Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica

Our school had a bulletin board contest a little while ago.  I meant to put up a post here but I was in a whirlwind of other things going on at the time, so I put it on the back burner.  But I did take pictures!

The gist of the bulletin board contest was to get some color and decor up around our school.  Those of you who teach elementary school are probably great decorators, but high school teachers are notoriously lax about such things.  So the contest was to motivate us to decorate.

The bulletin boards were done by each club at the school and we were told that "all bulletin boards" are available for the contest.  I selected the one outside my classroom and carefully took down the old (very old!) things that were up there and preserved them.  But to make a long story short, the folks that had their stuff up there (from last year!) were upset with me for "stealing" their bulletin board.

All the other bulletin boards in the school had been claimed by the time I got it sorted out.  I had no place for my Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica bulletin board . . . grumble.  ("All bulletin boards are available for the contest" should mean ALL bulletin boards are available for the contest.)

There is a display shelf outside my classroom, so I decided to improvise and we put together a hanging "bulletin board" display.  It is weighted down by a yard stick taped to the back.  The caption says "National Spanish Honor Society" instead of "Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica" because no one at the school, outside of Spanish students, can pronounce or understand the latter. 

The little stars down the side are members' quotes about what they love about the Spanish language and culture.  The plaque at the bottom explains what our club is about and gives a short history of our chapter.  And, though you can't see the detail on the crest from the Spanish flag, it is my favorite part.  The whole thing is made with glitter paint and it's spectacular!

We didn't win the contest but I think we at least deserved a "spirit of the contest" award or something.  We are the only club that had to do our bulletin board twice and we are the only club that put up a display without an actual bulletin board.  Oh well, sometimes you have to set your own win conditions, amigos!

Hasta pronto,


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

En La Playa - Dibujos

Sometimes I go online searching for pictures to use in the classroom.  You know the kind I mean - the kind that we foreign language teachers like with a dozen people engaged in a dozen different activities.  Those are great because they can spark so much discussion!  But they can be hard to find sometimes.

To that end, I'm sharing some with you today that will be useful to you in the next week or two as your students are finishing the year and preparing to enjoy their summer.

Just look at all the vocabulary!  The oral expression possibilities are nearly endless.  I hope you are able to find something here to have fun with in your class.  I suggest a game of I spy in Spanish.

I do not own the copyright to any of these images and I am posting them here solely as an educational resource.

Hasta pronto,


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Summer vacation is fast approaching and it's always about this time of the year that I have a little bitty panic attack that is accompanied by this track playing in my head, "But they will be gone for weeks!  And they won't practice Spanish at all.  They will come back next year and we'll have to spend the first three weeks just reviewing and then we will be behind before we even begin."

Does that sound familiar to you?  I don't know if your mental gremlins torment you with such thoughts or not, but keeping our students involved in Spanish over the summer can be a challenge.  It's even more of a challenge when they are going on to another teacher next year and we can't offer credit for work they accomplish over the summer.

So what is the answer?  In a word: fun!  Make the "work" into something fun and you might spark their enthusiasm.  Coming up with a fun summer packet is a challenge that I assigned myself a few weeks ago.  It was a bigger task than I thought at first.  I wanted to review typical Spanish I topics such as clothing, colors, likes and dislikes, foods . . . and some of the functions of the language such as present tense, adjective agreement, reading and listening comprehension . . .  It was a lot to think about and I didn't want to make a worksheet packet.

 I decided to make summer the theme of the packet.  I loaded it full of fun vocabulary related to summertime excitement - grilling, swimming, bike riding, playing sports, and going to the beach.  Then I used color and entertaining activities to get student attention and get them interacting with the vocabulary.  Finally I added in multimedia - music, games, a virtual tour, and video.  I think it's a winning combination.

The level is for students who have finished Spanish I and are getting ready to go on to Spanish II.  The focus is fun and review, but the rigor is not especially high because at home there is no teacher scaffolding or feedback.

It's 20 pages of student motivation and teacher peace of mind.  (Okay, I might exaggerate just a bit.  But it is definitely a good packet!)

The summer fun packet is temporarily $5 over at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  And if you email me and tell me you bought it, I might just have a special gift for you.  (My name is AnneKarakash and I am at  Put the two together and you have my email address.)

Thank you for reading, amigos.  Have a brilliant summer!

