First day spanish class activities

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1st Day of Spanish Class

1st Weeks of School Distance/Hybrid/Digital

1st Weeks of Spanish class online

1st Unit of Spanish 1 (in person)

Spanish 1 Unit 1 Super 7 present

Other older 1st weeks of school Blog Posts

1st week of 2018 Here
1st Week of FRENCH class here.
1st weeks of Spanish 1 in 2017 HERE
1st day of Spanish 2 & 3 2017 HERE
 1st WEEK of 2015 HERE

Get a 1st week of school Bundle HERE!

1st Day of Spanish class Mis Clases Locas
original post from 2014!

This year I have the great problem of way too many ideas of what to do on the first day of school. This multitude of ideas came from the amazing bloggers Martina Bex, Laura Sexton, Ben Slavic, & Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell. After 5 summers as a camp counselor, I also have a plethora of ice breakers, name games, and getting to know you activities in my mental bag of tricks. But when you teach at a school with a total population of around 140 students 9-12, the only students who I need to get to know and do not already all know each other are the freshman.  This year I have the special privilege of having the freshman in 1st and 2nd period Spanish I. This means that I will have the honor of being the first class of their high school career.  For the sake of learning and growing from the past here is what I have done the past two years. 

1st Year of Teaching

On my first day of school, my first year of teaching in 2012 I tried to follow a lot of what is mentioned by the Creative Language Class. I modified Megan’s Prezi to tell them about me in Spanish since I was the only new teacher in the district that year. At this point most of them freaked out since their previous teachers never talked to them in Spanish much. (It was also at this point I knew I had a hard uphill battle coming that first year.) I had everyone introduce themselves and we did some sort of name game, so I could start learning 100+ new names. I also had them fill out an information sheet so I could learn more about them as people. I then did the boring first day syllabus talk. (I wish I had read how to survive your first day teaching before day one).

2nd Year of Teaching

My second year the first days of school were a blur due to the fact that without an air conditioner my room was 90 degrees, with three noisy fans running, the lights off and I was just trying my best to not pass out while 20 weeks pregnant. I followed a lot of what I did year one, added Martina’s first day seating, and instead of an introduction about myself, I talked in Spanish about pictures of my summer in the past tense ending with a picture of the baby’s room and revealing to them I was pregnant. (Well after the first class the whole school knew because gossip spreads like wildfire when your school is just one hallway.)

Since we started school on a Thursday, most of the students (and teachers) treated the first two days more as just the beginning of the year business days with syllabuses, checking out books, logging into online textbooks, and learning names and procedures. The kids come to school not expecting to actually “learn anything” until Monday. I was guilty of this myself those first two years since there is always so much business that I want to just get done and checked off my to do list. I know that this year I want them to leave the class having LEARNED something, but the issue is what!?!

3rd year of Teaching – Spanish I 1st Day of Spanish class

  • GREET – Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. I will ask their name in Spanish, modeling “Me llamo Sra. Wienhold” “¿Cómo te llamas?”
  • INTRO MYSELF – Introduce myself using this Prezi in Spanish with a lot of actions, movement and enthusiasm. 
  • NAME GAME SPEEDBALL – We will play name games standing in a circle. I will once again model “Me llamo Sra, Wienhold” “¿Cómo te llamas?” and then pass a ball to another student, the first time next to them. Once everyone has been introduced, then in the second round the ball will be tossed to another student across the way until everyone has gotten it, and they will need to remember the order. We will then add in “se llama” to tell the name of who the ball came from and where it is going. This can keep going as long as there is high interest. Some classes want to be timed play speed ball style and beat a score, others tire of it quickly. The key is to end on a high note and keep them wanting more. Read this blog post to learn more. 
  • STATIONS – (Updated this back to school bundle has everything you need for 1st week stations that we usually do not get to until day 2). The goal of stations was to learn about students, incorporate choice, fun, culture, our new 1:1 laptop the first day. I decided to base the stations around the number one student obsession in my school at the time, Twitter. (remember this was 2014 🙂 They created a new account just for our class,  where at the time I posted class reminders, they followed Spanish artists and tweeted in chats during the year. (Update at a later school they were not into Twitter and we stopped the Spanish accounts).
  • During stations I had a chance to informally walk around and chat, getting to know them as people. The could include the following:
    • Practice introducing themselves
    • Follow Spanish speakers (exposing them to culture and language)
    • Find and post books from our library to read –(showing their interests)
    • Find and post Spanish music (giving them a voice in Música miércoles)
    • Read & reflect on class syllabus (Not just boring me droning on, but they get the information, take it home to their parents to sign, and we will discuss it as a dialogue and question/answer the next day.)
    • Later addition the proficiency puzzle

