Don't do it! Try a different French or Spanish activity instead of showing a movie - World Language Cafe

Why You Shouldn’t Show Your Students a Movie the Last Few Days before Break

Don’t do it!!!  Don’t show your students a movie the last few days before a long holiday break!

All the teachers do this and the poor students end up watching movies all day long.  Save your movie for another time (when you’re feeling under the weather, when you have a sub, etc.).

Here are 10 activities to save your sanity and keep your students engaged in the target language before a long break.

1.  Introduce some new review games to spice up your classroom.

Take some time to do a quick spiral review of the material that you have covered so far this year or pick a topic students struggled with and review it with a game.  After sitting and watching movies all day or taking tests, your students will be psyched to play some active, engaging games.

“But Sherry, I’ve already used up all my game ideas!”  No worries!  I’ve got you covered.

Get 50 free World Language games to re-energize your class.

World Language, French and Spanish Games

2.  Try a community building activity in the target language.

Want your World Language students to be global citizens who work together to solve complex problems as a group?  I know it’s a little off the beaten path of grammar and specific language skills, but it’s the perfect activity for the day before a long break.  Try “Mindshift”.  Guaranteed that students will be talking about this activity for years to come.  Read about how to set it up in your classroom here.

Trust Building Activity for Class

3. Pull out books in the target language and let students free read.

Tell your students that you know this time of the year is so busy, that you thought they’d like a few minutes to sit quietly and enjoy a good book.  Depending on the age of your students, let them read for 10-20 minutes (stop just before they start to get a little restless).  Let them pick whichever books they would like to read.  After your students have read for a while, then go back to tip #1 and play a game or two.

This will give you time to grade papers or tidy up so that you can leave with a clear mind and truly enjoy the holidays.  You can also do this every day for 2-3 days or make it a regular weekly routine in your classroom. If you haven’t set up a World Language library in your classroom yet, read how to do it cheaply and easily here.

Reading Library, World Language Classroom

4.  Try something new for free!

Have you tried trifold flashcards yet?  If not, I’m telling you – these are going to revolutionize the way you and your students think about flashcards forever!!  The students love these.  They’re a great way to reinforce verbs or vocabulary AND they make awesome sub plans.  They’re available for vocab themes or verb tenses.  Just print and go.

Read more about trifolds and get free sets here.

This is what trifold flashcards look like.

Trifold Flashcards

5.  Create a language cafe and spend the whole day speaking in the target language.

I strongly believe that this is one of the most valuable activities a language teacher can do with his/her students.  Get them talking about what they’re interested in, about current events, plans for break, or pose questions that will incorporate a grammar point, verb tense, or set of vocabulary that you’re practicing.

Have students research recipes from the countries they are studying and in small groups prepare a special food to bring in to share.  Students then talk about how they made the food and what ingredients they used.  Teach students how to ask politely for food in a restaurant and practice good manners.  Once everyone is served, start with “Temas y tapas” (your cafe chat while you’re eating).  You can break students up into groups of 4-5 or sit in a circle as a class.

Transform Your Classroom into a World Language Cafe

Read more about how to set this up successfully in my 50 free games.

Do your students slip out of the target language too easily during activities like this?  Try these 20 strategies to help.

Hope these ideas inspire you to try something different this year before break!  Would love to hear if you have anything special that you do in your classroom.

Happy Teaching!


The World Language Cafe



20 Ways to Get Your French, Spanish Students Speaking in the Target Language

20 Ways to Get Your Students Speaking in the Target Language

Know what makes my language teacher heart break?

When I tell people that I am a French and Spanish teacher and they proceed to tell me that they took X number of years of French/Spanish/Italian, etc, but can’t say anything.  Or they rattle off a few lines of a useless dialogue that they memorized, but that’s all they know.

What is the #1 reason why this happens?

Teachers don’t speak in the target language and they don’t make their students speak in the target language.   If that’s you, don’t worry, I’m not blaming you – I’m here to help.

So now you’re probably thinking:

“Sherry, I know it’s really important to get my students speaking in the target language, but every time I try to do it, it’s soooo haaarrrrrddd!

“But wait!” you say, “The school year already began.  I can’t start now.”  


Don’t worry, this blog post has everything you need to be successful in your classroom:

* 7 tips to get you started

* 20 strategies to get students speaking in the target language

* 50 free World Language games and resources

* Facebook World Language Teachers’ Lounge Support Group

Read more…

Spanish French Thanksgiving Lesson Plans, Games, Writing Activities

Recipes and Resources – A Tasty Combination!

