Buenas Noches: A Preschool Goodnight in Spanish Lesson

Buenas Noches: A Preschool Goodnight in Spanish Lesson

Inside: A preschool lesson with activities for good morning and goodnight in Spanish, sleeping and waking up, with activities for Spanish learners.

Lesson 10 Goals: I can talk about sleeping and waking up.

Target Structures: duerme, se despierta, les da, busca, la cama, el oso (review: buenas noches, buenos días)

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far, ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant

Movement/brain breaks: Stretch with our movement words: levántate, siéntate, manos arriba, and manos abajo, corre and salta, Duck, Duck Goose in Spanish, or ¡Salta, salta!


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Lesson 10 Buenas Noches Activities

Activity 1


Show and discuss the mini-story Pablito no duerme.

To prep the story, you might gather some common items children sleep with and talk about them, or have the kids bring a special item they like to take to bed. You could also do a class graph: ¿Duermes con un oso? ¿Duermes con una manta especial?

In this story, the little boy asks for several things before going to sleep. After telling the story, it would be fun to act it out with props, and have a child pretend to be going to bed. You could change some of the details (for example, his mom doesn’t give him a cookie– she gives him an apple). 


Activity 2


Play a version of Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone?, to get in repetitions of duerme, despiértate, and busca. To go along with the unit, we’ll call it Gallina, gallina, ¡busca tu pollito! Here’s how to play!

You Need:

  • A small cut-out of a pollito (a small object will suffice if you don’t have that prepped)
  • A chair, facing away from the rest of the group

To Play:

  • Teacher picks one child to be the “gallina.” The rest of the class sits in a circle or in chairs. 
  • Teacher tells the gallina: “¡duerme!” with the pollito under the chair. 
  • One student is picked form the group to walk up and quietly grab the pollito, then sit back down with the pollito hidden. 
  • Teacher tells the gallina: “¡despiértate!” The gallina has to guess who has the pollito. 
  • The class chants: “Gallina, gallina, ¡busca tu pollito!”
  • The gallina gets 3 chances to guess who has it.
  • If the gallina can’t guess, the class says where it is. Then pick another student!



Activity 3


Show and tell the story Los pollitos y su mamá. This is a long story! Review the vocabulary and make sure that everything is already familiar for your students. 

Activity 4


You could also supplement this lesson with the book Buenas noches, Gorila.

Spanglish Schoolhouse has a lesson and cute freebie to go with this book:

Supplemental Buenas noches/ buenos días Activities and Resources

Here are some sweet books for read alouds:  

A collection of Spanish lullabies and folk songs for bedtime, all on YouTube:

spanish lullabies

A nice, clear song with buenas noches repetitions:

Includes buenos días, buenas tardes, and buenas noches:

Pocoyó episode on going to bed, that goes along well with the story Pablito no duerme (also has a pato, which the kids should recognize as they listen!). You could listen to the original and pause to talk about it, or turn the sound down and narrate the video yourself .

Peppa Pig episode on nocturnal animals (especially fun if you have my Unit 4 packet, which studies nocturnal animals!):

Peppa Pig episode on a sleepover with friends. The language is complicated, so you might have to narrate quite a bit:

A silly, highly comprehensible song that teachers me gusta/no me gusta:

Want More?

Click to purchase the whole unit. You’ll get games, printables, mini-books, and more!

In Unit 4, I also have extension activities for reinforcing good morning and good night activities in Spanish. There are PPTs, printables, and a mini-book that study nocturnal animals versus those that eat during the day. 

Cinco Monitos Song Lyrics and Free Printable

Cinco Monitos Song Lyrics and Free Printable

Inside: Lyrics and activities for the song Cinco monitos.

Cinco monitos– Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed– is a fun song for little (or bigger!) Spanish learners. Use it to teach numbers 1-5, and beginning phrases like la cama, no más, la cabeza, and se cayó. 

cinco monitos letras y titeres


If you are looking for songs in general, you might like my lists of Nursery Rhymes in Spanish, Spanish Lullabies, or general Songs in Spanish for kids. These Cinco monitos materials are also part of my lesson on numbers for Prek-2nd grade. 


Cinco monitos: Lyrics / Letras


You’ll find a variety of lyrics for this song. Our personal favorite is the version sung by Toobys, so these lyrics are from that version. (The printable lyrics are available in the download below.)

Cinco monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Cuatro monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Tres monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Dos monitos saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!

Un monito saltando en la cama,
Uno cayó al piso y la cabeza se golpeó,
Mamá llamó al doctor y el doctor la consejó,
-¡Ya no más monos saltando en la cama!


