Presentations are amazing teaching resources! We can’t deny it.
No matter your students’ learning style and no matter how much we try to incorporate the use of all the senses in our lessons, having a visual aid that keeps the students’ attention can really improve your instruction.
A picture really is worth a thousand words.
The Power of the Slides
Even though it’s been on the market for almost 30 years, PowerPoint is still a favorite when it comes to presentations.
How about taking your students on a virtual tour with a photo presentation? Or teaching comparatives and superlatives through a set of slides of something your students can compare? Create a comic book, maybe? Or show them a sequence of events and encourage them to predict what will happen next when you’re teaching the future tense?
You can use PowerPoint presentations for almost anything you want to teach, review or drill in your Spanish class. You can even use them for games or oral tests. Having a visual (and aural) aid will make your students and your class go a long way.
Even though it takes some time to create them, they’ll work for you for a very long time. You can easily adapt them to your lesson or to your students’ needs. If you prefer to create your own presentations, you can find plenty of tips and tricks on the world wide web to make them awesome.
But don’t worry if you just don’t have the time. The internet has a ton of websites where teachers share their presentations and are free for you to download and use in your classroom. And you can still modify them to add your personal touch.
Now, I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Among the world of Spanish presentations, finding good presentations to introduce vocabulary to beginners is not easy.
Here are some of the main problems I’ve encountered with Spanish presentations:
- The use of English to explain Spanish. These presentations may be appropriate for teachers but not for the students. We want them to get used to Spanish, and bombarding them with information in English won’t allow them to immerse themselves in the language we’re trying to teach.
- Translated words. You should avoid presentations that introduce vocabulary with a list of translated words. Not only does that keep them from being exposed to the Spanish language, there’s no educational purpose in just making the list fancier by showing English words on a screen in a different color.
- Lots of text. In any kind of presentation, this decreases the attention of the students and, therefore, the effectiveness of the message; either they listen to you or they read the presentation. But in a language class where you’re presenting new vocabulary, having lots of extra words is even worse.
An ideal PowerPoint presentation for teaching vocabulary must be clear, concise, without paragraphs and with lots and lots of pictures—even more so when you are introducing words to beginners. And most importantly, they should only be in Spanish.
You want your students to associate the new word with an image (and maybe a sound), and you want them to remember it in Spanish.
14 PowerPoint Spanish Presentations to Introduce Vocabulary to Beginners
Why reinvent the wheel? Here are 14 presentations already put together that you’re free to adapt to your lessons. If you don’t like a particular slide, just delete it or change it!
Most of these presentations come from a site called ¡Oye!, except for El clima, which comes from a site called Tpduggan. Both sites were created by teachers as resources for other educators. To access the PowerPoints, click on the Spanish headings. You’ll be directed to the website where you can search for the title of the presentation. You can then choose and download the appropriate file.
El clima/tiempo (The Weather)
1. Title: El Tiempo
Description: This presentation teaches the names of the seasons and weather expressions that go with them. It’s perfect for introducing the vocabulary for the first time or reviewing it. Since all the pictures are drawings, it may be more appealing to younger children. If you feel real pictures may be better for older students, you can always edit the presentation and change the pictures.
Suggestions: One thing I do recommend you change is the first slide, ¿Qué tiempo hace? (What’s the weather like?), because beginners may get confused and think this is how we ask about the seasons. I’d change it to Las estaciones del año (The seasons of the year) or ¿Qué estación del año es? (What is the season?).
2. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Pets
Description: This one contains vocabulary for pets (with drawings) and a drill for practice. It goes beyond the word and the picture and introduces structures to ask questions.
¿Qué es esto? (What is this?)
¿Esto es un perro? (Is this a dog?)
¡No! ¡Es un gato! (No! It’s a cat!)
In addition to that, it has animal sounds in the drill—a definite plus.
Suggestions: You can always change the drawings to real pictures or add more animals and questions according to your lesson or students.
La familia (The Family)
3. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on the Family
Description: The first one introduces the family members through an example of a family tree. It introduces new vocabulary while at the same time introducing basic structures for discussing relationships.
Alicia es la madre de María. (Alicia is María’s mother.)
Suggestions: My only suggestion here would be to ask your students to copy the family tree in their notebooks before you get to the true/false drill that tests their knowledge. Otherwise, they’ll be too focused remembering who was who to remember the relationship between them. Let’s make it simple for them!
4. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on the Simpson Family
Description: Your students will learn how to ask about brothers and sisters in this presentation. Through a series of questions made to each member of the Simpson family, the focus is on the first and second person, but you can immediately encourage them to use third person.
For example, when Homer says:
No, no tengo hermanos. Soy hijo único. (No, I don’t have any siblings. I’m an only child.)
Ask the students if Homer has siblings so they have to change it to third person to answer:
No, no tiene hermanos. Es hijo único. (No, he doesn’t have siblings. He’s an only child.)
