you have a student take pictures as you tell the story. That student is now engaged in the story in a whole different way because they are held accountant (by their peers) to have told the story in pictures. My students beg for this responsibility. Second, you have photos of that class story which is so powerful for retells, partner tells, writing and speaking activities, listening quizzes and review.

The story you told in class now has a physical presence instead of just a memory in your student’s mind.

My students know and come into class asking the next time I see them to see all the photos. They can’t wait to see themselves. So I retell the story on a powerpoint on the screen, and  then they get their own copy to put in their folder. I even put some of the photos up in my room to remind us of the important vocabulary. Has it every been a distraction? Of course, what hasn’t been a distraction or a disruption in your classroom, (…talking to you pencil sharpener) but any good tool is worth taking the time to establish rules and expectations. It has breathed life into the stories for my students.

Does anyone use pictures too, and have a cool activity to go with them??


My school has iPads. When we got the iPads, I was super pumped and excited. Then I started thinking about how to use them. What can my students DO with them? Well at NTPRS I got a very simple answer.

Let the students video their stories.

I really felt dumb for not thinking of this one. There is a camera feature that allows someone to film with very little setup. So far I have used them for three different assignments where students use the iPad camera.

1. Speaking assessments- I used to pull my students into the hall for individual speaking assessments with me. It took me 2 days of class time to complete. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)

So… now with the iPads, I have my students take a comic strip or picture or some other prompt and send them off into nature to find a quiet spot to record. I give them 10-15 minutes to come back with a video. No pencil, no paper, no books.. nothing but the prompt and an iPad. I walk around and monitor my kids to make sure their technology is working and for accountability. 15 minutes later and I have completed my class speaking assignments. Can they look up words on an online/app dictionary?…yeah probably, but I am asking for a story so if they are looking up a word then they might be able to look up one or two but they still have to put it into context. To me, it wasn’t an issue worth worrying about.

**An unexpected advantage was some of my students chose to walk around holding the iPad as they were telling the story. The physical activity helped them focus and let go of some of their nervous energy.

2. Group stories- This can be retelling a story or creating a new story with familiar vocabulary. Students get together to write a story or retell. They assign jobs to each group member (cameraman, actor, narrator etc..) Then they film. This can take a class period or two depending on the complexity of the content, but the best part is the next day when everyone wants to see their video and their friends’ videos. REPETITIONS!! (Also a great project for parents to see what their kids are doing in class)

3. Vocabulary images- This activity uses the camera on the iPad to take pictures instead of video. Have students take pictures of different vocabulary. I am going to use this in a few weeks to have students take pictures using their location prepositions. Above, under, beside etc…Then throw the pictures into a presentations and/or print them out for a personalized vocabulary reference.

What have you done with your iPads or other technology that was simple but effective??