Teacher’s Aides: 9 Superb Websites for Spanish Educators
There are more Spanish speakers residing in the US than ever before.
This makes your role as a Spanish educator crucial.
Teaching Spanish can even be viewed as an act of social justice for the many monolingual Spanish speakers who need services, resources and support in their language.
It’s also a great way to open communication channels across cultural barriers, and to start building bridges that you and your students wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
However, while teaching Spanish is often very rewarding, it can, at times, be a little overwhelming.
Luckily, some of your fellow Spanish teachers have already started building bridges with technology by creating great online resources for students and educators like yourself.
Yes, the essentials have already been put in place so that we can work together, share materials and connect with an online community of educators.
Furthermore, by using educator websites, you can find tips and advice to keep you sharp and on your toes!
And there are likely more websites for Spanish teachers out there than you think.
So in this post, we’ll explore some great Spanish educator resources I’ve found to be particularly useful.
Tapping into a Broader Spanish Educator Community Online
The below list is the final product of what became an exhaustive search for supportive resources to complement my work with students as a solo Spanish educator. In this search, I had been primarily looking for the following:
- User-friendly and enticing interfaces.
- Links, videos, worksheets, exercises and texts that I deemed highly useful to my students’ learning.
- A useful number of free resources.
- Evidence that the site’s creators are highly proficient in Spanish and English.
- Up-to-date content with state-of-the-art learning resources.
9 Superb Websites for Spanish Educators
While checking out the sites below and finding more on your own, keep in mind that while many have no-commitment ways to experiment with their resources for free, it’s useful to be on the lookout for free-trial opportunities of teaching products.
Many resources are, indeed, worth their fees, and purchasing resources or access to educational apps and platforms can be money well spent! Don’t be scared to pay a little for quality didactic resources. Why not invest a little in your future, your career and, most importantly, your students?
You wouldn’t be reading this post if you weren’t interested in being a stellar educator, so let’s get right to reviewing some handy resources to scaffold your skills. The sites below cover a lot of ground—with some intended for teachers, parents, students or a combination of all of those—but whether you share them with your learners or just use them to come up with ideas, you’ll find them useful for a variety of purposes.
Founded by a couple in a multilingual and multicultural marriage, SpeakingLatino began with many great books on Spanish unique to various Latin American countries, based on their travels.
As their readership expanded, SpeakingLatino soon perceived a need for resources for teachers, and accordingly has recently begun creating a variety of lesson plans, materials and resources for teachers as well.
One of their unique resources is activity packets for songs in Spanish. Each packet takes a song and creates a series of activities for it, generally focused on a vocabulary or grammar topic prevalent in it.
For example, a song might be used to practice body vocabulary, the exercises including an activity encouraging students to speak, a series of questions for them to answer, dialogue prompts and a related video introducing a cultural aspect to learn.
All packets include answer keys for all exercises.
FluentU is unique in its teaching method, which revolves around maximizing the usefulness of foreign language videos.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
It uses a natural approach that lets students learn Spanish as it’s spoken in real life. FluentU has a diverse selection of videos on a variety of different topics that include everything from football to magic realism.
FluentU also makes native Spanish manageable with interactive transcripts. Students can tap on any word and instantly look it up. All definitions have professionally written examples with pictures that help them understand how the word is used. You can also add words you want to review to a vocab list.
The best FluentU feature is that it tracks the vocabulary students are learning and suggests videos and examples. Every student has a fully personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video as someone else. This comes in a lot of handy when teaching, and FluentU is continually improving its resources for teachers.
Check out FluentU online or download the FluentU app for iOS or Android devices. Also, make sure to keep reading FluentU’s blog for Spanish educators to take advantage of all the latest resources, tips and advice!
As a Spanish tutor, Study Spanish is my go-to site for practice quizzes for my students on practically anything they may be tested on in their classes. This ranges from all the tenses to important grammatical distinctions, such as usted/tú, ser/estar, saber/conocer or por/para.
