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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Calling all Spanish teachers!

Calling all Spanish teachers!

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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Hello out there you summer-time project planners! Until Edutopia creates a World Languages group... hint, hint ;) I'd like to see if I can find any Spanish teachers out there! I'm starting to develop a 2 year High School Spanish curriculum at a PBL school and I'd love to hear from you about what successes (or failures) you've had in your own classrooms. I have a TON of freedom in terms of curriculum design so the sky's the limit. I am interested in sharing project ideas, websites, ways to motivate students etc. Also, I'm curious to hear if anyone has had success in bringing in members of the Spanish-speaking community to help with conversation practice or to help provide an authentic audience for presentations... I'd love to hear from you! Thanks, Maria

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Señora Nelson's picture
Señora Nelson
8th Grades Spanish 1 Teacher in North Texas.

Can you share an example of what you are doing for this? I am teaching Spanish for the first time this year, but only have Spanish 1. I am working on integrating PBL into my classroom, but am struggling come up with problems for them to work on.

Señora Nelson's picture
Señora Nelson
8th Grades Spanish 1 Teacher in North Texas.

Do you have any examples for Spanish one PBL ideas?

[quote][quote]Hola!I've taught High School Spanish for 10 yearsm, and PBL is the one method with the best results. I have some projects taht I would be happy to share with you, but I need to know what level of Spanish you are teaching and what are the core concepts for them.For expample, if you were to teach imperfect tense, I have a cool project involving a team of CSI detectives and a dead penguin. Let em know.[/quote]

I am very interested in your project using the imperfect tense. I teach Spanish 2,3 and 4 (new this year) - some of the major grammar concepts I teach are the preterite (vs) the imperfect, future/conditional, commands, (past and present) subjunctive and reflexive verbs.

I am also very interested in some PBL ideas for literature and culture. I will be using all new texts and resources this year from the "Expresate" series for all levels.

Thank you![/quote]

Señora Nelson's picture
Señora Nelson
8th Grades Spanish 1 Teacher in North Texas.

JE, do you have any Spanish 1 PBL ideas that you can share as well? I have never offically used PBL and this is my first year teaching Spanish.

Señora Nelson's picture
Señora Nelson
8th Grades Spanish 1 Teacher in North Texas.

Spanish 1


Vote up!


JE, do you have any Spanish 1 PBL ideas that you can share as well? I have never offically used PBL and this is my first year teaching Spanish.


I teach Spanish 1 using PBL but this year am also planning to incorporate TPRS simultaneously. I'd be VERY interested to know what your projects are and how/when you use the TPRS within the project. Anything you can share would be helpful.


Sra. Witten's picture
Sra. Witten
High School Spanish Teacher flipping over the Flipped Class

Are you interested about learning more about the Flipped Classroom in a language class? Sign up for the free webinar "Flipped for Fluency"! If haven't had the chance to complete the survey on my blog to help me shape the content, I have attached that link as well. Hope to "see" you there.

Kristy Kleckauskas's picture
Kristy Kleckauskas
Middle school Spanish teacher

Hola Maria!

First of all, I must say how exciting it has been to come across this post! I also use PBL in my Spanish classroom and knowing that there are other teachers out there who are also using this method in their Spanish/world language classrooms and looking to share ideas is really inspiring and encouraging! Hopefully we can all help each other out! :-)

I've used PBL in my 6th, 7th, and 8th grade dual language Spanish classes. Since these groups of students were already fluent in Spanish and needed a way to enhance and build upon their current Spanish skills, it was decided that our district would implement a project-based learning curriculum for these classes.

Our projects ranged from creating a "How to Survive Middle School" handbook (created via PhotoStory and PowerPoint) for the incoming 5th grade dual language students in our school district to creating a "Healthy Lifestyle" magazine (created in Microsoft Publisher) to share digitally with a group of students (our pen-pals) in Argentina.

Of course, all of these projects were carried out and completed in the Spanish language and even that in and of itself was a challenge! But despite that, the awesome part was being able to help each other out! Students read, proofread, and critiqued their peers' writing along the way. I would use these mistakes in whole group, beginning of class mini-lessons to help students with grammatical aspects of the project. This helped students become more aware of sentence constructions, punctuation, word usage, subject/verb agreement, use of verb tenses, etc. Students also analyzed and critiqued their classmates' project design along the way. If more pictures were needed to emphasize a point or if less information on a page/slide was needed, students would make note of this on the peer feedback forms - I'll talk about forms in a little bit! :-)

The trickiest part of it all, however, was brainstorming and getting a project idea figured out. It was tough for students - especially the younger ones - to come up with ideas on their own. When I offered up examples, they liked those examples and did end up choosing one of them for their class project. Our overarching question was: How can we, as a dual language class at HBMS, help our school community? We brainstormed ways that students help out at home with their families, help in their community, and help at school. This led to the creation of the handbook to help the younger students in our district. For the 8th grade class that created the magazine, the overarching question was: How can we, as a dual language class at HBMS, help our society? Again, students brainstormed ideas (focused on issues in our society with teens) and as a class, students voted on the idea they liked the best. In using PBL, just as it would be for any unit of instruction, it will be important to have an essential question to guide your project.

Once the project idea was established, students needed to break into small groups to then work on an aspect of the project as a whole. However, in forming these small groups, there was a TON of organization involved in this process!! First, we brainstormed all there is to know about life in middle school and then broke each of these topics down into categories. Once these categories were in place, we were then able to make the small groups.

