Authentic Spanish Songs with Commands

Authentic Spanish Songs with Commands

Inside: Authentic songs in Spanish with commands (or mandatos). 


Here I’ve collected authentic songs examples of commands. When students hear language over and over, in context, they pick up the forms more easily. If you teach explicit grammar, it’s much easier to explain verbs when the students already have examples you can reference. 

This list is heavy on the affirmative commands, so I will keep looking for more negative examples. (If you’re looking for more lists of Songs in Spanish by theme and category, I have a TON you can browse through or save for later.)


Spanish Songs with Commands


1.  Madre Tierra – Chayanne


A positive, environmental-themed song that has positive tú commands, mainly in the chorus. Preview the video below for the dancing, and use the second video instead if you need to. 




2. Te Mueves Tú, Se Mueven Todos – Ha*Ash, Reik, David Bisbal


So many great examples of commands here- positive, negative, tú form, nosotros. Such a fun one, to!



3. Dímelo – Marc Antony 


Dímelo by Marc Antony is nice because there aren’t many lyrics, and everything gets repeated. The song includes a negative command (no me dejes), a positive one (ven), and a positive with two pronouns (dímelo). 



4. Di Que No Te Vas – Morat


This one isn’t as packed with mandatos as the other songs here. Mira and di get repeated over and over again, so it may work as a very introductory song with an example of a regular and irregular verb in the tú command form. 


5. Dile al Amor – Aventura 


This bachata classic has your commands in the 3rd-person form (speaking to Love, actually). And soooo many reps of dale and dile


6. Abrázame


Abrázame has a lot of examples of commands with the pronoun attached at the end (abrázame, quédate, dame), with infinitives + pronoun. If you want to make that connection or contrast the examples, this song would be helpful.



7. Dímelo – Enrique Iglesias


You’ll need to preview and make a decision on this one. The original video is DEFINITELY not school-appropriate… BUT, the lyrics are perfect for commands. Your call!



9. Recuérdame – Coco (Carlos Rivera)


Who doesn’t love a song from Coco? The only command is “recuérdame,”  but you’ll hear it again and again. And…. Coco.


10. Olvídame y Pega la Vuelta – Jennifer Lopez y Marc Antony


Cheese it up with these duets. The second one has more negative commands!



11. Sé Chévere – Sr. Wooly


Not strictly “authentic,” but THE BEST SONG EVER for commands. Your students will love you for showing this one. 



What Spanish songs with commands did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Spanish song with commands


Authentic Spanish Songs with the Subjunctive Mood

Authentic Spanish Songs with the Subjunctive Mood

Inside: The best Spanish songs with the subjunctive mood. 


The subjunctive is one of the harder forms to master. I still mess it up, especially when speaking about the past! 

But let’s not make the mistake of leaving it entirely to Spanish 3 or 4. You can still slip it in (¡Que tengas un buen día!), and this song list is ready whenever you’d like to emphasize the subjunctive mood. 

(If you’re looking for more lists of Songs in Spanish by theme and category, I have a TON you can browse through or save for later.)

Let’s take a tour of our top picks!


Spanish Songs with Subjunctive


Songs in the present subjunctive are at the beginning, and you can find the imperfect subjunctive near the end of the list. 


1. Sueños – Diego Torres


This is a really happy, catchy song full of the subjunctive mood. (Mostly in the context of “quiero que…”)


2. A Dios Le Pido – Juanes 


One of the most iconic Juanes songs out there, the subjunctive here is triggered by a request/desire. This one is PACKED with subjunctive verbs!



3. Azul – Natalia Lafourcade 


Azul has themes you could discuss at length with advanced classes. You’ll find the subjunctive triggered by the form of “tengo miedo que…”



4. Ojalá Que Llueva Café – Juan Luis Guerra


Here you can find a lot of the Ojalá que + verbs, in the context of a social-justice oriented song. 


6. Sólo Le Pido a Dios


With Sólo Le Pido a Dios, you’re exposing your students to the subjunctive while giving them an amazing dose of the best of Latino culture. There are many, many covers of this song. I’ve included a few below– it might be nice to listen and compare versions. 






