Learn Spanish on YouTube: A Guide to the Best Channels

Learn Spanish on YouTube: A Guide to the Best Channels

 

Inside: Learn Spanish on YouTube-  a guide to the best videos and channels, for class and at home, from Jennifer Brunk of Spanish Playground

 

When YouTube arrived in 2005, I was teaching at a university in Wisconsin. Overnight, I had access to hours of authentic video at no cost. I started a collection of YouTube videos for Spanish class and marveled at how the platform was going to change language learning.

Fast forward 14 years, and we’re watching 5 billion videos on YouTube every day. There is so much content, the challenge has become finding the right YouTube videos for Spanish class.

So, how do we find what we need? I’ve found it’s essential to keep my objectives in mind. Do I want comprehensible input of specific vocabulary? Or am I looking for examples of a particular grammatical structure? If I am going to share cultural content, I consider whether students will learn more from a video in English.

So, what videos are right for you will depend on your class and goals. Below you’ll find videos I’ve used successfully with students.

 

Learn Spanish on YouTube

 

This post gathers all kinds of amazing video channels and formats, for teachers or those learning Spanish on YouTube. To help you sort through all the options, click on the links to jump to specific sections. To see them ALL, just keep scrolling!

 

Never underestimate the power of a story in learning language! Some of the most effective YouTube videos for Spanish class are shows with characters, setting, and a plot.

 

YouTube Shows for Spanish Learners

 

Story is engaging, but at the same time we don’t want to bombard learners with Spanish that goes over their heads. For novice and intermediate levels, consider shows specifically for learning language.

Buena Gente is a series for novice learners. It is filmed in Mexico and is appropriate for all ages.

 

 

Extra is a language-learning series for middle and high-school students. It was produced from 2002-2004, and there are 13 episodes in Spanish available on many YouTube channels.

 

 

Destinos: An introduction to Spanish is an older series in the style of a telenovela. The 52 episodes are available on many YouTube channels.

 

 

Spanish Cartoons

Animated shows in Spanish appeal to younger learners and can provide fun language exposure in class.

 

Cartoons from Spanish-Speaking Countries

 

Educational cartoons from Latin America and Spain introduce children to culture as well as language. I use short clips of animated shows, and pause the video to build on the images with comments and questions.

Serie Pinchintún is a children’s series from Chile CNTV. It tells stories of Aymara, Mapuche and Rapanui children, showing their homes, games, pets and traditions.

 

 

Pocoyó is a series from Spain, available in Spanish and English. The show is intended for preschool and has a voice over narration. The format works well with older language learners, too.

 

Mundo VEOVEO has children’s programing from Ecuador.

 

 

Mundo Zamba is a TV series from Pakapaka, an educational children’s channel from the Ministry of Education of Argentina.

 

 

 

Spanish Language Versions of Cartoons

 

El Perro y el Gato is an educational television series airing on HBO with episodes available on the HBOLatino YouTube Channel. The program features dialog in Spanish and English, with the characters repeating what they say in both languages.

 

 

El mundo divertido de Peep is the Spanish version of Peep and the Big Wide World. The series teaches science and math to preschoolers and is a fabulous resource for young language learners.

 

 

The Peppa Pig Español Latino YouTube channel has many episodes of Peppa Pig in Spanish, including videos for holidays such as Father’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.

 

 

Masha y el Oso is the Spanish version of a popular Russian cartoon series. There are many episodes available on YouTube.

 

 

Spanish Lessons on YouTube

 

If you are looking for direct lessons for beginners, you might want videos teaching specific concepts or limiting their language for beginners. Here are some channels perfect for those who want to learn Spanish on YouTube. 

Señor Jordan has well-done videos that cover popular Spanish topics extensively. He recently began creating storytelling videos that I highly recommend, or you can browse the more traditional topical and grammar-based lessons. 

 

 

Dreaming Spanish is a series of storytelling videos designed for learners. Though they’re immersion-based, they still include lots of visuals and slowed speech to stay comprehensible for learners. 

 

 

Butterfly Spanish is great for those who prefer a traditional route, and want access to videos on very specific topics or themes. These are presented by a native speaker in a lively and understandable way, and give the feel of sitting in an actual class.