Here’s the song on YouTube:


Cinco monitos: Activities / Actividades


This song can be a fun one to act out! Print the five little monkeys finger puppets, or glue the monkeys onto popsicle sticks, and cut out the bed image. 



cinco monitos actividades

Here are more videos of los Cinco monitos. You’ll see here just how many different ways there are to sing it:







Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Thanksgiving in Spanish: Your Mega-Collection of Classroom Ideas

Inside: A round-up of classroom ideas for Thanksgiving in Spanish.

Are you wondering how to handle the week of Thanksgiving in Spanish class? If half of the students are gone anyway, should we hand out a bunch of worksheets and call it a week? I’m not one to judge: I know it’s what an exhausting time of year it is.

Thanks to embracing comprehensible input, I no longer view holidays as isolated themes– time to teach some random vocabulary that won’t come up again until the next year. Nope! As long as we make in comprehensible, any theme can work for any student. That said, I do think it’s okay to accept that a few days of the year won’t be as content-packed as the others. If you’re going to do something like a craft, holidays are a good time to do them.

But let’s not re-invent the wheel. I’ve gathered some awesome resources to make the most of the week, with a little bit of everything, for everyone.

Here are some ideas for a typical Thanksgiving week:

Monday: Story, MovieTalk, and/or discussion. Pick one of the videos and infographics below, and plan your classes around it– even if you have different levels! Just adjust your own language to each group.

Tuesday: Craft day or hands-on day, if you’re planning to do one. From Monday, you probably used terms like turkey, so you can bring them around again today. Pick songs to play in the background; talk about one if it’s helpful. With younger classes, a mini-book might work well.

Wednesday: Game day. Go easy on yourself this day; it’s probably a weird half-day. Celebrities, Mafia, or Categorías are all perfect for crazy schedules and ancy students! If you have younger ones, Ponle el sombrero en el pavo or Pavo, pavito might be fun.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!


Spanish Thanksgiving Activities


Easy & Fun Ideas



  • Ask or tell a funny Thanksgiving story: a turkey who tries to avoid ending up one the dinner table, a family member who tries to enact a vegan Thanksgiving, or mishaps on the way to spend the holiday at the cousins’ house.


  • Choose a song and just focus on a few keywords (like gracias!). Do a really easy listening activity like Draw, Listen, Check


  • Lots of teachers do the traditional turkey or leaf crafts. This of course is easy to adapt to the Spanish classroom: students write things they’re thankful for, in Spanish, on the leaves or feathers.
  • If you can, take it up a notch to make it more input-based: generate some options and talk about them. Brainstorm things that students are thankful for, boil them down to common themes among the students, and categorize in “necessities” and “luxuries.” Make it Comprehensible has a great explanation for how to set up and guide this sort of discussion so the students are getting lots of input.


  • Retell the original Thanksgiving story. Use a picture book, draw as you go (a la Story Listening), or use a video from below as your visual.





There are lots of infographics, songs, and video clips you can throw in during Thanksgiving week. These are fun to to prompt discussion and give the students a chance to see what they can understand from an authentic resource.


Credit: Speaking Latino


Credit: Infografias en Castellano


Credit: http://trocitosgraficos.tumblr.com/image/36286671704


Visit my Thanksgiving in Spanish page on Pinterest to find lots more Thanksgiving in Spanish realia!



I have a whole post just on Thanksgiving songs for kids, if you’re teaching a younger crowd. This first song is nice because it uses the “Doy gracias por…” refrain that is part of many of the mini-books and crafts teachers like to do.

Día de acción de Gracias


If you’re looking for older kids, I love Mercedes Sosa and Gracias a la vida is a classic. Gracias has good repetitions of “gracias por…”, and Fonseca’s positive song Gratitud fits in perfectly if you’re doing a grateful-for theme. Or try this great Latino Thanksgiving playlist.

Gracias a la vida by Mercedes Sosa


Gracias – Silvestre Dangond & Juancho de La Espriella


Gratitud Fonseca


For Kids

Doy Gracias Mini-Pack (If you would like to purchase ready-to-go materials, I recommend this one from Mundo de Pepit! $3)

Free Spanish Doy Gracias Mini-Book

Free Bingo & Memory Games from Spanglish Baby

Free Doy Gracias Activities from Mrs. G Dual Language

Color-by-Number Turkey from Mix Minder

Five Crafts for Kids from Spanish Playground

Older Students

Spanish Turkey Glyphs (If you want to save time and purchase an activity, I recommend these glyphs from Sol.Azucar, available for a variety of proficiency levels. Students get to relax and color, plus lots of comprehensible input! $3)

A whole month of free Thanksgiving projects from La Profesora Frida

5 Ideas for Thanksgiving in Class from Sol.Azucar. I like the “Que linda manito” idea, especially!

Info in Spanish from Illinois University 

Free Activity Sheet to go with a reading of the Celebra día de acción de gracias con Beto y Gaby from Santilla



These would make great MovieTalks for a Thanksgiving in Spanish day. You narrate the stories in language the students understand, discuss, possibly type up a reading, and voila– you have a high-interest, language-packed activity. 



