Una escuela en Costa Rica: A culture capsule

I’ve got another culture capsule for you today, this time we’re talking about schools in Costa Rica! If you missed the last post, you’ll definitely want to visit Una casa en Costa Rica.

One of the best parts of the Live the Osa teacher trips is that participants get to experience a handful of schools in the Osa Peninsula. It was fascinating to walk through classrooms, chat with teachers and students, eat school lunch and marvel at the similarities and differences between our educational systems. A thousand thanks to Helaine Wemple, trip director, for sharing with us this “insider’s glimpse” of life in the Osa! I also owe huge thanks to tica Alejandra Young, a Spanish teacher in New Hampshire who also participated in the trip. She was kind enough to set up a Zoom call as I was compiling these materials, to answer my zillion questions about escuelas ticas…and she even pulled in her sister, a former Costa Rican teacher who know works for the ministry of education, to answer questions! ¡Mil gracias a Ustedes dos!

I took all that I learned, including an interview with my aspiring YouTuber home-stay “hermanito” about his school (with his mama’s permission, of course!) and a zillion photos to create a slideshow. My goal is to share some fascinating details about schools in Costa Rica with my Little Darlings, in Spanish they will understand. (Fun fact: did you know that Costa Rican students take their toothbrushes to school and everyone brushes their teeth after lunch?! How cool is that?! And I’ve got the posted lunch menu included too, just waiting for cultural comparisons!)

As you can imagine, there’s plenty to talk about, and the slideshow is pretty beefy. I’d recommend doing the 1st half of the slideshow one class, focusing on elementary schools, then the 2nd half of the slideshow a different class, to focus on secondary education. I’m planning on giving them the notetaker at the end, to review and wrap it all up, and absolutely teach them the Calles y Avenidas Brain Break! One more thing: keep an eye on the “Speaker notes” at the bottom of the slideshow…I’ve included some additional links that might interest your students.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Una escuela en Costa Rica slideshow and notetaker.

Heading back to school soon?!

Since it’s that time of year, here are a few Back to School resources that you might find helpful, from the Sra Chase Back to School Archives. This would probably be a whole lot more helpful to teachers if I shared this few weeks ago, but a few weeks ago I was hanging out in the rainforest, so…sorry but not really that sorry!

Getting set up:

Syllabus, expectations and classroom procedures

Day 1 student interest survey

Proficiency Based Grading Letter for parents

Letter to parents: an explanation of  CI 

Magic Cards- a super simple way to assign grades for listening, speaking and reading, all semester long!

Organizational Life Savers for setting up your classroom

Classroom tour

Wanting to start a Free Reading Program this year?

New to a Block Schedule? 

New to Comprehensible Input Teaching?:

 There are just 4 things to remember as you get rolling

How do you know if you’re comprehensible?

The first days of school:

Start of the year lesson plans – Spanish 1 with Celia Cruz

Start of the year lesson plans Spanish 1 or 2 with Jolly Ranchers

Back to school picture talk

Start of the year Name Game for upper levels

Start of the year game El verano fabuloso for levels 2-4

Start of the year game: Get to know you Kahoot

Need a  little encouragement?

A few thoughts on classroom management 

And a few more thoughts on Classroom Management at the beginning of the year

Passwords and Check Ins- a practice to start right away

Need some encouragement? A Devotional as you get back into the swing of things

Have you started school yet? How’s it going?! My Little Darlings come next Monday and I am equal parts excited, terrified, anxious and hopeful. Please tell me that things are off to a much smoother start than the past few years, pretty please!


  1. I love this! And not to make more work but would the teachers on the trip have any resources for what teens in Costa Rica do in their free time? Sports? Video games? Hang out?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hola. I just wanted to thank you for your blog posts about your struggles last year. I appreciate your candor and sharing ideas with us. I got big tears in my eyes when I read the last part about a lot of prayer and all I can say to that is “Amen, sister!” Hope this year is great. Lisa Conzemius


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