 

 

VideoEle is an extensive series that will be helpful to those learning at home, and teachers who want to supplement with YouTube videos in Spanish class. You can find videos by grammar topic, or vocabulary theme. 

 

 

YouTuber Videos in Spanish

 

YouTube videos for Spanish class are an excellent source of authentic language.

 

YouTubers create a connection by speaking directly to their audience. The format is appealing to kids, but if you are looking for YouTube videos for Spanish class, you need to be sure the YouTubers are appropriate.

The Kids Learn Spanish Habla videos feature YouTubers from Mexico and Peru talking about kid-friendly topics. Designed for Spanish learners, these videos are much easier than authentic YouTubers.

 

 

Many kid YouTubers from Latin America also make creative videos that appeal to students. These tweens and young teens talk about their daily lives, play games and do challenges. I’ve found these videos especially useful with heritage speakers. Check out Spanish YouTubers: Videos for Kids by Kids for some of my favorite channels.

 

 

How-To Videos in Spanish

 

YouTube videos for Spanish class can incorporate hands-on learning with drawing or craft tutorials.

 

How-to videos let you combine authentic language with hands-on learning. In particular, drawing tutorials and videos of crafts model activities you can do in class or at home to learn Spanish on YouTube.

Try drawing tutorials like the ones from Dibujin Dibujado and Dibujo Fácil para Niños. Students hear lots of language in context, and it is reinforced as they draw along. I choose simple drawings and pause and rewind to let students hear instructions again and have time to draw.

 

 

 

Craft tutorials list the materials students are going to use, and then show a step-by-step process. I look for short videos of simple crafts from channels like DonLuNatic from Spain.

 

 

Cultural YouTube Videos for Spanish Class

 

YouTube videos for Spanish class introduce students to culture as well as language.

One of the best uses of YouTube videos for Spanish class is to share images of cultural content such as places, celebrations, sports, food, and dance.

If you are teaching a specific topic or event, it is always worth doing a YouTube search in Spanish to find authentic video. You can show a short clip with the original audio, then pause or turn off the volume and comment to create comprehensible input with key vocabulary.

 

Holidays and Festivals

 

Try YouTube videos to show students images of cultural celebrations such as Día de los Muertos, la Cabalgata de Reyes Magos in Sevilla or La Tomatina de Buñol.

 

 

Geography and the Environment

 

You can also introduce students to places with documentaries and travel videos. For example, try the short public service announcements from the Mexican Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales to share the biodiversity of Mexico.

Videos in English are also an excellent source of content about different places. National Geographic Kids has a YouTube series called Are We There Yet, with episodes about Latin American countries. These videos are a fabulous introduction to specific topics like the pyramids of Mexico, llamas in Peru or the cloud forest of Ecuador.

 

 

Streaming YouTube Videos in Schools

 

YouTube is free because publishers advertise. However, we want to focus our students’ attention on the content we have selected, not compete with ads. Although there are third party apps to download YouTube videos for Spanish class, they violate Google’s terms of service.

YouTube Premium is one way to eliminate advertising and download videos. Another solution is Edpuzzle. Edpuzzle uses YouTube’s embedded player, and lets you choose the part of a video you want to show. You can also add questions and comments to create an interactive lesson.

 

 

Streaming Video with Netflix

 

No service rivals YouTube for user-created content or quantity of authentic media. However, Netflix offers a wide range of high quality shows in Spanish and has excellent options for the classroom.

To get started, check out the Best Spanish Cartoons and Shows on Netflix and these Spanish Movies for Kids.

 

Teaching Spanish with Video

 

Use these strategies to make the most of YouTube videos for Spanish class.

 

YouTube videos for Spanish class are a fabulous resource, but the videos are only one piece of the puzzle. Teaching effectively with video takes planning and technique. Check out Spanish Mama’s excellent article on How to Use Videos to Teach Spanish for specific tips for your classroom.

People all over the world continue to add video to YouTube at an astounding rate, and it takes sorting and planning to use it well, whether in the classroom or to learn Spanish on YouTube on your own. However, the payoff is enormous as we expose students to authentic Spanish and offer them a window to the world.  

 

What other channels would you recommend for using in class or to learn Spanish on YouTube? Let us know in the comments below.

