The First 2 Weeks of Spanish Class - Back to School with Hybrid Spanish Class - Mis Clases Locas

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The First 2 Weeks of Spanish Class - Back to School with Hybrid Spanish Class

Inside: First weeks of Spanish class with hybrid learning in a socially distanced classroom. back to school in 2020 teaching with masks, teaching virtually, and socially distancing in a CI Spanish classroom. Plus, I have answers to frequently asked questions about socially distancing, free reading, and more in Spanish class. 

The First 2 Weeks of Spanish Class - Back to School with Hybrid Spanish Class - shared by Mis Clases Locas

Hey friends! Yep I am still here in the COVID hotspot of Iowa where our governor won't mandate masks, yet mandates school are open in person. I am just a real life teacher mom trying to figure out how to best move forward with the new normal. I just finished my second week of in person school and as promised here is some information about we did the first two weeks, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions about changes this school year. 

My current teaching situation

I know that every single school is doing something completely different right now and many teachers had zero say in their current teaching reality. Every single one of us currently teaching has a completely unique plan, community and school. Each one has its own specific challenges and we all just need to support each other in any way that we can. For context to the rest of this post, here was the situation the first week of school. (Which changed week 2 & might have already changed again!)
  • I teach Spanish 1-4 full time in school with students every day on a new 99 minute block schedule, teaching a semester in a quarter. 
  • The HS students are split in A/B groups that attend in person every other day.
  • I teach the same 99 minute in person lesson two days in a row with each half of the students.
  • Each day I have blocks of Spanish 1, Spanish 2 and a newly combined Spanish 3/4. I also have a prep, part of which is virtual office hours for the students who are at home that day. 
  • On the alternate day students work on online work from home, that is usually an extension or practice of the in person day. We are expected to give 1 hour of online work for the virtual day and if not completed students are "absent" for that class that virtual day. (This is when I have been assigning a mix of: Sr. Wooly nuggets, Garbanzo reading, Edpuzzle Videos, Lyrics Training practice, Google Slides questions and activities, Duolingo practice, etc). 
  • One positive is I am enjoying block & not having as many transitions each day. I am also enjoying making fully digital unit slideshows with literally everything included so any student can have access to it, both in person or at home. 
  • After week one we had a confirmed positive student, who happens to be on the football team. (Yes, Iowa is currently playing HS football). This meant week two 25% of my students were quarantined, and then we added those students zooming into their live class day. So each day I have in person students, quarantine students on zoom, plus the online day students). Below you can see me chatting with an online student during our persona especial interview, wearing my voice amplifier over my mask. 
Mis Clases Locas checking in with online students while teaching in person

The First Day of School

Usually I pride myself on jumping into Spanish immediately. But this year there were a lot of administrative and SEL check ins that had to happen before we could get to any content. I am giving myself grace and you should too. This is not a normal year and in no way can we compare what we “covered” other years.

For my block Spanish classes first day we:
Just chatted to see how everyone was doing

- Google Slides syllabus (this year I made a last minute switch to use @profe.sierra ‘s snazzy, editable & detailed Google Slides) Typically I avoid syllabus day. But, this year there were so many essential and important changes that we needed to cover. It was imperative that they clearly understood how to be counted present for their every other day virtual learning, all the new safety measures, my office hours, etc. I loved having everything able to project & having all the links to all our online sites sign ups in one place. We then logged into all of our needed sites for the year (Google Classroom, Sr. Wooly, Garbanzo, Duolingo)

- Name Game Introductions - in giant circle outside (for just Spanish one)
Usually we play Name Game Speedball, which has been my go to first day activity with a new group. Basically students ask and answer their name in Spanish while throwing a ball in a set pattern. This year we did not use a ball and it was more just standing in a big circle outside with masks, doing introductions and practicing how to ask and answer with your name in Spanish. (I have heard that some classes did the game with an imaginary pass or “passing the snap.” Or students could do a specific action and then pass it on). 
Spanish 2-4 - In addition to above 
(except introductions since I am a #deptof1 and know my Spanish 2-4)

Books - Students picked out free reading books to start next class (see later in the post for more info on this)
To finally get to some chatting in Spanish, we tried out the new digital overlay feature on TPT PDFs. Students just interviewed partners at a distance with masks. They filled out the question sheet about themself and then interviewed a partner at a distance to write about them on the second page.
Spanish 2 did Fuiste  and Spanish 3/4 did Mi verano. Check out this blog post for more details on how to use this new feature both in person and with distance learning.  

The First Units

Music Bracket for all! Starting day 2 in all classes we began our Hispanic Heritage - one song from each Spanish speaking country music bracket. You can see how we do it in a bracket in this blog post. (Both A & B classes are voting on their in person day, so it will take us the whole quarter to complete). 