The last slide is a drill to match the character with the correct answer. Let them read each sentence and tell you to whom it belongs.
For example, the following sentence would belong to Marge:
Sí, tengo dos hermanas gemelas. (Yes, I have two twin sisters.)
Suggestions: If you have a small class and you’re familiar with their family structure, you can even add a few slides referring to their brothers and sisters and let them guess to whom they belong. They’ll love to feel included in this!
Los colores (The Colors)
5. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Colours
Description: This presentation introduces the colors. In the first slides, your students will learn how to ask ¿Qué color es? (What color is it?) and learn the correct term for each color. You’ll just need to edit a small mistake here: the word marrón (brown) is missing the accent.
In the last slides, your students will have to tell you which color results from the combination of two given colors.
negro + blanco = gris (black + white = gray)
Suggestions: This last part makes the color introduction a little more interesting since they’ll also have to think about color theory. They’ll love the fact that they’ll get drums as an anticipation sound before giving the answer and applauses after giving the correct one. Make sure your computer has the sound on and the volume up.
El cuerpo (The Body)
6. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on the Body
Description: This one introduces and reviews the main parts of the body through a drawing of a girl. In the first slide, the body will slowly form part by part with each click, and you’ll see the name of the body part along with its proper article. The slides that follow are drills to review what students have learned.
Suggestions: In the first drill, students name the parts of the body that the arrows are pointing to and the answers are revealed with each click. The words are written on the slide to help students remember the correct spelling.
The final drill looks like a puzzle with random parts appearing. If you want to test their memory and spice it up a little bit, you can speed up how fast they appear.
The words won’t appear in this drill, just each part of the body. Because of that, another thing you can do to see if they remember the spelling of each word is ask them to write down the name of each part as it appears (notebooks closed, of course).
Before this last drill, you have one slide that says:
¿Cómo se llaman las siguientes partes del cuerpo? (What are the names of the following body parts?)/Name the parts of the body as they appear on the screen.
My suggestion is to erase the task in English. There’s no need for translated words in a language class, it’ll just distract them from the Spanish words.
La cabeza y la cara (The Head and the Face)
7. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on the Head
Description: With a similar structure to the previous presentation, the head is formed part by part with each click and the name appears with its article. Afterward, there are a couple of practice drills to review them.
The drills also follow the same structure as with the presentation of the body. In the first drill, the parts of the face are indicated with arrows and the answer appears. In the second drill, the parts randomly appear without names.
Suggestions: Review them in the same way I suggested for the body. And as in the previous presentation, you have a slide with the task in Spanish and in English. Edit it and erase the English task since it’s unnecessary.
8. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Face
Description: This presentation focuses on the description of the eyes and the hair. Your students will be able to answer the following questions:
¿De qué color son tus ojos? (What color are your eyes?)
¿Cómo es tu pelo? (What does your hair look like?)
They’ll also be given the proper vocabulary to answer:
Corto, largo, rizado, liso, rubio, pelirrojo (short, long, curly, straight, blond, red)
The first few slides are descriptions of different characters (in drawings) and the last ones are drills that ask your students to describe or answer specific questions about what other characters look like.
The task on the last slide is to draw a character according to the description. Because this last exercise can be really fun for them, you may want to consider adding a few more descriptions. Your students can then draw and compare their pictures.
Suggestions: One thing to consider: before you use this presentation in class, make sure you already taught them noun and adjective agreement.
And one small piece of advice. In this presentation, they’re referring to straight hair as liso but you could use the opportunity to teach your students about the language variations according to the place in which it is used. Many countries use lacio instead of liso when referring to straight hair. Here is a very interesting discussion on the topic. Hope it helps!
La hora (The Time)
9. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Time (o’clock)
Description: The structures of all these presentations that have to do with time are quite similar; first there are examples on how to tell time, then there’s a drill where examples are mixed up for your students to practice. At the end, there’s the opportunity to add hands to the clock.
This first presentation shows students how to tell time to the hour, plus noon and midnight. You may need to add en punto (o’clock; sharp) to each slide or just write it on the board to emphasize that it’s another way to say it.
10. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Time (remaining times)
Description: Students will learn how to tell times that are not on the hour, quarter hour or half-hour. I spotted an error that you’ll have to correct: in the ninth slide, instead of being la una y veinticinco (1:25) it actually shows la una y veinte (1:20), so make sure to edit it.
11. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Time (quarter past, quarter to, half past)
Description: This one shows students how to say y cuarto (quarter past), menos cuarto (quarter to) and y media (half past). A couple slides may be confusing in this presentation:
Slide # 10 says:
Son las nueve y media. (It’s 9:30.) (But it can be mistaken as 10:30.)
Slide # 18 says:
Son las dos menos cuarto. (It’s 1:45.) (But it can also be read as 12:45.)
The hands of the clock aren’t very clear, so you can either edit them or clarify to your students where the hands are supposed to be exactly.
12. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Time
Description: Slightly different than the other three, this one basically shows how to tell time between 12:00 and 12:55, including on the hour, quarter past, quarter to and half past.
This one is a more general presentation that covers all the basics. It’s possible to only use this one to teach time and just combine elements of the other three to create your own practice presentation.
I’d erase the first slide or change the title since the structure ¿A qué hora es (el recreo)? (What time is [recess]?) is not actually used here.
Suggestions: I must add that even though these presentations are quite useful, most of them have a few slides where the tasks or comments are in Spanish and English. I strongly recommend you edit them and erase every trace of English since that’ll only distract your students and keep them from remembering the Spanish.
If you have a whiteboard in your classroom, you can project the presentations directly on it so your students can actually draw the clocks’ hands. But don’t worry if you don’t have it. You can also project it on the wall and just make cardboard hands and ask your students to paste them on each clock. They’ll like the interactive possibility.
Also, these presentations have the sound of applause after the tasks where they answer, so make sure your volume is high enough for them to hear it.
Now, you don’t really need to use these four presentations to teach them how to tell time. You can always create your own presentation using some examples and exercises from each of them and combine them into a single presentation.
La rutina diaria (Daily Routine)
13. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on Daily Routine
Description: This one shows a basic daily routine, as its name states. You should present it after teaching your students how to tell time since the last part of this presentation combines the activities of the routine with the time at which they happen.
The first part is the introduction of some basic activities such as despertarse (waking up), levantarse (getting up), vestirse (getting dressed), etc. They’re all in first person, but if you’ve already taught students the verbs in present tense, ask students to conjugate the verbs in the third person.
So, one example shows a boy having breakfast with the slide saying Desayuno (I’m having breakfast). You’ll ask your students, “¿Qué hace él?” (What is he doing?) They’ll then conjugate the verb correctly by telling you, “Desayuna.” (He’s having breakfast.)
Then a slide has all the pictures together that your students need to put in order. After that, there are a couple of drills to review the vocabulary they just learned.
Finally, you have the same activities and a clock next to each one that tells the exact time in which those activities happen. This allows them to practice the new daily routine vocabulary, telling time and the conjugation of the verbs.
Suggestions: The second example may be confusing since the clock looks like it says siete menos veinte (6:40) instead of ocho menos veinte (7:40), so you may want to edit this one.
Los cuartos de la casa (The Rooms of the House)
14. Title: PowerPoint Presentation on the Rooms of the House
Description: The first part introduces each room. This will be drilled in the 12th and 13th slide. But in the 11th slide, you have pictures of objects (without their label) that you’ll find in these rooms like a bed, chair, lamp, etc. The question on this slide is ¿En qué habitación se encuentra…? (In which room is …?)
Suggestions: The goal is to practice the name of the room where these objects are, but since they have no label and your students probably won’t know their name, I suggest you print out the pictures of those objects with their names and distribute them randomly to your students before the lesson (or before the presentation).
Once you reach this slide, you can ask the student that has each object to either say the name, show the card or write it on the board to teach their classmates. This way you’re adding an interactive element in the middle of your presentation.
I’d also suggest you change the title to Los cuartos de la casa or add the article to En casa (at home) so that it becomes En la casa.
Another suggestion would be to either eliminate the last two slides of the presentation or at least erase the English translation. I’d just keep the slide’s title ¿Cómo es tu casa? (What is your house like?) to encourage them to describe their own house (how many rooms, which floor they are on, etc.), but in the presentation, it’s unnecessary to have so much text. Just list any necessary vocabulary on the board.
Things to remember when using these presentations
Now that you have several useful presentations to choose from, let me give you a couple of final notes:
- Most of these presentations use drawings instead of pictures. Even though this may seem more appealing to children, it doesn’t mean older students or adults will mind them. However, you can always edit the presentations and change the pictures to something you consider more suitable for your class. After all, no one knows your students’ interests and needs better than you.
- Presentations are indeed great tools (if used properly) but not an absolute necessity in your class. It’s important that you set your learning goal before you decide to use them and not the other way around. It’s important to be purposeful with PowerPoints and make sure it’s not the only way you introduce new vocabulary—the novelty will wear off and your students will get bored.
- ¡Oye! is a site that has presentations and exercises for each learning skill, divided into topics and school years. Many of the exercises can be used with an interactive whiteboard, although they also have a printed version. In order to use this site and download the presentations between the hours of 9am and 4pm (GMT) during the week, you need to be registered and pay a monthly fee. The rest of the time, access to the site is free. Keep this in mind when you’re preparing your lesson.
- Tpduggan is exclusively a site that collects PowerPoint presentations of all kinds: vocabulary, grammar, geography, exercises, etc. However, use them with caution because they use English a lot and have lots and lots of text. On the other hand, you can find lots of inspiration and ideas for creating your own presentations.
I hope you enjoy these resources and ideas for many (school) years to come! And if at some point you decide to spend some time creating your own presentations, please share them online so you can help other teachers the same way they’re helping you now!
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