For many of my Thanksgiving resource descriptions, I write, “Need some time to bake pies and clean the house before your guests arrive or to pack before you travel to visit relatives?  This Spanish Thanksgiving bundle of print and go writing activities, lesson plans, games, and crafts has everything you need to make it through the last 3 days before Thanksgiving break.”

Just received this great feedback from a teacher on one of my Thanksgiving resources that inspired me to write this post.

“So awesome! I seriously DO want more time to bake pies with my own kiddos at home. Thank you!”

Who doesn’t love pie?? So today, I’ll be sharing one of my family’s recipes for chocolate pecan pie, along with some Thanksgiving resources for your classroom. Read more…

Building Classroom Community

Mindshift: A Community Building Exercise

In light of the divisiveness of the most recent elections, thought we could all use something to encourage students (or even adults) to work together.  Take 30-40 minutes to do this activity and trust me, it will be the one class that your students never forget.  It will teach your students to work together, respect others’ ideas, and find solutions to tricky problems.  So important to remind them of the power of collaboration and respect right now. Read more…

Fall Feedback Frenzy World Language Cafe TpT

Fall Feedback Frenzy!

Happy November!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m hosting a

*** Fall Feedback Frenzy! ***
I’m thankful every time you leave comments for me – they fuel my passion to keep creating and your ratings help me spread the word to other teachers.  From Nov. 1st -20th, as a thank you to my loyal customers, if you provide feedback on any of your purchases from my store (new or older), you’ll be entered to win one of the following prizes:

* $100 Store Credit *

* $25 Store Credit *

* $10 Store Credit *

After you leave feedback, be sure to leave the box checked so I can contact you via your comment when you win.  If for some reason, you weren’t completely satisfied with a resource, please email to let me know what changes I can make to better suit your needs.

Read more…

World Language Teacher Feature

World Language Teacher Feature

Teaching can be so lonely sometimes so I  wanted to create an online teacher lounge where all the language teachers can hang out.  We’ll be sharing the up’s and  down’s of teaching, as well as ideas and tips to use in your classroom. Hope you’ll join our World Language Cafe Facebook Group.  The more, the merrier!

Teacher Feature:

To help create a sense of community, I’ll be featuring teacher profiles and stories (one each week).  Here is the first one with Holly Lamovsky, a veteran Spanish teacher from Ohio.  Here’s what she had to say:

Holly Lamovsky

Notes on Desks to Students

Advice for a First Year Teacher

Recently Rachel A. wrote this to me:  “Hola! My name is Rachel and this fall I will be starting my first year as a Spanish teacher.  I’m trying to plan everything that I can for the school year right now but I just don’t even know where to start or what I should have done before school starts! Do you have the time to give me any tips or advice? I would really appreciate it!”

This post is for all the Rachel’s out there, all the new teachers on the front lines of teaching.

“Dear Rachel,

I’ve taught all different types of kids (high achievers, really tough kids, kids who failed Sp. 1 three times, private school students) and I think the most important things are:

1. Show your students that you care about them – greet them at the door each day, find out what they’re interested in, use their names in your sample sentences, write notes on their desks in dry erase marker (1 a day), call their parents when they do something good (don’t tell them ahead of time that you’re doing this – students will spread the word and be psyched). This will also win over the parents who never get called for a kid being good. Read more…

Reading Library, World Language Classroom

Create a Reading Library in Your World Language Classroom

Want to get your students excited about reading in the target language?  

It’s much easier and cheaper than you’d think to create a reading library in your World Language classroom.  By creating a library of children’s books in the target language, Read more…

Using Trifold Flashcards in Your World Language Classroom

Why Traditional Vocabulary Flashcards Just Don’t Work (and What Does)

After using traditional vocabulary and verb flashcards in my World Language classrooms for years, I have finally come to the conclusion that they just aren’t as effective as they could be.  How many bizillions of flashcards have we forced our students to make, yet they still struggle to use the vocabulary and verbs correctly and fluently?

Read more…

Trifold Flashcards - Revolutionize the Way You Teach Verbs, Vocab, and Grammar in Your World Language Classroom!

Revolutionize the Way You Teach Vocab, Verbs, and Grammar!

Do your students struggle with verb conjugations and remembering vocab? Are they unable to use verbs in a sentence without conjugating the whole thing in their heads? Do they misspell verbs and vocab and misuse common grammar on their quizzes?

Guess what? I created a brand new resource called interactive notebook trifold flashcards (INTF’s) to alleviate these problems and I’m giving out free samples in this blog post.  This post shows examples in Spanish, but trifold flashcards are also available in French. Read more…

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