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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Calling all Spanish teachers!

Calling all Spanish teachers!

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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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Michele Timkang's picture

Hola Maria!
I have had some success utilizing the Spanish-speaking adults in our building. I had my Spanish students practice their Spanish with a prepared interview form. Students were to record the answers on the sheet in spanish. The adult would sign off on the sheet only if the student asked the questions in Spanish. Prior to the exercise, I emailed the questions to the adults. Hope this helps and I look forward to a WL group on Edutopia. Michele Timkang

Ali Hernandez's picture

Hola Maria,

I just began teaching Spanish II and would like to bring more real-life activities to my classroom. Since the school is under construction I have to float among four portables to teach high school students. I am quite limited on technology at this time, but I hope to be able to hook my laptop to a projector and be able to share some technology with my students. I am very creative and love to integrate technology in my courses. My email is and I look forward to sharing inforamtion to build creative ways to teach Spanish.

Thank you,

Ali Hernandez : )

Heidi Graff's picture

Hola Maria,

I teach Spanish at a K-5 school. This is the fourth year of the program and I am essentially writing the curriculum as I go. I only see each class 22 times throughout the school year. I struggle with trying to give the children something of substance, while at the same time trying not to bore them with the same topic class after class. I tend to spend 2-3 classes on one topic and then switch things up to keep them interested.

I am really interested in PBL and would love to learn more about it.

Last year I found what looked like a fabulous site for finding international "e-pals" specifically for k-12 students. I neglected to bookmark it and had a hard time relocating it. If I can find it again, I will share it. I think it could provide a good authentic communication experience.

I look forward to hearing ideas for PBL. Thanks for starting the discussion!

Heidi Graff

Cristina Saenz de Tejada's picture

Hola Maria,
I am also interested in sharing idea about how to implement more PBL in my Spanish classes. I am looking for new, real projects that are meaningful for our students. My experience with literature based curriculum has not been as enriching as I thought and now I am experimenting with more student-driven assignments. Gracias


Cristina Saenz de Tejada's picture

Hola Maria,

I plan to use the seniors experience with their own college process to create a project about the system in Spain. I hope it is not too overwhelming for them



Lorin Steffee's picture

Buenos dias,

Maria, I am a Spanish teacher using PBL in my classroom where I only see students once a week and some of the students are part of an afterschool Spanish program. I plan to use PBL as much as I can in my class, many people I have spoken with have mentioned "grammar discovery". I plan on using this method and also creating situations where students will need to know concepts in another language and they must discover the vocabulary as well as how they will use it in real-life situations. I hope it goes well. I am overhauling my curriculum as we speak, so I will keep you posted. Please keep me posted on any new ideas! Thank you, Lorin Steffee

Maritza Garcia's picture
Maritza Garcia
Certified K-12, currently teaching HS Spanish in central CT

I have been a Spanish teacher at various levels for many years. I have always taught in traditional methods, but I get bored doing that. The biggest project I ever did was with an advanced Spanish class. We read selections from Don Quijote and then the students wrote their own script in their own words--all in Spanish, of course. They made paper dolls whose mouths moved (similar to those on Monty Python) and we recorded the final work. Since many of my students were seniors, this was their senior project and the discs I burned were a great keepsake!

I've also done travel projects with some classes.

Now I'm teaching sections of Spanish 1, 2 & 3. Other than travel projects, how do I do projects with them?

Maritza Garcia's picture
Maritza Garcia
Certified K-12, currently teaching HS Spanish in central CT

Can you tell me more about "grammar discovery?" Where do I go to find out more?

Amanda Barnes's picture


I just started teaching at a New Tech High School this year and need help developing PBL-oriented lessons. I have too many questions to be able to do this myself and was hoping for some assistance from others who have successfully implemented it into their classroom. I have never had any formal training on PBL so needless to say I am having a hard time with it. Thanks in advance for your help!

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