Spanish II – IV

  • GREET – Greet all students at the door in Spanish with a smile, handshake and a seating card. Since I know all of them and had them last year, instead of asking their name I will ask them about their summer.
  • TALK ABOUT SUMMER – In place of the introduction Prezi, I showed a slideshow of pictures of my baby, while talking about what HE did this summer (possibly making it slightly ridiculous and over the top). This will naturally lead into asking them about their summers and everyone sharing and practicing the past tense (III & IV). *See this post for Find Someone Who,differentiated question cards, or digital option to talk about summer. 
  • STATIONS – Since I had had all of the upper level students, they just did a short modifed stations and then moved on to other activities.

**If you would like to download all of my back to school products together, you can find them here.

Which of these options if your favorite activity for the 1st day of Spanish class?
*originally posted 8.5.14 – updated 8.16.21
1st Day of Spanish Class - Mis Clases Locas

Filed Under: back to school, classroom management, planning


Want to make your classes explode with Spanish?

Here’s a little life secret: It’s the things we do every day that matter more than what we do once in a while.

So what does that mean for Spanish teachers like us?

Warm-ups. Every day.

Yup, you heard me right. You know, the short, harmless little activities that we Spanish teachers should be including at the beginning of every (and that’s “every”) Spanish class?

They might be fun conversational exercises or a neat-o tongue twister.

No matter what they look like, these little guys are packed with power.

So to start off all your classes with a bang, we’ve got ten great warm-up ideas for you below. But first, let’s look at why you should never skip a warm-up.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

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Why Warm-ups Are an Absolute Must for Any Spanish Class

  • They help students focus. Warm-ups help students get out of Facebook mode and into Spanish mode. These short activities get them ready to think about Spanish, not the last text they received from their BFF.

  • They get students interested in the material. Warm-ups are fun activities that will make students want to learn more. After doing a set of hilarious and utterly impossible tongue twisters as a warm-up, how could you not be interested in the pronunciation of the “d” sound between vowels?

  • They help students review what they have learned in the previous class. Use warm-ups as a handy tool to sneak in some old material right before starting new material. They’ll thank you for it on the exam. Well, maybe.

  • They help students to get ready to speak. After all, it’s not exactly easy to go straight into speaking Spanish after you’ve been speaking English all day. Warm-ups let them know it’s time to get down with the español!

  • They are low-stakes and help to lessen performance anxiety. Warm-ups are all about enjoying the language, not being tested on it. Make warm-ups a light-hearted activity that students can play around with and know they don’t have to worry about getting an A, B, C, D or F for their performance. No letter. No number. No plus or minus. Just warm up.

Just like your car in the winter months, a runner preparing for a marathon, or even a two-year-old who hides in her mother’s dress every time she sees a stranger, warm-ups are an essential part of many areas of life, and Spanish class is no exception.

Don’t have any snazzy warm-ups on hand? No problem-o! I mean… problema. Just check out the ten ideas below. You’re sure to find something you can cut and paste into any class at nearly any time during the term.

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10 Awesome Warm-up Ideas to Start Your Spanish Classes with a Bang

1. Greet and speak

Have students greet at least two people sitting around them and find out what they did over the weekend/last night/last week or their plans for that day/an upcoming weekend/vacation, etc. Then, call on students to report their findings to the class:

Jack vio ‘Star Wars’ en el cine.” (Jack saw “Star Wars” at the movies).

