Using YouTube for Cultural Videos

If you are a Spanish teacher who knows all about the wealth of cultural resources on YouTube, but YouTube is blocked by your school, this post is for you!  There's a ton of great resources on YouTube but of course there is some questionable content as well, leading to many schools and districts blocking YouTube on their servers.  There are a few ways that you can get around that to safely show clips from YouTube in your class.

Here's how to download a YouTube video so that you can show it in class from your computer, flash drive, external hard drive, etc.  You will probably have to find your video clips on YouTube at home, download them, and bring them to school on a portable drive.  If you already know the link that you want to use, you should be able to convert and download from anywhere.

Step 1:
Go to

Step 2:
Paste the link of the YouTube video in the box

Step 3:
Click on "Download MP4"

Step 4:
Click on the "Download MP4" directly under the video image.  Note:  There are usually other buttons that say "Download" or "Play Now" - don't click those because they are ads!

Step 5:  
Transfer the downloaded video from your "Downloads" folder to your desktop, external hard drive, etc. so that you can now play it in class!

Here are several other sites that offer the same service in case this one is acting up or becomes inactive:

Do you have a different favorite web-based YouTube converter?  Let me know in the comments so that I can add it to the list!

Spanish Teachers on Instagram

I just LOVE instagram!  I think it's a great way to see a snapshot (literally!) of people's lives.  We can see teachers' ideas on Pinterest, articles on Facebook, and thoughts on Twitter, but I feel that Instagram is the most personal of social media, at least for the teachers that I follow.  I wanted to share some of my Spanish teacher friends on Instagram that you should check out.  Not only will you see awesome ideas for teaching Spanish, but you'll also see their family life, travels, humor, day to day experiences, and of course food!  I'll also share some hashtags that you can use on Instagram to find other Spanish teachers and Spanish resources.  In addition, I'll include info on how you can use Instagram to find authentic resources for your Spanish classes.

Spanish Teachers on Instagram
Here's my Instagram!  I love to post memes, travel photos, Spanish ideas, and life with 2 little boys.

Check out my Spanish teacher buddies below.  You can click on each image to go to their Instagram and follow them. 





Let's talk hashtags!  On thing that is trending on Instagram is "Teacher Tribes."  The idea is to find other teachers in your area to follow and collaborate with.  There are grade level tribes (#kindergartentribe #secondgradetribe) and geographical tribes (#TNteachertribe #texasteachertribe).  To find other Spanish teachers, click on the hashtag #spanishtribe.  And don't forget to tag your photos with #spanishtribe to help other Spanish teachers find you!

Here are some hashtags you can use to find other Spanish teachers, ideas, and resources:

Using Instagram in Your Spanish Class
Finally, check out Justin from's post about other Instagram accounts you can follow to find authentic resources to use in your Spanish class!

I hope you've found this post helpful to start making connections, get to know your #spanishtribe, and find resources for your Spanish class on Instagram.  If you're on instagram, leave your username and favorite hashtags in the comments so I can follow you!

First Days of Spanish Part 3: Get Students Moving, Speaking, and Understanding Spanish

In this series about the first days of Spanish class, I've talked about getting to know your students and going over rules and procedures.  Today I want to talk about ways to get students talking and understanding in target language right away using TPR Vocabulary.  TPR stands for Total Physical Response.  It is basically a language acquisition method that uses movements to relate to words.

On the first or second day of class, I give students a vocabulary list with several commands that they will frequently hear in class.  {I like giving students vocabulary lists because I've seen them copy words incorrectly from their textbook or the board and then they are studying the incorrect meanings.  I print their lists on colored paper or cardstock.  Later in the year if they ask for the meaning of a word, I can say "Está en la lista azul."}  I give them both the tú command and the ustedes command because they will hear both in class.  I choose commands that students will need to understand in class.  Here are some examples:
siéntate / siéntense
levántate / levántense
da una vuelta / den una vuelta
mira / miren
escucha / escuchen

I also add a few extra words that they will need to know right away.  For example:
el cuaderno
el nombre
el papel
la mano
Here's an example vocabulary list:

To define the words I use a Word Wall PowerPoint.  It has the vocabulary word on the top and a photo to define the word.  I also print and laminate them to hang from a clothesline with clothespins as my word wall.
I show students the slide, they fill in the definition on the list and we practice pronouncing the word.  With the commands, I will also give them a movement to go along with each word.  So they will sit when they hear siéntate and open their hands when they hear abre, etc.  Usually I would go over and practice just commands one day and then add in the extra vocabulary the next day.