6. Que Suenen los Tambores – Victor Manuelle 


It’s almost impossible to listen to this one without dancing. There’s a ton of the subjunctive mood, mixed in with a lot of commands.



7. Exigimos – Doctor Krapula


I am *not* very good at branching out into diverse genres, so here’s my attempt. If your class like punk rock, they’ll love this one and it’s message of making the planet & world a better place. 



8. Sería Feliz – Julieta Vengas 


If you’re moving into the imperfect subjunctive, this is a good one to start with. Includes examples of si ______, sería feliz. 



9. Si No Te Hubieras Ido


There are lots of version of this one! I’m including my favorites. It’s only one line that has the huberias ido phrase, but it’s a memorable one and might be a good introduction to the imperfect subjunctive. 




10. Si Yo Fuera un Chico – Beyoncé


This will definitely be a conversation starter and a memorable way to learn “fuera.” There’s a lot of conditional, as well .




What subjunctive songs did I miss? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Letting Go of Language Fear: Teaching Spanish, When You Don’t Speak it Perfectly

Letting Go of Language Fear: Teaching Spanish, When You Don’t Speak it Perfectly

 Inside: How to find confidence and build your language skills when you aren’t a perfect speaker. 


I have a confession: I am an insecure about my Spanish.

The insecurity mainly comes from people knowing I teach it. Talking with a bunch of old friends, who are native speakers? Fine. Teaching a low-level Spanish class? No problem. 

But sit me down with another teacher who speaks better Spanish, and my proficiency literally crumbles in front of me. My heart races, and I can hear the mistakes falling out of my mouth. I want clarify: I do at least, hear the errors. Somehow I just can’t stop them!




Another confession: I hate writing in Spanish on social media teacher forums. With friends I can text and message all day. But writing in a FB group, where the grammarians are just waiting to help me improve my Spanish? No thank you. 




do realize this isn’t healthy. I do know that I should love and welcome feedback. After all, I ending up learning Spanish, teaching Spanish, and raising bilingual kids without planning any of it. My credentials are not all up-to-speed. I should be wide open to it, grateful to people who help me get better. 

My husband, a native Spanish speaker is like that. He insists on his English being corrected. Thanks to his thick skin, he has that strange ability to separate an honest mistake from his personhood. I get defensive when my story gets interrupted to let me know it’s tenga, not tiene; he’s grateful for the a-ha moment.

Perhaps I should listen to the words I say to my students: I’m so proud of you for trying! Who cares if you mess up? We’re all learning, every day! But I do care, because– accidentally or not– Spanish is now my job. I’m Spanish-speaking mama, making Spanish-speaking kids. My mistakes kinda do matter now.

It’s annoying to be imperfect, but it also means I totally get it when people share they’re afraid to talk to native parents… or teach an upper-level course…or admit they grew up in a Spanish-speaking home… or that they’re Spanish teachers.




In no other subject area are your credentials on the line every. single. time. you open your mouth or say something on social media. Seriously.

So, there’s our situation, us non-native speakers who aren’t where we want to be. I’ve got some thoughts and then some concrete ideas for where to go from here.


It seems we need to figure out 3 main areas:

  • Make a plan to improve our proficiency, long-term. 
  • Figure out how make up for our language gap while teaching, in the meantime. 
  • How to become more confident in ourselves, wherever we are.

Working on Your Own Proficiency 


Long-term, we want to grow in proficiency. There are fancy and fun ways to do this: travel, do an immersion summer, find friends who will speak with you, or take a class. If you don’t have space to do something like that now, here are some ideas for learning at home. 

  • Find a good Spanish podcast. This is the easiest step to take. Listen in the car, while doing housework or while getting ready in the mornings. 
  • Get hooked on a Spanish show on Netflix. I often multitask while watching, but it’s really better to put everything down and really soak up the language. 
  • Read. You can go straight to an authentic book in Spanish, choose a good YA book translated into Spanish (think Harry Potter), or you read the advanced Fluency Fast readers. I find this particularly helpful, because they often the language I need to provide in class– sort’ve like I’m filling myself up with the language I need to give. 
  • Listen to music in Spanish. Listen to the same songs over and over, til you’ve memorized them!
  • Set your devices to Spanish, and like or follow several social media accounts. 


