Sneak Peek: Easy low-prep sub plans to leave for heritage Spanish class.
Let’s face it, no one likes to get sick. No one likes being injured. The situations that take us out of our classrooms are unfortunate, but also real. Typically, there is an element of stress involved in days spent out of our classrooms: what shape will our classroom be in when we get back? What horror stories are my students going to be telling me about the sub, and how does that line up with the sub’s note summarizing their day? Was my class covered by a sub, or were my colleagues forced to cover my class hourly because we are so short-staffed?
The fact is, it’s stressful to be responsible for something that, for the duration of your time away, you have no control over. Sometimes I would worry that my sub-plan wouldn’t be engaging enough for my students, and the sub would be overrun with behavior issues. In other instances, I would worry that the topics discussed were either too technical in nature, or too sensitive to trust to a random individual I had never met. One thing that I’ve found affirming for my mental health, is to have an arsenal of go-to sub plans that I know will grab the attention of my students, and create an environment where the sub feels in control of their day.
Now that I have kids, the need to have a lesson ready-to-go at all times is more necessary than ever. When you wake up in the middle of the night with a sick kiddo, the last thing you want to do is spend time wracking your tired brain for something, anything productive, to have your students work on that day.
As a best practice, I started to ensure I always leave a printed roster on my desk so that attendance is never an issue if I have to be gone last minute. I also have an unpublished folder in my Schoology page (our learning management system) called Emergency Sub Plan that I can publish from home if need be. I usually have a choice board in there that students could work on regardless of what unit we are in.
Other times, I know I will need to be gone and I can put more thought into what I have my students work on.
Here are some lessons ideas that you could leave for any substitute teacher in heritage speakers class:
Ted: la identidad (2 days)
Students listen to four ted talks about the topic of Identity in Spanish and answer comprehension questions.
Tedx: la felicidad (2 days) Students listen to four ted talks about the topic of happiness in Spanish and answer comprehension questions.
Ted: la representación latina (2 days)
The four Ted talks about Latino representation are in English. There is a Spanish questions sheet included as well as an English questions sheet.
Las crónicas del taco (6 episodes-30 min each)
This Netflix documentary series is a great way to teach students about authentic Mexican cuisine as well as personification and creative fiction writing, since in the documentary, the tacos themselves are the narrators.
The Bronze Screen Documentary Guide- Spanish Version (2 days)
A digital worksheet for the 2002 documentary The Bronze Screen.
East Side Sushi (2 days)
A comprehension questions worksheet in Spanish for the movie East Side Sushi (available for free).
La Cosecha: Post-viewing quiz (en español) (1.5 days)
A post-viewing quiz with multiple choice questions for La Cosecha Documentary.
Buen Día Ramón Post-Movie Quiz (2 days)
A post-viewing quiz for the movie Buen Día Ramón.
Poema acróstico de mi nombre (1 day)
Worksheet packet in which students create an acrostic poem of their name.
La historia de mi vida (2 days)
Students draw their life journey on a poster. Have students do the prep-work of preparing their poster and then do the conversations/presentations when you return (available for free).
La cultura visible e invisible (2-3 days)
Students work in small groups for this project, first planning out and then creating a poster.
Students create an infographic about the topic of drugs, or a different topic you may choose to adjust it for.
“Profe por un momento” presentación- los estudiantes enseñan el tema (3 days of student work time + group presentation time)
Students work in groups to research and create slideshow presentations. Additionally, each group creates an activity for the class related to their topic such as a worksheet, quiz, or Kahoot.
¡Quién Soy Yo! // Who I Am Presentation Project (2 days)
Students create a Slideshow presentation about themselves.
Mi mapa de input lingüístico: a Growth Mindset Lesson for Heritage Speakers (2 days)
Students draw their language input map for English and Spanish, reflecting on where their language skills come from.
Términos de identidad (2 days)
Students learn about identity terms in this 5-page worksheet packet.
Lección: Interseccionalidad (1 day)
Students will recognize their unique identity traits in this 3-page packet about intersectionality.
Los dos lados de mi vida- a complete lesson for heritage speakers class (1 day)
Students draw on this worksheet to represent the American culture and Latino culture in their life (available for free).
Amor propio hojas de trabajo // Self-love worksheets (2 days)
Four worksheets in Spanish to help students foster and learn about healthy self-love.
Afrolatino HyperDoc tarea (1-2 days)
Students watch videos from different Afrolatinos and respond to questions in a Google Doc.
Spoken Word Bilingual Assignment: digital poem analysis for heritage speakers (2 days)
Students watch videos of Spoken word and analyze their poems in Google Slides.
Me gritaron negra: digital poem analysis for heritage speakers (1 day)
Students watch videos about this famous poem and respond in Google Slides.
La Voz De Frida Kahlo: Digital Listening Assessment (1-2 days)
Students will learn about the only recording of Frida Kahlo’s voice that has recently surfaced. Or is it truly her voice? Students will have to decide for themselves in this assignment!