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Channels to Learn Spanish on YouTube

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

14 Keys to An Effective Classroom Management Plan

14 Keys to An Effective Classroom Management Plan

Inside: How to develop an effective classroom management plan in your Spanish classroom, from Angie Torre. 

 

Help! I Need a better classroom management plan! 

How can I teach when students won’t stop talking?

How can I use the target language 90-100% of the time? I can’t even use it 50% of the time because students aren’t listening!

These are some of the questions I’ve received from distressed teachers trying to reconcile the ideals they were taught with the reality of the classroom.

As a newbie in the classroom, I remember thinking, “Why didn’t they teach us how to get these students to focus in our teacher-preparation courses?”

In answer to the demand, I wrote four blog posts on the topic.  But requests for classroom management strategies still top the messages in my social media. So, I decided to do a round-up of the best classroom discipline tips. 

In this blog session I will share the strategies from the previous posts that I believe are the most essential for creating an optimum learning environment. Then, I will highlight the advice from exemplary teachers from all around the United States whose input I have solicited.

 

 

14 Tips for A Better Classroom Management Plan

 

1. Include positive tension in your lesson plan. Tell students at the beginning of the lesson what they will be learning and what THEY will do at the end of the lesson, preferably that day, to demonstrate mastery. Students hustle because they know they will have to perform.

2. Teach and test your rules and routines.  Then, enforce them consistently. The rules are not the ones posted in the front of your room. The rules are the ones you consistently enforce. EVERY TIME.  Students learn quickly which rules they can ignore.

 

DISCIPLINE BEFORE INSTRUCTION.

 

The two or more weeks it takes to teach and practice your procedures will create the environment necessary for teaching and save you time in the end.  After teaching the rules, and PRACTICING them, give an assessment on them and grade it the same way you would an academic test.  Then, don’t forget to continue reminding and practicing. (This is how we turn in our papers. This is how we answer questions.)

3. Don’t speak when students are talking. EVER.  Stop and wait until all students are listening. It may seem like an eternity, but it isn’t. Don’t raise your voice above the normal volume level.  If you catch yourself doing it, stop. Wait until all are quiet. To call students back to their desks while they are working in groups, use a chime or bell, NOT your voice.

4. Build a repertoire of engaging games. Students engage when they are having fun. Click here to see Seven Activities that Guarantee Student Engagement.

5. Check the phones at the door.  You can’t compete with phones and the irresistible temptation to use them will be a constant distraction to the students.  Click HERE to see the phone pockets I used.

6. Change the seating chart frequently.  Once you know the students, separate the talkers and strategically position the human distractions. Then, once students have NEW friends, or you identify instigators, move them again.

7. Give frequent assessments.  The knowledge that there is always an assessment around the corner keeps students focused and hustling.

8. Teach in small chunks. When students get lost, they zone out and then act out.  Teach one step, check for understanding, then have students DO something with their new knowledge. Then, teach the next step, check for understanding and have students DO something with the concept. Repeat.

As a new teacher, a mistake I frequently made was to present too many concepts at once, assuming students had the foundational knowledge.  But they didn’t and I was faced with a classroom full of puzzled expressions. (What’s a syllable? What’s an adjective?)

While you are teaching one step at a time, begin at the bottom and make no assumptions.

9. Use positive peer pressure: Team A can’t score until everyone in their team has correctly written the answer.  Click HERE for engaging, collaborative activities.

10. Use proximity. Park yourself next to the off-task student and continue teaching. Walk around constantly so no student is far from you for too long a period. Make sure your furniture is set up to facilitate quick movement around the room and access to every student. I found this strategy to be HIGHLY EFFECTIVE!

11. Use wait time. Ask the question. Pause. Repeat the question. Pause. Look around the room giving eye contact. Call a student’s name. NEVER call the student’s name before saying the prompt or question. That lets the entire class off the hook. This is another form of positive tension. (See # 1)

12. Include all students in the closure activity.  If the activity only engages MOST of the students while some passively observe, don’t use it. My Go-to activity is an A against B competition.  I number all students 1-15 (depending on the number of students in the class).  I ask the question, pause, then call a number. The two students with that number must stand and say or write, act out, or draw the answer.

