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4 Back to School Ideas to Engage and Get to Know Your Students

4 Back to School Resources for Spanish Class

These resources will help you get to know your students starting on day 1! My goal for the first days of school is always to involve my students as much as possible, rather than just speaking AT them about routines and procedures.

I of course cover routines and procedures… but not on the first day. On the first day, we have fun playing one of my back to school versions of Taco Tuesday, learn about culture using Calle 13’s Latinoamérica, and then a mix of the activities below!

The activities below help me get to know my students starting on the very first day. On the SECOND day of class, maybe I’ll start to review some routines, but I do that piece by piece over the first week.

Relationships come first. You matter, and your students matter. Everything else can wait.

When you’re done here:

Looking for more digital friendly ideas to start the year?

and even more ideas for the first week of school!

#1 Pasitos: Mis Fortalezas en Clase >> Interpretive ACtivity

This new interpretive activity is perfect for the first day of class in Spanish 2 and up. (Since it is completely editable, it could be adjusted to English for Spanish 1!)

It will give your students the opportunity for COMPREHENSIBLE and ACCESSIBLE input from the very first day, with low-pressure output from them which makes participation easy for all!

After reading the prompt on the screen, students take one step to the left or right to show their answer. Students who are willing can then participate aloud, if they’re ready!

This is a great way for you to get to know your different class blocks, AND to get them excited about the topics you may cover this year! It is also a great opportunity for students to reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement in Spanish class. It’s so important to have this growth mindset right from day 1. I know you and your students will love it, and again, it’s completely editable!

#2  Mano o Manos: Introducing Ourselves >> Interpretive Activity

This is another low-pressure activity that offers ALL students the opportunity and support to participate. Students again read the prompt on the screen, but instead of moving to the left or right, students are able to stay seated and raise one hand or both hands to represent their answer.

I often prompt students to hold up a fist if they have a comment to contribute (for example if they don’t agree with either answer, or if they’d like to add a third option!)


Meant for the first few days of school, great for Spanish 2 and up

Perfect for the start of the year in Spanish 3 and up, as preterite tense is used

YES, this is meant for the very start of the year in Spanish 1! Focus on COGNATES and common words 🙂

I love these activities because on the first days of school, students don’t know one another quite yet and are often a bit timid. These activities offer a lot of input and help build their CONFIDENCE in the language, so they know they will always be supported to participate without judgement in our class. If you’re interested in editable versions of this activity, you can see those here.

#3 Todo Sobre Mí >>  EASILY ADAPTED AS A Start of Year Project

If your school embraces project based learning, this project is a great way to start the year in Spanish 2 or Spanish 3. Since the project is completely editable, you can adjust the requirements to cover what your students have learned in past years! 

It is set up as a project for the end of the year in Spanish 1, but each year I tweak a few small things and use it with my upper level classes to get started and to get to know them 🙂


I love using this as a way to get my students involved and engaged with the language from the very first days of school. It also helps me gauge where each student is in regards to curriculum and communication expectations.

#4 Student Survey and Goal Setting

These last two activities are a MUST for me during the first week of school. They are both completely editable and can be adjusted to meet the needs of your unique classes.

I give this survey every year to get to know my students from the start. During a normal school year, I give this in between activities within the first few days to give students some quiet time during the overwhelming first week. I always give them time during class to complete this (and honestly I offer plenty of time, around 20 minutes) because I want them to know that I take their answers seriously. I value what they share with me during this first encounter. I used to give this as their first homework assignment, but I didn’t get detailed or thoughtful answers. 

During a typical year, my students complete these self reflections 8 (!) times throughout the year. 

At the very start of the year, it is a great way to set a baseline and expectation for students to consider their proficiency within the language as they grow throughout the year.

I also think it is a great reminder that there is no “end” goal – but that we are all learning and progressing in the language at different rates and in different ways!

Before you go…

Looking for more digital friendly ideas to start the year?

and even more ideas for the first week of school!


Have a GREAT start to the year, Profe!

Please feel free to share this post with your world language teacher colleagues and friends!
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My name is Erin and I have 10 years of experience teaching high school Spanish. I love building positive student relationships and bringing a bit of fun into my lessons to keep my students engaged!

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