Spanish 1

Upcoming dates (2)

Course in progress
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.

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 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 for the entire one-hour time slot. Online course materials available one week before 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) included in the price. All other materials available through the course platform.

Some audio activities do not include transcription or closed captioning in order to create authentic listening opportunities. In accordance with Federal ADA compliance, transcripts can be made available to students who formally request them. Please contact Chris Moore at christopher.moore@wisc.edu as soon as possible.

Sections available for fall 2021

See upcoming Dates for more details.

  • Wednesdays, Oct. 6–Dec. 22, 6–7 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation Nov. 24)
  • Thursdays, Sept. 23–Dec. 9, 5–6 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation Nov. 25)

Sections available for spring 2022 (See Upcoming Dates for more detail):

  • Tuesdays, Feb. 1–April 19, 5–6 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation March 15)
  • Tuesdays, Feb. 1–April 19, 6:15–7:15 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation March 15)

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Course Outline

Lesson 1: The Spanish-speaking world

Themes and communication goals

  • Greetings and goodbyes
  • Asking and answering basic questions

Language skills

  • Pronunciation
  • Definite articles
  • Gender of nouns
  • Making nouns plural
  • Present tense AR verbs
  • Numbers 1-10


  • Spanish names
  • Differences in dialects
  • Formal vs. informal
  • Spanish word origin
  • Panamericano

Lesson 2: First encounters

Themes and communication goals

  • Getting to know people
  • Asking about work
  • Spelling

Language skills

  • Present tense of SER
  • Present tense of TENER
  • Alphabet
  • Present ER/IR verbs
  • Indefinite articles


  • Workplaces
  • Popular professions
  • Mexico

Lesson 3: My people

Themes and communication goals

  • The family
  • What are you like?
  • Dates and months
  • Age and birthdays
  • Expressing like and dislike

Language skills

  • Numbers 11-100
  • Possessive articles
  • Agreement
  • Present tense of ESTAR
  • Me gusta/n..


  • A family business
  • The Hispanic family
  • Expressions of courtesy
  • Birthdays
  • Central America 1

Lesson 4: Let's practice and review!

Lesson 5: Time to eat

Themes and communication goals

  • Shopping for food
  • Quantities
  • Preferences
  • Ordering in a café / bar
  • Menus
  • Telling time

Language skills

  • Present tense of QUERER, PREFERIR, PODER, PROBAR
  • Adverbs of frequency
  • Numbers over 100
  • Direct object pronouns


  • Christmas celebrations
  • Christmas food
  • Tapas
  • Meal times
  • Central America 2

Lesson 6: Around town

Themes and communication goals

  • Describing a city
  • Asking directions
  • Giving directions
  • Shops and stores
  • Days of the week

Language skills

  • Present tense of IR, PEDIR, SEGUIR
  • The use of Hay
  • Prepositions of place
  • Tener que


  • The city of Sevilla
  • The city of Bogatá
  • Museums
  • Colombia

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 (2)

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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 instructor(s)

Juan Carlos Díaz Ortiz

(PhD University of Los Andes, Colombia) is an academic researcher and writer. He completed an MFA in Spanish Creative Writing at The University of Iowa and his research interests focus on Latin American Contemporary Literature.

Lindsey Keough

(MA, Marquette University) is a Spanish instructor with experience at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Previous to teaching, she worked as a bilingual marketing specialist. This experience helps her to better customize curriculum to meet real-world needs. Lindsey enjoys working with students of all ages and proficiency levels.

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