13. Choose hands-on or high-interest activities.  The more senses the students use, the more engaged they will be and less likely to disrupt. Some examples of activities that actively engage students are: Interactive Notebook Activities, TPR, listening activities that require students to draw or follow instructions, Google Drive Activities, charades and competitions that require movement.

14. Attend a Fred-Jones Tools for Teaching Workshop. Go with colleagues at your school or other teachers.  I have attended and facilitated this workshop at least 15 times.  Most of what I know for my classroom management plan I learned from these workshops. Changed my life!

If you would like more details or strategies, click on the following links to read the original posts.

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part One

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part Two

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part Three

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part Four

 

Tips for Classroom Management Plans from Around the World

 

I asked exemplary World Language teachers from around the globe, “If you could give a new teacher ONE tip to help them with developing a  classroom management plan, what would it be?”

Here is what they said:

  • Moon Mckinny said, “Give students plenty of opportunity to move and talk! I’ve found that most classroom management issues come from forcing the kids to be quiet and still.”
  • Erin SheaHauri said, “Design your lesson around the students. Especially at the high school level, they love when it’s all about them. It will keep them engaged because they are intrinsically motivated. When they are engaged/interested, classroom disturbances decrease.”
  • Rachel McCurdy Ortiz said, “As a teacher, apologize when YOU mess up. Kids aren’t used to adults admitting their own mistakes and it’s an instant trust builder. I’ve yelled at a class and apologize the next day. One time a student actually said, “What are you doing? Teachers don’t apologize.”  I do, and it has made some truly behavioral challenges completely turn around.
  • Erin Coleman said, “Build relationships first. Sometimes this means choosing your battles and letting smaller issues slide so that you can handle the big issues with ease. If your students feel safe with you, they will learn from you. And aside from learning your content, if you model patience, respect, and acceptance, they will reflect that back to you.

You can read more about how to build positive relationships in her blog post on the subject: The Engaged Spanish Classroom

  • Pepa Maria Cabelllo agrees. She says, “Build relationships. Talk to them. Sometimes you have no idea what they are going through.

Here are some tips from two elementary teachers.

  • Mundo de Pepita said, “Establish expectations and routines and hold to them consistently.” Read her blog post about End-of-class routines .
  • Fun for Spanish Teachers said, “Keep your rules simple.  Having your rules and procedures established allows you to stay in the target language for more time later.”  Click on Fun for Spanish Teachers to see what her rules are and to read her awesome blog post.

Add these strategies to your BETTER CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT PLAN and start enjoying teaching more!

 

Would you like to get teaching tips and freebies in your email? If so, click on Best PowerPoints for Spanish and French and scroll to the bottom. For signing up you get a FREE 122-slide PowerPoint on regular verbs and infinitives.

Stay tuned! Next time we will talk about how to deal with annoying violations of the dress code.

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Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

4 Practical Tips for Teaching Foreign Language to Preschoolers

4 Practical Tips for Teaching Foreign Language to Preschoolers

Inside: Tips and tricks on teaching foreign language to preschoolers. 

 

Today I’m welcoming Josefina Cabello, who is an Ecuadorian Spanish Teacher in Tennessee and TpT creator. She has been teaching Spanish since 2011, taught ESL for 5 years in Ecuador, and loves empanadas (I’m right there with you, Josefina!). She’s got some practical tips for those of us teaching that extra-lovable and extra-wiggly age: preschool learners!

 

Teaching Foreign Language to Preschoolers

 

Teaching preschoolers for the first time can get a little challenging. The famous saying “time flies” becomes a reality with these kids. Having extra activities “just in case” becomes a must for every lesson planning.

After almost 10 years of teaching, my preschool classes are the ones I find the easiest when it comes to plan and teach. Here are my 4 tips when you are teaching foreign language to preschoolers.

You also might like: Preschool Spanish Lessons and Ideas

 

Tip #1: Plan ahead and a little extra.

