On the positive side of this COVID pandemic, many of us have discovered the joy of connecting with colleagues and friends via Zoom. To be honest, I never got to use Zoom before the pandemic, and it now has become a tool that I not only use to teach but to meet with colleagues and family across the United States and the world.

A few months ago I started a monthly virtual meeting with colleagues who are registered on my mailing list (by the way, if you are not yet, you might want to do so for a chance to participate in our next Café Virtual!). The attendance at the virtual gathering is limited to allow for colleagues to connect and share experiences with others. As part of the Café Virtual, I gave myself the homework (no really) to write a post about what happens in each café to share with other colleagues who were not able to attend due to the limited size of the group. So here is the first post for our first Café this year!

On February 13 I hosted my first Café Virtual of 2021, and thirteen awesome and inspiring teachers attended. We all left with some amazing ideas to bring to our classes. Due to the current situation, we started by sharing how each of us has been teaching. Some teachers are working in hybrid settings, some in-person, others remote, you name it!

Although this café was focusing on games, we ended up sharing many great tips, activities, and music that work well with elementary students. Here is some of what was shared during our café!


El líder: Ask one student to leave the room. Ask a student in the room who will make gestures and who everyone needs to imitate. Invite back to the room the student who was outside. The líder starts making movements and gestures that everyone else in the room imitates. The student that had been outside now has three turns to guess who is leading the group. Variation for virtual settings: Send a student to the breakout room while you decide who will be leading the group.

Use of TPR with Images: Show images to your students to invite them to move. For example Jumping Jacks. Also, read stories and ask questions. Have them respond by using movement or gestures

Jamboard Activities: Jamboard is a way to make Google Slides more interactive. This collection of resources on my blog were also mentioned as a resource that works well in any teaching setting.

Use Bingo Baker to Create Online Games: This is a paid online platform that allows you to create online bingo cards using your own pictures. The game will generate individual cards for each participant. You just need to share the link to the game with the students. There are also many games already created on the platform.

  • Find more games for online and in-person classes here!


YouTube Channels and Other Online Resources

Songs also were a topic during our Café. Here are the ones that were mentioned. Make sure to add them to your list if you haven’t already done so!

Duo Karma (From Cuba)


Learning Spanish with Johanna

Rockalingua: Camaleón – ¿Dónde estoy?

Kid Time Story Time in Spanish


Calico Spanish

Canticos: Bilingual Nursery Rhymes and Kids Songs

Salsa: Teach Young Children Spanish

Other strategies and Truquitos:

Pre-Record Videos of  Yourself for In-Person Classes

Some of these teachers have been making videos of themselves that they show during in-person classes to avoid the fatigue that teaching with a facemask might give you. This also helps the students to continue seeing the face of their teachers and keep them engaged during class. If you haven’t done it, all noted that this requires extra work but is well worth it!

Remove Adds from YouTube Videos:

This little tip is one that every teacher should know! Showing a video and have an ad pop up in the middle of a YouTube video is a teacher’s nightmare! This will save you! You will need to copy the link of the YouTube video and open it in another browser. Add a hyphen between the letters T and U, and voila! All the ads are gone! (i.e., change “youtube” to “yout-ube.”)

Interested in participating in the next Café Virtual? First, you will need to subscribe to my newsletter. One of the newsletters will include a link to register for the Café and the discussion topic.  Space is limited. Only 15 participants can attend!  If you are among the first 15 registrants, I will send you an email a few days before the Café Virtual with more info.

Looking forward to our next Café Virtual!







I just ended our 3rd week of distance learning, however this was my first week teaching live online classes. I do have to say that it has been exhausting trying to figure out how to make the class interactive and engaging while being so far apart from my students and only interacting through a screen. Learning new tools is a plus but is also exhausting. By my first class session I thought I had mastered Zoom, but it when I taught my first class (a second grade group), I realized that there were more things to learn. I shared my plan for the class using the screen sharing function of Zoom. One of my students then started using the annotation tool to scribble over the shared screen agenda, and that’s when I knew I needed to learn more. It was a bit funny but frustrating at the same time.

Anyway, we came up with the list below while brainstorming with some of my students about quick games we could do in class without the need to share my screen. By not sharing a screen, it also becomes possible to see every student. We have played these games in our classroom before, so the students should know them well. It is necessary to adapt some of these games to make it work for our current online setting.

Simón dice: We usually play this game in class by saying “Señora dice” instead of Simón dice. Sometimes I like choosing a student to be “it” and the name “Simón” will be replaced by that student’s name.  Choose one person to give directions or say a command. Everyone should follow the direction only if they hear “______ dice.” If someone follow directions when the person directing hasn’t said “_____ dice”, that person will be out of the game. You can continue until one of few people are left in the game.

Charades: I usually have between 8 to 16 students on a live class on Zoom, so it’s not easy to divide the groups, or at least I haven’t tried it. This works great with students 2nd grade and up. You will need to use the chat tool for this game. I am not familiar with platforms other than Zoom, but in Zoom the host can choose to privately chat with a student. The rules for this game are simple. No words or pointing at anything, just acting it out for other students to guess. Choose one student to act out a word. Send the word in a private message to the chosen student only. Have the student act out the word and give students turns to guess. Whoever guesses first will become the next actor. You might want to write the word on a piece of paper or board to show to the students later.