Ramona llamó a una amiga por teléfono.” (Ramona called a friend.)

You can also ask students to talk about something they did not do or some plans they do not have. This often makes the warm-up more interesting and can result in some hilarious responses.

2. Improv time

For this warm-up, students put into practice a grammatical point or expression previously covered in class by doing impromptu mini-dialogues of 30 seconds or less. If you have been studying the present tense and food vocabulary, you might have students pretend they are in a restaurant and need to order food. One person is the waiter and the other is the customer.

If you have just studied commands and daily activities, have one student play the role of an angry roommate who tells his friend what he or she wants done around the house. These improv situations, in addition to making great warm-ups, also help students become more comfortable speaking spontaneously. You can even ask students to perform the dialogues in front of the entire class.

You might even give students some conversational phrases they can incorporate into their dialogues.

3. Vocabulary lists

Write a vocabulary word on the board and have students work in teams to write as many related words as possible in one minute. Students love competition and this is a great way to get them “into the game”—literally—before starting class.

If students run out of words before the time limit, encourage them to be creative and think “outside the box.” For more advanced classes or to add an extra layer of interest to the activity, you might try giving students words that are difficult to relate to other concepts.

An example of a word list could be something like the following:

negro: noche, gato, malo, misterio, color, pelo, etc.

4. Give your opinion

Write a debatable statement or question of the day on the board and have students work in pairs to discuss and then present their opinions on it. Here are some examples:

  • Yo creo que la mejor mascota es el gato. ¿Están ustedes de acuerdo? (I think cats make the best pet. Do you agree?)
  • Los niños no deben tener teléfonos celulares hasta que tengan 15 años. ¿Están ustedes de acuerdo? (Kids should not be allowed to have cell phones until they are fifteen. Do you agree?)

When students report back to the class, have them tell you their own opinion as well as that of their partner.

5. Film clip

Show a brief film clip and then have students give their reactions to it before beginning a new learning unit. The film should relate to the content of that day’s lesson. You might ask each student to write and share a one-line reaction to the clip. Film clips are an awesome way to get students interested in whatever you will be talking about for the day, plus they get them interested in seeing the entire film!

If you don’t want to waste time browsing YouTube for something useable, check out the curated library of videos on FluentU.

Variation: Use an entire short film for the warm-up or a clip from a short film. A cool collection of films can be found in this FluentU article or here.

6. Ask around

For this warm-up, pose a question that includes a grammatical point your students have seen, and then have students ask the question to as many people as possible in three minutes.

Some possible questions include:

  • ¿Qué harías si tuvieras un millón de dólares? ¿Por qué? (What would you do if you were a millionaire? Why?)
  • ¿Prefieres vivir en la ciudad o en el campo? ¿Por qué? (Do you prefer to live in the country or the city? Why?)

If you have trouble coming up with interesting questions, check out this cool website which has compelling questions on nearly any topic you can think of.

A variation: Have students stand up and find someone in the class who meets certain criteria (someone who has bungee jumped, someone who is not afraid of spiders, someone who never eats breakfast). They should try to find as many people who fit these criteria in a certain amount of time. The vocabulary and grammar can reinforce what students have been studying in class.

7. Brainstorm

Have students brainstorm a topic in small groups or as a whole class. This might be related to that day’s grammar, culture or vocabulary lesson. Allow them to express themselves freely, without any restrictions. The longer they brainstorm, the more likely they are to fully engage in the grammar, culture or vocabulary topics for the day.

If you feel like being very high-tech, you can even have students brainstorm using mind maps. The mind maps can later be displayed for the whole class to see and discuss. MindMeister for Google Drive offers some great mind mapping capabilities that students can also collaboratively use.

8. Random objects

Choose a few items from your bag or purse at random and tell students a story about them (why you have them, what you use them for, why they are important to you, how you acquired them, etc.) Then, have students work in groups to do the same.

