Comprehensible input in Spanish class – 5 Comprehensible Input Activities (that you can use for distance learning!)

May 13, 2020 Mis Clases Locas by Allison Wienhold

Inside: 5 Comprehensible Input for Spanish class to engage students. Try one out this week to incorporate something new to spice up the end of the school year, with an adaption for distance learning.  

Comprehensible input in Spanish class - 5 Comprehensible Input Activities (that you can use for distance learning!)


Hi friends! It is Allison and here are some ways I incorporate comprehensible input-based activities in my deskless Spanish classes, as well as adaptations for distance learning during this crazy time. 


Special Person Interviews

The idea of interviewing students in class is from Bryce Hedstrom. I personally tried it out multiple times semi unsuccessfully until I hit my stride using special person interviews with high frequency verb units. Below is what I have found works best with my own secondary classes. 

First, the special person is asked personalized questions using that target structure in a slide show. The slides support both teachers and students and were a game-changer for me. I transition using my clicker, which prompts their first-person answer. Then the class chorally states the information back. Finally, we circle the information until we feel comfortable moving on. 
The rest of the students sit in a semi-circle without anything on their laps. They do not take notes and their job is to listen, understand and interactI jot down notes on the whiteboard as we go. (Or you could have this as a student job).
Once we are done interviewing, we give the student a positive validation and do a brain breakThen my students grab their guided notes sheet and a clipboard and take down the notes that are written on the board. Or you could have students work alone, in pairs, or in small groups to take notes as more of a free write. 
**Distance learning adaption – Have students record using Flipgrid and continue to ask each other follow-up questions. 

Weekend Chat

In all of my classes, we typically start Mondays with a “Weekend Talk” or “Weekend Chat.” Spending a few minutes casually chatting in Spanish about the weekend makes class interesting and relevant. It shows you care about your students as people.

This check-in also gives a teacher SO MUCH information on how to adapt class, personalize and make things relevant, and build a positive classroom community. As an added bonus it is a sneaky way to get in repetitions of high-frequency words in the preterite or completed past tense.

As with anything variety is the spice of life, so I like to mix up how we weekend chat. This Weekend Chat resource is my ready-to-go slide show of ideas to project and go Monday morning. I also have a Weekend Chat Find Someone Who that I like to have printed and ready to go for a no-prep activity for any level any Monday.

For even more ideas check out the blog post 10 Ways to mix up Weekend Talk

**Distance learning adaption Use this slideshow on Monday to talk about the weekend in the past. 
Use this slideshow on Friday to talk about what they WILL do using the future.

Movie Talk

Movie Talk is a technique for language learning developed by Dr. Ashley Hastings. Basically, the quick summary is: Movie Talk is an activity involving playing a short, muted video clip. While it plays, the teacher explains it in COMPREHENSIBLE language. 

The teacher frequently pauses the video clip, asking questions, which circle,s and repeating the target structures. The goal is not to narrate everything happening but instead focus on comprehensible language.  This focused language narrows in on the structures that the teacher wishes to emphasize.

I personally prefer to use screenshots in a slide show to narrate the story in advance. I often do not even tell students that what I am showing them is actually a music video, short film, movie, or TV show. After discussing the story, and personalizing it for students, then we watch the actual video with sound.

You can make an entire week or more units just using one video if you include pre-watching input and post-watching activities and extensions. If you want to dig deeper, here are a few more resources on the Movie Talk technique in my post on movie talk.

**Distance learning adaption – Record a video of yourself using this technique. Then upload it to Edpuzzle with comprehension checks included. 


A core component of my comprehensible input-focused classes is reading. We free read at least two times a week from my Class Library. For me, this time has very little accountability for us and is just about enjoying and reading comprehensible readers.

Sometimes we do a little chat with a partner after reading. Also, after finishing a book, there could be a short reflection. Overall, it is all to build enjoyment of books.

I also center my curriculum on Class Novels. This post on teaching a novel 101 gives a lot more information on how I do this. I also have over 80 posts with the label novels on Mis Clases Locas with specific in-depth information on particular novels. 

A typical day teaching a novel in Spanish class gives you a look at what I often do day to day and 20 Activities that can be used with any novel shows how you can mix it up. 

**Distance learning adaption – Get PDF readers from El Tuerto Guty to keep students reading, either as free reading, or a class novel. 


Input Heavy Games

At this point in the school year, normally everyone is a little antsy, and this year with all the crazy is no exception. When we are together at the end of the year, I personally try to incorporate a lot of movement in my classes. This means Brain Breaks, Review Games, and as many input-heavy games for Spanish class as possible for maximum comprehensible input in Spanish class. 

There are so many games out there, so I think the key is mixing it up to keep students on their toes. At the same time, many games can be reused with new content to keep them fresh. Some games that I often come back about once per novel are running dictationThe Marker Game, and Blooket.

**Distance learning adaption – For distance learning these games can still be played! Read this post for how to play virtual games with students over zoom. 

5 Comprehensible Input Activities for Spanish class

Even More Ideas
Do you still want more ideas for comprehensible input in Spanish class? Here are other ways to incorporate more CI this year
– Music
– PQA (personalized question & answer) – basically talking about anything in the TL
– Tell/Ask a Story
– Edpuzzle
– Shift to CI post 

– Spanish Teacher FAQs

Here’s to a great end of the school year friends! We can do it!


Mis Clases Locas by Allison Wienhold

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