Teaching Spanish, in the Meantime


Long-term, we’re growing and getting more fluent. But right now? Right now, you might have been thrown into Spanish 4 mid-year, because that teacher quit. There might be native speakers trying to correct you, and you find yourself reverting to English too much. Their parents chat you up in the hall and you want to die of embarrassment that you can barely understand them. 

Or maybe you committed to teaching your own little kids Spanish, and are now realizing you didn’t learn how to say, “Ew get out the toilet! There are germs and it’s disgusting and if you ever do that again you will be in huge trouble!!!!”

Here are some suggestions.

Teaching a class with lots of heritage/native speakers: 


  • If possible, be honest and upfront. Tell them you might stumble at times, but that by being a non-native speaker you understand what it it like for them. I let them know I was still learning; I openly looked up words I didn’t know. When we did silent reading as a bellringer, I tried to get a novel and read– to show them I was still learning, too. 


  • Set the boundaries for when native and heritage speakers can help you. You need to decide if you welcome suggestions during class or not. If it’s happening a lot, consider pulling the students aside to understand why they feel the need to correct. Establish when and where it’s okay, and when it’s not. 


  • Explain the many regional differences right off the bat (ask, “How you do you say ______ in _____?). Also, it’s worth it to explain that some street terms are different than what’s often taught in class. (“Ya’ll” and “gotta/gonna” are used, but not found in English books, for example.)


  • Acknowledge but downplay their “corrections.” Perhaps say “Muy interesante” nonchalantly and add it to a vocab list or word wall posted somewhere. It may be these students are feeling insecure elsewhere, and use Spanish class as a way to show off. Try to channel that in a positive direction. (If it’s rude and needs correction, that’s another matter.)


  • Give them something else to do. If the students are truly at a higher level than you, consider putting them in direct contact with books, music, and podcast that will challenge them. It’s some work upfront, but it will allow you to focus on the class. 



Not Feeling Confident to Speak 90% in Class


  • You can only start where you are. Are you at 50% Shoot for 60%. You may need to do some extra prep for a while– write out your PPTs, write a story ahead of time, script out your MovieTalk. 


  • If you are grammar-based, I HIGHLY recommend looking into comprehensible input. There are tons of resources out there. It is MUCH easier to stay in the TL when you are using materials in the TL. Study novels together in class. The language is there, and you are only facilitating the discussion. If it’s an upper-level class, just stay one chapter ahead. Study authentic songs in Spanish, use stories that other teachers have written, and bring listening resources right into the classroom. You will grow with your students!


Speaking Spanish with Your Kids at Home


This is REALLY hard to do (so kudos to you!!). Parenting your kids means saying very complicated things. And, you are also trying to build an emotional connection that lasts a lifetime.


  • Consider setting aside certain parts of the day to be Spanish-only (like bedtime), or a certain night of the week. Lean heavily on book and songs (learn together), watch movies together, and play games where the vocabulary is handy. I wouldn’t worry about mistakes (I make them all the time), as long as your children are in contact with some native speakers or materials. 


Speaking Spanish as a Latino


It’s really common that kids grow up hearing Spanish their entire lives, but feel really insecure about speaking it. Maybe you got teased about errors from older siblings or family members, and clammed up. Maybe you had a time in life when speaking Spanish wasn’t cool, or your parents didn’t surround you with as much language as you needed. Your Latino last-name probably makes it worse when your language doesn’t come out impeccably. 


  • Be honest with your family (if you can). Explain that the jokes or teasing makes you more self-conscious. OR maybe you need to explain that you want family time to be real, honest communication. No error-correction, just help if you ask for it. 


Being Confident in Yourself


Ah, this one is hard. The worst thing that can happen is that you abandon Spanish (at home or as a career) due to perfectionism. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Your imperfections can be quite inspiring to your students and kids. (She laughs at her own mistakes and moves on? Wow.)


