Inside: Spanish lesson planning for Spanish teachers with many preps. How to plan for Spanish class as a department of 1 #deptof1. Sustainable lesson planning for Spanish teachers.
Spanish Lesson Planning for Spanish Teachers with Many Preps
This post will specifically focus on how to make lesson planning more sustainable for Spanish teachers with many preps. If you want more details on how I planned as my own department, make sure to read Create a CI Curriculum for Spanish 1-4 & Mis Clases Locas Curriculum for Spanish 1-4. Also, you can get all of the planning templates I use to plan the year.
Remember I have always taught in my own department, with every level of Spanish, so this is based on what I have found worked best for me.
Planning for the year in Spanish Class
At the end of the school year, once the new school calendar was released, I liked to create a Google sheet rough plan for the next year. It includes the dates of each week, plus special events in that week, such as conferences or a 2-day week. The yearly plan also has a column for each level of Spanish I would be teaching the following year. I color-coded the types of units.
These side-by-side rough lesson plans for each level allow for a balance of energy between levels. Instead of having all four levels start a novel unit the same day, plans are staggered to allow for teacher breaks. This means having at least one level at a time with a less teacher-centered unit such as a film, Sr. Wooly song unit, or lit circle unit. It also allows for intentional Spanish lesson planning of relevant cultural celebrations such as Día de Muertos in late October & Las Fallas in mid-March.
Spanish Lesson Plan Units as a Whole
This is a key step for lesson plan sustainability that many people skip. I am a big proponent of everyone doing what works best for them, but if you are reading this, I am guessing you are looking for a better way. I know many people go from the rough yearly plan to making isolated week-by-week plans, without looking at the bigger unit picture. This means skipping around between 4+ different preps each week, scrambling for plans to continue all the moving units happening at once.
Work smarter, not harder, and spend some time to plan each unit as a whole. Once the school year starts I use my rough yearly plan to work on planning each unit. Most of my units had everything all together in a Google Slideshow that could be edited, adapted, and reused from year to year. Planning for an entire unit at once is a big time-saving hack for sustainable Spanish lesson planning as a department of 1.
I like to plan for the unit on basic monthly calendars. Start with adding in no-school days, early outs, and other things that will help make plans for each day of the unit. I usually break down rough plans day by day on paper first. This can be as basic as having each day introducing the book, Chapter 1, Chapter 2…, and writing and speaking assessment.
Then I move to a digital monthly calendar where I put together all of the units with the order of day. For example level II, level IV, level III, and level I. I also add in the upper-level TV show days, typically on Friday. This once again allows for a a check of the balance of energy, and the ability to adjust units as needed.
Lesson Plans for a Week in Spanish Class
As with everything, I know there is a huge variance in how teachers lesson plan for the week. For me, I found it super helpful to type up my lesson plans in my own weekly lesson plan template & then print it for my desk the Friday before. Having plans on my desk for the next week by the time I left Friday was a goal I set for myself during my first year of teaching and one of the best things I ever did. It meant I could leave Friday with a sense of calm to enjoy my weekend and to avoid as many Sunday Scaries.
Having digital lesson plans means I can search in my drive for a unit & copy and paste the flow of activities again to adjust, instead of starting from scratch. This is lesson planning sustainability at its finest. I am not saying reuse the same stale plans for thirty years. But, just having somewhere to start instead of a blank page can be tremendously helpful.
I like a vertical day with each class listed in class order. Each class has the time, level, as well as the following listed.
Sustainable Spanish Lesson Planning for Many Preps at a #deptof1
Key Takeaway #1 – Plan in breaks that require less energy
As mentioned multiple times when planning for the year or unit, it is more than alright to plan breaks for the teacher. This might be a full student-centered unit such as a film, Sr. Wooly song unit, or lit circle unit. Or maybe all upper-level classes watch a Friday TV Show. The break might also be set Fun Spanish Classroom Games Day, or a cultural Find Someone Who set for the day before &/or after a break.
Key Takeaway #2 Use Routines for more sustainable lesson planning in Spanish class
If you have been a reader for a while, you know I love Spanish Class Routines. I know many of you use my Para Empezar Bundle to set daily bell ringers or brain breaks for every day of the school year. Or maybe you use free reading or FVR to start classes. Either way, set routines mean you do not have to plan as much.
- For example – 5 minutes x 5 days/week x 7 classes = 175 minutes per week (almost 3 hours) you don’t need to plan!
Key Takeaway #3 Balance the flow of each class
As with everything, do what works best for you. But, this is the flow of a class that works best for a 45-50 minute class for me. Input first, then practice & work time. Obviously, adjust as needed based on the day’s plan. Plus if it applies to you, check out a similar flow in the post Block Schedule in Spanish class.
- Input then practice/work time
- Routine (5 min)
- Input (20 min)
- *Brain Break
- Practice/Work time (20 min)
- Time for you to breathe/ reset for the next class
- Example Flow of Class 1 – typical day with a class novel
- Post Reading Activities (Blooket & chat with question cards about the book) (20 min)
- Example Flow of Class 2 – My Super 7 Unit
Key Takeaway #4 Don’t do it all yourself!
If you have many preps, you can’t and shouldn’t plan everything from scratch for every level. Just because you have infinite control to do whatever you want, it does not mean YOU need to be the one to create everything yourself. Here are a few ways you can take the lesson planning off of you.
- Collaborate with others. This can be in person, or online with World Language Facebook groups or your state language organization.
- Buy teacher’s guides. If a book you are teaching has an official guide. Get it. It will save you 100’s of hours.
- Students can create too. Have them create a T/F quiz after reading a chapter or a story. Then they trade with another student and grade their quiz. Or even better if you can get an upper-level student as a teachers assistant they can help with all kinds of things.
- Get Resources to save you time from The Mis Clases Locas Shop.
Key Takeaway #5 Done is better than perfect
As I mentioned above my personal goal was to have plans on my desk for the following week before leaving Friday. Did it always happen? No. But, when it did my level of weekend enjoyment was much higher. My friend Meredith White says enough is a decision not an amount. This is why done lesson plans are way better than perfect ones.
Lesson Planning for Spanish Teachers with Many Preps Key Tips
What else would you add?
What help with Routines? Grab the Freebie Below
This post is based on a requested presentation I did as a part of full-day workshops for MALT (Montana Association of Language Teachers). If you want to work with me at your organization or school, check out my Professional Development page.