Guinea Ecuatorial – Culture – video embedded notes (en español) (1 day)
Students take the notes while you are gone, and upon your return to your class, you can give them a quiz (available for free).
La historia de la lengua española – lectura interactiva (1 day)
Students read about the history of the Spanish language and interact with the text by dragging words, ordering sentences, and responding to questions.
La historia de la lengua española HyperDoc tarea (1 day)
Students watch three embedded videos and type their answers to the questions directly into the Google Doc.
Students encounter three different versions of La llorona through a variety of tasks in this digital assignment using Google Slides.
Bilingual Struggles Google Slides for Heritage Speakers Class “LA LUCHA ES REAL” (1 day)
A Google Slides Assignment with 24 tweets about the struggles of being bilingual. Students drag the red circle to the emoji on the slide in order to react to the tweet.
Estereotipos latinos comunes en los medios de comunicación (1 day)
Students identify which movies portray certain common, stereotypical Latino roles in Google Slides.
Mi vida híbrida Google Doc assignment for heritage speakers (1-2 days)
Students compare the two sides of their life- their Latino life and their American life. Students insert images and text into a Google Doc of their favorite things for both sides of their culture.
Latinx Bilingual Lesson (2 days)
Students learn about the term Latinx at their own pace by watching videos in English & Spanish, reading articles in English and Spanish, & listening to a radio excerpt from NPR. They then write a 150 word summary in Spanish about what they learned.
Lenguas perdidas: hyperdoc tarea for heritage speakers (1-2 days)
A Google Doc assignment with embedded videos that teaches students about the rate at which indigenous languages are going extinct, how they go extinct, and how that relates to the Spanish language in the United States.
This is a Google Form that has images of an article embedded with questions.
La historia de la lengua española- lectura interactiva worksheet (1 day)
Students read about the history of the Spanish language and interact with the text by filling in the blank using a word bank, ordering sentences, and responding to questions.
¿Somos más felices sin redes sociales? – un artículo y preguntas (1 day)
A one-page article in Spanish with 14 questions for students to answer.
3 lecturas sobre la representación latina en la televisión (2 days)
Three articles in Spanish with comprehension questions about current shows with Latino representation.
Lectura: Interseccionalidad (1 day)
5-page worksheet packet where students read and answer questions in Spanish. Questions are inserted throughout the article and the packet ends with a set of reflection questions.
La historia de la felicidad- un artículo y preguntas (1 day)
A three and half page article about happiness in Spanish with 17 comprehension questions.
Don Quijote Comic & Questions (in Spanish) (1 day)
A comic with comprehension questions in Spanish (available for free).
Monarch Butterflies & Frida Kahlo Readings, Icebreaker, & Bulletin Board (1-2 days)
Two readings in Spanish with questions and an icebreaker activity you can turn into a vibrant, colorful bulletin board for your class.
El prestigio del lenguaje: hojas de trabajo – worksheets in Spanish (1 day)
A two-page worksheet packet that teaches students about language prestige and linguistic imperialism. Why are some languages going extinct?
Spanish TPR Story: Un viaje a Buenos Aires (1 day)
A story about a young couple’s trip to Argentina where they exchange their money on the black market. There are 25 assessment questions at the end. 20 of the questions are in Spanish and 5 are in English.
The History of Languages in the United States WebQuest (2 days)
Students learn about Brutal Boarding Schools for Native Americana, America’s bilingual roots, and bilingualism in the United States in this 7-page WebQuest.
WebQuest en español: La felicidad en Latinoamérica frente la felicidad en EE. UU (2 days)
Students explore world happiness in this four-page WebQuest.
Code-Switching WebQuest (1-2 days)
A 3-page WebQuest about code-switching (both linguistically and culturally). English and Spanish versions included.
Billboard WebQuest: Música latina en los Estados Unidos (1 day)
A three-page WebQuest assignment for heritage speakers to discover how Latino representation and Spanish-language music has been represented in the US music Billboard charts and evolved over time. Parents of my students have loved the times where I’ve assigned this, as they get a chance to go through some of their favorite songs from their childhood with their children!
El WebQuest del bilingüismo (1 day)
A WebQuest for bilingual students about the different types of bilingualism. Students decide which terms regarding bilingualism best describe them. In this WebQuest students compare bilingualism in the United States to the bilingualism found in Spain, specifically in Catalonia.
DACA WEBQUEST- en español (1-2 days)
A three-page WebQuest in Spanish where students learn about the Dream Act, DACA, and how revoking DACA would affect the U.S. economy.
I hope my arsenal of go-to sub plans brings you some peace and clarity in whatever situation that pops up in your life necessitating their use! Gone are the days of feeling guilty about taking a sick day. Prioritizing your physical and mental health will prevent future burnout. Stepping away from the classroom brings back a healthier, and happier teacher who can do more for their students than a sick and weary one. I hope this list helps you find the perfect sub plan for your students, so learning continues even while you are taking care of things in your personal life!
If you are planning a longer time away from your students for something like maternity leave, be sure to check out this post for ideas.
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