¡Silencio, por favor!

Call and response…the teacher says one thing and the students respond with a canned choral response. I didn’t invent this– good teachers have been doing this for years. (I was first introduced by my mama, the best elementary teacher out there.) It’s a fun way to add a “little something” to class, increase student engagement, get their attention, teach them phrases that you want them to learn that will be useful in real life and impress your administrator during  observations.  😉

When I want them to be silent and give me their full attention, I use one of the phrases below.  (Like any procedure, practice it until it’s perfect! And if they start to get lazy with it or some students don’t respond, I’ll give them one more chance. If it is still lack luster, we practice it after the bell rings to make sure they’ve got it! Evil, I know, but it works! ) I have it hanging in my classroom and we’ll do one for about 2 months before I introduce a new quiet signal.

Teacher: Achoo Students: ¡Salud!

Teacher: Achoo Students: ¡Dinero!

Teacher: Achoo   Students: ¡Amor!

Teacher: Achoo   Students: ¡Y tiempo para disfrutarlos!

Teacher: ¿Qué te pasa, calabaza? Students: Nada, nada limonada

Teacher: Manzanita del Perú….  Students: ¿Cuántos años tienes tú?

Teacher: Tín marín de do pingüe Students: Cúcara mácara títere fue  (Spanish equivalent of Eenie meanie miney mo)

When I have a blurter who blurts in Spanish, I smile sweetly and cue the class:

Teacher: Uno, dos, tres   Students: ¡No más inglés! Blurter (dramatically) Te ruego perdón.

Then there are just ones I use during conversations or when I am giving them instructions during class. Here are a few fun ones for that.

  • Teacher: ¿Está bien?   Students: Sale Vale. (OK? Okie dokie)
  • Teacher: ¿Podemos hacerlo?  Students: Sí se puede
  • Teacher: ¿Entiendes Mendez? Students: ¿O te lo explico, Frederico?

    And to dismiss them at the end of class…

Teacher: ¡Que tengan buen día/ fin de semana)  Students: Igualmente. Nos vemos el martes (or whatever day they’ll be back! And then they can stand up to leave. )

If these don’t float your boat, there are plenty more out there… Martina Bex at the Comprehsible Classroom compiled this list and there are some fun ones here at Spanish Playground. 

Do you have any fun ones that you use that I should add to my toolbox?! Let me know!


  1. […] Despedida: I always end class with ¡Gracias clase, que tengan buen día! (Thanks class, have a good day!) and they respond with Igualmente, nos vemos el miércoles, (You too! See you on Wednesday) THEN they can stand up and leave. And they go on their merry way and I collapse at my desk because I’m exhausted, but in the best sort of way. I love Call and Responses, here are some others I use. […]


  2. […] Meet Don Fulano, the faceless Mariachi that I got from a Mexican restaurant a few years ago. I covered the Corona symbols with our mascot. Unfortunately Don Fulano’s Lady Friend had to stay at the restaurant…she did not comply with our dress code. The Sana sana colita de rana banner changes every 6 weeks or so when I introduce a new call and response quiet signal. […]


    • I have it as a poster in my room. I teach and we practice it. The current one is always hanging up, and I switch to a new one every 8 weeks or so. When I teach a new one, I remove the old poster and replace it with the new one. When I need attention, I’ll call the new one (they turn to look at the poster at the beginning) or an old one (which they’ve memorized )


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