Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Announcing My Online, On-Demand Spanish 1 Course!

Jalen Waltman Online Spanish Course on YouTube
Click ↑ to go to my new YouTube Channel!

It's here! I'm teaching my "Jalen Waltman" standards-based high school Spanish 1 curriculum on YouTube and have published a Spanish 1 workbook to go with the videos!

Meet Your Instructor

I'm a certified K-12 Spanish teacher currently holding professional teaching licenses in both Colorado and Oklahoma. I was Nationally Board Certified in World Languages Other than English in 2003, and I have a Master's degree in Teaching from Colorado College. I've taught every level of Spanish from Spanish 1 through AP Spanish Language and Culture. I've been writing and selling Spanish lesson plan curriculum for all of those levels since 2005 all over the U.S. and Canada, on Amazon as well as on Teachers Pay Teachers.

It's Spanish 1, Online and On-Demand!

Students can access my YouTube videos from any device, anywhere. They can pause my instruction, re-watch segments of it, come back to where they left off later, and they will grade everything themselves in their own workbook by following along with me in the videos.

There is also no need for schools or students to buy software, pay a subscription fee to a program, create an account, log in, or participate in video calls with a Spanish teacher. All of my instruction is free on YouTube. The only cost is the 281-page, $35 student workbook. The student workbook contains my syllabus and ALL the work for the coursethere is no need to copy anything else to hand out to students or supplement the workbook with any additional assignments. 

How to Use my Spanish 1 Online Course

Schools or families can use my online Spanish course with students in a classroom setting (with or without a "highly qualified" Spanish teacher) or as an at-home, individual online learning foreign language course.

My workbook covers all the vocab and grammar taught in a mainstream Spanish 1 textbook and is aligned with novice-level ACTFL standards. I teach and lead students through exercises in all 4 skill areas of Spanish: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing.

The scope and sequence is exactly what I taught at the high school level in my own classes since 2009. The only difference is that on YouTube I was able to cover ALL of it more thoroughly and reach the end of my first semester lessons since I wasn't being interrupted by assemblies, special testing days, school events, snow days, delayed starts, going over the student handbook, giving absent students their makeup work, etc.

Students taking my YouTube Spanish course can go at their own pace, pausing the videos as needed, re-watch any segments that they didn't quite understand, and review any material they so choose.

Students will work in their own workbook as they watch my video instruction, pausing the video and writing in their own handwriting as I direct them on the videos, to prove that they did the work themselves. They will also evaluate and grade all their own practices and formative assessments throughout the workbook, with me, on the videos.

(Note: my Spanish 1A workbook is copyrighted and not for copying and distribution as handouts or online. If you want or need copies of my curriculum for a Spanish teacher to use for handouts in class or post in his or her Google classroom, that would be my Spanish 1A Supporting Docs bundle on TPT.)


There are 32 videos in my Spanish 1A course, averaging 60 minutes start-to-finish. They should be watched at the rate of about two per week. Since students must pause at various intervals in each video in order to complete an assignment in the workbook before going over it with me, the total instruction time would be more or less equivalent to four to five 45-minute classes per week or 1.5 to two 90-minute blocks per week.


I would give a completion grade for completing all activities and quizzes in each of the 4 major sections of the workbook:

  • First Day - Lesson 8/Essay Uno
  • Lesson 9 - Lesson 17/Essay Dos
  • Lesson 18 - Lesson 24/Essay Tres
  • Lesson 25 - Lesson 30/Final Reading and Essay

There is a writing pre-assessment at the beginning of the workbook, a 10-minute essay prompt at the end of each of the first three sections, and a final 20-minute essay prompt at the end of the fourth section. The essays could also be graded separately if desired and assigned letter grades. (Student progress in 10-minute total word count can also be charted from the pre-assessment to the final essay if desired. I usually have students keep a chart of their word count progress in my in-person classes.)

For a final grade in the class, a student must have completed all activities in the entire workbook in their own handwriting as well as pass a final exam, placement, or proficiency test with a 65% or better. You can assign letter grades according to how they score on the exam combined with effort and completion of the workbook. (More on testing below.)

