Often one of the first Spanish lessons, especially in full-immersion classrooms, is one that teaches commonly used expressions in class by either the teacher, or needed by the student, as well as a vocabulary list of frequently used classroom materials. In order to be successful in future lessons, students must know this particular set of terms very well, as they are constantly used and of use in the classroom.
The following activities are designed to get students thinking about the situations in which these terms would be useful, and to make them start the association process immediately. With enough practice, students will have these useful terms at the ready, and will find the full-immersion classroom more accessible. While lists of classroom materials and expressions have been included, they are easily adaptable to specific classroom needs.
By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!
As students embark on learning Spanish words and Spanish phrases, they will need specific tools to understand the teacher, especially regarding common classroom commands and questions. The chart below includes many of the more common expressions that a teacher will use regularly. The list can easily be tailored to accommodate for specific classrooms and situations. The following storyboard activity requires the student to think about what these expressions mean, and the situations in which they might be used.
Have students create a storyboard with individual cells portraying a need that targets one of the common classroom expressions. Students will then associate and write the correct expression for the created scenes. Assuming these expressions are part of a student’s initial exposure to Spanish, other vocabulary in the model is limited. However, if students are more advanced, they can include more dialogue or narrative.
Classroom Expressions — Teacher
Siéntense OR Siéntate
Levanten OR Levanta la mano
Raise your hand
Saquen OR Saca (la tarea, un lápiz, el libro, etc.)
Take out (your homework, a pencil, the book, etc.)
Un voluntario para…
A volunteer to…
Cierren OR Cierra (la puerta, la ventana, los libros)
One of the hurdles for new Spanish students to overcome is learning to express themselves and their needs in a foreign language. Having a list of useful classroom expressions for the student is the first step, but beyond that, the student must practice using them and internalizing their meanings. While the common expressions in the chart below can also be used by the teacher, they are commonly needed by students. Similar to the list of common teacher expressions, this list can also be easily tailored to accommodate for specific classrooms and situations.
Instruct students to create isolated scenes portraying various and realistic student needs. Each scene should target one of the common classroom expressions below, or those provided by the teacher. After creating multiple scenes, students will associate and write the correct expression below each cell. Other vocabulary in the model is limited, assuming that these expressions are part of a student’s initial exposure to Spanish. However, if students are more advanced, they can include more dialogue or narrative.
In their first weeks as a beginning Spanish student, students will have received an introductory vocabulary list, including articles in the classroom. While memorizing the vocabulary is essential, a step towards learning this basic vocabulary is having students engage with the material. The chart below includes some of the most common materials vocabulary, though it can certainly be expanded. In the following activity, ask students to relate the terms to the greater context of a classroom and the scenarios they will encounter.
Students will create a T-Chart in which on the left side there is a scene where clearly a common classroom item is missing or needed. In the cell to the right, students will recreate the scene, but include the item that was previously missing. Students will also include the vocabulary terms for these items in the cell to the right as a way of learning and internalizing the vocabulary.
This activity focuses on relating the vocabulary for common classroom materials to the classes they would typically be required for. Have students start with a spider map, titling each cell with a different academic class. Within the cell, students will illustrate a simple scene, with the subject teacher stating required materials for their class.
While the model uses a stereotypical list, the activity can be personalized and tailored to target items specifically required by the student’s teachers. Another way to personalize or advance the activity is to provide the option of including music class, gym class, computer class, etc., thus requiring students to research new vocabulary to include in their storyboard.
This storyboard model assumes that students have already learned the vocabulary list of common classroom materials and expressions, have done some basic practice, and are ready to put it all together. Instruct students to write a cohesive narrative of at least six cells that include at least ten terms (whether vocabulary or expressions).
For further vocabulary reinforcement, below each cell have students list the terms used, as well as their translations. Students may require some assistance with basic verbs and vocabulary if this is their first Spanish lesson. While it is mostly an independent activity, since students will have learned either no or limited other Spanish, they may need help linking statements in their narratives.