Once the small groups were set, we worked as a class to develop a project timeline (so everyone would be held accountable for finishing their part of the project on time). You may already be aware of it, but our curriculum development team used this leading PBL site to help guide us along the way. We used many of the forms they have available (some resources were already in Spanish) and others we adapted and put into Spanish. Speaking from experience in using PBL, the more forms and timelines, checklists, expectations, reflection sheets, and rubrics you have, the better!! The more structure there is to what can seem like an unstructured mess - especially when groups start getting to work - the better it will be for everyone!! :-)

Now that the project timeline was made, students were ready to begin small group work. As simple as that sounds - be prepared!! Working with high school students, it may be easier for you since they're older and more self-reliant, but it is still helpful to know for any teacher at any grade is better to have individual tasks assigned to small group members than none at all, particularly for younger students. Also, unless you really know your students and the dynamics of how well they work together and get along, I would recommend assigning their small groups. Because of all that this type of learning involves, things can get seemingly chaotic, so you will want to make sure you have your students under control and focused on their part of the project. The more checking-in you do with them, the better, so that they will be held personally accountable for their contributions to the group. Even something as simple as an exit slip before they leave for the day reflecting upon what went well in their group and why, what could have been better and why, or what they were especially proud of from working in their group and why is a good idea.

As students work in their small groups on their contributions to the project as a whole, there will be a lot of checking-in, peer editing and critiquing, revising, etc. along the way. It will then be time to put everything together. Of course, depending upon the type of project the class is doing, it might be more in your hands as the teacher to compile everything (for example, taking individual PowerPoints and putting them into one large one or taking digital stories and converting the files to be read in a PowerPoint file) or perhaps the students will arrange it all. I know I relied heavily on assistance from our tech coordinator as well as another teacher who is super knowledgeable when it comes to technology. But once all the projects are complete, it will be time for students to present their work/findings to the class. This is always so exciting because you have reached the final product! Students are always so excited by this point to share their part of the project with the class! I have found that using a peer evaluation/reflection sheet helps keeps students focused on the presentation. It is also nice for the group who presented to see what their classmates especially liked or had more questions about. Offering time for a question and answer session too, for the group who's presenting is also a helpful idea. Once all groups have presented, students can complete a self-reflection form on the project as a whole - their contribution to it, what they learned about themselves and how they work in a group, what could have been better, etc. And again, forms like this can be found at the PBL site I mentioned above.

Overall, PBL requires a ton of organization and step-by-step processes. It involves a lot of whole class cooperation and focus. Motivation is also key!! Students have to be REALLY interested in the project!! It was evident during our brainstorming sessions (in all three of my grade levels, 6th, 7th, and 8th) which ideas were AWESOME and which were not-so-much...It was a great feeling to see the class coming to a consensus on one project idea that really excited them all! And because they were actually producing something they were naturally excited about to a REAL audience of REAL people, it made it even better for them!

Good luck as you plan your PBL curriculum! It would be great to stay in touch and share ideas, resources, etc.! One other helpful resource that I have used before (though not yet with my PBL classes) is Global SchoolNet found at . Here you can search for projects to become involved with or you can post your own. I know I would like to find more ways of networking with other Spanish/world language teachers so we can connect our classrooms in these types of projects! :-)

Margie's picture
HS Spanish teacher and Asst. Principal

I am in a new high school that is a 1:1 MacBook school. One of the first projects I did with my level 1 students was for them to create an iMovie where they introduced me to members of their family. They had to have 3 recorded video interviews and 3 narrated descriptions of photos. They named each family member (or pet), the relationship, physical and personality description, ages, and what each one liked to do. They were awesome and the parents were tickled to hear their kids speaking Spanish. The great thing about iMovies and other recorded presentations is that if the student messes up, he can re-record it. I always get their best work that way.

Angela Stephens's picture
Angela Stephens
Middle School Spanish Teacher

last fall I started teaching Spanish at a middle school in Washington. Previously I had taught 8th grade Spanish for 12 years in New York. The 2 schools are very different but I have learned a ton at each school. I had not heard of PBL before today, but I am interested in learning more. Usually, language teachers are few and far between, so it is great to have a venue where we can get together. I do use many projects that might help you. I do one covering the countries with Spanish as their official language. I group students by interest, which sometimes becomes challenging, but they are pretty good about it. I give them a list of information to find and a format to present. While they present the information to the rest of the class, there is a form for the audience to fill out so that they can learn the information that I would like them to know. This can be presented in English or Spanish, depends on your goal. I want them to know where the countries are located, the capital cities, what the flag looks like, who the current governmental leaders are and such. I require all students to be responsible for learning from each other. I have not recorded the presentations before, but this year I want to so that the students can see themselves and evaluate themselves as well. At some point, I do want to bring native speakers into the classroom but I haven't figured out how to do that just yet. Good luck

Debora Eggert's picture
Debora Eggert
High school Spanish teacher from Joppa, Maryland

This is my 1st semester teaching Spanish in high school age. I need as many ideas as possible. I'd like to learn more about Spanish PBL curriculum.

Sra. Eggert

Yolanda Sanchez's picture
Yolanda Sanchez
Seventh grade science teacher and/or K12 grade PBL consultant. Guadalajara

I am a Science teacher in a private school:
Secundaria y Preparatoria Mixta Lomas del Valle.
We are part of the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Guadalajara Jal. Mexico.

We are in the motion about Project learning: "Aprendizaje por proyectos" and I love it! I am working as a Project consultant for PBL, this give me the oportunity to be in both sides.

Science is a great element to teach spanish. or english.


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