For students scoring below 65%: I personally allow re-takes of tests if students wish to study the videos again and try to take the test again for a passing grade, but that provision is up to the school or institution granting credit.


Since the course is being taught online by a certified, highly qualified Spanish teacher with 19 years of experience, it can be used for foreign language or world language credit.

After completion of my Spanish 1A video course and workbook, there three options for schools or institutions in certifying credit for one semester of Spanish 1:

1. There is a proficiency-based summative assessment at the end of the workbook, which I direct and explain in the Lesson 30/Final Lesson video on YouTube. The two skills assessed at the end of the workbook are Reading and Writing proficiency.

2. Institutions can give their own first-semester final exam, proficiency test, or placement test to verify that students have acquired the skill level to progress on to Spanish 1B, the second semester of Spanish 1.

3. I can send school administrators a new multiple-choice test (that's not in the workbook) with study guide and answer key upon request. (You will receive a mailing with details about that.)

Timeline for Spanish 1B

I intend to have my Spanish 1B workbook ready to ship by November 1, 2020, and videos will be coming out weekly during Spring semester 2021.

Jalen Waltman's Complete Spanish 1A Workbook for YouTube
Click here to order!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Spanish 1 for Middle School - Now Live in my TPT Store

Wow, the skits in this book are...weird.

Okay, at long last, I have created the packs of lesson materials for both of my older 2005 Middle School Spanish 1 books.

I confess, I have not looked at these skits for years. Years and years. So as I was going through each page creating the products for TPT, I got the pleasure--if that's the right word?--of reacquainting myself with my "masterpieces" contained in these older books.

The Spanish 1A 2005 for Middle School skits cracked me up. I made that product yesterday and laughed the whole way through while I was updating the formatting. I see why that book still sells well after all these years. (yay, me!)

Today, however, I did my Spanish 1B 2005 for Middle School word docs product. The skits in that book are stunningly weird, dark, and odd...lots of strange purse situations, monsters, mean people, and eating. Eating of mud, paper, sickening dishes cooked by a controlling girlfriend, and a vacuum cleaner that eats the evil stepmother. Who lives to tell about it from the belly of the vacuum cleaner.

I'm like, hm, what was going on in my life in the Spring of 2005 when I wrote these bizarre skits??? All I can say is, I was teaching middle school then and you kind of go a little crazy when you spend your entire day with 12 and 13-year-olds. So, if you are in the mood for dark, gross, and strange, my 1B 2005 lesson plan book is your ticket.

An oldy but a goody.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Perfect Mid-Week Reset - A Mini-Weekend!

Ready for yoga class and enjoying the Oklahoma Fall sunshine.

Life of a high school teacher:

Mondays are hard. In class, it's like turning a rusty crank...students are tired and unmotivated, and not in the mood.

Tuesdays classes go a little better, but you expended a lot of energy yesterday getting that crank going, so Tuesdays aren't necessarily a rest and recoup day either.

Wednesdays require more energy, and you find yourself looking at the second half of the week going, wow, it's already been a long week and I still have 2.5 days to go.

Thursdays you're just glad tomorrow is Friday.

Friday you get a huge mood boost because in a few more hours, it's the weekend, and you can rest and recoup.

What we need, my friends, is a mini-weekend in the middle. On Wednesdays after school, to be exact.

I'm going to share my Mid-Week Reset Mini-Weekend Plan below, but yours might be totally different. I just want to encourage you to use this as inspiration if nothing else, and come up with your own little mini-weekend plan to beat stress, revitalize your mind and body, and create some joy right smack dab in the middle of the teaching week.

Well, it's Wednesday, hump day. I don't FEEL like bouncing around right after school, grinning like a fool, strutting around with my shoulders back. How do I jumpstart that "Unlimited power-Tony Robbins" state?

One Recent Wednesday I Nailed It - Here's How

I took very comfy, not-necessarily-attractive yoga clothes to work with me. As soon as my last class of the day left, I went to the faculty restroom to change. I was tired, a little irritated, and unmotivated, and it took me a lot longer than it should have, but I pressed on.

Ironically, a teacher came in to the bathroom, and it sounded like she was crying. A younger girl, and when I came out of the stall, I asked her if she was okay. Problems with students, she said ruefully.