This is a great way to both practice the past tense and for students to learn interesting things about one another. A variation on this activity could be that you ask students ahead of time to bring in an object or two that they feel best represents them or that is especially important to them. This way, students are not limited to discussing the things they happen to have with them, which will likely be very similar (books, iPhones, student ID cards, keys…)

9. Write a story

For this warm-up, students must work together to write a group story. Have them work in pairs or small groups. The first group writes the first sentence of a story and then passes the sheet of paper to another group who writes a second line.

The second group then folds the paper to hide the first line and then passes the paper to the third group to continue the story. The story writing continues until several lines have been written and a conclusion has been formed. Call on one group to read the complete story aloud.

A variation: Have students do the same activity, but working individually instead of in groups. The story can be written among four or five students.

10. Pretend you are

Give students a statement and a mood (angry, happy, excited, etc.) and have them go around the room and practice saying this statement to people in the tone of voice they would use if they were in this mood.

After a few seconds, have them exchange moods with someone else and repeat the activity. You can have them do several moods in two minutes or so.

A variation: Give students a conversational skill such as “greetings” or “leavetakings” and have them perform these as if they were in a certain mood.

So, there you have it. Ten warm-ups that get students ready for class and require virtually no prep time. What more could you ask for?

Remember that these warm-ups can be adapted to any Spanish class no matter what the focus or level. And once you find warm-ups that work particularly well, you can always repeat them during the course.

They’re a fast and easy way to get students engaged and on task. Plus, they’re short and sweet and won’t take much time away from the day’s lesson. Warm-ups: Guaranteed to make your classes sizzle!

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

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How to Set the Tone during the First Week of Spanish Class

It’s always a challenge to figure out what to do for the first week of Spanish class.  You never know exactly what your classes and student make-up will be.  Here are some of the strategies that I use to survive and thrive during the first week of Spanish class.

1. Be really intense the first week.

Start the first week of Spanish class with a serious, let’s get down to business, what we have to learn is extremely important attitude.  With some classes, I pass out a list of everything that we’ll be learning in class for the year and have the students read each line aloud.  Then I write the number of minutes of Spanish class that we have for the year on the board and say, “We have to learn all that information in ______ minutes. So let’s go!” (in Spanish, of course).  This stresses the importance of every single minute in class and shows them just how serious you are.

2. Give homework the first night.

Since many other teachers don’t do this, if you do, students will know right away that this teacher means business.  And don’t give a fluffy, easy assignment.  Give something challenging.  After all, they won’t have that much other homework that night and they’re fresh off of summer and ready to go.

3. Be flexible and adaptable.

My first year at a new school, I was given a class of 9th graders who had failed Spanish 1 twice previously.  This would be their 3rd attempt.  Yup, a whole class of students like that, every teachers’ dream.

I came up with a plan and was ready to go, but when I got to class, there were 31 of them and I only had 26 desks.  Needless to say, I had to scrap my original plans and go with the flow.  As teachers, we have to be very flexible and adaptable.  If Plan A doesn’t work, go to Plan B.  If Plan B doesn’t work, it’s on to Plan C, hoping and praying that you aren’t at Plan Z by the end of the day.  🙂

First Day of Spanish Class, First Week of Spanish Class, Activities, Games, Lesson Plans

First Week of Spanish Class Activities: How to Set the Tone for the Year

4. Instead of letting the students focus on you, put the focus on them.

I often make my 2nd -5th year students do presentations the second or third day of class (even if it’s something simple such as a paragraph describing themselves).

For the best success, give them a structured paragraph with fill in the blanks (see below).  Include a sample paragraph.  At this point, if you give them free reign of what they’re writing and saying, they’ll make too many errors.  The goal is to model the language correctly and have them to produce it correctly.

If you assign this type of presentation, they’ll know you’re no joke.  They’ll be so worried about doing the presentation that they’ll stop focusing on analyzing you and figuring out your weaknesses.  That’s right – only show them your strengths the first week of Spanish class.  You are a demanding teacher who is passionate about teaching languages and expects their best behavior and work.

