The number one way I increased student motivation was to replace the textbook worksheets with authentic resources. They are real, and my students connected to them. In our next few posts, we are going to explain how we have let AuthRes TAKE THE LEAD in all aspects of a unit (we’ll use St. V Day as an example). The 1st Step is UNIT DESIGN.

Published 1/22/16

At first I constantly had the problem that I couldn’t find an authentic resources that fit my unit topic. Family, clothing, places in the city, imperfect vs. preterite, subjunctive. Look familiar?? Then I realized THAT was the problem, not the AuthRes search. These unit topics were limiting in so many ways… They were mostly vocabulary lists or grammar topics. No communication focus. Nor culture! When I found a good AuthRes, I quickly learned that it could lead the entire design of the unit. About 3 years ago, my district pushed us to add Essential Questions which proved to be even more powerful. Sara-Elizabeth has some great essential questions examples on her Musicuentos site.

Since Valentine’s Day is coming soon, let’s use that as an example. I know my students like to talk about that, so I let that drive the unit. I added some simple essential questions for the overall unit. I usually have one that focuses on other culture and one connecting it to them. Then I start listing goals that would support them and guide the daily lessons. I try to cover all the modes/skills that relate to the questions. There! I have a goal sheet for me and my students. Note: I put it in TL for my students. Just need a stamp now. 🙂



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Another unit example was one about music. I found it to be never-ending and couldn’t find the resources for what I thought I needed. Then I realized I could connect it to a specific Hispanic music awards show and BOOM! So many AuthRes like tweets, video clips, reviews, and webpages. All were very relevant and gave us something real to talk about.


At the same time, I also like to pull out my 5 C’s planning sheet. It makes me think beyond culture and communication. The toughest one on here was the community. This one I’ll need to explore more. In the past we have made glass gems with magnets for lockers that have Spanish sayings like conversation hearts to sell for Spanish Club. The French Club sold CandyGrams one year. I’d love to bring in a guest native speaker. For example: someone that owns a little boutique with gifts or candy, or in the marketing field. Hmm. For the other C’s, we will show some of those examples in upcoming posts.


Above: Some magnets I made using old magazines, a map and printing pics from Internet.

Spanish magnets

For the gems, check a craft store or click picture to visit

So there’s the 1st Step❣ Design the unit around something cultural and relevant that they can talk about.

Let AuthRes Take the Lead

Step 1 Unit Planning

Step 2 Daily Planning Process

Step 3 Leading to Assessment

Note: These lessons (and a whole lot more) are included in the “Amor en el aire” unit on