I knew exactly how she felt. I've spent many an afternoon crying over this job and how painful and difficult it can be at times. Many more times than I care to admit, and I told her so.

I asked her her name, and we told each other what we taught. (I was new to NHS last fall and I hardly knew any of the staff, because our days are spent in our own classrooms attending to the wave after wave of students who come in and out.)

I left the building wishing there were some way I could wave a magic wand and make teaching a fun, easy job where students came to school eager to learn and show respect, and teachers could devote their energy to being creative and innovative in their instruction.

The warm sunshine outside was a relief to my senses, and I loaded up my things to drive to Grey Owl Coffee shop.

This isn't the Grey Owl. This is Uptown Espresso in Seattle, but the photo looks good here so I'm using it. :)

Change of Scenery + Creative Time

The Grey Owl was full of people drinking coffee and working on laptops, cool, quiet, and perfect. I ordered a jasmine green tea, sweetened it with a packet of stevia from my bag, and sat down to work on my novel (didn't know I wrote novels under a pen name, did you??? I just released the one at that link. ;-)) I only had 45 minutes before my colleague Erin's yoga class started back at NHS, so I set a timer on my phone for 30 and opened my laptop.

No time to waste means you'll get right to work and make every second count, so I jumped right in to 5th century Europe with my hero running through the woods escaping his own execution, wounded, thinking about his brother.

The light caffeine from the yummy tea plus 30 minutes spent on my favorite hobby was perfect for changing my state. I left the coffee shop feeling energized, productive, happy, and free.

Movement + Relaxing the Mind and Body

I know of no other workout besides yoga that has the effect of energizing you while relaxing and calming you at the same time. Between gentle stretches and strengthening poses, breathing, and focusing on being in the moment, all the cares of the day were long gone. I felt happy to be a part of the community--of teachers doing yoga together in the middle of the week, of 30-somethings (with some college students and older folks thrown in) working and talking quietly at the coffee shop, and of all the diverse people who call Norman, Oklahoma home.

I left smiling and feeling physically better than I had all day.

This isn't the easy dinner I describe below. This is a Roasted Broccoli Bowl, and it was the first food pic I could find to post here. :)

Easy Dinner + Winding Down

I threw some veggies in a steamer basket on the stove (a yam, some brussels sprouts, and later, some broccoli,) and made a pot of tri-color quinoa. I soaked in the tub for 20 minutes while those things cooked, then added the broccoli to the steamer basket for a final 10 minutes of steaming while the quinoa rested and got nice and fluffy. Had all that with a side of edamame and some raw walnuts, then sat with a hot tea watching YouTube until bedtime.

Read a good book until sleep, and woke up Thursday refreshed and ready to face the last two days before the weekend with renewed vigor.

Make Yourself a Plan

Your midweek mini-weekend needs to involve the following elements:

1. Some kind of movement or exercise. Go for a walk if the weather's okay; go to a yoga class or pull up a YouTube video and do it in your living room; hit the gym; do some kind of mind-clearing movement.

2. Something that you consider to be fun and creative, something that takes your mind completely off work for at least a half hour or more.

3. A healthy, non-weigh-you-down meal. Something delicious and veggie-centric. Oh and drink a liter of water right after your exercise, before you cook or go for take-out. And no excuses for crappy fast food--there are plenty of healthy fast food options these days. A few of my favorites--a salad bowl at Qdoba loaded with beans, veggies, and guac; a falafel and greek salad plate at Garbanzos or Zoe's; a box of salad goodies and cooked vegetables from Whole Foods' deli...or throw some delicious root vegetables and crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages) in a steamer basket like I did and go, "wow, steamed vegetables are actually delicious!" - and then do that more often, like at least twice a week. :)

4. No grading or parent communications via email or phone.

5. Go to bed on time, lights out, and rest up. No late-night TV or phone-distraction. :)

Here is wishing YOU a wonderful Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Spanish 1 Complete Lesson Plans on SALE this week!

SPOOKY OCTOBER 20% OFF SALE on the updated 2017 Spanish 1A bundles in my TPT store!

The first (bigger) half is regularly $75 ($60 sale price,) and the second half is regularly $50 ($40 sale price.) NOTE: this 20% off sale is only good from Oct 1 - Oct 4!