* Grab your free copy of my Todo sobre mí project in the World Language Cafe Free Resource Library.  


5.  Show them why it’s so important to learn Spanish.

Have them partner up and brainstorm as many reasons as possible to learn Spanish.  As your students share, write their reasons on the board.  Afterwards be sure to add these heavy hitters to the class list:

  • There are over 41 million native Spanish speakers in the U.S., along with an additional 11.6 million who are bilingual (mostly the children of the native speakers).  13% of the population.  This is more Spanish speakers than in Colombia and Spain.  The number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. is second only to the 121 million Spanish speakers in Mexico.  The U.S. census estimates that by 2050, there will be 138 million Spanish speakers in the U.S. (1/3 of the population).  (1)
  • This means the chances are high that you will be interacting often with Spanish speakers.  This could be at your job, in your neighborhood, in and around your town, with your college roommate, or with your future spouse’s family members.  Several of my former students have come back to visit and told me how important knowing Spanish was because they encountered one of these scenarios and were so happy that they were able to communicate.
  • Research from Wharton and LEEG Europe shows that studying a second language correlates with an additional 2% more in annual income.  (2)  Not only that, but sometimes knowing that second language is what gets you the job in the first place.  I know people who have applied for jobs with 50 or more applicants, and the hiring manager has said the reason they hired that person was because she spoke Spanish.
  • Every adult I know wishes they knew Spanish.  Tell your students to ask around and see what adults say.  When I mention that I’m a language teacher, so many people say, “Aw, I wish I knew how to speak Spanish.”  Tell your students that this is their chance to be better than the adults.
  • This means you can talk to your friends in Spanish and your parents won’t understand.  It can be your secret code.  Write your text messages in Spanish and your parents won’t be able to read them.  (Well maybe you don’t want to go this far because the parents might get mad, however it is a good way to get your students practicing Spanish outside of class).  Perhaps just say that “other people” won’t be able to understand them.

All you teachers out there, you got this!  You’ll be amazed at the difference throughout the year if you set a strong tone during the first week of Spanish class.  So much easier to start off strict than to try to recover part-way through the year.

Looking for ready-made lesson plans for the first week of school?  Use these first week of school Spanish lesson plans so you can focus on what’s really important – getting to know your students.

After reading this, are you still feeling nervous to go back to school?  If so, check out my post about teaching tips to get excited for the first week of Spanish class.

Grab your free “Todo sobre mí” lesson plan for your student presentations in the Free Resource Libray.





Teaching Demo-Spanish 1 Class

Inside: Back to school Spanish activities and plans.

Remember when the words “back to school” used to give us butterflies?

Well, 2020 is taking it to a whole new level. Yeah.

This post gather all kinds of ideas and plans for back-to-school in Spanish class from Spanish teachers, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. In browsing what other teachers are doing, of course, it’s important to remember that this is NOT a normal year.

So first, let’s collectively l-o-w-e-r our expectations and give grace to ourselves and our students as we figure out this year together. 

A lot of the activities and links from the original blog post can be adapted for distance learning. However, I know many of you are looking for ideas with specific suggestions for online teaching or teaching with social distancing measures in place. I’ve been collecting those and have updated each section below. Hope this makes your planning a little easier and gives you ideas to start with!

back to school spanish activities

Related: Tips and Hacks for Teaching Spanish Online

To help you navigate the ideas and links in this post, here are the main topics (you can click to jump to those sections):


Here are ideas and activities just for the first days that you are back to school with your students.