Color colorcito: This is a game that my kindergarteners love playing in the classroom. It usually involves one person naming colors and the other students running to find the color. If the person naming the color tags someone who is not touching the color, then that person becomes the new “it.” See my previous post here for a longer explanation of the way I usually play it in the classroom.  Because it’s impossible to play a “virtual” tagging game, we made it for students to look for an object of that color in the room. The person who finds the color last will say the new color.

La caja mágica: You could either use a box or a bag. Place and object inside, describe it and have your students guess it. Click here to find more ideas.

Sigue al líder: Play some music and choose one student to lead the class in different dance movements.

Congelado: Play music for a few seconds, stop the music and everyone has to freeze. If anyone continues moving, they will join you to find other students who are not freezing or continue moving when you stop the music.

El director de orquesta: This game is known as “Follow the leader.” Choose one student to close his or her eyes, and this student will have to guess who is directing the group. While that student has his/her eyes closed, choose another student to direct the group. Write the name of  the “director” on a white board or a piece of paper and show it to the group. The student directing then has to do movements or gestures that everyone else will copy. The student who is guessing will have three opportunities to guess who is directing the group. If the student doesn’t guess, you can reveal the name of the student director, and then you can all clap for him or her. You can decide how long you want to continue with this game.

Do you have any other games to add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comments or email them to me for updates to this post.

Happy Teaching!

You might like this resource on Teachers Pay Teachers:



Luis Pescetti is an Argentinian musician, writer, actor, and storyteller. He is also known for for his great group activities that are fun and encourage movement (which is why they are called ‘dinámicas’ in Spanish). Some of his group games work great in the Spanish classroom and can be used as energizers or brain breaks for you and your students.

For this game I would suggest you ask your students to be in groups of five or less to keep it safe.

¿Por qué me sube la bilirubina? No sé porque.

¿Por qué me sube la bilirubina? No sé porque.

A moler café, a moler café, a moler a moler a moler café.

A moler café, a moler café, a moler a moler a moler café.

This is simple but a bit challenging for second graders. I mostly use it for third graders and up. A lot of fun!

Palo, palo, palo, palo bonito, palo eh,

eh, eh, eh, palo bonito, palo eh.

This is one of the group activities my first graders love. The first time they saw the video they were scared, but we couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. It’s great to use during Halloween!

Se hace de noche,

se ve un castillo,

se abre una puerta,

sale un vampiro,

saca un cuchillo y …

unta pan con mantequilla,

unta pan con mantequilla,

unta pan con mantequilla.

This activity works great in a circle. This one gets everyone quiet and focused on the movement. My students were a little frustrated at first, but once we all got it, it became a fun challenge.

Bale, bale, bale, pata zum, zum, zum,

bale, zum, zum, zum,

pata zum, zum, zum.

Bale, bale, bale, pata zum, zum, zum,

bale, zum, pata zum, bale zum.

This can be done with different ages. It can be done fast or slow. A lot of fun!

A ram sam sam,

guli, guli, guli, guli, ram sam sam.

Arabi, arabi,

guli, guli, guli, guli, ram sam sam.

This video gives a little background for the song “A ram sam sam”.

Have fun!

8 Fun Outdoor Games to Play in Spanish Class

8 Fun Outdoor Games to Play in Spanish Class

Teaching in a place where long winters prevail has instilled in me and my students a deep appreciation for every moment we can spend outdoors. As Spring has finally bloomed in Boston, I’ve made it a personal commitment to use the initial five to ten minutes of class as a warm-up to play games with my students outside. Not only do we relish the fresh air, but we also use language in context while having fun. Additionally, some of the games are traditional, thus introducing cultural elements into the class.

Here is a list that includes some of the games I have been teaching my students. Click on the links to learn about each game. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the fresh air!

1. El lobo
2. Color, colorcito
3. Teléfono roto o descompuesto
4. El pato
5. El ratón y el gato
6. Ponle las gafas al sol
7. El paracaídas
8. Rayuela

Playing outside is not only fun but also beneficial for our physical and mental health. Enjoying some fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for our mood and energy levels. So, take a break from screens and technology, and have some good old-fashioned fun outside!

10 Cultural Games to Play in Spanish Class

I am always looking for ways to bring some culture to my Spanish class. One way to do it is through the use of traditional games. Below I am sharing links of some games that can be easily used in foreign language Spanish classes. Just click on the links to learn more about each game.

1. La Thunkuna (Boliva)

2. La Pirinola (Mexico)

3. El Patio de Mi Casa (Latin America)

4. Nerón, Nerón  (Nicaragua)

5. La Gallinita Ciega (Latin America)

6. El Ratón y el Gato (Latin America)

7. Juguemos en el Bosque (Latin America)

8. Color, Colorcito (Spain)

9. Pase Misí, Pase Misá (Spain)

10. El Semáforo (World)

Have fun playing!