Psycholinguistics researcher & Spanish instructor at U. Illinois - Chicago

Spanish-as-a-second-language teaching materials

This is just a sampling of some materials I've used in my classes. There's way too much to upload it all (email me for more!), but this serves to illustrate some ideas. Adapt as you see fit!


  • Primer día de clase: students fill out a little table about the teacher and themselves. 


  • "Cuenta" by Kamikaze and "Vida de Colores" by Hermanos Herméticos: a couple of cloze listening activities with some Spanish rap, for teaching colors and question words.


  • Este, ese, aquel PowerPoint: students (working in pairs while they watch the PowerPoint together) have to use the difference between este, ese, and aquel to indicate their favorite clothes, album, activity, etc. from a set of whacky options.


  • Ropa y colores PowerPoint: same principle, but using vocab for clothes and colors.


  • Saber vs. conocer: a guessing game about celebrities that also introduces the distinction between saber and conocer.

More to come!

Heritage Spanish teaching materials

  • Primer día de clase: start off with a self-introduction and have students fill in some basic facts about you. Then, have students mingle around the room and fill in the table with each other's info. Students then draw a timeline about their evolving Spanish proficiency over their lifetime. Finally, students write in response to various prompts to reflect on how their use of language changes with context.


  • Checklist: useful for students to revise their own (or each other's!) writing for issues related to formatting, content, citation style, etc.


  • Accent practice (two files): a few passages about Chicago's own RuidoFest Latin American music festival for student to practice with accents and spelling.


  • Historia de movimientos laborales: a group activity to introduce labor issues to the class. Each small group of students gets a sheet with a full-page picture on one side and some info on the other. The students' job is to present their assigned labor-related event to the rest of the class, sticky-tacking their image to a big hand-drawn map of the US on the board. UIC's recent nurses' strike is on there, too!


  • La inmigración y el cambio de nombres: the image shows the results from a previous class activity where students pass around a map and indicate the places that they/their families identify with. The reverse side of the handout has a table illustrating how names can be changed depending on different linguistic contexts, with Ixil Mayan pronunciations of Spanish names.


  • Cómo usar Google Scholar: a quick little handout with screenshots to help students find and cite original sources for writing projects. 


  • Encuesta sobre la inmigración: students fill out little Likert scales for different statements related to their (and their family's) experiences with immigration. For added interactivity, you can print the questions on individual pieces of paper, pass them around for students to mark up anonymously, and then scan and share the results (see PDF). Note that the survey items also serve as a good lead-in for the difference between ha and a, too.


  • Esquema para una carta: help students get started on short writing assignments with a little skeleton or a letter expressing their opinion (e.g., to the editor of a newspaper).


  • Problematizing terms like hispanic, latino, etc.: three students volunteer to read the mini-biographies from the other side of the page. Students discuss, in small groups, whether each of the students would meet the prerequisite for a scholarship for "Hispanic" students. There's really no right answer--should DNA play a role in it, or is cultural identification enough? What about socioeconomic status?


  • Preparación para escribir una autobiografía lingüística: a pre-writing activity to get students to reflect on different encounters with bilingualism throughout their lives. My own (true!) anecdotes are on the reverse side as an example.


  • Tesis posibles para una autobiografía lingüística: a list of different insights that might be gleaned from the students' personal anecdotes about bilingualism (see above). The reverse side also has an outline for writing an attention-grabbing introduction, plus a little checklist for students to revise their autobiography drafts.


  • Vendedores ambulantes - argumentos pro y contra: to generate ideas for a writing assignment about street vendors, I had groups of students skim (and share to the rest of the class) some authentic articles about the topic, plus a list of arguments for and against street vending. The little arrows are for students to indicate how strongly they agree with each argument.

Previous Teaching

Volunteer ESL

For about four years, I taught English to Latin American immigrants in New Jersey on a weekly basis as a student volunteer. Specifically, I taught through Pa'delante in Princeton and El Centro in Trenton.

Gyechang Elementary School, Changnyeong, South Korea

In 2012, I  taught English at a public elementary school in a rural South Korean town through the Teach and Learn in Korea government program.

International Language Academy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Between my Master's and my PhD I spent a year teaching English full-time at a Cambridge ESOL- and NEAS-certified language training center, teaching children and adolescents.

EZLearn in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As part of a summer internship, I taught some supplementary English courses at two public high schools in Rio using a blended model with an online program.