Are you a Spanish teacher that feels like you are running out of time to cover everything you need to in Spanish class this year? Do you not have enough time to do all of the things you need to do as a teacher to prepare students for the final? I am here to help with end of the year Spanish activities, tips, and tricks with solutions to your problem of not having enough time.
I am running out of time at the end of the school year!
If you are down to the final quarter, month, or even weeks of the school year, it can feel like a race against time. *Cue my favorite episode of Saved by the Bell when Jesse is in the girls singing group, takes the caffeine pills & screams there’s never enough time!* Feeling you do not have enough time is especially true if you are tied to a set pacing calendar. Plus, if you have the expectation to “cover” everything before the end of the year Spanish activities, or before a cumulative final.
Situation 1 – #deptof1 or have flexibility
If you are a #deptof1 or have flexibility, my biggest suggestion is to NOT COVER IT ALL.
Yep, you read that right. If you are feeling anxious about “covering” certain units, textbook chapters, or books before the end of the year, I am here to tell you, it is OK to get rid of some of it.
You have some flexibility in creating or choosing the kind of final or end-of-the-year assessments that your Spanish students complete. So, there is no need to rush through and quickly cover a bunch of things that you thought you were going to need by the end of the year. (Believe me, I made my own long-term plans & it took me a long time to figure this out). Instead, meet students where they are and let them show what they know. Here are some ideas for Final Assessments for Spanish class.
Remember that your tentative long-term plans were most likely created before you even met the current students in your classroom, or were faced with your unique situation. Just because you were typically able to get through a certain amount of material in the past, that does not mean you need to this year! If you are using a curriculum plan that was originally created before the 2020 school year, be even more critical of it. Things have changed, students are different, you are stretched thinner than ever before and you cannot have the exact same expectations for yourself & your students in 2023 as you did in 2019.
Situation 2 – Set Curriculum & Department Final
Even if you are set to a very specific curriculum, you likely have a lot more flexibility than you think with end of the year Spanish activities. A set curriculum usually means there are certain end targets or a district-mandated final that you are expected to administer. So as the savvy teacher you are, it’s okay to backward plan. Look at the big picture of what students are expected to acquire or produce by that final. I’m not saying to teach to the test. But, in certain situations, if you know that certain things are not going to be assessed, and you also do not see them as essential to this level, chuck them.
For example, the main goal of your Spanish three class is that students can narrate in the past tense using the preterite and imperfect, and there is a set performance-based final around this goal. But let’s say your textbook or curriculum also includes lists of hundreds of isolated vocabulary words. You probably do not need to spend tons of time or energy focusing on that vocab. Instead, focus on what is essential.
To prepare for the end goal, spend time reviewing and practicing narrating in the past tense. Do weekend chat, read stories, and listen to songs in the past tense, or do a Find Someone Who. Or even do some isolated grammar practice and practice with activities like an Imperfect Google Slides practice, Blooket, or Quizlet live relay. If you know that this is a performance-based assessment narrating something in the past tense that isolated list of vocabulary words isn’t worth a ton of your time and attention. Plus, cramming vocab isn’t likely going to help the students in the long run. Focus on communication instead.
End of the Year Spanish Activities – Final Project
Some teachers love spending the end of the school year doing a project. I have a culture project that could be used at the end of a novice Spanish 1 or 2. But personally, my students got pretty burnt out on projects at the end of the year. Since every single class seemed to do projects at the same time. Projects also take a lot of time, which is great if you need to kill time with a substitute. But, if you are pressed for time projects are usually Not the way to go. You may earn some extra time to yourself while students are working. But, then you have to compensate for the amount of time that it takes to then grade all of these projects as well. Plus even more time is needed if these projects involve student presentations.
End of year Burnout
We all know that at the end of the year, students and teachers are pretty burnout. No one is going to learn much new content at this point. You’re better off focusing on building a positive classroom community and finding joy. Help students be proud of the progress they have made. This is the time of year when students are often signing up for the next level of class. The feeling they have about your class towards the end of the year is what is going to likely help them decide if they want to continue with the language or if they’re done. The end of the year is a great time to celebrate student success. Make them proud of all they have accomplished. Show that you believe that they can succeed and do well at the next level of language.
Make Time for Joy, It’s Ok to Say No
When teachers talk about not having enough time, it usually means not having enough time for the things that you bring you joy. If all you ever have time for is paperwork, administrative emails, busy work reports, covering for other people’s classes, and other things that drain you of your joy it does feel like there’s not enough time. So, if you can, say no to extra things being put on your plate. Say no to covering classes, throw out that pile of busy work that doesn’t need to be graded, or other things that you can do to protect your time, do it. (Yes, I know firsthand there can be animosity at you for saying no. Be prepared to defend that no is a complete sentence).
What is currently being put on your plate is likely unreasonable. It’s okay to push back at these unneeded requests. Take a look at your contract. See what is it you are specifically required to do in your position as a teacher. I know there may be things that you have been doing that are above and beyond your contract. This might include tutoring students over lunch, sponsoring extra clubs, staying hours after your contract, volunteering to help at dances, sporting events, and other extras.
If these extra things bring you joy, then keep doing them. But, it’s okay to say no if these additional draining burdens are not part of your contract. These extra burdens might mean there is enough time and energy to do what you were hired to do, which is teach students.
There is only so much time
Time is precious. We only get so much of it. If you feel that your or your students’ time is not being utilized effectively on a particular topic unit or activity it’s okay to skip it.
Just because a Somos unit says it takes 8 days, it does not mean that it HAS to. You can skip the parts that you &/or your students do not enjoy. (It was the two days of story activities for me. I introduced vocab, did a quick story & then focused on the meat of the cultural content. 1 week max for any unit). It’s okay to make your activities and curriculum fit your personality and your students’ current situation. It does not make you a bad teacher for doing what is sustainable and works for you.
If you are doing an all-class novel, try 1 book in 1 week in Spanish class. Or if you are reading a novel & it is just not working, it is ok to stop & let students choose to finish it for free reading.
Enjoy your time together – End of the year Spanish Activities
You have more flexibility than you think. If you only get to unit 5 instead of unit 6 the students will be fine next year. You can only control so much. Focus on what brings you and your students joy while acquiring the language. Put this at the forefront of your planning in the last few weeks of class. It’s ok to enjoy a culture-filled movie in Spanish class together.
For me, when it gets warm in May in Iowa I find any excuse possible to take students outside. On a surprisingly nice day, I would quickly print a worksheet and throw it on a clipboard and go outside. We would take the book we were reading and go sit on the bleachers and read. Or we would even just go outside for a 5 minute brain break for fresh air & a change of scenery. Perfect weather in the Midwest is rare, so enjoy it together.
Time is not the enemy
Even with time constraints, remember you don’t have to “cover” everything before the end of the year. As daunting as this might seem, it is important to remember that doing less can still be effective and beneficial. It is okay to simplify and prioritize. At the same time focus on what your students need and want to learn during those last weeks of class. So don’t stress too much about trying to fit it all in. Just prioritize, focus on authentic communication tasks, build relationships with your students, and create an environment where both you and your students can enjoy those last days together!
More End of the year Spanish Activities & Resources
- Asian Pacific Heritage Month – May
- Cinco de mayo in Spanish class
- Spanish 1 Sub Plans End of the Year Culture Project
- Last Day of School Spanish Worksheet este verano
- Final Assessments for Spanish class
- End of School Year Spanish Class Activities
- Take Your Spanish Class Outside
- 10 Appropriate movies for Spanish class
- Try an end of the year TV Show like Tierra Incógnita (Grab a freebie for the show below)