Some activities for Curso 1 español

Curso 1

Selección de actividades: 
Objetos de la clase classroom objects
Bomberos - Buenos Aires

Bomberos – Buenos Aires

Palabras para describir a la gente words to describe people

Los trabajos jobs
View the words on the flashcards before, then do the Speller activity, then go onto either Scatter or Space Race.
Palabras sobre la casa words to do with your house
Repaso de vocabulario – vocabulary revision:
Go to and click on Free Resources in the bottom right hand corner. NB this site has changed recently and may not work on all computers.
Irregular verbs – scroll down and highlight the verbs you want to test yourself on – in the irregular verbs, I suggest ser, tener, estar, ir.
There’s a handy verb chart for irregular verbs here, in case you get stuck.
Regular verbs – I suggest that you scroll down and just pick out a few -AR, -ER, and -IR verbs to start, rather than doing all of them.
Leave a comment to say which activity is the best one and why!

Yo mismo, escrito por James R. Curso 1

I’m delighted to share this student work as the first post on Pancomido in 2016. James R. (Form 1) prepared this piece as part of his Form 1 Assessment in November. Along with the whole class, he prepared a first draft, which I corrected, and then a second draft incorporating corrections. His work required very few corrections and I was very impressed with his writing, which drew on not only what the class had studied together, but also on language we had only touched on in class and on his own initiative in looking for words & structures to get his message across. It received a mark of 9.5/10. 


Yo Mismo

¡Hola! Soy James y vengo de Irlanda. Tengo el pelo moreno y los ojos de color avellano. Tengo trece años, cumplí trece años en agosto. Mis amigos dicen que soy inteligente y simpático. Soy delgado y deportista. Soy activo y relajado. Juego al tenis, rugby y hockey.

Somos cinco en mi familia: mi padre, Paul, mi madre, Muireann, mis dos hermanas, Aoibhinn y Caoilfhionn, y yo. Tengo dos perros. Mis perros son pequeños y bonitos. Son blancos, marrones y negros. Tengo un gato también. Es negro y blanco, y muy suave.

Mi padre es contable. Mi madre es ama de casa. Mi padre es simpático, muy inteligente, delgado, relajado y activo. Mi madre es muy simpática, amorosa, activa, relajada, delgada e inteligente. Mi hermana Aoibhinn tiene dieciocho años y está en el sexto curso. Es deportista, inteligente, activa, divertida, delgada y linda. Mi otra hermana Caoilfhionn tiene veintiún anos. Es muy inteligente, relajada, simpática, delgada y activa. Mi familia es muy deportista, activa, inteligente y cariñosa. Quiero ser Director Ejecutivo de mi propia empresa. Lo que más me importa es mi familia y también mis animales.


Puppy, Guggenheim Bilbao


Making the most of the Christmas Holidays (when you’re a Leaving Cert Student)

10670270_10152382841976222_3969569840835489859_nIn most schools, the holidays run from December 22nd to January 6th (it’s a little different in my school and may be in yours too). The key to successful study (I think) at this time is to set aside days when you are just NOT doing any work. If you set aside these days for lazing around etc and set aside other days for work, you will be more willing to work on the ‘work’ days instead of resenting having to work and feeling you’re not having a holiday.

So, what’s a reasonable amount of work to do? Have a little look at the simple calendar below. M21 is Monday 21st. The dates in brackets are days when I think you’ll be attending class. Looked at like this, there are many days, with lots of available time, but then again, it’s not really that long when you think of all your different commitments. So underneath it, I’ve made some suggestions. I usually work through this with my students in class, so if you’ve any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. As always, remember, these are just my suggestions. What works in my head mightn’t work for you, so adapt at will! 



















Personally, with such a late finish, I’d embrace a well-earned lie-in on the 23rd but I’d suggest giving yourself an hour during the day (even better: be really organised and do this today or tomorrow evening after school) to sit down with the family calendar and your own diary and draw up a schedule of study, specific enough that you know what you’re doing when you sit down to work and aren’t casting around for what subject it’ll be and then wondering what chapter you’ll do within that subject.

With the study schedule drawn up, I’d completely take off the 23rd, 24th and (obviously for those of you celebrating Christmas!) the 25th.  Embrace the  rest, festivities, enjoyment, going out, shopping etc and be fully present during this special family time. Think about setting aside a number of hours on the 26th (not the full day, but definitely a few hours) when you’ll do work. Then work steadily until the 31st – maybe take it and & the 1st off totally. You just need to get up ready again on the 2nd to work again. Look at the days. Work it out yourself! There is a lot of available time there. 

