In this blog post, you will get some hot tips, ideas, and activity suggestions to increase engagement in the Spanish classroom!

If you stroll by my classroom at any given moment, you’re probably going to notice the booming wave of loud music pouring out of my door. Throughout my teaching career, I’ve endeavored to surround my students with music, which reminds me of my days in Brooklyn–when I would go to the bodega and listen to the omnipresent salsa, merengue, and bachata music. #iykyk.

It’s an easy way to bring authenticity into the classroom. More on music later…🎶

Engagement Activities in Spanish Class!

You’ll also see a lot of engagement and attempts at sentences in the target language! Here are three quick tools that I use often to get the chiquis to practice their Spanish! You can incorporate them tomorrow! Watch the video above and/or keep reading for additional tips!

  1. Pájaro enojado: Essentially a modified version of hot potato, I use stuffed animals (that look like Angry Birds) as the proverbial “potato” and play music while the students pass it around. When the music stops, they are interviewed by ME in Spanish! If ever the student needs assistance/doesn’t understand the question, they can “phone a friend” by yelling “¡Auxilio!” The music creates a great vibe and the questions you choose can be playful. Below is a link to a video I did about Pájaro enojado in the past.
    • And here is a playlist link to music that goes well with Pájaro enojado!
    • ⬇️ Here’s the video I did for a professional organization that I’m a part of, GWATFL, which features Pájaro enojado! Specific rules of the game are mentioned!

2. ¡Lanzamiento (de papel)!: This is kind of like a verse Pájaro enojado–I write a question on a piece of paper and give it to a student. The student crumples it up and it gets thrown around the class. Whoever has it when the music stops gets to pick any student in the class and interview them! Students love having this power! 🤣

3. ¡Levántate!: This is a fun game, also to music, where students stand up and walk around while music plays. When the music stops, a question is posted on the board and they have to ask/answer the question to the person closest to them. This really encourages full-class participation.

Remember, there are always opportunities for social justice in the classroom!

The music you play in the class is super important. Am I guilty of blasting Bad Bunny instrumentals? Yes! In my opinion, he’s one of the biggest stars out there and it’s important for students to know who the movers and shakers are in Latin music. Therefore, he should be part of the cultural knowledge that we transmit to our students (my personal opinion).

But what if you were to play La Rebelión by Joe Arroyo? Afterward, you could ask if the song sounded happy or sad. Then, depending on your school’s culture, you could dig into some of the symbolism and references to slavery. You can also discuss the juxtaposition of such a heavy topic with an upbeat song–why might that be?

Pro-tip: if you love reggaeton like me, consider playing the instrumentals in class instead of forgoing them completely. Kids love a good beat drop! 🔊

➡️ Check out my Bad Bunny playlist

➡️ Read a previous blog post about reggaeton in the classroom!

➡️ Still teaching online? Here are some music tips for the virtual classroom (that can also translate to the brick-and-mortar classroom!)

➡️ Are you a fan of Bad Bunny? Love Puerto Rico, the music, and the culture? Browse my resources here!

➡️ More music resources are HERE. Example below–includes Joe Arroyo!:

Thanks for reading! Un abrazo fuerte,


SEL Slides in Spanish!

Download this bundle of Spanish Social Emotional Learning slides that you can use for warm-ups and community builders, particularly important nowadays! Slides are editable!

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