Back to Spanish Class: 5 Back-to-School Purchases that I LOVE

5 Back-to-School Purchases that I LOVE

Hi everyone!  I am so happy to introduce our guest blogger for this week!  Laura Lee from 
Señora Lee – for the LOVE of Spanish is a good friend and fellow Spanish teacher author She has taught Spanish at the elementary and middle school levels for over 18 years and is a wealth of information regarding fun and engaging resources for the classroom.   I know you are going to love her ideas!  Enjoy!

¡Hola! I am Laura and my favorite part of back-to-school is the shopping! I love receiving a big check from the school district to purchase the best resources for my classes. The resources I’m suggesting today have been favorites of my middle school / Spanish 1 classes.

 A Señor Wooly Subscription. This has been number one on my wish list for many years, and it is worth every penny and more!  $35 gives you access to all of Sr. Wooly’s hilarious and captivating videos. Students and teachers absolutely LOVE them.  My favorite video to begin the school year is “¿Puedo ir al baño?  I’m pretty sure my students know every single line.  After one showing, they want to watch it again…and again. Which is ok because I can never get enough! No one will ever ask, “Can I go to the bathroom?” in English again. 

Sr. Wooly has videos to go along with almost every unit. When teaching about descriptive adjectives and “ser,” sing along to “Guapo.” (It is hard not to sing along!) Watch “No Voy a Levantarme” when teaching the use of “ir + a + infinitive” and daily routines. You’ll love the surprise ending! Teach the structure “tener + que + infinitive” with “Los Quehaceres.” All videos use high frequency vocabulary and have a lot of repetition. They are easy to understand and come with the option of Spanish or English subtitles.

Sr. Wooly’s videos make students want to learn and practice Spanish inside and outside of class. I will never forget one Monday morning when three of my 8th grade Spanish 1 students excitedly came into class. They told me they had practiced a Sr. Wooly skit (“Es una Ganga”) all weekend long and wanted to perform it in front of the class. Wow! Imagine, students volunteering to do an unassigned presentation. If you want your students to be excited about learning and fully engaged, this is one of my favorite ways to MAKE LEARNING FUN. And your students will love you for it.  [If you are a 1:1 school you will want the Pro account for access to the entire curriculum. Read Allison’s post for more information! 

Quizlet – Teacher Account.  Another must-have resource that everyone loves is Quizlet. This fantastic app is free! And, in case you have not heard, Quizlet Live is about the best collaborative game ever! (For more on Quizlet Live, read Spanish with Sra. Shaw’s post.) 

If you are a 1:1 school, have more than 8 classes and love data, you will want the $35 upgrade! You can track student activity – exactly how and when students practice. You’ll find data to answer these important questions: Are students challenging themselves with more rigorous activities? How frequently do they review? Which terms are the biggest struggle for them?
I assign specific activities for students to complete each week. It is a great setup. Most students have the app downloaded to their phones and can practice any time. In class, students use Chromebooks. As a teacher, you can see exactly where students are struggling (for example, most commonly missed vocabulary words) and gauge student progress. You are also able to quickly see who has (or has not) studied.

As a teacher, you can see the high scores and use that data to bring out the competitive spirit in everyone. The high scores from previous years still remain, and current students continue to compete against past years’ top scores. Other perks include being able to upload your own images and record your voice to each flashcard. These features help you to create the very best sets full of engaging content - personalized with your own voice! I LOVE QUIZLET. [Compatible with Google Classroom!] 

Cultural Videos from Teacher’s Discovery by Moo!  Out of all the videos I have ever purchased, these are my favorites for integrating culture into the classroom. Students watch authentic footage filmed on location in Spanish-speaking countries that feature a dialog between a native speaker and an American student. They experience the rich traditions of Día de Los Muertos, Las Posadas and Cinco de Mayo through an engaging, thought-provoking video. Students think about the meaning behind their own holiday traditions, which sets the stage for a thoughtful discussion. Watching these videos is like taking a mini field trip. It really brings the culture to life to watch actual interactions with native speakers, learn about the customs, and get introduced to the food. The Day of the Dead video was filmed live in Oaxaca and is completely unrehearsed. The interactions are real. Students relate to it and are engaged the entire time. No wonder it received an Emmy Award! 

My favorite videos include the holiday videos listed above, The Culture of Mexican Food, Ordering Food and Weekend in Mexico. Each video is about 25 minutes long and packed with rich content. They vary in price between $27 & $33 each and are available for instant download. To read more about the Las Posadas video, read my blog post

Novels. I was very fortunate to have the district purchase a set of novels for our classroom. I chose Agentes Secretos y El Mural de Picasso  by Mira Canion. This is an excellent first novel for beginning Spanish. It is a mystery and is set in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The story is intriguing and the language is comprehensible. Students learn vocabulary naturally while they read, through the use of cognates and use of consistent language. 

I love that the novel incorporates art, history and culture into the storyline. Students are introduced to Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica and are naturally curious about its significance. My students develop confidence as they read aloud, are able to understand each chapter and are fully engaged. (Especially the boys!) This is a great reader to add to your collection.
To learn more about using novels in the classroom and how to get funding for a class set, read Allison’s post from Mis Clases Locas. 

Resources from Teachers Pay Teachers. Teachers Pay Teachers is the largest online marketplace for teachers. It has over 2.7 million resources created by teachers for teachers. Over 93,000 of those resources are for Spanish alone. And almost 10,000 of those are FREE!   I first discovered TpT in 2014. They had current and engaging resources that I could download in an instant at an affordable price. My students benefitted from the creativity and expertise of a variety of Spanish teachers with many years of experience. 

I found comprehensive resources that taught culture in the target language.  The site also had cooperative learning activities that built community in my classroom. The reading assignments were interesting and meaningful. The games brought excitement to my lessons. Teachers Pay Teachers is the only place where I buy resources now for my students. I wish I had found out about TpT ten years ago. It would have saved me so much planning time and would have really enriched the curriculum! Talk to your school administrators about the resources available on TpT.

What purchases are on your back-to-school wish list? 



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