  • There will always be someone better, and being native won’t always fix it. Some of you reading this actually have quite good Spanish, but every mistake still kills you. Hey, guess what? Even native speakers make mistakes. There are entire debates on Spanish teacher forums about a ser vs. estar nuance (yeah, that thing we teach the first month of Spanish 1). 


  • Sometimes differences are regional. Spanish is a big language, geographically. I’ve been mortified over an error on facebook, only to be find out it was just a difference between countries. 


  • If you find yourself cornered in a conversation that’s making you flustered, ask questions! Point the conversation away from yourself, give yourself a minute to breathe, and try to understand the other speaker. 


  • Sometimes, ignore. Sometimes, people are insecure in themselves and are looking trouble (whether it’s students, parents, or even fellow teachers). I’ve heard horror stories of teaching walking into other classes and correcting something in front of all the students, or a Spanish-speaking parent “testing” the teacher’s Spanish. At some point, you can’t do anything about that sort of toxicity and you have to let it go. Believe me, I’m bad at it. But I’m working on it!



I would love to hear your best advice for building confidence as a Spanish speaker. Let me know your ideas in the comments below!

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I want to speak Spanish


The Best Spanish Podcasts for All Levels & Learners

The Best Spanish Podcasts for All Levels & Learners

Inside: The best Spanish podcasts for learning at home.


Most people will tell you that the best way to keep up your Spanish is to use it. That’s certainly ideal, and conversation will improve your fluency in speaking. However, there’s nothing that will affect your proficiency like getting language into your head. 

For those of us who are non-native speakers, podcasts are a perfect solution for learning more. As a non-native teacher and parent of bilingual kids, speaking all day isn’t enough: I need good input too! While I love my Spanish shows on Netflix, the flexibility of podcasts can’t be beat: up your proficiency while commuting to work, folding laundry, or exercising. Win-win!

Here are awesome podcasts, whether you’re a beginner or looking to brush up on your skills. 

The Best Spanish Podcasts (for Free)


Personally, I get frustrated when I think I’ve found a great new resource and then realize it’s not free. I don’t mind paying for quality; I just like to know up front. So here are your totally podcasts in Spanish with totally free audio that stands on its own (even if transcripts or other perks are paid options). 


1. RadioAmbulante

Levels: Intermediate to Advanced. 

Produced by NPR, the stories in this podcast are compelling with top-quality production. Topics include currents events and cultural themes, with a special emphasis on Latin America, Spain, and the U.S. You can search episodes by theme and country. 

I recommend this podcast for learners who can converse comfortably in Spanish, but need to keep up their skills or are teaching advanced classes. 

Transcripts in Spanish and English are included.  



Levels: Intermediate to Advanced. 

Going to the Listado de episidios is the easiest way to start navigating this extensive site. All of the episodes can be listened to on the site, and include a transcript. 

Although the site offers “Spanish 101 lessons”, they are really grammar lessons in Spanish and would be very difficult for beginners on their own. There are a ton of videos on YouTube as well.

The only cost for the site is if you want to purchase their audiobooks. 


3. Spanish Obsessed

Levels: Beginner to Advanced

Lisa and Rob co-host this podcast, which has dozens of well-produced episodes. Even the very first levels are conversation-based, and all episodes include transcripts. Rob is a learner and Lisa is native speaker (from Colombia, which tends to be an easier accent for beginners in my opinion). They have a nice pace and a relaxed way about chatting together.

Translations, exercises and downloads are for purchase, but once you sign up you get access to the podcasts.  



4. DuoLingo

Level: Intermediate 

I LOVE that DuoLingo decided to focus on stories for their new podcast. It’s a little different, in that it switches back and forth between Spanish and English. I am not sure what to think about that, but I appreciate the compelling nature of the Spanish, and that it’s not a translation back and forth. The speed and language are great for intermediate learners. 

Transcripts are included, too!



5. Español Automático

Levels: Intermediate to Advanced

Another excellent option from Spanish native speakers, this one features podcasts centered on themes or certain grammar structures. This is a good one for learners who speak and understand, but want to refine their skills or fine-tune weak spots. 

Here’s a link to see all the podcasts at a glance (easier than navigating from the home page). 



