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Spanish Class Routines

Why Routines?

Routines are extremely helpful in the classroom setting! Not only do they build familiar rhythms and expectations for students, but they also help to save YOU time! Any teachers out there need more time? Yep, pretty much all of us, right?!

Implementing Routines

When deciding on routines to implement in your classes, there are several guidelines to keep in mind. First, pick routines that are meaningful – perhaps they target your main learning goals for your students or help you to solve a problem in your classroom. Second, decide how often that routine should take place – daily, weekly, monthly? Finallydon’t overdo it with routines! While they are extremely helpful, you don’t want all of your teaching time filled with routines, preventing opportunities for your to try out other unique lesson ideas! Let’s take a look at some routine ideas…

  • Is your goal for students to have exposure to reading in the target language? Implement a free reading routine! (more on this below!)
  • Need a task for students to complete while you check attendance and homework at the start of class? Try a warm-up routine!
  • Want students to USE grammar structures in class instead of just learn about them? Consider a flipped learning model/routine (students learn grammar at home so class time is opened up for practice and meaningful language use!)
  • Hoping your students become culture experts in your class? Test out a “country representative” routine (more below!)
  • Overwhelmed by grading after a unit assessment? Perhaps a movie routine in between units will allow you some grading time and a fun break for the kiddos!
  • Want your students to become comfortable speaking the language? Try out a weekend/morning chat routine at the start of each week or each class!
  • Looking to improve your students’ comfortability with writing in the TL? Implement a “viernes de escritura” routine! (more info below!)
  • Stumped on how to break up long block periods and keep your students from falling asleep? A “get up and sing/dance to music” routine just might do the trick!

As you can see, the options are endless for WHAT can count as a routine. The goal is to pick ideas that relate to both your teaching goals and needs so that the time is used in a meaningful way!

Routine Ideas for Spanish Class

Routine 1: Free Reading

Free reading time wasn’t a routine I implemented until several years into my teaching career as it does require building some sort of classroom library! I was able to use a grant to purchase novels for my classroom – readers can purchased online here or on Amazon. I created a space in my classroom to display all the books so students could peruse them and choose one for independent reading time. To start, my display was as simple as this on the back counter:

FVR free reading library spanish class

I like to utilize this routine in place of a traditional warm-up on Mondays. Instead of a 5-minute written warm-up, students grab a novel of their choice on their way in and have about 10 minutes to read. During this time, I can check off a few to-do’s to set myself up for a successful week ahead OR read myself!

I like to keep this very low stress for students. I have students keep a reading log (free download here!) to track what they did/didn’t enjoy reading. I also use a variety of simple question prompts for students to discuss with a partner post-reading (also included in the free download). 

This routine exposes students to more reading in Spanish AND saves me time. I always knew the very first part of Monday’s lesson was figured out (whew!) and I had a few moments to wrap my brain around the day ahead!

Routine 2: Country Representatives

This routine was inspired by teaching AP Spanish. I learned how heavily culture played a role in that course and wanted my lower levels to have more exposure to cultural knowledge they could carry with them up through AP. I had my AP students become country experts as they learned about culture throughout the year and figured my other levels could do the same!

Start the year by assigning each student a country of research for the entire year – be sure to cover all Spanish-speaking countries. Then, you’ll want students to regulary research and learn about cultural tidbits related to their assigned country. An easy way to implement this routine is to assign students one cultural report per unit you teach. Students could research weather or country essentials during your introductory unit, food during the comida unit, sports/athletes during a pasatiempos unit, celebrations during a fiesta unit, and so much more!

Cultural reports are a great way for STUDENTS to put the work into learning the culture (instead of you pulling cultural information for 20+ countries!) and provides an opportunity for students to share their knowledge with classmates as well. Check out a few cultural reports I have ready-made for you below! More options here!

Routine 3: Free Writes

I wanted students to have more practice writing freely without the intimidation of it being for a formal assessment or assignment. I began weekly free writes (often on Fridays!) to allow students to pull together all the vocabulary and grammar structures we had practiced during the week into a more cohesive language task. Students find the prompt on the screen, pull out any notes and vocabulary reference sheets they have, and are tasked to write as much as possible for about 10-15 minutes. 

I use this time to circulate, address questions and glance over shoulders to help students who seem stumped. I also take mental note of common errors I see as I circulate so that we can address those together as a class after the writing time is up. 

I love this routine because it gives students meaningful writing practice and provides me time to check in with students needing additional support!

Looking for some writing prompt ideas? Here is a year’s worth of prompts for level 1!

To recap, I highly recommend choosing a few routines that are fitting for you and your students in Spanish class. Students will get into the habit of engaging in these routines and you’ll have part of your weekly lesson plans determined before you even begin! That’s a win!

Let me know how routines work for you in the comments below! Do you have a favorite routine to use with your students?

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Meet Kristen Photo

¡Hola! I’m Kristen, the teacher-author behind La Profe Digital. I design Spanish teaching resources rooted in culture, communication and authentic resources to help save YOU time!

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