Spanish Writing Fluency

Spanish Cohesive Devices- Conjunctions

Is your school or district phasing in Common Core Standards?  At mine in Charlotte, NC there is a major push for all subjects to incorporate more argumentative writing. Not an easy endeavor for Spanish novices! When we looked closely at the PALS rubrics (from Fairfax County, VA) that our district is using for World Languages we saw that they were very specific and challenging.

A Level One student must use several COHESIVE DEVICES- or conjunctions- and at least 5-6 different verbs in a

presentational or argumentative writing piece.  Wow.  So, I’m taking the time to teach Spanish conjunctions separately and in a variety of contexts. The students are really proud of themselves for speaking and writing compound sentences in Level I and we’re thrilled with their progress with something pretty rigorous.

Here is a  Spanish Cohesive Devices Paragraph Model

Tell your students that they need to use and, then, later, after, finally, and more as much as they can!

Spanish Carnaval is almost here!


The most fun is to be had with Carnaval! Know what Carnaval in Spanish speaking countries is?  It’s the Spanish version of Mardi Gras, but each of the twenty Spanish speaking countries has its own interpretation and cultural touches, or flourishes.  For a few days before the first Tuesday of February parades, parties, dances, and often costumes and masks take over.  Carnaval celebrants celebrate in a big way before the austere season of Lent begins and lasts until Easter Sunday.  Click this link for a Carnaval Lesson for secondary students.  Click this link for a Carnaval lesson for younger learners.

Here is some basic Carnaval Vocabulary

  • el desfile= the parade
  • la carroza= the float
  • los papelitos= confetti
  • el disfraz= costume
  • la máscara= the mask
  • el baile= the dance party

Spanish Valentines

February 12, 2012 · Posted in SPANISH CLASS NOW, spanish holiday activities · Comment 

It’s coming up- el 14 de febrero.  Here are a couple of ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day in Spanish:

Feliz Día de San Valentin

Feliz Día de Amor y Amistad (Love and Friendship)

Check out these cute Spanish Valentines.


Super Bowl 46 is almost here, and it is the perfect way to practice using Spanish numbers. ¡Vaya Gigantes!  ¡Vaya Patriotas!  The excitement of the game, the teams, and the players bring Spanish numbers alive like no other event.

Super Bowl Spanish Activities

There are so many opporutnities to use Spanish numbers: describing players and their jersey numbers, player and team stats, and describing the field.

Most of us love the Super Bowl, so talking about it in Spanish is fun.  Here is some basic Super Bowl vocabulary:

  • fútbol americano- American football
  • el equipo- the team
  • el jugador- the player
  • el entrenador jefe- the head coach
  • el mariscal- the quarterback
  • la línea defensiva- the defensive line
  • la línea ofensiva- the offensive line

Spanish Numbers-20 to 100 in tens

  • veinte- 20
  • treinta- 30
  • cuarenta- 40
  • cincuenta- 50
  • sesenta- 60
  • setenta- 70
  • ochenta- 80
  • noventa- 90
  • ciento (cien in front of nouns)- 100

Spanish Back to School Activities & Lessons

It’s almost here, la aperatura de las clases, or the opening of school!  New or recycled school supplies, or unos materiales escolares, are on eveybody’s mind.

Hispanic Country Cultural Note

Spanish speaking countries have big-box stores that sell school supplies, but there still remains the small office supply or school supply store, la papelería.  Many people head there to get the following:

  • unos lápices= some pencils
  • unos bolígrafos= some pens
  • un bloc de papel= a packet of paper
  • unas carpetas= some binders
  • unos cuadernos= some workbooks
  • unas gomas= some erasers
  • unos marcadores= some markers

Check out the best in Spanish Back to School materials.  Use this coupon code FB10 for 15% off any time!

The Spanish present perfect- or what just happened

What has just happened to you? You need to know how to say this in Spanish. The grammatical term for this is the PRESENT PERFECT.  Here are some pointers:

Use the correct helping verb + the past participle = has or have done something.

Present Perfect Practice

More Spanish Materials & Activities

Semana Santa- Spanish Holy or Easter week

April 16, 2011 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, SPANISH CLASS NOW, Spanish I, Spanish II · Comment 

Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is one of the most important historical, cultural, and spiritual holidays in the Hispanic world.  Parades fill the streets with ornate, buy sombre pageantry.

Floats or los Tronos

Los Tronos are the ornate, historic floats used in Spanish especially for the Holy Week parades. In some cities some of the statues are hundreds of years old, or they are reproductions of the statues of Christ, Mary, the Disciples, and more biblical figures used in Spanish in the 1600′s.  Watch the video and read the article in Spanish.


Spanish Past Tense Practice- Preterite Verbs

April 13, 2011 · Posted in SPANISH CLASS NOW, Spanish Grammar, Spanish I · Comment 

We can always use a little practice with past tense Spanish verb phrases, and the preterite is on today.

Remember, you use the preterite for actions in the past that:

  • Have begun and ended in a finite way; completed actions.
  • Clues:  ayer-yesterday, anoche-last night, por . . . minutos/horas/meses.  Time markers that frame the past action.

See this preterite practice using the context of going to the movies.  Spanis Preterite Verbs Practice or Assessment

Click HERE for more Spanish language learning materials.

Using the Spanish Conditional- or el potencial simple

April 4, 2011 · Posted in SPANISH CLASS NOW, Spanish Grammar, Spanish II · Comment 

Practice the Spanish conditional mode or the I COULD way of expressing actions as in: I could eat the whole enchilada. Comería la enchilada completa.   A couple of pointers:

  • The infinitive stays intact, or as is, for REGULAR VERBS
  • Irregular verbs do have a stem change; they’re irregular.

Check out this simple, basic explanation: The Conditional Mode

Practice some Conversational Questions

  1. ¿Comerías una pizza entera?
  2. ¿Irías a un parque en el tiempo bonito?
  3. ¿Si tuvieras much tiempo libre en el fin de semana, que harías?
  4. ¿Qué películas verias si tuvieras el chance de ver tres en sequida?

And, here’s some practice or an assessment for using the conditional and double object pronouns in the context or situation of air travel. Spanish Conditional: Air Travel

April Fool’s Day in Spanish

March 30, 2011 · Posted in Hispanic Culture, Mexican Culture, SPANISH CLASS NOW · Comment 

Here comes April Fool’s Day, but it is not celebrated on April 1 in the Spanish speaking world. Nowhere close, it is celebrated on December 28 as El Día de los Inocentes.

It commemorates King Herod’s slaughter of all male infants in biblical times. El Día de los Inocentes is now all about pranks and practical jokes, especially in Spain and Mexico where there are media hoaxes.

Here are some free activities: Spanish April Fool’s Day Activities

For a El Día de los Inocentes reading and activities click HERE.

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