Now look at it again. Look at it. Though it looks long, it’s not that many days. You want to make each one count. Think of your days and when you have to do stuff with your families. Maybe you need to move around some of your days off. But do take full days off in a row – I’ve given you 5, you might want to take another – to get a proper rest and refresh your head.

IMG_1873Now, timing during the day. Well, really, you should be doing a 6-7 hour day. Sound horrific? Of course it does, but remember, every hour you do now gets you ahead for later in the year.

So, say you get up at 10. You work from 10.30 to 13.30, you eat from 13.30 to 14.30, you work again from 14.30 to 18.00, you take another break and you work from 18.30 to 20.30. That’s eight hours. That’s a very full day. But you can still then go to the cinema and have a lie-in. Or get up earlier and break up the day more. Now, obviously, within those eight hours you have breaks, you get up and walk around, you text your friends, you get a cup of tea etc. That’ll probably bring it down to seven hours, possibly even six.

Suppose you start work at 9. You could be out on the town by 8pm and you can still have a lie-in the next day before starting a bit later. Be disciplined! Don’t come back in January saying, I wish I’d studied. You will regret it. And don’t listen to the people who say ‘I’ve done nothing’ – they’ve done something – probably quite a lot.

Do pleasant things, like watching Spanish/French/German/Irish movies, but be realistic – a two hour movie counts as an hour of work. And watch it with Spanish subtitles once in a while instead of always choosing the English ones. Do listenings, write out verb lists, prepare for the mock oral – it’s just around the corner, test yourself, listen to Spanish songs on Youtube, look for Spanish programmes on Youtube – there’s loads of stuff out there, good websites like españ which give you grammar exercises in a different format. And obviously don’t forget this blog – it’s everything I say in class and more (so if you’re not in my class, I hope it helps!).

IMG_2988Think about how happy your parents are going to be when you go home and approach your study in an organised manner. They’ll be falling over themselves to prepare your food and snacks if they see that you are genuinely doing work without them having to hound you. Be mature about it! They are worried about you and how you are going to do – give them a break and just get down to work yourself.

I know some of you may be thinking about the institute and grinds and that kind of thing – fair enough, for some people, for some subjects, that is the way to go, but we have five months left. You are on the home straight! You just have to sit down to do the work.

What can you do? I’ve shared these ideas with my own students, and I hope they might give you some direction too. The advice about a study timetable is for the full year, not just for Christmas ;)

You should have a list, by topic, of everything you need to cover in each subject – identified and prepared by you. The day should be broken down into units of 40-45 minutes of study, blocking in times for breaks and sport. This study timetable should include weekends. The earlier you start, the more manageable the workload is. Fit the topics into the week, making sure to cover each subject at least once a week. This timetable should be filled in every week, usually on a Sunday evening, thus accommodating any unexpected events. Time lost or topics not covered during the week should be made up at the weekend. 

Study a range of subjects during the day, it’s a killer to have a ‘history day’ or a ‘Spanish day’. Try and keep yourself somewhat entertained when you are working by varying the subject & topic you are studying.

With regard to Spanish, it is essential to remember that no language can be crammed. You are better advised to spend twenty minutes a night on a language than one hour a week. Ideas:

  • making, learning & revising vocab lists by topic
  • completing & revising oral topics, using the oral book for self-study
  • Writing out oral topics and practising them
  • listening to one listening section from the exam every one/two nights & marking it with close attention to the marking scheme, then listening to it again for vocab & to see why the answers are what they are
  • speaking to a fellow student for 10-15 minutes a night in Spanish
  • speaking to yourself (seriously!) for 10-15 minutes a night in Spanish
  • watching Spanish DVDs, the news on the internet etc
  • Making fair copies of any corrected work and revising from these
  • Beginning auto-correction i.e. checking homework before handing it up to get rid of careless mistakes. Make lists of errors from previous homeworks that you have back.
  • Making vocab lists from any comprehensions done and revising these
  • Make notes from your notes, onto record cards.
  • Do practice exam questions, planning out essays etc, even if you don’t do them.
  • Do comprehensions, timed – like an exam – and untimed, using the dictionary.
  • Do lots of listenings.
  • Check out the Leaving Cert section on the blog, as well as the games and resources section. 

Remember! You can do it. Every other group of sixth years before you has. Use your time wisely – for fun and for work – and you will get the most out of it. When we come back in January you will have FIVE months till your first written exam on June 8th 2016. You will have just over THREE till your orals & practicals. Make the decision now to do the work and then just do it.