6. Notes in Spanish

Levels: Beginner to Advanced

A mix of Spanish and English, Notes in Spanish focuses functional language you hear “on the street.” This is not straight immersion-style, but rather teaches important, every day phrases at the beginning, with pauses so you can repeat the after the speakers. At the beginner level, there is more explanation than conversation. As you move up, it becomes more natural conversation.

You’ll find that Ben and Marina, the hosts, are very relaxed and assuring. Ben is a learner, and Marina is a native speaker.

You will want to listen to this podcast in order, as each episode refers to previous episodes. Once you get to the iTunes stores, it’s VERY easy to go from episode to episode, which I like, and the website is easy to navigate. 

7. Profedele

Levels: Intermediate to Advanced

This is another new Podcast, with 12 episodes so far. Each episode focused on a different topic. If you teach by unit, these are helpful as you can probably find something to align with what you’re studying. 

Each podcast comes with a transcript in Spanish, and can be streamed on YouTube or Cloudstream.



Partially Free Spanish Podcasts


It’s hard to find podcasts for true novices. Your best bet might be following a channel on YouTube like Dreaming Spanish, which you can slow down (when you click on the settings button in the lower right corner) and where you’ll still have some visuals. But here are my best suggestions for those who’ve learned some but are still getting started. 


1. News in Slow Spanish

Levels: Beginner to Advanced

(Though beginner levels are technically offered, they seem to be grammar modules primarily in English– keep that in mind.)

When they call this one “News in Slow Spanish,” they actually mean it: the speakers are clear, slow, and enunciated. I like the option of speakers from Spain or Latin America, and each episode has the transcript below. More difficult parts are bolded, and hovering over those phrases shows a translation.

With the basic, free access, you can still listen to current news clips. The transcripts, grammar, quizzes, and a few more features include higher subscription costs. 


2. Coffee Break Spanish

Levels: Beginner to Intermediate – Advanced

Coffee Break Spanish produces high-quality podcasts, beginning with lessons for novices and more conversational as the levels move up. The site is a little tricky to navigate, and it helps just to go to iTunes or the Android version, to access all the free podcasts in one place. 




3. Podcasts in Spanish

Levels: Intermediate – Advanced 

It was unclear on the site what the levels meant, but Level 1 already seemed to be intermediate. If you want worksheets and transcripts you have to pay, but all of the audio is free. There are a TON of audio files here. 




More Spanish Listening Resources


Here I’ve collected resources that aren’t podcasts, but still are helpful to know about!


1. Spanish Proficiency Exercises

Levels: Beginner to Advanced

Totally free, this is a very organized site with clips of native speakers addressing specific topics.  Each topics will have a variety of speakers with different accents, answering the same questions. 

Includes transcripts in both English and Spanish. 



2. Practica Español

Levels: Beginner to Advanced

Wow. This site is new to me, but it is incredible. It contains some Spanish lessons and a huge database of news articles. When you click on “Noticias,” you can choose levels A, B, or C to only see articles and audio that fit what level you need. This is one of the few sites I’ve seen that truly has novice-level reading and audio based on actual news topics, not just explanations or grammar.

Additionally, most articles have a real news clip in Spanish, with comprehension questions, and then related some grammar and vocabulary in context. Definitely bookmark this one!


3. Spanish Listening

Level: Beginner to Advanced

These video archives of native speakers are really easy to search: grammar, level, topic, or country. 


4. Curiosamente

Level: Advanced

Created by native speakers, for native speakers, this is a YouTube channel that explores fascinating questions like “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why do we have Deja Vú? 



Did I miss any of your favorite Spanish podcasts? Let me know in the comments!


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Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Spanish Easter Traditions: Ideas & Resources for the Classroom

Inside: A round-up of classroom iresources for Spanish Easter traditions.


La Pascua– Easter in Spanish– is a big deal across the Spanish-speaking world, whose history is closely connected to the Catholic church. The month of Lent culminates in Semana Santa, which commemorates the last week in the life of Jesus. In Spain and many Latin American countries, Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas, with deeply rooted traditions.