Hasta pronto,


Monday, May 26, 2014

Repaso del Año - Español 2

I put together a year-end review for my Spanish II students.  They have their final exams coming up later this week and next week.  I wanted to make sure they have all the topics in one place so that they know what to study.

I did not link most of the vocabulary topics because the students have access to them in Dropbox, but I found links to online practice activities for many of the grammar topics on Quia.

Since every Spanish II course is a little bit different from the next, I doubt the document will be of extensive use to you as it is.  But the list of topics, the links to online practice, and the speaking/writing prompts might be of some use.  Feel free to take it, look it over, and build upon it to meet your own needs.  I am putting this up in an editable Doc format so that you can use it and make changes to reflect your own vocabulary topics, grammar topics, and speaking/writing prompts.

Click the image above or click here to download the file.

I am not teaching Spanish 1 or 3 this year, so I haven't made study guides for them.  Maybe next year!

Hasta pronto, amigos.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Explanation of WEIRDO Verbs

Years ago in Spanish class I learned subjunctive in the same grueling way that people before me had learned - with long and complicated rules that made little sense to me and that seemed incomprehensible.

"The subjunctive mood occurs with a change of subject in subordinate clauses and requires the the employment of a verb of volition, negation, or doubt in the main clause."

It is no wonder everyone thought the subjunctive so hard!  Rules like the above make it nearly impossible to understand.

 WEIRDO Verbs Animated Power Point by AnneK at Confesiones y Realidades Blog

Years ago I came across the acronym WEIRDO that was used to describe which sorts of verbs would trigger the subjunctive in the subordinate clause.  It was like a breath of fresh air and I suddenly had a cute little way of laying out the rules for the subjunctive to my students.

But I have a lot of teachers write to me and tell me they don't know what I mean by "weirdo verbs" or that they would like to have a way of presenting this material to their students.  Yesterday Michelle, a reader of this blog, wrote and asked how to teach weirdo verbs to her students.  So I got to thinking about it and decided to make a Power Point that we can use to show to our students and help them make sense of the subjunctive.

I had a great time making this slide show, creating the background images, animating my little weirdo monster and playing around with various colors and effects.  I think your students will find it memorable and I hope it will help them to understand the mechanics of the subjunctive a bit better.  Click the image above or click here to download the Power Point.

I would love to hear from you if you find it useful, amigos.

Hasta pronto,


Friday, May 23, 2014

Haber y los Tiempos Compuestos

Who doesn't have a hard time with the perfect tenses?!  At least at first, they can be very confusing, especially to those students who might not have a strong grip on their own language.  I often find that students are unable to distinguish between "have verbed" and "had verbed" in English, and that makes explaining it in Spanish even more difficult.

Using the perfect tenses may be quite difficult, but forming them really isn't necessarily very hard.  The participles are fairly straightforward and there are just a few forms of haber to learn.  Even so, it is nice to have everything organized and in one spot for studying purposes.

As I look closer at the image now, I see that one of my students is confused about which forms of haber go where, so do not use this one as an example.  I will track her down and help her make corrections early next week.  One does not want to be studying the wrong thing after all.

If you want the template to use in your classes, you can click the image above or you can click here to download it.

As always, it would be great to hear from you if you find something useful here.  Its great to connect with my fellow Spanish teachers in the world.

Hasta pronto, 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Y El Tiempo Pasa . . .

Where does the time go?  I have all these blog posts I want to put up but I keep coming home and crashing instead of blogging.  There are solid biological reasons for my behavior, yes.  But it's a shame that I haven't found time for this blog lately.

Let me start the backlog of lost posts with el Día de las Madres.  (A little late, I know.)  Students of mine were testing and my classes were only half full, so it was one of those days when you feel like you can't introduce new material, you can't do anything super meaningful, and you certainly can't do an assessment.

So I had them working on a little Mother's Day activity in grupitos and, when they had a chance, they were each to get a picture of themselves as a gift for their mother.  Here are some of them for you to enjoy.

I took construction paper and made the back drop in the morning before school.  Then, as a group, we came up with some ideas about what we wanted to say to our mothers.  Each person was able to write their own personalized message, but it had to be in Spanish.

I got a lot of nice feedback from the moms and a lot of stories from the kids about how they got to teach their mothers a bit of Spanish.

Hasta pronto,