Link to the first bundle: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jalen-Waltmans-Spanish-1A-2017-First-Day-Lesson-17-Bundle-4832865

Link to the second bundle: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jalen-Waltmans-Spanish-1A-2017-Lesson-18-Lesson-30-Bundle-4835756

You guys, these lesson plans use the same crazy skits as my 2009 version, and are chock full of printables for handouts or screen display in your class. They have speaking prompts for easy level 1 conversation practice, improved quizzes and tests with keys, translation activities to go with every lesson that you can use as homework, to quiet down a rowdy class, or even as sub plans, writing prompts, and graphic organizers.

I spent an entire school year updating my 2009 stuff, so an unbelievable amount of evening/weekend work went into creating these plans. They are a STEAL for $75/$50, but with the 20% this week, you or a first-year Spanish teacher you know would get all of my latest and greatest level 1 first semester, complete lessons for $100 total ($60/$40.) So please share with anyone you know who might be in search of something that makes life easier


Just take the weekend off for once! ;-)

Friday, August 30, 2019

Spanish 1A (Expanded and Updated) 2017 BUNDLE on TPT!

Hi everyone! Well, after getting really bogged down trying to create an ebook (and a print book) with the umpteen jillion individual documents that are in my updated Spanish 1A 2017 files, I changed my mind (again) and decided to just go ahead and offer the lessons as a bundle instead. It's August and I'm just too busy to make ebooks and paperbacks right now (I'm sure you can relate...)

I was concerned about the stealing and plagiarism I have read about on TPT but after spending all my free time for two weeks struggling to combine and format these 400 or so documents into a single manuscript (it's VERY complicated in Word when you have columns, headers, footers, etc. for each individual document,) I realized, it's Labor Day weekend, I need a break, and honestly it's going to take me all weekend to finish this beast...IF I work on it several hours a day...and even then, it might not be done by bedtime Monday.

And then I just rebelled.

And then I said to myself, if somebody wants to steal all my stuff and spend all their free time for two or three weeks making an ebook out of it, MORE POWER TO THEM, because it's so much work that I just can't face it right now.

Okay, end of whining session. The Spanish 1A bundle (First Day - Lesson 30, all lessons including final exam, containing around 500 documents) should go live sometime tonight or Saturday. If you buy this bundle, you do not need to buy my 1A 2009 ebook or print book on Amazon; the bundle has everything you need.

Whew! TGIF! Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Survival Skills for Teachers: Essential Items To Own, Wear, and Carry to School

Black jeans, grey t-shirt, and a cardigan. I like to keep it simple and comfortable.

Some of you probably have boundless energy and emotional stamina for all your classes. Others of us are past the age of 40 and need all the help we can get to make it to 3:00 pm Friday with a couple of nerves intact.

With that in mind, here is my list of must-haves for the Teaching Life... 

Essential Items to Own, Wear, and Carry to School:

1. Nice-looking athletic shoes with gel in the soles + supportive socks. If you teach standing up, your feet, ankles, and legs will thank you. Also, you can go walking at lunch if you manage to find the time and energy. (If you have plantar fasciitis tendencies, I recommend ASICS or New Balance.)

2. A backpack. Not a heavy bag you carry on your aching shoulder or a cross-body bag slung across your body. Those things pull your body out of alignment and cause shoulder and neck pain. Trust me on this.

3. Colored/nice jeans or comfortable casual pants. Preferably with stretch. You might be able to get away with leggings if you have long shirts and sweaters, and God knows leggings are the most comfortable attire known to man. (If you're a dude, best stick with jeans and khakis...But hey, no judgment. ;-))

4. Comfortable t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, and cardigans. Guys can do polos and belts and look really nice.

5. Bling (watch, earrings, bracelet, ring, etc.) to dress up the fact that you're basically wearing jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, and sweaters every day.

6. Water and healthy snacks. Things you can sneak-eat in class when your energy dips. I like raw nuts, electrolyte powder packets I can put in my water, edamame, raw zucchini sticks, and vegan sugar-free chocolate (Lily's brand usually.)

