5 Ways to Incorporate Spanish Into a Monolingual Classroom

6:00 AM

Are you a teacher who would love to bring some Spanish enrichment into your general education classroom? In fact, it's actually a lot easier than you think! With this in mind, here are 5 fun and simple ways to get your students learning Spanish without even realizing it! 

Classroom Labels

First, the easiest way to get kids learning Spanish is to simply label as many objects in your classroom as possible. Therefore, for example, when students look up to see what time it is, they will see a label on the clock that says "el reloj." Since kids typically look at the clock numerous times, they will likely learn the Spanish word for clock pretty quickly without even realizing it! In addition, it is easy to label items such as various pieces of furniture (desk, chair, table, etc.), classroom objects (whiteboard, calendar, flag, pencil sharpener), etc. Just look around, and you will find plenty of common objects. While you can create your own labels, you can also find many printable sets such as one seen below that I have in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

However, another fun way to do this while also getting kids involved is to have kids make the labels themselves. In order to do this, I would recommend coming up with a list of objects around your room ahead of time along with the accompanying Spanish words. There are plenty of online resources for this, such as this great list from My Daily Spanish. To begin, have a brainstorming session with the class. First have students create a list of things around the room that they think would be good to label (this would all be done in English). You can either do this as a full class, or in small groups; since both work well you should choose which you think would work best for your students. Then, if you had students work in groups have them come back together as a class and share out their ideas until a final list is created (if you brainstormed as a group skip this step). Finally, go through each word and tell the class the Spanish word for the object as you write it next to the English word. 

Once you have your list, divide the objects up amongst the students (depending on how many kids you have some may have more than one word). Then pass out pre-cut cardstock cards (you can make them any size you like or even just use 5x7 index cards). Have students write both the English and Spanish words and draw a picture of the object. They can then tape the card to the object (if possible; if the object is too high instruct them to just give it to you to place on the object later). Although this is a fun and engaging activity, be sure to leave plenty of time for it, as I have found it definitely takes a while, especially with younger kids. If you anticipate needing more than one day be sure to either save your list (if you are typing and projecting) or take a picture (if you are writing on the whiteboard) as there will surely be kids who did not write down their word(s) yet!


Next, a fantastic (and probably my favorite) way to bring Spanish into your classroom is through culture. In fact, this is a lot easier than it seems. Undoubtedly, you have heard of such celebrations as Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos. But do you actually know the significance of these holidays? Despite many people thinking that they know their meanings, most actually do not. Therefore, during the times when these and other Hispanic and Latino holidays are celebrated, incorporate them into your curriculum. For instance, it could be something as simple as showing the Disney movie Coco and discussing the differences between Día de los Muertos in Mexico and Halloween in the United States. Additionally, older students could do something more complex such a project on a famous person of Hispanic or Latino background. In short, there are SO many ways to bring Spanish culture into your classroom, and each will teach kids the Spanish language at the same time!


Another wonderful way to incorporate Spanish into the classroom is through bilingual books. Many of these are written predominantly in English with some Spanish words placed throughout to give kids a taste of the language. One of my favorite series of books that does this is the Mañana, Iguana series. In addition to adorable, funny characters, author Ann Whitford Paul weaves Spanish words throughout the story so kids naturally understand their meanings by context. Since kids don't even realize that they are learning, the Spanish words are more likely to stick in their memory!

For more bilingual books, be sure to check out this post on my personal blog. In addition to being a great resource for whole group lessons, bilingual books are also super to have as part of your classroom library for kids to grab! Since many of these books are fun and colorful, kids will be drawn to them, and they'll enjoy them so much they won't even realize that they are picking up words in a new language. So don't be surprised to hear an hola or adios from one of your kiddos someday!

Flashcards and Task Cards

Next, flashcards and task cards are a great tool for almost any subject, but especially foreign language. What is great about these resources is that they can be used in so many ways. What's more, flashcards and task cards are great because kids can use them individually, in pairs, or in small groups. First, flashcards and task cards are fabulous for fast finishers. Kids can grab a set of cards and simply go through them and learn some new words or practice ones they already know. Additionally, if there is more than one student finished, there are lots of ways to use cards in pairs and/or groups. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Have students quiz each other using the cards; encourage them to mix it up by showing only the word or only the picture so they get used to both seeing and hearing the words.
  • Students can use the cards to play Go Fish, Memory, Spoons, or other card games. Note: some games will require 2 sets of cards so be sure to print enough!
  • In pairs, have one student pick a card and use circumlocution to describe the word. The other student tries to guess the word.
  • If you have time for a full class activity, attach cards to your whiteboard with magnets/magnetic tape. Have the cards with just words on one side and ones with just pictures on the other. Call students up to match the words to the pictures (you can do this however you choose – letting students just match one or stay up making matches until they get one incorrect, etc.).
Do you have other ways you like to use flashcards or task cards? If so, please share them in a comment!! If you would like to see some basic Spanish flashcards or task cards please visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Games & Puzzles

Undeniably, kids love learning by playing games. For this reason, they are a perfect way to bring Spanish into your classroom. To begin, if you have a fast finishers bin consider keeping some Spanish games and puzzles on hand. There are many bilingual options that do not require any knowledge of the language but allow kids to have fun while learning some Spanish at the same time. Here are some great options to consider:

Another great game that kids always love is Bingo. This is a great option to use during holidays such as Halloween, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc. It's fun for kids to learn the Spanish names for common words associated with each holiday. You can make your own boards, or use pre-made ones to save time. Finally, if you've ever used the game "I have, who has" in your classroom, you know that kids love it! In fact, the game also works amazingly well with Spanish vocabulary! To see some premade Spanish games, click here.

I hope these ideas will help you incorporate Spanish into your classroom! If you try any, I would love to hear about them so please leave a comment. You can also see lots of Spanish lessons on my blog, Fabulous Classroom

Buena Suerte (good luck)!!!


by Marcy | Fabulous Classroom

You Might Also Like


Like us on Facebook