Now it's time to practice!  I have students stand up and then I call out various commands to them.  They then perform the movement for the command.  After some practice, you can also have them close their eyes so that they aren't just copying what their classmates are doing.  

For a warmup, you can have students make a list of 15 commands using the words from their vocabulary list.  Ex.  saca el papel, toca la cabeza, abre el cuaderno.  Then they can get into pairs and read their commands for their partner to act out.

I also use these task card sets for students to practice in groups or pairs.  They can start by drawing a card from the stack, reading it, and then performing the movement.  Then they can have one student draw a card and read it out loud for their partner or group members to perform. The teacher can also use the task cards to call out commands to the class.


One of my students' favorite games is Matamoscas!  To play matamoscas you can mix up the vocabulary words on a paper or on the board.  For class play, split the class into two teams, have a member from each team come up to the board and give them each a flyswatter .  Call out the English word and have the 2 players swat the correct Spanish word with the flyswatter. Whoever finds it first, gets a point for their team.  You can also play in pairs by giving each pair a page with the words and whoever puts their finger on the word first gets a point.  
Finally, you can assess students' comprehension of the commands after a week or so of practicing them.  You can do a matching quiz and/or a performance assessment.  For my classes, I did a performance assessment where they pretended to play Simon Says in Colombia.  Students worked on independent work while I called students one at a time.  I would say 5 commands (one at a time) and they would perform them for a quiz grade.  As long as they could do each of the 5 commands without me saying it more than twice, they earned 100%.  

The goal of introducing these commands is to be able to conduct basic classroom procedures all in Spanish right from the start.  Even though these activities are great for level 1 Spanish, you can also use them in upper levels.  Students may have already learned some of the verbs but they may not know the commands yet.  Once they learn them, it will also help as they learn how to form commands later in the year.  

If you'd like to learn more about the TPR activities I used, you can check them out here:

Also, check out this blog post about using TPR circling questions to practice and learn student names!  This is another great idea for the first days of Spanish!

First Days of Spanish Class Part 2: Rules and Procedures

This is the second post in my First Days of Spanish class series.  As I mentioned in Part 1:  Building Relationships, I think it's best to do a mixture of these activities during the first few days of school.  It may be tempting to "lay down the law" right away, but bombarding your students with all of your rules, procedures, expectations, and requirements for the entire class period will be way too much for your students to handle.  Get your most important rules established the first day, and then throw in the rest over the next few days.

Spice up Rules and Procedures with Memes
I love memes!  The other day I posted a photo on my Instagram of the folder of memes I keep on my phone just in case!  I even joked that memes are my love language!  Using memes is a fun way to make students aware of your rules and procedures and is a lot more fun than listening to a teacher read their syllabus word for word or go over bullet points on a PowerPoint.  You can check out some ideas on my Teacher Memes Pinterest Board.  There are several sets of teacher memes for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers too.  You can also create your own for free at  It's super easy, just find the meme image you're looking for, type in the text, generate, and save!  Then you can insert them into a PowerPoint or even post them around your classroom as reminders for students.
Many schools require teachers to provide a syllabus to their students.  Even if they don't it's a great idea for students to have a page to reference all of the important information for the class.  Then when students ask you a question you could answer:

I created a syllabus that includes my contact information, class description, required materials, class expectations, class rules, grade distribution, etc.  You can check out my Spanish Syllabus Template which is completely editable and can be easily adapted for other languages or subjects!  I also had students fill out a Student Information Sheet where they signed acknowledging that they received and read the syllabus in addition to filling out their information.

You can also mix up the traditional syllabus template with a syllabus brochure!  These are completely editable and will definitely stand out and impress students and parents!

Teacher Intro
One thing I always did while going over rules and procedures was to tell students a little about me.  This can also tie into Part 1:  Building Relationships.  In addition to building relationships, telling students a bit about your language learning journey, personal life, education, etc. can help students trust you as an authority in your field.  So tell them all of the degrees and awards you've earned, places you've traveled and studied abroad, years and levels you've taught, etc.  I always did this with a PowerPoint.  Here's an example slide:

When I finished our rules, procedures, and teacher introduction, I gave students a little "quiz" over some of the details.

Now that you have a few ideas of HOW to present rules and procedures, here's a list of rules and procedures you might want to go over during the first few days of school.  Of course your rules, procedures, and policies will vary based on your preference or your school/district policies, but these are some you would probably want to make clear:

Do you have any other suggestion on how to go over rules and procedures?  Are there any that should be included on my list?  If so, let me know in the comments!  I hope this post has been helpful, feel free to pin any of these images to save ideas for later!  Now head on over to Part 3:  Get Students Moving, Speaking, and Understanding Spanish!