I’ve included a mix of religious and non-religious activities. In my opinion, it’s important to acknowledge the religious roots because they makes sense of many cultural traditions. I think you can do this without pushing religious beliefs, but I’ve tried to include non-religious options if you have to be careful to stay secular. 

Let’s not re-invent the wheel for ideas in the classroom! I’ve gathered some awesome resources, for all ages. 


Spanish Easter Traditions

 easter in Spanish class

Fun Ideas


Here’s an overview of ideas for teaching about or celebrating Easter traditions in Spanish. As you scroll down, you’ll see the videos, links, and expanded resources you might want to use. This is just the condensed version:


  • Learn about cascarones by making them, watching how-to videos, or seeing how they’re made and used throughout Latin America.
  • Re-use those plastic eggs for a variety of activities! Do scrambled sentences inside, use for maracas, or make a matching activity.
  • Read infographs and watch videos to learn about the cultural traditions surrounding Pascua. Compare/contrast traditions with those in the US. 
  • Tell or storyask a story based on Easter themes: cascarones gone wrong between friends, something Spring-based (mention that in South America seasons are reversed).



Printable vocabulary coloring sheet from Spanglish Baby:

Conejo Finger Puppets (scroll alllll the way down to the songs section to see the Conejito song!)

Conejo Finger Puppets Search from Spanish Playground

Conversation Questions from Spanish Playground

Semana Santa Coloring Pages (Religious)



There are lots of infographs you can use with Easter. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.


Credit: Twitter



This is only a portion of the original infograph. See the original here


Visit my Easter in Spanish board on Pinterest to find lots more realia!

Spanish Easter Traditions


The following videos are designed for Spanish learners who want to know more about traditions in Spain and Latin America.


An Interactive Video on Semana Santa

This one is so cool! You’ll learn all about foods and celebrations all over the Spanish-speaking, and the students get to pick which ones to study first. 



Semana Santa, Spanish Easter



Procesiones y Semana Santa



Bilingual Intro to Holy Week



Activities with Eggs


Make cascarones! You can have your students paint them or color with markers, fill them with confetti, and maybe even take everyone outside to break them on each other.

Throw Away Your Textbook has some good tips for doing cascarones, as does Mundo de Pepita

Use plastic eggs to do this scrambled sentence activity from Señora Chase. The nice thing about this one is that you can tie the sentences into whatever theme/story/song you are working on, but it feels Easter-y/Spring-ish because of the eggs.

Use another version of scrambled sentences Totally Comprehensible Latin, with whole sentence strips inside the eggs. This is a dictation & listening activity that can be done in pairs. It takes a little work upfront, but then you only have to supervise once it get going!

5 Ways to Use Leftover Plastic Eggs from Secondary Spanish Space: lots of fun ideas here!

Make maracas from plastic eggs with this SUPER-EASY craft. 



Videos on Cascarones


See how cascarones de huevos are prepared in a Mexican market. 


How-to in Spanish:


How-to, as explained by a kid:




Videos On Alfombras


Las Alfombras en Honduras (introduced in English):



Detailed video of the Alfombras de Aserrín process:


Alfombras from Guatemala:



Semana Santa Resources


Make alfombras with DIY Sand Alfombras 

Browse these photos of real-life Guateman alfombras

Semana Santa vocab at a glance. (Visiting this site downloads an audio file– you can choose to block it.)

Semana Santa Webquest in English

La semana santa en Guatemala from Estudia Feliz. This story includes preterite and imperfect as a teacher recounts her experience while traveling there, and she has more printable resources on her site. 



Authentic Videos on Semana Santa


Here are authentic videos that introduce Semana Santa celebrations in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world. 


Semana Santa in Peru



Semana Santa in Spain

Be aware that the outfits worn on these processions look like the KKK. The capes are meant to symbolize rising to heaven. You will definitely want to preview, and discuss with your classes before using them. (Good opportunity to discuss how culture shapes our reaction to images and symbols.) 




Semana Santa in Guatemala












De Colores –  A famous & traditional song that works well with spring vocabulary. 


El Conejito Blanco: So cute, and non-religious for those who need that!







I would love to hear about your favorite resources too! Let me know in the comments what else you would add to the list.


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