 

Plan accordingly and ahead. Depending on the time length of your class, plan activities to keep your students engaged

Here is a how a typical preschool class goes for me (30 minutes period)

  1. Sing songs or chants to review colors, numbers and shapes. (length: 5 minutes)
  2. Introduce content: Bring something to get student’s attention, use realia, puppets, costumes, the list is endless. But this stage is very critical to keep students engaged (length: 5-7 minutes)
  3. Review content: Use flashcards, memory game, bingo, I spy, anything visual and that keep students moving (length: 10 minutes)
  4. Worksheet or group work: I create worksheets where students have to cut, paste, circle, color or follow my commands. Work together with your students, monitor them at all times. (length: 5 minutes)
  5. Extras: We read a book, watch a video or play a game to review our content. This extra is always good in case any of the previous activities do not work right.

 

Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Be silly! 

 

Kids love it when you “play games” or “act silly.” It’s like you are speaking their language (even if you are speaking, say, Spanish). Bring on the puppets and action figures, kids love it when teachers use toys to teach their lessons.

When I am showing my flashcards teaching parts of the body, I love to joke with my kids. I tape a flashcards to my arm or to my nose and act like I do not know where it is. This way when kids say “your nose” I say “Oh, mi nariz?” and is not until my student repeats the word “nariz” I miraculously find the flashcard.

 

Tip #3: Listen to your preschoolers, but stay on task.

 

Johnny wants to tell you about the Daniel Tiger episode when the cake got smushed. Sandy wants to show you her Peppa pig t-shirt and Danny wants to tell you about the Paw Patrol party he had on Saturday. Kids love it when you listen, and even more when you get engaged in the conversation, but you also need to stay on task. A sweet and nice way to ask them to stay on task  could be by replying: “that sounds great, maybe we can talk about that after our circle time” or “I love Paw Patrol! maybe you tell me a little bit more after our circle time”. Keep your promise and ask them later.

When students are working on their worksheets, when you see them on the carpool line or in the cafeteria, show them you care. Tell Johnny that you hope Daniel Tiger gets a new cake on tomorrow’s episode, tell Sandy her new Peppa Pig shirt looks so pretty and ask Danny who is his favorite pup from Paw Patrol (just say yours is Chase or Marshall).

 

Spanish flashcards with preschoolers

I created these for my students to review “feelings”. I have some Daniel Tiger fans in my classroom. They were beyond thrilled with these.

Tip #4: Keep it short, fun and fresh

 

Short: I try to keep my activities’ length no more than 5 minutes. Preschoolers have a short attention span and once you lose the attention from a couple of kids, it is a domino effect in the classroom.

Fun: Keep them moving. Teach them a “bachata” song to introduce the word “amigo”play “flyswatter” to review family members vocabulary, or  review Christmas vocabulary with fun activites. 

Fresh: Preschoolers like routines, but also things that are new and fresh. Keep the routine for songs and chants to review numbers and colors. But bring some fun elements to the classroom, specially when you are introducing new content.

If you include flashcards in your class, here are some fun ideas:

  • Find your match: Give a group of students the labels and another group the pictures, ask them to find their match.
  • Left or right: Get two flashcards and place one on your left hand and one on your right hand. Call out one flashcard and make students guess in which hand you have it.
  • Flyswatter: Place all flashcard on the board.  Give 2 students a fly swatter and ask them to “hit” the word you call out.
  • Thief in the market: Choose a small number of flashcards (say 5). Show these flashcards to your students. Ask your students to cover their eyes and invite one student to open his/her eyes and “steal” one card. They can either guess who stole the card or they can tell which card is missing. Great way  to review “tienes” and “no tengo”

Most important, be yourself and enjoy teaching these little ones! They have so much energy and can bring so much joy to your everyday teaching.

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment with an extra tip for teaching foreign language to preschoolers.

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

The Big Collection of Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

The Big Collection of Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

Inside: Teaching Spanish videos and demos. 

Here’s the ideal PD situation for Spanish teachers: our school pays for us to attend amazing conferences. We pack our bags, hop onto a plane or into a car, and away we go!

That’s really the best way to collaborate and grow. However…. some of us can’t make it work. Geography, family responsibilities, finances, etc., keep us from making it happen. Though there are some new creative ways around that (Comprehensible Online, for example!), maybe you’re just looking to dip your toes in.

In my own journey towards teaching to proficiency, it was helpful to read about how other teachers were delivering comprehensible input. It was really helpful to see it in action. As part of my teaching Spanish textbook-free series, this post should help you visualize what teaching can look like without that textbook. The switch can be scary, but it might be more natural than you think!