Salt, sugar, cooking terms


Re-tell the Story


Retell the original Thanksgiving story, perhaps choosing a character from the perspective of the Native Americans, and one from the perspective of the Pilgrims. You could use this video for visuals (definitely address that it’s a simplified version– it glosses over the complicated story of colonization and it’s impact on native people in the Americas). If you like, contrast it with the version below.



#authres Movies


How Latino immigrants are adopting the holiday of Día de acción de gracias:


La historia de Thanksgiving en español (very much from the perspective of the Pilgrims, but fairly comprehensible with subtitles):


Report on Free Birds in Spanish:


La historia de Thanksgiving, en español:




Thanksgiving in Spanish 

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Thanksgiving in Spanish Activities

Lesson 9: Simple Questions in Preschool Spanish

Lesson 9: Simple Questions in Preschool Spanish

Inside: A preschool lesson that introduce asking and answering questions in preschool Spanish, through comprehensible stories and input.

Lesson 9 Goals: I can answer very simple questions about myself.


Target Structures: busca, ve, eres, soy

Click to see my outline of Preschool Spanish Lessons for Los pollitos dicen. (Each lesson provides enough material for multiple classes.)

Review: Sings the songs learned so far and do the ¿Cómo te llamas? ball chant. If you are incorporating calendar time, ask about the day, the weather (¿Hace frío o ¿Hace calor?)

Lesson 9 Activities

Activity 1

In the previous eight units, the students have heard es many times. Today, we’ll start working with eres a bit, and try it out with our animal words.

Gather or make some farm animal masks (they’re included in a Unit 3 purchase). Call up a student to try a mask on. Point to them and say, “¡Eres una vaca!” You can ask them questions, too: “¿Eres un pollito? Eres un elefante?”

At the beginning, I don’t worry about answering with soy– sí o no is a good start. If you use this activity over several classes, you can add in asking the class: “Es un caballo?” Throw in other questions, of course, if you want: “El caballo dice muu? Es verde or marrón?” Then go back to the student, “¿Dices muu o nii?”

Activity 2

TPR ve and busca (attach motions to them). There are lots of little games you can play to practice these words. Here are some ideas:

  • Play “I spy” for ve. (If you want, you can play by saying “Veo un…” or “Veo con mi ojito pequeñito…”) Incorporate the colors, and big/small to give clues.
  • Hide some objects in the room. Say, “Uno, dos, tres, busca!” and they try to find them.
  • Have one student leave and give a small object to someone in the room. The student comes back, and everyone chants, “Uno, dos, tres, busca!” The student guesses who has it. You can give clues about which student it is by saying clothing colors.

Activity 3

Project and tell the story La gallina que busca a su pollito.


Activity 4

Story-tell using authentic books in Spanish. Oso pardo, oso pardo and ¿Eres mi mamá? would go well with lessons 7-9.

You *can* read the story in the full text, and let the kids see what language they recognize. I recommend narrating the book yourself, using only vocabulary that the students know. Since your students are probably non-readers, you are telling the story; they’re listening and enjoying the pictures.

If you’d like to hear the full story in Spanish, there are some read-alouds from native speakers below. You can always mute the sound and narrate yourself, too!

Stories for Activity 4:


Want More?

If you like this lesson, click to purchase the whole unit! You’ll get an editable skit, a printable mini-book, and more.

How to Teach Spanish, Post-Textbook: Finding Your Way to CI

How to Teach Spanish, Post-Textbook: Finding Your Way to CI

Inside: How to teach Spanish without a textbook– finding strategies that really work.

When I got rid of my Spanish textbook, I wanted to jump right into planning. Just tell me what to do, on a day-to-day basis, please!

The WHY has to come first, though. Even really good materials can go wrong if the teacher doesn’t know WHY she’s doing what she’s doing. So I spent a lot of time studying up on HOW students learn language and WHERE we were going as a class. Once you have that down, it’s finally time to look at methods, materials, and strategies.

how to teach spanish without a textbook

When I looked at what was out there, I felt lost in a sea of acronyms. Everyone seemed to be preaching his or her method, and showing off the student success I yearned for. Was TPRS® the only right way? Should I spend my summers hunting down authentic resources? And really– is an IPA a beer or an assessment?

