What Works

The question here might not be “what works” but rather “why it works.”  In the field of second and foreign language acquisition, interaction in the classroom has long been considered a critical part of language learning. In an interactive classroom, adult learners are not only ready and willing to work together, they tend to learn better. They focus more on what they are saying rather than how they are saying it, thereby alleviating any self-consciousness or inhibitions that might otherwise keep them mute. Far more learning happens in a cooperative language environment in which learners manage meaningful context and language tasks that allow them to practice learned vocabulary and apply grammar concepts. They make choices! They generate their own sentences to convey the meaning they want - and ultimately with great success! Look below for tips and techniques from Work into Spanish that will help you create your interactive classroom.

Cool Conversation

 Es que.. (Dando excusas a problemas)

In pairs or groups, make up an excuse for each of these problems to present to the class.  Be as truthful or “creative” as you’d like.

  1. Dormí demasiado (I overslept). Es que…
  2. Me quedé atrapado en el tráfico (I got stuck in traffic). Es que…
  3. Se me hace tarde (I’m running late). Es que…
  4. Tengo una emergencia familiar (I have a family emergency). Es que…
  5. Perdí mi voz (I lost my voice). Es que…
  6. Tengo la escuela de tránsito (I have traffic school). Es que…

Dar consejos a problemas

 Listen carefully to each group’s presentation, so your group can give advice for one of the excuses.  Again, be as truthful or “creative” as you’d like.

Grammar Goodness

What’s in your pocket? Practicando los pronombres directos: “lo” “la” “los” “las”

To practice using the direct object pronouns in Spanish, divide the class into pairs.  Ask students to empty their pockets (or purse) out on the table in front of them. Each student will explain something about each of the objects.  For example, let’s say a student has taken out a set of keys. Model the first student response with “Las llevo en el bolsillo todo los días.”  Other sentences could begin with “la tengo para…, lo guardo  para, lo uso cuando…, los recibió de mi…

Engage the other student by requesting that s/he ask questions about the objects.  “¿Para que las usa?”  or “¿Cuándo lo recibiste?”

Slide Splitters

“Voy a…”

Listen to the following song “Berlín” by Coque Malla one time.



On an index card, give each student one of the “voy a” sentences from the song.  This time, the class listens to the song a second time standing up.  As students hear their personal “voy a” sentence, they sit down.  All students, if they hear their sentence correctly, should be seated by the time the song ends. (They’ll listen carefully because they won’t want to be the last one standing!)

Example cards: voy a empezar, voy a recorrer, voy a llegar….

Listen to the song a third time (with all the lyrics printed – http://www.musica.com/letras.asp?letra=1809664), just because it’s a beautiful song!

Which was your favorite stanza?

If you could ask the singer one question about this song, what would it be? (Have students also make up a possible answer to the question.)

What they are saying …
Work into Spanish is top choice for our workplace Spanish courses. Employees begin speaking Spanish from the first day and are inspired by their confidence as they bridge the gap of communication at work. With this kind of course content, we continue to feel assured that our classes present the best materials in serving our business and industry clients in an exciting and relevant way.”

Judith D. Trester Director, Economic & Workforce Development Dept. Pierce College
Work into Spanish
Buy Work into Spanish through our website (softcover or eTextbook). Companion audio CD also available.