In this post, I’ve gathered videos that give us a peek into language classrooms from all over, using different techniques that deliver comprehensible input to students of all ages. If you’ve switched to teaching to proficiency, but have colleagues who aren’t sure about it, this collection may be a good place to start.

I also have quite a few parents who are teaching their kids at home, or forming groups to learn Spanish together. If that’s you and you’re wondering where to start, this is a great place to gather ideas.

Before we jump in, I just want to give a huge shout-out to all the amazing teachers who have created video of their classes. It’s not easy, and it makes you vulnerable to all the haters out there in the interwebs. (Not gonna happen here- only thoughtful/supportive comments allowed.) I’ve included a variety of teachers so you get a broad sense of what’s going on in everyday classrooms. Some of teachers featured here have extensive video collections on YouTube, and I encourage you to click over to their channels and blogs, to learn more.

 

Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

 

If I’m missing some must-see teaching Spanish videos or demos, please pass them along!

 

 

 

TPRS® and Storytelling

Storytelling, Day 1 with Adriana Ramírez

A demo of TPRS from Sarah Breckley.

TPRS with a story script (from Martina Bex), from Sarah Breckley.

TPRS demo from Martina Bex on her story “Cierra la Puerta.”

Julie from Mundo de Pepita introduces a picture book in an elementary class.

Adriana Ramírez does a re-tell from a novel.

Alina Filipescu demos TPRS and using student actors.

Rocky la Roca with Alina Filipescu (an example of – I think!- spontaneous storytelling).

Collaborative storytelling with Eric Herman, with notes on the process.

Michele Whaley gives a full session on teaching with TPRS (in Russian).

First video from a series on TPR gestures with Annabelle Allen, aka La Maestra Loca.

Jon Cowart demonstrates TPR gestures.

Grant Boulanger creates a collaborative story with a Spanish 1 class.

Jason Fritze creating a story with elementary students.

Angie Torre demonstrates TPRS using preterite/imperfect forms. (Angie asks that you please excuse the video quality that was created with a less-sophisticated camera phone!)

Storytelling from Sarah Breckley.

From Alice Ayel’s YouTube series on French the Natural Way.

Example of storytelling for novices from Pablo at Dreaming Spanish.

 

Persona Especial

Demo from Erica Peplinski on special person interviews, with elementary students.

A special person interview from Cyber Profe, with helpful notes.

Persona especial by Courtney Johnson, as inspired by Bryce Hedstrom.

Another persona especial interview, with the student sitting in front of class.

 

Personalized Question and Answer

Adriana Ramírez introduces the past tense through questions, working with first year students. She has a series of videos for introducing the past, and this is just the first one.

Julie from Mundo de Pepita demonstrates a “question of the day” with third grade students.

Alina Filipescu uses personalized questions and answers to chat with her 7th grade class.

An example of PQA from Scott Benedict (talking about fears).

Alina Filipescu uses personalized questions and answers to chat with her 7th grade class.

An example of PQA from Scott Benedict (talking about fears).

Tina Hardgaden demonstrates calendar talk with a novice class. (One of many videos!)

Calendar talk, picture talk, and special person interview from Ryan Dickison.

Weekend talk with Cameron Taylor.

Card talk and small talk with Cameron Taylor.

 

MovieTalks

Sarah Breckley shares a MovieTalk based on seasons, weather, and adjectives.

Adriana Ramírez does a MovieTalk with the clip “Alma,” working with beginners.

A MovieTalk with Annabelle Allen (La Maestra Loca).

MovieTalk demo from Mike Coxon, TPRS teacher.

Darren Way does a MovieTalk with novices.

Modified MovieTalk with Julie from Mundo de Pepita with elementary students.

Story and MovieTalk combo with Matt Hotopp.

Modified MovieTalk with Julie from Mundo de Pepita with elementary students.

Example of using video in class with Julie from Mundo de Pepita.

Another video from Julie, using a nature documentary.

 

Examples of One Word Image

One word image as demonstrated by Sarah Breckley.

Tina Hardgaden shows her four-step process with One Word Images.

Story based on OWI from Tina Hardgaden. (Part 1 of 5 videos.)

Creating an OWI with Cameron Taylor, with notes.

