Post ideas, information, and resources for teaching and learning commands in Spanish. (See also: Subjunctive)

Teaching Presentations

I think we make learning commands entirely way too complex. For all commands except the commands, students basically just need to conjugate the verb using the opposite vowel. Period. The only time that doesn't work is if the verb is irregular (and most of the time, the "-go" verbs are the ones that are irregular, so there is a pattern, even to the irregulars).

PROCESS (for all commands except + and vosotros)
Conjugate -->
Change -->
Check with the stem of the yo form -->
(Do the stems match? If not, make them match!)

Commands - Teaching ideas and activities - chericem1 chericem1

Tú Positive Commands

1) Conjugate in the form and drop the -s. "-Go" verbs will be irregular (just drop the -go):


(Note how much a little color can do to draw students' attention to patterns in the language!) - chericem1 chericem1

Using your best German Terminator voice, just remind students that "Ven Disal has ten weapons".
"ven di sal haz ten ve pon se"

This is another quick, easy and fun way to help students remember the irregular positive tú form commands. I learned about it from a students I tutored over the summer, and used it this year. The kids responded well...
You tell then Vin Disel has ten weapons. And then you tell them to be creative and hear it in Spanish.

Se (con acento)

And whats great about this, it also gives you a good opportunity to talk about about negative commands with these same verbs and can talk about why you need to take the "yo form" to form the commands because it picks up our go verbs.
- cartierm cartierm

Practice Activities


Informal Commands
I used this activity with Ven conmigo, Level 2, Chapter 5.

The vocabulary for the chapter deals with sports and health, so I designed a sports drink ad using informal commands. The students received a template for a bottle and these instructions: they had to write an ad, similar to Nike's "Just Do It", revolving around sports & health. They had to have five commands on their ads, and the ads had to be colored. I gave them the examples of "Hazlo" and "No seas flojo" for some irregular, as well as "Bebe lo mejor" and "No bebas otro" for affirmative and negative commands.

There were some challenges with this, and the product did not turn out exactly like I wanted, and, in hindsight, I would do a few things differently. First, make sure that the students understand exactly what kind of commands I am talking about. I thought that the students would understand exactly what kind of ads I was talking about, and even after modeling in English and Spanish, they didn't quite get it (I got a few "Don't add salt", which is one of their vocab phrases). Also, many students did not quite get the concept of the sports ad that commands you to do things (i.e., Play harder, Just do it, etc.) Many people put ad catch phrases like "It's the best!" or "So delicious!" on their projects. I helped some students get out of this rut by checking them the day before they were due quickly, and pointing out errors. Another way to get around this is to have the students working on them in class--I just didn't have time for that.

However, I did get some really nice products, too (I'm going to scan one and post it here on Monday, with the student's permission), and would do it again.
- armst136 armst136

Directions Game

Each student has an index card that has some kind of direction on it...

Card 1: to start the game, please stand on your chair and yell "Let the
games begin!"
Card 2: When someone yells, "Let the games begin", run to sharpen your
pencil and then return to your seat
Card 3: When someone sharpens their pencil, balance your book on your head
and walk to the chalkboard and back

...and so an and so forth. Also a good idea for teaching commands! - liederhosen36 liederhosen36

How-to Presentation Project

All Commands
This is an activity for levels 3-4. I thought of 10 different tasks for the group (things that they know how to do):
Wrap a present (wrapping paper, scissors, tape)
Put music on your ipod (an ipod, music?)
Dance Souldja boy (the actual song? hmm...) - or a cleaner song (backstreet boys?)
Make a costume (paper, tape, scissors)
Tie a shoe (tennis shoe)
Get ready for a dance (a dance shoe, makeup)
Get good grades in Spanish class (notebook, pencil)
Get ready for school (towel, toothbrush)
Play soccer......ETC (soccer ball)

Put the students in groups of 3 people. They group has to come up with instructions on how to complete each task. They should decide on who their audience is (tu, usted, ustedes...). Each set of instructions should include 10 commands: 6 positive (2 irreg), and 4 negative. Then we had groups present the instructions, while another group performed the commands. For example, the group that created the instructions of how to get ready for a dance would read the instructions to another group (in front of the class) and the group being instructed would act it out. Also - the students are going to find new words in the dictionary (like the word for wrapping paper), and they should tell the class the meanings before beginning their presentation. Bring in realia - they love it!! - emilylewis emilylewis


ClassroomRulesPosters.jpg Coloring book characters can be used to create posters to remind students of classroom rules - chericem1 chericem1

CommandsPosters.jpg Students can create their own classroom rules posters in the target language as well - chericem1 chericem1

Shoebox Town Project

Giving directions using affirmative informal commands-Project

In a unit that consisted of affirmative commands, prepositions of location, cities and giving directions my mentor teacher and I assigned a project where the students created their own town out of shoeboxes. Each individual student was assigned one of the buildings in the village. They were required to design and label their building so that it was obvious which of the buildings it were by looking at it. For example, we had a student who shaped a bakery like a loaf of bread. Another put a helicopter pad on the roof of his hospital with large red crosses. We even had churches with stain glass windows, pews and a lego man preaching at an altar.