7. Escapism tools. (Earbuds, book to read, Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram on your phone, journal, tea, anything that helps you calm down and regroup when the day gets overwhelming. Find a place you can go in the school, like a quiet corner of the library or somebody's unused office or conference room, when you need a moment to yourself. If your school is like mine, students will come try to hang out with you when you're in your room without a class.)

8. Your entire-semester planner (pocket sized.) You will jot a couple of words/phrases that explain the main gist of what you're planning to do each day that week (or two, or three, or the whole month if you can manage it. It's okay to change this later, but it's a lifesaver when you can't think of what you're supposed to be doing the next day.)

9. A movie and video guide/quiz sitting out somewhere and ready for a sub when you call in "sick" in order to lesson plan the next 2-3 weeks out and assemble all the copies you need.

10. Liquid Kava Kava with a dropper that you can add to your water bottle when you feel stressed during, after, or before class. I like "Anxiety Soother" by Herb Pharm. (You can order it online at Walmart.com, I just noticed.) It takes the edge off almost immediately.

Bonus item #11 - supportive colleagues. Teachers are second to none when it comes to helping each other out of the pit of despair when times get tough. <3

What are YOUR essential items to take or wear to school? Comment below if you have suggestions for new teachers!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Lesson Plan Book Giveaway!!!!!

No more hauling these guys around in my car. :)

Hi everyone!

As most of you know, I have been transitioning my printed lesson plan book business to Amazon.com and Teachers Pay Teachers over the past year. I am no longer getting books printed myself and shipping them out of my house...due to growth in sales (yay!)

I have some remaining spiral-bound inventory that I am running a giveaway contest for on my Facebook Page. Up to 4 books per person will be given away on a first-come-first-served basis. You will only pay to have them shipped to your home or school. (I use FEDEX Ground...they are FAST...and it costs about $10 to ship 1 book in the continental US, $15 to ship two books, $20 to ship three books, and $25 to ship four.)

All the details are in the pinned post on my Facebook Page:

Go there, meet my requirements, and let me know which book(s) you want! Go, go, go! No, wait...first glance at my current inventory:

3 Spanish 2A
3 Spanish 2B
1 Spanish 3A
5 Spanish 3B
1 Spanish 4A
4 Spanish 1B for middle school
1 English Version 1A
2 English Version 1B (one of them was misprinted double-sided. There is nothing wrong with it other than it looks really thin.)

Okay, now...go to my Facebook Page and get you some books!!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Unit 1 for AP Spanish Language and Culture - La vida contemporánea

Guess what? Due to the consistent nagging by awesome AP teacher Stella D., I finally got around to packaging and uploading the first unit I use in my AP Spanish Language and Culture classes to my store in Teachers Pay Teachers!

If you are following my TPT store, you should get an email when the product goes "live" and is ready to purchase ($20.)

This is the first unit in my AP Spanish Language and Culture Class: La vida contemporánea, with a focus on the culture of Chile.

Included in this unit:
  • 12 "Tópicos del día" - culture topics with links to authentic resources to present and discuss in Spanish in class
  • Teacher Notes explaining what to do/say in class for each topic/link)
  • Authentic Readings taken from web articles, blog posts, etc. and simplified to use in class
  • Questions, activities, and worksheets to go with the Tópicos
  • Practices for the Free Response section of the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam (email, essay, conversation, and presentation)
  • Two debate topics for fun Debate Days in Spanish (I sometimes do this with a food activity, where students bring a dish from Chile to share)
Please share this post with any AP Spanish teachers you know who are looking for ideas for the "Vida contemporánea" theme!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Back To School Coupon Code on TPT!

August 6th and 7th are Teachers Pay Teachers' Back To School Days. Use the coupon code BTS19 sitewide to get up to 25% off...I think my store is that percentage off, anyway...and buy, buy, buy while the prices are hot!

Update on a Spanish 1A 2017 "bundle:" I have decided not to bundle all my 1A lessons on TPT into one huge bundle. I've researched the issue of copyright violation (people stealing and re-publishing your stuff) on TPT and I feel the best way for me to protect my income is to publish Spanish 1A 2017 as an ebook and print book on Amazon. That is planned for this month, hopefully by August 25th. In the meantime, if you are looking for killer Spanish 1 first semester lesson plans with individual Word docs you can download to your computer, that would be the lessons for sale in my TPT store right now. I think my new assistant and I only have 2 or 3 more lessons to upload to have all 30 of them available there. :)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Homework for First Year Spanish Ideas

Looking for ideas for homework in your Spanish classes? Need grammar book recommendations? So does everyone else!