 

Classroom Management

Julie from Mundo de Pepita sets up expectations for sitting properly (top) and raising hands (bottom) with elementary students.

More videos from Julie that show setting up classroom routines (top) and call-and-responses (bottom) with young learners.

 

Story Listening

Demo of story listening in Spanish.

Demo with Dr. Beniko Mason.

The Robber Bridegroom, told by Dr. Beniko Mason.

La Grulla y El Lobo, told by Alice Ayel

 

Second Language Acquisition

¿Qué es Input Comprensible?

The Role of Output in Language AcquisitIon from Bill VanPatten

Acquiring a language vs. learning it.

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Spanish Teacher Videos and Demos

language teaching videos and demos

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Spanish Homeschooling 101: Tips for Non-native Parents

Spanish Homeschooling 101: Tips for Non-native Parents

Inside: Tips for Spanish homeschooling and finding the best resources to use at home.

 

Are you a homeschooling parent who wants to teach Spanish to your kids, but who finds yourself struggling to get past “hola”?

If so, that’s okay—I’m here to help! My name is Anne, and I’m a fellow homeschooling mama on this language learning journey with you. Thanks to Elisabeth’s generous invitation, I’m writing today to provide you with a crash course in homeschooling Spanish. The tips that I’m sharing have been honed through my years as a language instructor at the University of Virginia—where I also earned my PhD in Spanish—and through my experience as a non-native speaking parent raising two bilingual kids.

In all this time, what I’ve discovered is that there are really only three basic things that you need to homeschool languages effectively: a basic understanding of how languages are learned; a workable study plan; and access to human support and resources.

I want to help you get these three things in place, because I believe that homeschooling Spanish is a supremely worthwhile endeavor. By teaching your kids a foreign language, not only are you giving them loads of cognitive benefits and academic advantages, but you are also teaching them some of the very things that are most important in this life: empathy, dedication, and a love of learning.

May these tips help you get off to a great start this school year—and no matter where you are on your language learning journey, know that I am rooting for you!

 

TIP #1: EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT HOW LANGUAGES ARE LEARNED.  

 

While learning a language is possible at any age, it’s important to know that young children do learn differently than older children—and you’ll want to adjust your teaching and expectations accordingly.

If you have a child under 12, you’ll want to teach mainly through an immersion approach: providing real-life exposure to the language, reinforcing learning with multi-sensory language games, and creating opportunities for your child to practice speaking in a low-stakes environment. You may choose to use a curriculum to guide your child’s learning and help you be consistent, but the focus at this stage shouldn’t be on learning complex grammar and drilling conjugations. Instead, your goal should be to get your child using the language as quickly as possible and feel confident doing so, even if his/her language skills are quite basic. If you need a little structure to help you get there, I highly recommend Elisabeth’s excellent Spanish unit studies—they work great for kids in this age group!

 

If you have older children—say, middle school-aged or above—all of the above strategies apply, but they can also benefit from direct grammar instruction. Although you may have heard that young children learn languages best, older children can actually learn languages more efficiently, because they can draw parallels between their native language and the one they’re trying to learn.

You can choose a curriculum that takes advantage of this natural tendency, but you should also seek out opportunities for them to interact with native speakers of the language—be it through online Spanish classes, online conversation practice, or be interacting with Spanish-speaker in your local community. Middle school and high school-aged children in particular may be reticent to practice speaking—since learning any language can be a bit awkward—so although they may resist, it’s important to keep seeking out opportunities to develop this skill.

 

TIP #2: CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE CURRICULUM AND PLAN TO USE IT CONSISTENTLY.

 

We are lucky to live in an age with an abundance of resources for teaching Spanish at home. No matter the age of your children, the size of your family, or your chosen homeschool philosophy, you can find a Spanish curriculum to fit your needs—take a look at my homeschool Spanish curriculum round-up to find one that will work for you .

Once you have that curriculum in hand, consistency is key. Short, daily practice sessions are much more effective for language learning than twice weekly lessons—and the more practice, the better. For younger students, you can help yourself be consistent by pegging your Spanish practice to another daily activity—perhaps including it in your Morning Time schedule, or dedicating your afternoon snack time to Spanish practice, followed up by a special Netflix viewing in Spanish.