Along with their buildings, students were required to answer a series of questions about the location of their building within the town. Prior to the due date of the assignment, we passed out a blank copy of a city with spaced where they could build their site. Students used copies of this map to answer the questions which asked them to tell the address of their building and also what is was close to/ far away from/next to/ in front of, etc. They were also asked to give directions from the town’s bus station to their building using commands.

When students brought their boxes, we put a white shower curtain on the floor and made roads out of construction paper and lined the streets with their buildings. We were then able to use our model city to do various activities practicing giving and following directions. I have attached some pictures of our town, the rubric and the questions.
- burhopam burhopam



Here is a skit idea and rubric for commands. - emilylewis emilylewis

Ten Commandments

I used this with Ven Conmigo, Chapter 5, level 2

The 10 Commandments:

Have each student write the “10 Commandments of…”
I made a poster of the “10 Commandments of being a horrible student” and then as a guided practice we will come up with the “10 Commandments of being a great student” together in class. The students have to put them on a poster (something bigger than an 8x10 paper) and they need to use at least 4 negative commands. - dawnmarie dawnmarie

Treasure Hunts

Formal Commands

I used this activity to go with Ven Conmigo chapter 9 section 1, which teaches formal commands.

This activity was done with a) the administration's permission and b) because the Spanish 3 sections are small class sizes and we knew they would follow directions properly.

Day 1:
I divided the class into two groups. The first group was responsible for each writing directions from our classroom to anywhere in the school using the Ud. command form. They actually left the classroom and wrote the directions as they went. They were to use not the shortest distance, but instead write a crazy non-direct route around the school. At the ending point, they posted a sticky note with their name on it so that the person who was going to follow the directions knew they had found their ending point. The other group sat in class and I gave them a written activity.

When the first group had returned, they gave their directions to a person in the second group, who then followed the directions. Everyone was able to find the ending points.

Day 2:
Group #2 writes directions this time and Group #1 follows.

This activity was a blast for the students. They loved the idea of going into the halls and being creative. This class also has to write journals each week (a separate activity for a grade) and a large number of them wrote about this activity and how much fun it was. Since I have a mentor in the room, I was able to go out into the halls and monitor the students. I found they were actually doing what they were supposed to be doing and trying to make the directions challenging!

- KMaiolatesi KMaiolatesi

This is a variation on the activity above...I had my students create Treasure Hunts to practice formal commands and ser/estar. They hid clues in different places around the school and each clue led them to the next one. They hid a prize at the end and each group took a turn hiding and following clues. They had a lot of fun! I gave them classtime to write their directions ahead of time, but the hiding of clues/following directions still took an entire class period (55 min. for me). The class was split into two groups; one group hid their clues first and the other group followed, then vice versa. Definitely have something planned that day that the students in class can work on but won't be interrupted by them going in and out of the room. This is the assignment sheet and rubric that I used:

- AmyBas AmyBas


Son Los Mandatos - Student-created video that demonstrates how to form Ud. affirmative commands (Alternate TeacherTube link) - chericem1 chericem1

Mandatos Piensapapel

This assignment gets students to think about the grammar on their own and come to their own conclusions. This covers mantados in the tú form, affirmative and negative.

- angelajm00 angelajm00

Diablo y Angel - affirmative and negative commands

I started this activity by showing the video "The Emperor's New Groove" when the angel and devil are on Kronk's shoulder at the beginning, and he is deciding what to do with the emperor/llama in the bag after he threw him in the river. There are several examples of commands in there, and the context introduces the activity.

Half the students are angels and the other half are devils (this has to be assigned or else they will all want to be devils). Each student writes a list of five commands. When they are done, they get together with their opposite (so a devil and an angel together) and argue. The angel gives a command and the devil says NOT to do it. The devil gives a command and the angel says NOT to do it. They argue through their whole list. The kids love it because I let them give ridiculous commands, such as kill the teacher. Also, they just like to argue :-) After they were all done I had a couple volunteers do it in front of the class, wearing a red hood and a halo. - angelajm00 angelajm00

Great Nike Commercial clip that uses affirmative commands

This is a link that uses both regular and irregular commands. The message is very positive and a lot of things could be done as a follow up for students. They can think of who a good influence is, what it means to "Brilla y ilumina tu pais." Here's the link: Brilla. Ilumina tu pais - sraluz sraluz

- The "commands" portion of the video occurs during the last 15 seconds or so of the video