One of the best ways to teach Spanish is by using a variety of activities related to a content theme. Using themes for Spanish lessons makes teaching easier and more effective. Ants, rain, mice, robots, snakes, castles, kittens – tap into any topic of interest to teach kids Spanish!
Parents often ask me how to start or support language learning at home. Use themes is my best advice! Of course, using themes for Spanish teaching is excellent for a classroom setting.
Traditionally, language instruction presented material organized by vocabulary categories and grammar points, in part because the resources available were limited to expensive textbooks. Now, the internet gives us access an endless supply of authentic language and teaching materials.
Themes for Spanish lessons makes a teacher or parent’s job much easier. There are fabulous activities online for all kinds of themes in both English. It is much easier to adapt content for Spanish learners than to create it yourself.
I teach language related to basic concepts like colors, numbers, shapes, and letters with in context as they fit in with the themes. I also have a set of key verbs (hay, gustar, tener, estar, ser, etc.) and expressions that I incorporate into the themes.
Click on the images below for materials for two themes for Spanish learners. Check out the 10 tips below for making and using themes for Spanish lessons.
Tips for Using Themes for Spanish Teaching
- Select a variety of materials related to a theme.
- Search in both Spanish and English – many English language materials can be adapted.
- Look for photos, songs (in Spanish), finger plays, active games, printable games, printable cards, readings, poems, coloring sheets, crafts, videos (in Spanish), picture books (in Spanish if possible, but you can use the illustrations of books in English).
- Use Pinterest! Look for activities supported by pictures and hands-on games.
- Select 5 – 7 different activities you would like to use.
- Identify key vocabulary and structures that you will focus on.
- Use the activities over several days or classes. My themes for Spanish classes last anywhere from 3-7 periods, depending on the age of the students and the complexity of the material.
- Day 1 – Start by talking about photos to establish some of the vocabulary. Begin to learn a song, using actions to make the motions clear. Finish with a simple craft or art project that lets you reinforce the key words you chose.
- Day 2 through the end of theme. Start with the song. Do one or two other activities related to the theme. End with a hands-on activity they can take home.
- Do activities that are NOT related to the theme, too. Play favorite games, sing songs, read all kinds of books. Not everything has to be about the theme.
- Mix in activities from previous themes on a regular basis.
- Reuse themes for Spanish learners when they reach a higher level (subsequent grade) for deeper mastery of language.