Merry Christmas! SL

Airport, weather & revisiting the preterite


First up, a review of the airport vocab we started with in the book.

Rags to Riches for the airport – note this was designed by someone teaching Latin-American Spanish, so we’ll see abordar instead of embarcar and boleto instead of billete. Just important to keep in mind, and useful to notice the difference between there and the peninsular Spanish that we learn.

And here’s a memory game for the airport vocabulary. Check the list of terms used first – here’s a link to click on for that. 

Next, it’s the weather, which can often be mentioned in the airport section in the listening, and often comes up in its own right as a section in the Junior Cert listening.

These two links are to Quizlet, so use the flashcards to review the vocab, then do speller, a game, or test yourself.

Basic weather words.

Slight extension to the weather words.

Here’s a link to a previous post on the weather, with lots more activities. 

And here’s a link to a post on the Preterite, with lots of revision activities, and an activity on the countries too.

Looking at the Present Perfect

Autumn is here

Autumn is here

Explanations of the Present Perfect

An extremely clear explanation which examines how the Present Perfect works in English & Spanish. (the video runs for about 5 minutes before you have to pay, and that is enough to get the main understanding of this tense).

See it written down and do the quizzes listed in the menu on the left-hand side.

Our good friend Señor Jordan introducing the Present Perfect.


Practice the verbs in the context of sentences.

Rags to riches – mixture of looking at verbs and phrases

Rags to riches – focus on sentences



La hora – telling the time in Spanish

As always, here’s a few options for reviewing how you tell the time en español. Do at least one of these before moving on to the activities.


Telling the time, very clearly expressed on this page.

Expand your knowledge. Take it one step further by looking at these phrases.

Do you want to see it all in one place? Very clearly laid-out list of lots of time-related phrases.

If you’re stuck and want to find out how exactly you say a particular time, use this interactive clock which will also give you am/pm. 


Notes on how to say the time (in clear, simple Spanish)Don’t miss the two review activities at the very bottom of the page before moving on.

The central panel here tells you how to tell the time. On the left, under the Telling the Time section, there’s a variety of quizzes and even some oral prompts to work with. 

Practise telling the time by changing the hands on a clock. 

Work with listening skills to recognise the time (get your ear in for the JC!).

Who wants to be a millionaire?-style game. 

The month’s end (September): reflecting on targets

I took five minutes with one of my Form 5 groups today to reflect on where we were, one month into the school year.

The end of a month is a good time to do that, both in one’s personal and professional life. It’s hard to keep our eyes on our goals all the time. When the days are long and filled with class, sports, clubs, friends and family, when do we get the chance to focus our attention inwards and think about where we stand in relation to our own goals and priorities? And if we haven’t taken the time to outline our own goals and priorities, how can we know how close we are to achieving them?


Continue reading

Show-and-Tell for senior students of Spanish

El amanecer en la meseta

El amanecer en la meseta

(If you’re a student and want to use this idea for your own oral practice, click on the post and then scroll all the way down for some study suggestions)

My last two classes on a Friday are double sixth year (twelfth grade in the American system). That’s two-fifths of our contact time every week at an hour when they are:

(a) physically tired

(b) tired of school

(c) ready for the weekend!

…so I’m under more than the usual pressure to make sure I hook every student into whatever activity we do. This one worked a treat! Continue reading

A photo a day to ease you in: #backtocole15

La vuelta

Back to school is a rush of adrenaline for teachers and students alike. The change of pace from the easeful days of summer to packed days and weeks can often be fraught and tense instead of exhilarating and enjoyable.

How about changing the story? Diving into a private language space with other teachers, while focusing on the positive elements of being a teacher (of Spanish) over the next month?  Continue reading

La Vuelta 2015 (#backtocole15) – for teachers

La vueltaIf you’re a teacher and you’re anything like me, the new academic year has been looming in your mind these last few blissful days of August and the holidays.

As part of my plans for the new school year, I’m working on a number of free community projects for Spanish teachers and learners. I’m based in Ireland, so my vision is naturally shaped by my environment, but the projects are designed to appeal to and help the Spanish teaching and learning community further afield as well. The first of these (for teachers) is inspired by a photo prompt session led by Susannah Conway that I have been doing this year as part of my work on mindfulness (a work-in-progress, as all mindfulness is!).

It’s free, it’ll encourage you to frame the first month back in positivity, and it’ll be a safe space to share thoughts about teaching (and life and whatever else comes up) in Spanish.

It’ll be online on the morning! I look forward to connecting with you there :)