Spanish Teaching Materials

It is a rude awakening when first year Spanish teachers enter their classrooms for the first time.  Based on my experiences, most teachers receive basic supplies such as a pair of scissors, a few pens, pencils, and a few dry erasure markers with eraser and not much else.

It takes so much more to begin and maintain effective teaching materials in a Spanish classroom.  If a teacher has 20 to 30 students per class, several materials are necessary for a simple hands on activity.  Markers, scissors, glue, colors, pens, pencils, construction paper, staplers, and computer paper are needed, for starters.  Basic supplies, provided for a teacher at the beginning of the school year, don’t even begin to cover the maintenance of supplies for one hands on activity per week much less the entire year.

All teachers need teaching materials, but Spanish teachers need specialized materials to set up an effective teaching classroom.  These materials are not typically provided by most school districts.  Therefore, teachers end up paying for these items out of their own pockets.  Would we ask a surgeon to purchase his own surgery equipment?  No, but we do expect teachers to buy their own materials.  This is a hardship for any Spanish teacher much less one who is teaching Spanish for the first time.  Teachers have to make their own teaching materials which means they have to purchase the supplies to make them, or they have to purchase custom made materials.  Either way, they pay out of their own pockets.

Another hardship for Spanish teachers is that these materials are not found in many educational stores.  Usually, the Spanish materials sold in Spanish are developed using a different Spanish dialect than the one spoken in a particular area.  Spanish teachers lag behind other teachers in getting materials because Spanish is considered an elective.

With 23 years’ experience, I can suggest what every Spanish teacher might need to establish an effective teaching environment for the students. Therefore, I am recommending that every Spanish teacher possess a Spanish Materials Back to School Kit consisting of the following:

1)      Calendar:  This is a “must have” for all Spanish teachers. The Spanish/English calendar should be large enough to include the days, weeks and months.  It should include special phrases that include:  Today is ___________________.  Yesterday was ____________________, Tomorrow is ________________________.  Special phrases would also include:  The temperature is ______________.  The day is ___________________.

2)      Spanish/English Labels: All Spanish teachers need labels with the names of classroom items in both languages.  Some examples are:  door/puerta, windows/ventanas, desk/escritorio, table/mesa, etc.  These labels need to be cut and laminated.  All of these materials take time to prepare.

3)      Poster with Essential Spanish/English Sentences: Spanish teachers should have a poster with essential Spanish/English sentences such as:  May I go to the restroom?  May I go to the nurse’s office? May I get a drink of water?  Many students come into our classrooms knowing only one language, and it is important to have a list of Survival Sentences in both languages.

4)      Welcome Back to School Letter:  This special touch is not mandatory, but definitely important.  Sending the letter home allows the Spanish teacher to form a strong first impression for parental outreach purposes.  The letter should be written in both Spanish and English since parents may know only one language.

5)      Classroom Rules List: The list should include the classroom rules in both Spanish and English. These classroom rules should be listed on a large laminated poster and placed in plain view so that the students are clearly aware of the expected behaviors in the classroom.  

6)      Classroom Supply List:  Parents will appreciate these lists to be included with the Welcome Back letter to ensure that all children bring classroom supplies, if the supplies are affordable. Having additional classroom supplies available for students who are unable to afford their own supplies is crucial.
Well, based on my personal experience, these are the items that should be part of any Spanish Teacher’s Back to School Kit. I hope that you find this information helpful. 

I would love for you to leave a note or comment if you think that I have missed anything that should be included in the kit.

Happy Teaching,

Paula Ramirez and Diana Gonzales
Creative Expressions


1st Annual Gonzalez Family Reunion

Our first family reunion was held on June 20, 2015, and it was so much fun.  All of us helped to find different addresses for different members of the family.  Family members made invitations, and others put them in envelopes and stamped them.  The results were phenomenal.  The actual reunion was held at my brother's ranch and home.  That was a beautiful decision because my brother and his wife have a beautiful and large home with a pool.  There are large, old shade trees on the property as well.  Only family members with health issues did not attend the Gonzalez Family Reunion.

The meat and basic side dishes were provided by my brother and his wife.  Drinks were purchased by one of our cousins and his family.  Hundreds of peaches were included by another one of my cousins and his family who live in the Hill Country of Texas.  Everyone helped with favorite side dishes and desserts.  The most popular dessert was provided by my aunt's family.  They managed to get the reunion invitation on a huge cake.  Even though we didn't want to eat it because it was so beautiful, the cake was delicious.

One of my sisters prepared a PowerPoint presentation of a variety of family pictures.  After a healthy meal, all of us walked outdoors to take recent family pictures.  Everyone had a lot of fun as jokes were hurled back and forth as we posed for pictures.  During the reunion all phones were out, as well as iPads, to take more pictures.

There were several activities such as swimming, volleyball, and dancing.  But talking and catching up with different family members was the most popular entertainment.  All of us were having so much fun that we decided to make the Gonzalez Family Reunion an annual event.
Most of us are already making plans for next year.

Hasta luego, 


Happy Father's Day Cards in Spanish and English

I promised anyone who followed Creative Expressions on TpT a free resource in Spanish.  When I was in the classroom I always needed cards with Spanish phrases.  I figured it would be nice to create free cards in English and Spanish so that students can learn new vocabulary.  If teachers want to allow students to color and/or decorate the cards and take them home to their father or father figure, I would make it easier by providing free cards.  Load them down while you can.  Let me know what other fast and easy products I can provide for you free of charge.  Be sure to become a follower of Creative Expressions before you make a request.  I will try my best to figure out how I can help you.  Have a great week!!


Hasta luego,