Where do I start in Somos?

Modified on Wed, 27 Mar 2024 at 10:41 PM

The Somos Curriculum includes a program for Novice (Somos 1) and emerging Intermediate-range (Somos 2) students.  If you are just getting started, take a look at these examples to see what Somos units might be the best fit for your context.   

I teach exploratory or introductory Spanish.  

The Vamos Curriculum will be a great fit for this class.  There is more than enough content to use in a school year, and the high frequency language combined with student centered activities will build a great foundation for all students in their future language studies. 

Other options for Exploratory and Introductory Classes from the Comprehensible Classroom  

I teach 7th and 8th grade Spanish.  

Year 1: Start with Vamos Unit 1 in 7th grade.  Consider starting in the same place for 8th grade for the first year as this style of teaching and learning is different, and the earliest units in Vamos 1 are designed to carefully build a foundation of language for all students. Teaching the same units will also allow you to simplify your prep time and focus on key skills for teaching with Vamos, instead of focusing on what to teach in each class.  

Year 2: Start with Vamos 1, Unit 1 in 7th grade. In 8th grade, begin Somos 1 Unit 1.

I teach 7th and 8th grade, and I have new students added to my 8th grade class who are new to Somos.  How do I get them up to speed if other students have already done some units from Somos 1?  

The Vamos Curriculum and The Somos Curriculum are both beginning Spanish curricula. Students who are taught with Vamos in seventh grade will benefit from having begun to build an internal linguistic system by the time they enroll in a class taught with Somos, but the content will be new and fresh. Since Somos assumes that students have no prior knowledge of the language, new-to-Spanish students will be well supported as they begin their journey toward proficiency, and Vamos alumni will enjoy the new content that comes with a different program.

I teach Level 1. 

Whether you teach high school or middle school Level 1, begin with Somos 1, Unit 1, and teach the units sequentially. Somos 1 is a 2+ year curriculum, so if you only teach Units 1-8, that is ok! Learn more in this article: How far can I get in Somos? Pacing Suggestions

I have students who did a few early units of Somos last year mixed in with new students.  

One option is to just teach the core vocabulary and story ask from the units that were previously taught.  Since the stories will be new and personalized to the new group, they will feel fresh, and all students benefit from spiraling high frequency language!  

I have Spanish 2 students who are new to comprehension based teaching.

We strongly recommend that you start with Somos 1 Unit 1 (or possibly Somos 1 Unit 2), and teach a few units sequentially. If students feel like Somos 1 Unit 2 is very easy, skip to Somos 1 Unit 4, then Somos 1 Unit 5, Somos 1 Unit 6, and Somos 1 Unit 7. As you move through the units, you can provide copies of the class story in present and past tense to build exposure to different time frames. Consider adding in activities such as Weekend Chat as well.  Once students are confident with the language load from Unit 7, consider teaching a novel or jump to the units that seem most interesting to your students. Look on the curriculum map for themes and culture.  

You might also decide to start with La persona especial or Somos 2 Unit 1. Both of these units are very student-centered and fairly “free”, which allows you to really see what language your students have previously acquired. Once you have assessed where your students are at based on their ability to communicate in those activities, you can backtrack to Somos 1 units–possibly Unit 1 or possibly to a later unit. Students will enjoy the units from Level 1 even if the language is a bit basic for them because it is a completely different way of teaching, and their brains will be working and engaging in a different way. 

We would also recommend asking the class stories from Level 1 in present tense, but reading them in past tense, as past tense is an important component of most Level 2 courses, and your Level 3+ teachers will expect students to have had significant exposure to it when they enter their courses. Some teachers do this present/past pairing even in their level 1 courses.

Somos 2 is an intermediate curriculum.  Click here for a sample text,  co-created in April from a Spanish 2 class from Somos 2 Unit 1, to see what a text at this level might look like.  If it seems like something that your students can comprehend, by all means, start Somos 2!  Many teachers find that the language demands of Somos 2 are incomprehensible to students who are new to a proficiency based approach.  

I have Spanish 3 students who are new to comprehension based teaching. 

First, remember that SOMOS 2 is an intermediate curriculum.  Take a look at the recommendations for students in Spanish 2 as well!  

Click here for a sample text,  co-created in April from a Spanish 2 class (from SOMOS 2, Unit 1), to see what a text at this level might look like.  If it seems like something that your students can comprehend, by all means, start Somos 2!  

If students are intermediate language learners and can confidently read the text, (remember, it needs to be not just comprehensible but comprehendED), then start at Somos 2 Unit 1. 

Many teachers find that the language demands of Somos 2 are incomprehensible to students who are new to a proficiency based approach and/or are working at a novice level.  If you don't think that your students are ready for the complexity of Somos 2 Unit 1, here are other ideas: 

Start with Somos 1 Unit 7, but do the story-asking in the past tense and type up the story in the past tense. Use your judgement if you want to do all the suggested activities and readings- you could even skip the first two versions of the cultural reading (there are 3 versions) and a great authentic listening activity.  

  1. Then, skip again to Somos 1, Unit 13, 14, 15, 16, & 17.   Unit 14 is a great opportunity to use the subjunctive, which is a typical level 3 expectation. Unit 15 and 16 have a strong cultural focus with many resources and mixed tenses, and again, a great opportunity to work in a lot of subjunctive.  Somos 1 Unit 17 pairs well with the novel Esperanza (from Fluency Matters). From there, Somos 2 might be a great option, or you could continue to work sequentially through Somos 1 units. Unit 24 is a favorite!
  2.  More advanced option: Decide if the language in Somos 1 Unit 22 is a good fit for your students, and work sequentially through the remaining Somos 1 units, then start with Somos 2.  
  3.  We also strongly recommend The Huellas Curriculum from Somewhere to Share for levels 3 & 4.

I teach Spanish 4

Units from Somos 2 are a good option for many Spanish 4 classes.  We also strongly recommend the The Huellas Curriculum from Somewhere to Share for levels 3 & 4.

I have Spanish 4 students who finished SOMOS. What can I do next?  

We strongly recommend The Huellas Curriculum from Somewhere to Share for levels 3 & 4. 

We also recommend exploring the following resources and options to compliment Somos 1 and Somos 2:

I teach elementary Spanish.

You are the best judge of your own context! You are the expert! You might find that the background knowledge required for some pieces of the curriculum are not yet developed in younger learners, and you might find that some of the themes are not interesting to them. The Vamos Curriculum should be good for grade 5, maybe even as low as grades 3-4.  However, Somos was written for older students.  

We recommend the following resources for preK-5 Spanish:




Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article