If you have older students, you can plan regular formal lessons into your homeschool day, and I would recommend scheduling supplemental practice sessions as well. These don’t have to be teeth-pulling exercises or activities that require your participation; instead, they can include watching sports in Spanish, listening to audiobooks in Spanish, or playing on a gamified language app. Since motivation is really important for language learning, try to match that extra practice to your child’s other interests or activities, if at all possible.

And one more thing: while this may be an unpopular opinion, I feel obliged to note that not every language learning tool necessarily works as a homeschool curriculum. Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and Mango Languages all have their place, but none of them were designed for children, and all lack the comprehensive approach that young language learners need to reach proficiency. For those reasons, although I recommend Duolingo and Mango Languages as supplemental tools, I would not rely on any of those programs as your primary curriculum, especially for a child under 14.

 

3.) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES AND SUPPORT.

 

No matter whether you are learning Spanish alongside your children or are a native speaker yourself, no mama should try Spanish homeschooling alone! As a non-native speaker myself, I deeply value our Spanish-speaking friends and neighbors, who share both their language and their lives with us, supporting our entire family on our quest to raise bilingual kids.

With a bit of intention and planning, you too can find ways to surround your child with authentic Spanish-language resources and find others who can partner with you on your family’s language learning journey.

Here are a few ways that we’ve done that in our own family and which you might find useful:

  • Look for Spanish-language story times at your local library and get to know the leaders and other families there.  
  • Ask your librarian to give you a quick tour of your library’s Spanish-language collection—and grab some books for Spanish read-alouds!
  • Look for Spanish-language playdates in your community on sites like Meetup.com or through local Facebook groups.
  • Reach out to other homeschool families studying Spanish and plan a conversation playdate or Spanish Poetry Teatime together.
  • Volunteer with a church ministry or community organization that serves Spanish speakers. This can naturally lead to relationships where your children can practice their Spanish!

Of course, these aren’t things that you have to do all at once. It might make sense to tackle one in the fall and add another one on in the spring, or just to keep them in mind for future use. If something doesn’t work, try a new activity: the key is to think creatively about how to get your kids using their Spanish in the real-world, because if they can see how useful—and fun!—it is, they are much more likely to be successful in learning the language.

And in case those three tips weren’t enough, here’s one more: think of Spanish like an elephant. After all, as the saying goes, if you want to eat an elephant, you have to do it bite-by-bite. Learning Spanish is no different. What can you do this day, this week, to support your children’s Spanish learning? Focus on creating those good habits, and don’t stress about the rest—just be faithful to the process. You’ve got this!

Anne Guarnera is a bilingual homeschooling mom of two with a PhD in Spanish from the University of Virginia. Combining her experience as a language teacher and a bilingual parent, she writes at Language Learning At Home to equip other homeschooling families to study foreign languages successfully.

 

Do you have any Spanish homeschooling resources or tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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SPANISH HOMESCHOOLING TIPS

Spanish Homeschooling Tips

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs for Kids

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs for Kids

Inside: Spanish parts of the body songs: a list for kids on YouTube.

 

Here are my favorite songs for learning the parts of the body in Spanish. There are lots of games that work well with this theme, too, like Simón dice. Once your classes know the basic parts of the body, brain breaks are super easy to do! Give commands like “tócate la cabeza” or “cierra los ojos,” and stay in the target language more easily. 

 

Spanish Parts of the Body Songs

 

1. A mi burro

 

This authentic song in Spanish includes some body parts (cabeza, cuello, corazón) . It also repeats “le duele” a lot, if you’re teaching how to express that something hurts. 

 

 

2. Cabeza, hombros, rodillas y pies

 

Most kids already know this one in English, and it’s a fun one to teach as the pace gets faster and faster. 

 

 

3. Saco una manito

 

To learn about hands, this is a sweet classic. It’s nice to use right before story time or circle time when we want everyone sitting with hands in their own space!

 

 

4. Todo mi cuerpo

 

These lyrics are similar to “cabeza, hombros, rodillas, pies,” but with more high frequency parts. As always with Calico Spanish, the song is easy to understand. 

 

 

5. Baila la cumbia

 

Get in some culture with this fun mix of cumbia and body parts!

 

spanish body parts songs

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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