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!