It’s tempting to join a FB group, hear all the awesome things other teachers are doing, and want to do EVERYTHING, right now. My advice is to read up, and choose two or three strategies to begin with. Start there, and watch your students. What is bringing life to your class? What satisfies your school requirements? What do you love to do?

As you research, ask two questions about any method/strategy/activity:
1) Does it provide compelling, comprehensible input?
2) Does it efficiently support growth in proficiency?

Activities that answer “YES” should be the meat of your day.

Under that criteria, I dropped a lot of traditional work: out-of-context vocab lists, isolated grammar drills, projects that looked pretty but didn’t result in proficiency growth, etc. (Caveat: Some of you have requirements to teach explicit grammar, or a certain way. I still do a teensy bit of grammar. But it doesn’t support 1 or 2, so I work hard to keep it to a minimum.)

As a fellow beginner, I’d like to run down the list of popular methods and acronyms, give my opinion if I have one, and then point you to the experts I trust. If something resonates with you– AND supports proficiency/provides good input– start there. Some of these are little pieces of teaching and assessing language, and some are entire methods.

How to Teach Spanish: Finding Your Way Among the Acronyms and Strategies


1. CI

It’s important to note that Comprehensible Input is not a strategy or method. CI is a thing: messages that students understand. Through CI, our students acquire language.

Here’s the thing: there are different ways of providing CI. Even a grammar textbook will incorporate a tiny amount of CI. El libro es grande. It’s just normally limited, out of context, and woefully dry.

Our job as teachers is to ask: what activities provide the best input? What is interesting to my students?

When I started to calling myself a “CI Teacher,” it really meant: I believe that students acquire language through comprehensible input. Therefore, I now employ strategies that maximize exposure to quality CI. (Spoiler alert: my favorites are TPRS®, MovieTalk, authentic music, and novels.)

To see how one teacher puts these different strategies together to structure her curriculum, check out Mis Clases Locas’ curriculum map for Spanish 1-4. 


 2. TPRS®

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling® is a collaborative method of storyasking, between the teacher and the class, and originally created by Blaine Ray. I rely on it heavily, though not exclusively or strictly. I found that by using student actors and creating a memorable story, the structures stuck. As in, I almost completely eliminated vocabulary quizzes, grammar exercises, and homework, with better results.


Many people picture it as a marathon of ridiculous stories, or repetitive questions. It can be, but it needn’t be. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with TPRS and doing a training, before you rely on hearsay or one impression to make the decision. Many other techniques utilize and build on the skills you’ll acquire through TPRS.

For Spanish 1 and 2, I story-ask about once or twice week unless we’re in a novel unit. It’s an exhausting day, but the stories remain so vivid that the follow-up activities, discussions, and readings usually go well.

Martina Bex has a VERY helpful post on this: How to ask a story.

Read & see more:

TPRS with Martina Bex
TPRS with Ben Slavic
What I Love About TPRS by Musicuentos
TPRS Strategies I Don’t Put in My Toolbox by Musicuentos
See an example of a unit built around storyasking once a week, from Martina Bex.



 3. #authres

Authentic resources are materials from native speakers meant for native speakers, not learners. I LOVE a good authentic resource when I can find one. My absolute favorite is authentic songs or video clips that coincide with structures we’re learning.

Where I differ from the #authres movement is the assumption that authentic is always better, or that students will learn better Spanish. I am cautious when I hear of schools trying to base everything they do on authentic resources.

For upper-level classes, they are incredibly useful. For novices, it depends. I think #authres are best used when the end goal is very clear. For example, if I want the students to acquire Spanish efficiently, I’ll grab a novel written for students. If I want them to feel the thrill of reading a “real” Spanish text or work on finding the main idea, I’ll give them an authentic reading.

Too much dependence on #authres: Students acquire less. They have good real-word skills of finding the main idea, or recognizing vocabulary, but fewer internalized structures.
Too little exposure to #authres: students are frustrated that in real life that everything isn’t comprehensible. They are give up easily or lack the confidence to persevere in confusing situations.

Creative Language Class is an amazing resource for centering your lessons on #authres.
How to Find #authres on Social Media from Secondary Spanish Space
Authentic Resources vs Learner Materials from Musicuentos
Authentic Songs for Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Advanced Spanish Classes


4. IPAs

Integrated performance assessments reflect the ACTFL standards. They measure interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing, presentational speaking, and interpersonal communication. Instead of parsing sentences and conjugating verbs, the students interpret and respond to authentic resources.

