Spanish 1

Upcoming dates (7)

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.

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

Sections available for spring 2023 (See upcoming dates for more detail):

Tuesdays, Jan. 10–March 28, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 14)

Tuesdays, Jan. 10–March 28, 6:45–7:45 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 14)

Mondays, Feb. 6–April 24, 5–6 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 13)

Mondays, Feb. 6–April 24, 6:15–7:15 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 13)

Thursdays, Feb. 16–May 4, 5–6 p.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 16)

Wednesdays, Feb. 22–May 10, 8:30–9:30 a.m. CT (No virtual conversation on March 15)

Tuesdays, April 4–June 13, 5:30–6:30 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 (7)

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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

Marisa Carpenter

(PhD, UW-Madison) has taught Spanish at all levels to traditional and non-traditional students for over 17 years. She prioritizes fun, active engagement, and low stress in the "classroom.” She enjoys teaching online because it brings together a wider group of people.

Ana Pérez Alfajarrin

(MA, University of Western Ontario) has been teaching Spanish since 2013 to adult learners of all ages. She specializes in Hispanics linguistics and was first trained as a translator/interpreter in Cuba. She brings enthusiasm to her teaching and loves creating engaging courses that make learning meaningful and fun.

Mariana Oliveira

(PhD candidate, UW-Madison) is from Brazil, where she taught English at many different levels. In Wisconsin, she teaches Spanish and Portuguese. She appreciates having students from all walks of life and loves creating a dynamic learning environment for the adult learner.

Ana Vanesa Hidalgo Del Rosario

(MA, UW-Madison) is a PhD candidate in Spanish applied linguistics from the Canary Islands, Spain. Her research interests include bilingualism, second language acquisition and pedagogy. She has taught Spanish at different levels in the United States, France and Spain.

Aneidys B Rodríguez-Santiago

(PhD, UW-Madison) enjoys teaching adult learners of Spanish in addition to her work as an Institutional Researcher and professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Utuado Campus. She has taught Spanish and Portuguese to traditional and nontraditional students of all levels.

What Attendees Are Saying

The design of the course was excellent. The textbook felt tailored to adults and the content, with the different speakers and voices, was much more engaging than other language learning materials I've studied from before. The instructor was also great at facilitating the speaking activities during live sessions.
Gordon West
I couldn't have been happier with this class. The instructor was amazing - knowledgeable, patient, and kind. The course was extraordinary in how it was laid out and used multiple ways of teaching.
I love the class. I think it's very well organized and the class textbook is well-written. The class far exceeds my expectations. I am learning so much. Thank you!!!
Jeannette Eicholz
Excellent approach to learning a language! The virtual format works very well. The mix of audios, short videos, written handbook, and small group speaking practice was great. This format allows students to move through a week's worth of material at their own pace. Thank you!
Janet White