Spanish Class Distance Learning – How to start the year online

August 4, 2020 Mis Clases Locas by Allison Wienhold

Inside: How to Start Spanish Class with Distance Learning. Back to school online, back to school hybrid or back to school face to face with social distancing.


Spanish Class Distance Learning

Hey friends! It is Allison from the strangest back to school situation we have ever known. For a point of reference I teach in a tiny town in Iowa, which is currently the only state in the US that is both requiring face to face school and not requiring masks. I plan to be teaching 100% at school with a mask, shield & voice amplifier (aff link).

I am down here in the trenches with you Spanish teachers and trying to figure out the best ways to start the school year in this parallel universe. Whether with distance learning or hybrid learning or social distancing learning, here are some ideas to start the school year.


1st day Spanish class distance learning

Small group introductions – instead of just meeting in a big, unpersonalized group, have a few small groups meet together for 10 minutes  in Zoom/Meet is you have the chance to be synchronous. If not have everyone do an introduction on Flipgrid and then watch each other.

Student Google Form Survey – Get to know students individually and privately be emailing them a Google form survey. You can find out about home life, jobs, interests, language experience and more.

What do you like more? Icebreaker Slides – These Google Slides from Jen Shaw would be great for a first day all group distance or in person using Pear Deck.


1st day Spanish class socially distanced in school

(Please remember, I am just a teacher, not a doctor or your administrator. Please follow your school, and state guidelines for what you are allowed and not allowed to do with social distancing).

Name Game Speedball (Socially Distanced) – This game 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. Here are some ways to play and learn names, while trying to maintain distance.

  • Play outside in a very large circle. Have everyone wearing masks, sanitizing a ball, and hand before and after playing.
  • Play at desks facing the front without a ball. Have everyone stand in front of their desk. Instead of a ball students play, throwing an imaginary pass or “passing the snap.” Or students could do a specific action and then pass it on.


Upper level Find Someone Who  (Socially Distanced) Another Go-to activity for me to start the year in Spanish 2-4 is a “mi verano” Find Someone Who or Mi Verano Question Cards. Here are some variations for that activity to socially distance.

  • Do the activity outside. Have everyone wearing masks, with the FWS on their own clipboard & standing at a distance to talk. Instead of having other people sign the form, have each student just write the name of the person who said yes instead. Or students could ask the question cards outside at a distance.
  • Interview partner using plexiglass. I know some schools have plexiglass dividers or plastic shower curtains hanging in their classrooms. Have students use their masks, in addition to these dividers to interview a partner or small group using the FSW sheet or question cards.


Spanish class distance learning – Spanish 1 – 1st unit

The present tense distance learning high frequency unitThis is my own personal plan to start Spanish 1.  If completely online, it would be about 7 weeks of daily plans. Add a couple of weeks of cultural units, and there is the whole first quarter of plans!

For the 7 week all online plan each week would typically be set up with:

  • M – Intro Vocab & Quizlet Practice (It would be great to add a teacher intro video) + story video
  • T – Speaking w/ Special Person ?s on Flipgrid is asynchronous or on zoom/meet is syncronous
  • W – Listening – comprehensible reading of song intro, listen to song with activity & optional Lyricstraining
  • Th – Reading w/ 3 authentic jokes
  • F – Write & Review
  • Repeat x7 verbs + (Fun story ½ way)

You could easily use a faster version of this unit to start Spanish 2 as well. To see exactly what all is included see the description of the new unit.


Spanish class distance learning to start upper levels

If you want to use a similar unit with upper level in past tense, I have a brand new similar unit in the imperfect. It is set up in the same way as the present tense unit above, except for reading practice, instead of three jokes for each verb, there is one joke and one “guess the classic story,” where students read a small except of a story and guess and summarize the story. It would be a nice way to ease into Spanish 3 or 4 as a review of talking about childhood. Get the imperfect unit here.

If you will be teaching multiple levels using distance, there is a bundle of both the present and past tense distance units.


Hybrid learning 1st unit to start Spanish 1

Blended Learning High Frequency Verbs Bundle.  This is perfect for if you want to be prepared for both digital and in person learning. It includes the high frequency verb unit, the new distance learning unit, plus in person activity ideas of Find Someone Who and Question Cards, all recycling the same material. It will help you be prepared with some activities if you get a chance to see students in person, as well as digital while learning remotely.

This is my current plan for Spanish 1. (But, I have has three school schedules in two weeks, so nothing is set in stone right now). As on today, I will teach in school every day on a 100 minute block, but students will be in A/B groups, coming every other day. This means I will do the input heavy vocabulary introduction and special person interviews in person, and save the digital songs and reading for students to do on their online days at home. We will be on a 4×4 block, teaching a semester in a quarter. So, my goal right now, is to do the week of digital plans in the two day double block of in person and online. We shall see!


Hybrid learning to start upper levels

The hybrid imperfect bundle includes the distance learning Google Slides, the in person special person interview resources, plus the in person Find Someone Who, using the imperfect. This would be the perfect option if you will be seeing your students in person sometimes, but also needing online practice to keep them learning on the at home days. With my current schedule, this is my plan for my Spanish 3/4 early in the year, and then with my Spanish 2 for later in the year when we are ready for more in depth past tense. 


Need more ideas? Check out all of our Back to School posts

Plus, make sure to get many more digital Freebies in the 2020 Secondary Resource Library


Spanish class distance learning


**If you are interested in any of the resources mentioned, make sure to shop during the TPT Back to School Sale Tuesday & Wednesday, August 4th & 5th. Use the code BTS20 for 25% off everything in my store as well as the other members of SSS!


I hope you back to school is as smooth as it can be considering the circumstances. I am rooting for you! – Abrazos, Allison

Spanish class distance learning

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