Spanish 1

Upcoming dates (4)

For registration assistance: 608-262-2451
Register by mail: printable registration form


We have made our most popular class even better with a completely revised curriculum. This beginning-level language class (A1.1) explores the cultural richness of the Spanish-speaking world while helping you master the basics of Spanish with a proven communicative approach that emphasizes speaking competency while also building skills in listening, reading and writing. This practical course will quickly have you talking about life, family, work and travel. See Outline for complete details. Participants with no previous experience with Spanish are encouraged to begin with Spanish 0.

Prerequisite: None.

Find out if this is the right level for you with these placement tests: Spanish 1 self-placement test, Spanish 2 self-placement test.

Course format

Instructional videos and interactive online materials in the Canvas course platform introduce new grammar and vocabulary and teach pronunciation, listening and reading skills. Participants should budget 3-4 hours a week to work through the workbook and the online asynchronous materials in preparation for the live online conversation groups. Participants practice speaking live with the instructor in small groups of 3-6 students in 30-minute weekly sessions. Groups will vary weekly, so participants should be available the entire one-hour time slot. Online course materials are available one week before the first live conversation class and remain accessible for one month after the course ends.

Want to know more about learning a language online? Read Dr. Julie Dahl's blog post about our online course format.

Printable workbook (PDF) is included in the price. All other materials are available through the course platform.

Sections available for summer 2022 (See upcoming dates for more detail):

Tuesdays, July 26–Oct. 4, 5–6 p.m. CT

Tuesdays, July 26–Oct. 4, 6:15–7:15 p.m. CT

Sections available for fall 2022 (See upcoming dates for more detail):

Thursdays, Sept. 8–Nov. 17, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CT

Thursdays, Sept. 8–Nov. 17, 6:45–7:45 p.m. CT

Mondays, Sept. 12–Nov. 21, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CT

Mondays, Sept. 12–Nov. 21, 6:45–7:45 p.m. CT

Tuesdays, Sept. 13–Nov, 22, 8:30–9:30 a.m. CT

Tuesdays, Sept. 20–Nov. 29, 4:30–5:30 p.m. CT

Tuesdays, Sept. 20–Nov. 29, 5:45–6:45 p.m. CT

Tuesdays, Oct. 4–Dec. 13, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CT

Tuesdays, Oct. 4–Dec. 13, 6:45–7:45 p.m. CT

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Course Outline

Course outline

Below are the themes and language outcomes for each unit. Each unit also contains 10-15 listening activities, an extended reading activity, review dialogues and cultural information related to the unit theme.

Unidad 1: Greetings

  • Common greetings and goodbyes
  • Asking and answering common questions: name, place of origin, telephone number
  • Formal vs. informal address
  • Numbers 0-10
  • Pronunciation: Y and LL

Unidad 2: We are speaking!

  • Getting to know each other
  • Personal pronouns
  • Conjugating regular –ar verbs in the present tense
  • The verb ser
  • Interrogative words and forming questions
  • Numbers 11-20
  • Names of languages
  • Pronunciation: C, S and Z

Unidad 3: My activities

  • Talking about common activities
  • Strategies for forming and answering questions
  • Days of the week
  • Gender of nouns and making nouns plural
  • The definite articles el/las/los/las
  • Conjugating –er and –ir verbs in the present tense.
  • Pronunciation: Ñ

Unidad 4: My work

  • Talking about professions
  • The indefinite articles un/una/unos/unas
  • The verbs estar, ir and dar
  • Talking about frequency of activities
  • Pronunciation: R

Unidad 5: My world

  • Talking about countries and organizations
  • Alphabet and spelling
  • Expressing agreement and disagreement in conversations
  • Numbers 20-100
  • Personal A
  • Countries, industries and products
  • Review of Unidades 1-4
  • Pronunciation: H

Unidad 6: My family

  • Talking about family
  • Possessive adjectives
  • Irregular verbs: e-ie
  • The verb tener
  • Talking about age
  • Pronunciation: common last names

Unidad 7: My likes

  • Talking about likes and dislikes
  • Months and seasons
  • Written accent marks
  • Using the verbs gustar and encantar
  • Using infinitives in a sentence
  • Pronunciation: RR

Unidad 8: My diet

  • Talking about food and diet
  • Ordering in a restaurant
  • Irregular verbs: o-ue
  • More on gustar
  • Pronunciation: J

Unidad 9: My favorite city

  • Talking about cities
  • Asking for information in a tourist office
  • Telling time
  • Talking about when activities are performed
  • The special verb hay
  • Pronunciation: Review

Unidad 10: My life

  • Talking about dates and birthdays
  • Contrasting ser and estar
  • Extensive review of Unidades 1-9
  • Extended speaking preparation

Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 35
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 3.5

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates (4)

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Program Questions?

Contact Christopher Moore at christopher.moore@wisc.edu or 608-262-7389

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructors

Pablo Pastore

(BA, Universidad de Buenos Aires) is a Graduate Student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UW-Madison. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he has lived most of his life.

Lucia Can

(BA, Master of Arts in Latin American Literature at the Autonomous University of the Yucatan-UADY) is a graduate student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at UW-Madison. She has taught many levels of Spanish as a foreign language in Mexico and the United States. She loves talking about culture, traditions, customs, among other related topics in language. 

Ana Pérez Alfajarrin

(M.A., University of Western Ontario) has taught university-level Spanish language courses in Canada for the last nine years.  Trained as a translator/interpreter in Cuba and as a linguist in Canada, Ana strives to reach learners at all levels to help them communicate effectively in Spanish.  


What Attendees Are Saying

I honestly cannot think of anything that would have improved the class. It was exactly what I needed from an intro class.
— Eric Hettler
The instructor was great! He has lots of tips for explaining things and put everybody at ease. Nobody felt embarrassed trying to say a new word/phrase in Spanish.
— Sarah Ferguson
I was able to refresh my Spanish skills and learn a lot about Spanish-speaking cultures.
— Jennifer Binkley