While Study Spanish offers free basic quizzes that score students at the end and helpfully indicate errors, keep in mind that you need to pay for the complete gamut of quizzes and answer key explanations for each important topic. I haven’t found this to be necessary in my tutoring, but I imagine it could be helpful depending on your students’ needs!
121Spanish offers great concise explanations on a spectrum of vital Spanish language topics, such as using articles correctly and learning that nouns have genders.
It also functions similarly to StudySpanish, offering basic quizzes on most grammar topics, and an option to pay for a broader range of practice quizzes among other resources.
A unique advantage of 121Spanish, however, is that it covers Spanish spoken across Spanish-speaking countries, and underscores important differences between them.
This is its biggest plus: 121Spanish aims for worldly education about the Spanish-speaking world, exploring how Spanish varies across Latin American countries, sometimes even including regional differences in the same country.
If I had to choose which site is the funnest of all the sites on this list, this may be the winner! It contains many jokes to lighten the difficulty of learning a new language, and has an especially organized and attractive interface.
Its section about utilizing Spanish humor in class is unique and its blog is well-crafted. Here’s one joke that I particularly enjoyed.
Now this one is especially useful in its ability to effectively target bilingual teachers as well as offering astute tips to help educators cater to the unique needs of the increasing number of bilingual students entering public schools. It features various concise and well-written blog posts.
I particularly enjoyed the post about the optimal amount of “study pressure” for students in order to maximize their learning while keeping their stress levels at bay. I’ve found this to be more useful than I imagined, as this is what all great educators strive for, right? Challenging students to learn well and holding them accountable, but without increasing their stress levels.
When you peruse, I’m confident you’ll find many more useful posts.
Spanish Playground (above) clearly has some competition here! Spanish Simply combines many drawing activities with Spanish learning prompts that makes it super-fun, especially for young learners. It’s geared toward elementary and middle school, but could be adapted to students of all ages.
I would recommend this site for teachers of students who tend to be less verbal, or are in the rudimentary stages of their Spanish learning. This site challenges the notion that you need to read a lot to learn Spanish.
This site, unlike the rest above, offers the chance to purchase comprehensive curriculums and short interactive learning books that breathe new flavor into the aula (classroom). It’s also neatly organized and presented. The pedagogic activities are accompanied by teaching guides, making it clear and readily available to use.
What’s particularly useful for educators, though, whether or not you intend to purchase anything from the site, is its educator’s blog that offers great tips, especially for effectively engaging younger learners.
Sonrisas also offers a sample for each curriculum it sells that reviews its language outcomes, communication objectives, book suggestions for going deeper and related activities. All the educational materials are translated into English to avoid misinterpretations, giving it extra points in my book!
To get a feel for its content before making any purchases, I would recommend clicking the curriculum link at the top of the site. There you can explore Sonrisas content as it pertains to each of their three skill levels. Here’s a sample teaching manual and corresponding student portfolio from level one.
This site is replete with links to useful learning packets for the classroom and, of course, has a simple, basic and friendly interface. Like the others, it features didactic pictures with language prompts to enhance learning, in big fonts, to make everything extra clear.
The workbooks and materials have a casero (homey) feel, are readily digestible, and they’re all free! Dichos dinámicos (dynamic sayings) is a personal favorite, which I’ve used with a few students who were interested in learning more cultural sayings.
As a Spanish educator, you play an undoubtedly fundamental role in society, increasing people’s abilities to connect with growing Spanish-speaking communities.
I hope you find these sites helpful for continuing to play that role.
What could be better than checking them out to keep on top of your game, all while adding more tools to your teacher’s tool box?
Jason Linder, MA, is a doctoral student and intensely passionate Spanish tutor and blog writer. In his free time, he enjoys telenovelas, traveling around Latin America, meditation, yoga, exercise, reading and writing. Learn more about his free Spanish learning resources and tutoring.