Sunday, July 26, 2015

Using My Spanish Lesson Plan Books with Avancemos, Realidades, Ven Conmigo, En Español, etcetera

I've been getting a lot of very similar questions this month on email about using my books with textbooks other than Exprésate (the textbook we use in my district, and the one that my lesson plans are aligned with in terms of vocab lists and grammar topics.) Here is a recent email I received:

Hi, my name is Tammy.  I teach Level 1.  I taught middle school Spanish for 16 years and I've been teaching high school level for the past 2.  I've always pretty much followed the textbook, but added my own supplemental materials and ideas.  I'm looking for way to "shake up" my teaching that gets me away from the textbook more often and gets my students more motivated and using Spanish so I ordered your 1A and 1B books.   At our school, we use the Avancemos series.  I'm excited to use your lessons but am concerned about the students moving to level 2.  The level 2 teachers stick to the textbooks.  Have you looked at the Avancemos series?  I know that your lessons are modeled after a different textbook, but have you compared them?  Any suggestions for how to incorporate the textbook occasionally so that my students aren't overwhelmed when they go into level 2 and deal exclusively with the textbook?  Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!!!

My response:

Hi Tammy,
I haven't compared Exprésate (our textbook) to Avancemos, but I'd be willing to bet it's almost exactly the same. Exprésate (and every other mainstream Spanish 1 textbook I've seen) starts out with greetings and introductions, then goes into numbers, colors, family, school supplies and subjects, food, houses and rooms, food, dishes, activities, clothing, shopping, etc. The grammar topics are present tense, adjectives, pronouns, present progressive, and a little touch on preterit in chapter 8 (the last chapter I drew from for my 1B book.) There may be some variance in the order of those basic vocab groups in Avancemos, but by the end of Spanish 1 you will have taught a ton of just about any textbook’s vocab lists. If you are supposed to be on a certain chapter during a certain month, you could probably rearrange my lessons to match the vocab set you're on in Avancemos. If you didn't already, look at the vocab lists for my 2009 Spanish 1A and 1B and you'll see exactly the vocab and grammar sequence I used and how well it fits with what you need. Go to my website at and click on the green words in the middle of the home page that say "target vocab" and that will take you to the vocab lists.

As far as students being overwhelmed by the textbook in Spanish 2, they probably won't like the textbook but I'm betting they won't be overwhelmed by the level of difficulty by any means. They'll be freewriting 100 word narrative essays in Spanish in 10 minutes with no dictionary, be able to tell a basic story in Spanish off the top of their heads, and be able to read (translate) a full page of Spanish out loud in five minutes or less by the end of Spanish 1. Now what I would do so that you don't run into problems meeting the textbook teachers’ expectations is use either your textbook grammar exercises if they make sense (Exprésate's don't) or find other grammar worksheets and teach the heck out of conjugating present tense verbs and whatever other grammar topics the Spanish 2 teachers expect your kids to know. I teach explicit grammar for the final 15 minutes of every block and that works really well for me.

So that's how I would mostly incorporate the textbook, is use it as a resource for grammar. And of course if Avancemos has any other activities that you've used and liked, throw 'em in when you're on that set of vocab in my lessons.

Hope this helps! Thanks again and let me know if you have any other questions that arise.