In Spanish 1, I diverged a bit from my mainly-TPRS track to do a unit on food. My students travel sometimes or eat a Latino restaurants, and a themed food unit would help them be ready for real-life interactions. I decided to backwards design from an IPA at the end of the unit, in which we would read authentic restaurant menus and watch YouTube videos of recipes made by native speakers. Months after, I had students report back how they’d ordered for their whole family in Mexico, pleased as pie with themselves.

In this case, although I incorporated CI through readings and stories, I was deliberately targeting other skills. We used lots of authentic resources because the goals went beyond just acquisition: we were developing skills of getting the main idea from reading and listening to native speakers.

I am on the fence about IPAs, though that may be because I haven’t been trained to use them. They are far better than grammar-based tests. They do a great job of prepping for Spanish in the real world. They tend to produce confident students with real-world skills.

On the other hand, IPAs are a lot of work without being entirely authentic. The interpersonal section doesn’t reflect speaking with a native, and the #authres are still weeded through carefully, to find resources that are fairly understandable and appropriate. I feel like my free-writes or tests on learner materials (which are way less work on my end) give me an equally good sense of their proficiency levels. I think IPAs can be really great, as long as you are careful to provide rich input, and not just teach to the test.

IPAs with Jen Shaw  Jen is fantastic and will be so helpful for beginners.
Examples of IPAs
Seven Steps to Creating an IPA from Madame Shepard

5. Novels

My favorite way to teach Spanish is through novels created for earners. There’s huge selection available at Fluency Matters. You can develop a months-long unit based on the novel that incorporates culture and history, and read together as a class. Novels are also perfect for FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) or SSR (Sustained Silent Reading), and I often start class with 10 minutes of SSR/FVR.

Why You Should Teach with Novels

Fluency Matter Novels
Teaching with Novels 101 from Secondary Spanish Space
How Should I Use Novels in Class? from Martina Bex

6. PQA

Personalized Question and Answering is as old as the hills: talking with your students, about them and things that interest them. I had tried my hand at it from the beginning, but after seeing it done as a TPRS skill, I learned more how to make it comprehensible and compelling. It can be a way to create input around target structures leading into a story, and some skillful teachers can spend an entire period on PQA.

PQA is very simple and effective: ask students about themselves. Center the conversation on them. It gets in many reps, and is usually high-interest.

How to Do PQA from Susan Gross
PQA in a Wink from Ben Slavic
PQA My Way from Alina Filipescu



7. MovieTalk®

MovieTalk is another TPRS technique for delivering CI. I LOVE it. MovieTalk is basically narrating a video clip through comprehensible language. The teacher narrates the story, pauses, points, and ask questions as necessary. I actually like it better than storytelling, because it’s so compelling and you don’t have to come up with the story on your own.

After the MovieTalk, you can give readings of the story or do extension activities. I choose MovieTalks that show structures we’re learning and lend themselves to what we know.

See examples of MovieTalk mini-units here from Martina Bex: Justino and The Janitor Story.





8. OWL

OWL (Organic World Language) sounds amazing!– but I am not sure how to find out much information aside from attending a training directly from the organization (which I haven’t done). I do know it uses 100% TL, and tons of games, interactive activities, and movement. Several bloggers I follow incorporate OWL into their teaching:

La Maestra Loca
World Language Classroom
Organic Language Learning


9. PBL

I know nothing about Project-Based Learning, but Laura at PBL in the TL does!


10. Story Listening

I am totally new to story listening, but I’m intrigued. Here’s a video demonstration from Beniko Mason:


And here’s the website to read more about the SL method. I like that this method focuses on great, classic stories. One of my criticisms of TPRS has been that it seems to be silly, crazy stories all the time. That’s fun, and effective, but it seemed to be missing the component of filling our students beautiful, good texts. Perhaps this is the missing key? I haven’t wrapped my head around non-targeted input, though, and how it would work to do this full-time.


11. OWI

Haven’t done One Word Images personally. Check out the videos below for more:




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Back to School Spanish Activities: The Ultimate Round-Up of Plans and Ideas

Back to School Spanish Activities: The Ultimate Round-Up of Plans and Ideas

Inside: Back to school Spanish activities and plans.


I don’t know about you, but beginnings make me anxious. Or maybe it’s more like this: the anticipation of beginnings makes me anxious. Even on Sunday nights–in the middle of the school year– I get those butterflies. Once school starts, we jump in and it really is okay! (Especially now that I have a clearer idea of where we’re going and how students take in language.) That week-before is just tricky.


Teaching for ten years now, back-to-school has gotten better. I wish I’d had easy access to ideas from other teachers in those early days, so I’ve gathered these back-to-school Spanish lesson posts into one place. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, here you’ll have tons of great ideas at your fingertips!


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