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5 Engaging Activities for a Proficiency Focused Spanish Class

proficiency based spanish class

Getting started with "Proficiency"

Proficiency-focused, proficiency based, communicative: there are a lot of buzzwords that can sound intimidating even to us seasoned teachers. Honestly, sometimes they’re intimidating to us BECAUSE we are seasoned professionals. We have been down many roads and many different perspectives before, and so it can be hard to jump into something new (again.)

I dragged my feet for a few years before fully embracing the proficiency-focused approach, but never looked back once I took the leap. I want to share the baby steps that helped me!

I started by changing my gradebook (which you can read all about here) and then I slowly started updating my plans, assessments, and activities.

Today I want to share my 5 go-to activities 🙂 Now that I’ve tried out a BUNCH, I have my reliable favorites that I keep coming back to, time and again. Below you’ll find a quick intro to each, and links to tutorial blog posts where I have them!

#1 ¿Mano o Manos?

¿Mano o Manos? allows students to sit in their desks, and participate in almost the most passive way possible. All they need to do is read what’s on the screen, and then choose whether they will raise 1 hand or 2 to express their answer. 

Students who are ready for the challenge of contributing an additional thought/idea to the class can show they’re ready by raising a fist instead.
It doesn’t get more low-pressure than that! This activity is a great way to gauge your students’ abilities at the start of the year or unit.
I have various sets available, or a set of 4 editable templates so you can make your own unit after unit and year after year!


Pasitos is one level up from Manos, because students are standing UP (and therefore more likely to chat with one another about the content, which I LOVE!) Instead of raising their hands to express their response, they take one step to the left or one step to the right. That’s it!
You’ll notice I have my Pasitos and Manos resources grouped together on TPT, because they truly are similar.
One additional (great) difference for Pasitos is that ALL of my sets for this activity are editable. I hope this helps you! (Without the graphics involved in Manos, I was able to do that more easily for each and every set!)


Hexágonos is one of my NEWEST activity lines. I am SO excited about it – you can read my blog post on the topic here!
In this activity, students work together in pairs to organize vocabulary words or phrases into groups. They then have the opportunity to explain/defend their groupings to the class.
Benefits of this activity:
Can be done digitally or print/hands-on
Promotes collaboration and critical thinking
Your students will ABSOLUTELY surprise you!


Citas Cortas is my go-to when it comes to a low pressure speaking activity. I have a tutorial blog available here.
The structure of this activity allows students to participate without feeling like they’re put on the spot or embarrassed to speak.
It’s great at the start of the year in all levels, to set the tone of a growth mindset! 🙂


Sonidos Secretos is one of the activities my students ask for MOST throughout the year. I have a tutorial blog post for this activity here.
Students always say this activity has hidden benefits; they expect to just be silly and have fun, but they always tell me they’re surprised with how much it helps them!
Students have to THINK in the target language, which makes this activity unique from any others I’ve developed!

I hope you find something new to try! Cheers to a new and wonderful school year, Profe!

Please feel free to share this post with your world language teacher colleagues and friends!
Looking for more ideas to try?
proficiency based spanish class

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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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