Links to help during January

I know that many teachers are feeling frustrated with the flux of what is happening in schools. Many days, we don’t know how many students will actually be in our classes. There are a lot of different scenarios- but some of the main threads are similar. There will be days this month that we want to be valuable for students who attend, but we don’t want them to be difficult if students cannot attend because they are sick. (Or will be out quarantined- like I find myself as I am finishing up this post!) I will try to break down a few ideas to help you.

For virtual students if you have to assign work for them while students are in your class. Or you might need to come up with sub plans at the last minute:

  • I recommend self grading computer programs. Quizziz, Blooket or GimKit are great for reviewing vocabulary. You can also split up sentences for students to match together to make it a bit more difficult and more of a reading task. You can also typically find pre-made activities pretty easily.
  • EdPuzzles are also perfect for listening. I have recently updated my EdPuzzle database of EdPuzzles that I have used for novices through intermediates with a few videos for elementary students. (You can turn on the option to open class which means that students don’t have to log in to complete it. I use this option for elementary students.)
  • With any reading you find, you can include a Jamboard template to provide a post reading activity. I created templates for post-reading activities.
  • If you want to combine a bit of listening, writing, reading etc- I recommend PearDeck. However, I know that TONS of teachers love GoFormative. I will say that both of these options require you to pay for them, so I recommend whichever one your school is paying for! On a recent sub day, I had students do a review game with Quizizz, a listening activity with EdPuzzle, a few writing prompts and a reading activity at the end. Finally, I asked for feedback at the very end. It was easy to link it all together.
  • If you are looking for writing prompts, I came up with a list for prompts. We all know that students will rely on translators more when writing at home, but at times, you need to do what will get you through difficult times! (If your whole class is virtual, I would have my students write by hand, take a picture and submit it. That seemed to cut down on translator use as much.)
  • Flipgrid is also wonderful for speaking OR listening practice. I really like the dictation idea that Kara talked about in this blog post.
  • EDITED TO ADD: The newsletter (El mundo en tus manos) that I write with Martina and Nelly is on sale this week (current and previous editions!)! I cannot tell you how many times I have reached for one or more articles to use for sub plans or to supplement units that we are studying. I even use level A with third and fourth graders. I love going back in the archives to find different articles that are related to the topics that we are studying to provide differentiation for students. (For example, today we were reading about Peru and some students read about the Balloon World Championship and others read about one of oldest mummies found in Peru.). Looking for more ideas? I posted more here.

At times, you have plans but then half of your class is out: Again, I want to make sure that it is beneficial for students who are there, but I don’t want to move on without other students. All of these plans are low-prep because who has time to plan at the last second?!

  • Some of the ideas from above, I would reiterate here. Games like Quizizz, Blooket, Gimkit etc are always fun for some of the class. However, I also try not to overdo it for some of them.
  • Any listening to art project is great! I can describe something and students draw it. A fun twist is to describe something and have students sculpt it out of Play-doh. Also is it just me or do you love doing the videos that teach you how to draw?! Did you know that they are in Spanish, too?? Check out this playlist!
  • Another one of my favorite Play Doh activities is when you have students sculpt something that has happened in a story that is going on- could be a book, MovieTalk, video from a song and other students have to guess what scene they are depicting in the target language.
  • AnneMarie’s games are wonderful literally any time of the year- but many of them are perfect now. A game of quotes is always popular and it takes awhile for us to play. Details, details, details is also a great review game. Also I love Foto Frenzy– but I have students draw a picture based on what we have been discussing.
  • Kara has shared BINGO Musical last year and has some already planned to pull up.
  • This other idea takes minimal prep- but you could do it if you had 5 minutes or less and is perfect for younger grades! Flippity has Snowman- which is a much better version of Hangman. Type the words that you are working on in and GO! This was also great if you are teaching your class when you are quarantined through a computer.

You may also want to plan a week or so of lessons if you know that there will be a lot of absences. Again, you want it to be interesting for the students who are there, but you wouldn’t want to pre-teach vocabulary that the other students would miss or cover an important topic that students would miss otherwise. Also- you don’t want anything that takes you time to plan- all of these lessons are fully planned out and almost all of them are free!

  • I love my Nailed It unit as do students. I have it as part of my curriculum, but if you do not- it would be a great addition. My only caution is if you start it and then have to go out of the classroom.
  • The series Street Food is also beautiful! I love the stories that it tells. These viewing guides will help you make it accessible for all levels.
  • You could also add in a Señor Wooly song that you don’t always fit into your curriculum! I try to fit a lot of songs in, but we don’t fit all of them in. If you haven’t tried one of the graphic novels from Señor Wooly, there are great novels of varying lengths to use. The amazing thing is that they are also in various levels. So you could teach the same book in different level classes as well. I taught Billy y las botas novice low-mid with my fourth graders last year and blogged about a few activities that I did to round it out.
  • I love Kara’s music units, and I incorporate some of them into my curriculum each year (Soy yo, Carlos explora Lima etc). But she has tons! Idiota or Bajo el mismo sol would be great for level 1. Also I always loved teaching Si tú la ves in upper levels. I did this song before the Ecuadorian legends.

If you go back to being virtual, here are some links to various projects that I have done before:

  • Here are some ideas that I have used for synchronous classes, but they are not as planned out as some other lessons.
  • This post also has ideas for a project to do online if you have been studying a country or reading a book.
  • Flippity is also a good option. If you have older students, they can create their own games. AnneMarie again has some great posts about Flippity too like this one.
  • Bethanie always shares amazing ideas for upper levels online like this Cyber Sandwiches for writing after a video or reading and one of my favorites last year: Do you remember?
  • Finally, this is a post about how to teach novels online.

I hope this helps you to get through whatever January (and hopefully NOT February) throws your way!


5 thoughts on “Links to help during January

  1. Thank you so much for these resources! However, I do have one question about the playlist you linked for the listen and sculpt or draw activities. Is that the correct link you meant to include, or am I misunderstanding? Thanks again for all your help!

      1. That is totally understandable! Thank you so much for sharing your resources with us! Have a great semester!

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