I am one of those Spanish teachers that loves singing in class for many reasons. Through songs, students learn new vocabulary, internalize grammar structures that may be useful in the future, and explore vocabulary in context – and singing along to a tune is a great way for them to practice pronunciation.
I teach at the elementary level and of course some songs may be complicated for my students. However I ensure there is a natural progression, where I first introduce some basic rhythms, and later, with greater familiarity of beats and timing, we use the rhythms in the various songs we learn in class. We sing the songs while adding some features of the rhythms and some basic dance steps, which adds some movement to the singing and gets everyone moving in class to break the ice and get circulation moving! I also have a set of flash cards with some famous singers that I show while doing the activity. You can download the cards for this activity HERE.
This is how I use the cards:
Rock: Pretend you are playing an electric guitar while singing. Bachata: Use a soft voice and pretend to hold a microphone. Salsa: Sing faster and use the basic Salsa step. Merengue: Use the Merengue step and sing fast. Ranchera: Use a deep voice and pretend to hold a sombrero while singing. Vallenato: Pretend that you are playing an accordion, which is the main instrument in Vallenato.
I have put together a list of songs that go along with the pictures. This might help your students identify the rhythms with the singers. This is also a fun way to bring some culture (and pop culture) into your classes. Feel free to add more traditional rhythms to your list. ¡A cantar y bailar!
The “Exit Ticket” is a technique used by many teachers in different subjects. It’s usually utilized at the end of the class before the students leave your classroom. It is used as a way to check for understanding, to clarify concepts in preparation for the following class, or as a way to assess students. Students may respond to questions about the class, list what they remember, ask the teacher questions, and so on.
I have used this technique in my classes, but have usually just done it orally. I typically line up my students and ask simple questions related to the topic we’ve focused on in class. For example, I might show a flash card and ask a student to name the picture on the card or ask a question about it. The only way a student may leave the classroom is by responding to my question. Taking it a step further beyond oral delivery, using the “Exit Ticket” on a paper allows students to practice their writing skills and can in some cases be a faster and more efficient way to end the activity.
I have included a template of the “Exit Ticket” I plan to use. You can customize according to your needs.
*Tiquete is used in Colombia and other Spanish speaking countries. See RAE for reference.
This is something I’ve always wanted to try. I have to say I was scared of it. I think it’s nice to know what my students think about me and my teaching style. I have had other teachers and my school principal observing my classes, but the group that I think knows the best about me as a teacher are my students.
Letting your students give you feedback will allow them have a different relationship with you and your subject matter. You’re empowering them, letting them know how important it is for you to know what they think. It’s really a no-brainer, as they are the ones that have first hand experience with you as their teacher. They can really help you shape your teaching style and let you know about simple things you didn’t realize, simple things like “you never gave me a turn to participate in the memory game” or “you always call girls first.” Things that sound simple, but at the end influence the atmosphere in your class and what your students think of you. Of course, they can also help you feel great when they give positive comments. Encouraging young people to think critically and give constructive feedback is something that I think all teachers can and should focus on. I know I didn’t have enough of it growing up in Colombia …
I teach students in the lower grades (pre-K to 1st), and I have conversations about what they liked in the class, what they’d like to learn in the future, and what they didn’t like in the class. I also teach second and third grades, and with this age group I let them fill out an anonymous feedback form with questions about the class in general and about me as their teacher.
You can grab a free copy of this form by clicking on the link below. Give it a try, put yourself out there, and let your students have a voice and active role in shaping who you are as a teacher. It’ll empower you and give you fuel for brilliance, too!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.