Spanish 1 - I am so, so glad that I created my new distance learning high frequency verb unit, since it has been an amazing way to start the school year this year. I am actually using the Blended Learning High Frequency Verbs Bundle with both the in person and digital options for our hybrid schedule. I have modified the unit to fit my in person block, then online supplement, every other day schedule. Here is how I am using it, introducing a new one of the verbs each on person day:
Each Spanish 1 in person class 99 minute rough block schedule using this unit
  • Hispanic Heritage - 2 songs and vote
  • Daily chat - calendar, how people are feeling, how online went yesterday, plans for tonight, etc
  • Introduce new vocab of day  questions of day
    • Some kind of practice with vocab and questions (students might turn and ask the 3 questions to a neighbor in Spanish from their distance)
  • Persona Especial - Student sits up front at a distance from me, all with masks and we use the slideshow from my original high frequency unit. I take notes on the board during the interview and students later use the guided notes sheet from the original unit to take their own notes later. One student records this interview on my phone, I upload it unlisted to Youtube & then share this with all students in the class to watch again and review on their online day. (usually I would do 2 of these a day, but with the tiny every other class sizes, we are just doing one right now). 
  • bathroom/brain break 
  • Intro & play song from that verb - To get more movement students might stand and jump or raise a hand every time they hear the repeated verb. 
  • Jokes - I project & we discuss the three jokes for that verb
  • Free Write - Students get out their Chromebooks and do the free write of the day in the big slideshow. They also go in and type the answers to their joke pages. 
  • Possible other activities depending on time and which day of the unit
    • Day 1 - Practice lyrics training, Duolingo, Boom Cards & other online sites to make sure they were prepared and can troubleshoot for the following day online.
    • Day 2 - Introduce & Watch - No lo Tengo from Sr. Wooly (then each online day the rest of the unit they do 1 nugget for this song as a part of their online work)
    • Day 3 ¿Tienes…? - digital Find Someone Who after learning about that verb the previous class as a communicative review. 
    • Day 4 - Use the provided story to either story ask story tell, or mad lib style the story. 
  • Wrap Up, Go over again what is expected the next day for online & sanitize area

Mis Clases Locas doing persona especial

Spanish 2 - Tomatina 
  • We learned about this lighter festival with a mix of resources that I made all digital in a big slideshow from The Comprehensible Classroom, Srta Spanish, Sra. Cruz, Garbanzo, Edpuzzle and more. We are including a lot of review since many have not done much with Spanish for many months.  

Spanish 3/4 - Voces Inocentes 
  • I pulled from parts of the purchased unit from Placido Langauge Resources, as well as added my own character introductions with pictures and more and made it fully digital. (This is a part of introducing our novel unit Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha).

Some FAQs & Answers

Let me know if you have more questions & I will try to add the answers here!

Are you still deskless?

For the first time in 4 years I am not completely deskless. With 100 minute block classes I decided to rearrange the flexible seating on my room onto spread out variety of seating options.

Due to some students choosing fully virtual & having A/B groups with only half the students attending in the building each day, I have much smaller in person classes. (plus check out my online Zoom student attending as well). 

In my student info Google form, I gave students the chance to give their opinion about which kind of seating they would prefer. Then I needed to make a seating chart that is shared with the school for contact tracing if needed.

Are you doing Free Reading? How?

Mis Clases Locas Free Reading with social distancing

This year I am starting every block class in Spanish 2-4 with free choice reading beginning on day 2 of class. (Spanish 1 will start after 1st quarter).

I helped each student individually pick out a book to start, without them physically browsing. I have had almost all of these kids before and asked them questions about what kind of book they wanted and their preferred genre if they didn’t have a book they knew right away they wanted.

Each student has a sheet protector with their name & their book goes in it & then by class on my old movie store display shelf. Kids can sanitize these by just wiping them off.

If they chose to return a book it will go in a bin to wait to go back in rotation.

Each day students go right to get their books, staggered as they entered class, and we read right away. So far this system is working pretty well.

Students mostly just read for fun and input. I often ask them after they read to put up ✊to🖐 to show level of enjoyment and again for level of understanding. Those who did not have a good fit, then picked out new ones, but most are usually high on both. Or I have them turn to tell someone about their book (from 6 feet away). 

**Distance Learning Free Reading - For my fully virtual, quarantined students I put together a Google folder of digital, PDF readings I have purchased over the years. They start class reading with us & then share in the chat what they read and how they feel about it. 

The First 2 Weeks of Spanish Class - Back to School with Hybrid Spanish Class - shared by Mis Clases Locas

Wow, well that post ended up way longer and more detailed than I originally thought. I guess when I do not blog for a while, I have a lot to say. For more consistent updates about how the school year is evolving, and daily ideas, make sure to follow my Instagram. I wish you all the best of luck on a school year that will be memorable to say the least!


  1. Hello,

    I have a question about your free reading activities. When you have students discuss their books with someone or ask for their opinions about what they are reading, do you do these discussions in Spanish or not?

    Thanks so much!

    1. It depends on the class & the goals! Whatever works for your group!


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