Distance Friendly:

Icebreakers for Spanish Class (with Distance-Friendly Ideas)

Social-Distancing Activities for the First Days of Elementary Spanish Class from Mundo de Pepita

Back to School Kahoot Idea for Spanish Class from Señora Chase

First Day of School About the Teacher PPT Freebie from Fun for Spanish Teachers

Video from Christy’s Classroom Showing Slides for the First Days of Spanish 1 from Christy Lade

First Day of an Upper Level Spanish Class from Diego Ojeda

Card Talk Simple Activity and Slides from Palmyra Spanish

Welcome back-to-school video (template) for students from CI Liftoff

Free Starter Curriculum and Lesson Plans for Spanish Teachers (All Levels) from CI Liftoff

First Days of Elementary Spanish Class from Mundo de Pepita

First Days, First Impressions from Creative Language Class

Back to School Lessons (Spanish 2 or 3) from Mrs. Spanish

Name Gold: Kindergarten Edition from Mrs. Spanish

First Day of Spanish 1 on the Block Schedule from La Libre Language Learning

10 First Day of School Ideas from Palmyra Spanish

First Day of Spanish 1 and 2 with Jolly Ranchers from Señora Chase

First Day of Spanish 2 from Lugar para pensar

First Day of Spanish 2 and 3 from Mis Clases Locas

Back-to-school with Soy Yo from Mrs. Spanish

First Day of Spanish Class from Maris Hawkins

5 Things You Need to Tell Your Students on the First Day of Class from TCI By the Lake

The first video below from Diego Ojeda talks about the first day/ first weeks of Spanish class during Covid:


Distance Friendly:

Spanish Class Distance Learning: How to Start the Year Online from Secondary Spanish Space

First Two Weeks of Spanish 1, in the Proficiency-Based Classroom from Spanish Mama

First Week of School, PreK – HS from La Maestra Loca

First Two Weeks Focused on High Frequency Verbs from Mis Clases Locas

First Week Using Comprehensible Input from Mis Clases Locas

Free Unit for Week 1 of Spanish 1 from The Comprehensible Classroom


Creating a Digital Classroom or Open House

Create Your Bitmoji Classroom from Fun for Spanish Teachers

An example of a virtual Open House from Sra. Johnson, created on Google Slides. Her site is super helpful!

Student create digital lockers – example from Sra. Johnson and Google Slides to copy

Bitmoji Scenes for the Proficiency-Based Classroom from La Maestra Loca

Spanish Classroom Tours – A Huge Collection of Pictures from Everyday Teachers

7 Awesome Classroom Hacks from Secondary Spanish Space

Organizational Lifesavers from Señora Chase


New Pandemic, New Procedures from Sra. Chase

CHAMPS in the WL Classroom from Sra. Shaw

Tips for Traveling Teachers from Fun for Spanish Teachers

Tips if You Are on a Cart from Mundo de Pepita

Hand Signals for Classroom Management from Fun for Spanish Teachers

5-Minute Brain Breaks from Secondary Spanish Space


Distance Friendly:

Digital AP Notebooks from Aventuras Nuevas

Creating Digital Interactive Notebooks from Señora Jota Jota

Back-to-Spanish Class with Interactive Notebooks from Spanish Mama

Getting Started with Interactive Notebooks from Island Teacher


Distance Learning:

Building Community in Spanish Class During Distance Learning from Minute by Minute Spanish

Creating Good Vibes in Spanish Class from Sol Azucar

Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport from La Profesora Frida

Establishing a Culture of Learning from La Profesora Frida

First Days: Building Relationships from Sra. Cruz

Building Relationships from Day 1 from Desk-Free Classroom

Free webinar on building a positive class environment during remote learning in Spanish class:


Staying in the TL from Day 1 from Spanish Plans

First Week of Staying in the TL from Señor Howard


Back-to-Spanish Class: 9 Ways to be a Happier Teacher from Secondary Spanish Space

Top Priorities for Day One from Secondary Spanish Space

Advice for a First-Year Teacher from World Language Cafe


Starting off the Year: Core Ideas from Bryce Hedstrom

Back To Spanish Class Activities

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Activities class first spanish day

The form of thinly sliced cervelat, red fish and other fast food that I bought on the way. Seeing such an abundance of food and a bottle of good vodka, the girl's eyes widened and she calmed down, but the truth was not to drink vodka. First when I drank. I was afraid that sleeping pills were mixed in vodka.

Demo lesson for Day 1 of Spanish class

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