I recently received this email from a Spanish-teaching diva named Luisa:

Dear Jalen,

¡Saludos!  I successfully used Spanish 1A, 2009 version, to teach Spanish 1 to a small class of students this past school year.  The class only meets two days per week during the regular school year.  This coming year, I will teach Spanish 1 and Spanish 2.  We will use 1B for Spanish 2.

I have some questions.  Do you have a grammar book that you recommend?  Last year I took excerpts form some I have.  When we did the grammar lessons, I needed much class time to explain, and since we only have the two periods per week, this took away from your program.

  This also leads to my next question-what do you do for homework?  My students had some listening to complete four times a week.  Occasionally they had some grammar practice, but overall had little homework all year.  I’d like to assign them some useful homework.

Thank you!

Luisa K

Here's my response:

Hi Luisa! I like the grammar books I listed in this post:

As for homework, I wrote homework assignments out the wazoo over the past 8 years because I realized it fit really well with the expectations of the school and parents where I work, and I am now posting all my updated Spanish 1A lesson plans (including homework assignments and much more) on Teachers Pay Teachers. Here is a link to my store:

If you don't want to or can't buy my updated stuff on TPT, my recommendation for homework is easy grammar exercises that reinforce what they were learning recently, plus make the skits and/or readings into translation exercises (where they have to translate Spanish to English word for word in their own handwriting under the Spanish.) I shorten these reading-translations so they aren't overwhelming (usually) but they also make awesome quiet-down-and-work assignments in class when things get too rowdy for my nerves to handle any more. :-)

Hope this helps!

300+ pages of detailed Spanish 1 lessons for high school with masters ready to copy for your class.

Friday, June 21, 2019

How To Catch New Students Up

I received the following question from awesome teacher and blog reader Hunter Bishop this past week, and since it's a common one, I decided to answer it for all who might be wondering about this issue.

Hunter wrote,

Hello Jalen! I had a question that I’ve been wanting to see your point of view on. What do you do when you have a student come into your class midway through the year when they have had no language instruction before? How do you “catch them up"?

My answer is simple. I just keep teaching.

Haha, okay, there is a little more to it than that, but not much more. I welcome them warmly, give them the semester's vocab list, make sure they know it's okay if they feel a little lost at first, and if there are assignments that they look worried about or do badly on, I make sure they know that when I grade them I'm taking into account the fact that they just joined my class. They aren't going to be "failing" before they've even had a chance to learn something.

[Note: if they've had absolutely zero language instruction, there is a point at which they need to wait until the next school year to start in Spanish 1, but each school will have its own rules about that.]

Look, if it seems like you should be doing more, like staying after school for an hour every day to work one-on-one with this kid, slap yourself upside the head and stop that crazy-talk. You have a LIFE and in my opinion, free after-school tutoring is just not your job, unless the school wants to pay you extra for it.

Now, some teachers live for that kind of extra, above and beyond, reaching-out-to-kids opportunity. If this is you, please ignore what I just said.

But if you're like me, and you need Me Time starting promptly at 3:15 in order to gather strength for another day of teaching, then do as I say and JUST KEEP TEACHING. The new kid will at some point catch him or herself up. It may take a few weeks, but eventually, without fail, I can't tell much if any difference between my "old" and "new" kids. I think the key is being flexible, positive, and including them in your warm, loving teaching environment without judgment or undue focus on what they don't know yet. Know what I mean?

I hope this helps! Happy Summer to everyone!

[Update on TPT uploads...they have been on pause while I'm enjoying my June, but I will resume creating new products for sale in a few weeks.]

My entire 1st semester of Spanish 1 lesson plans with masters ready to copy for your class!

Announcing My Online, On-Demand Spanish 1 Course!

Click ↑ to go to my new YouTube Channel! It's here! I'm teaching my "Jalen Waltman"  standards-based high school Spanish 1...