Spanish Civil War: Leading with Inquiry- flipping the script with experiential learning in the WL classroom

La Guerra Civil Española- PBLL Style: Comprensible Input Meets Inquiry-based Learning!

For those of you Spanish teacher history buffs, I want to say that I am totally a novice when it comes to teaching the Spanish Civil war.  Many years ago, I did a Guernica unit for my 7th-grade students (materials coming soon!), and we did not take a deep dive into the Spanish Civil war. This year, I am teaching Spanish 4, and our school is embarking on a PBLL curriculum; I choose the revive that old unit. This will be a two-part blog post; the first part lays the groundwork for the unit, building content knowledge and engagement in project-based learning, and second post dives into the Guernica and the PBL inquiry-action component, all in Español! Here is my story. 

Shifting Approach to Teaching Language

I’d like to echo Spanish Mama’s sentiment when she stated in a previous blog post that her philosophy of teaching was “evolving” )check out her post here.)  This has definitely become my story this year. With 90-minute block classes and the consistent flow of research pumping through the veins of language teaching community, it wasn’t long before I got a transfusion myself. Teaching this unit has given me more insight into language acquisition, conceptual and inquiry-based learning. Although all of those components are not covered in this post (next one for sure), I’d like to share some activities that really helped my students connect with the content through the medium of language.  
Mi granito de arena 

Now, there are many great teachers who do bang-up jobs on presenting the Spanish Civil War and Guernica. You may want to check out Kristy Plácido‘s blog, as she has some really nice stuff.  I am just adding to the corpus of work that has been done already.  That said, with this unit, I really changed the way I engaged students. 

Learning about history inquiry-based style in a CI classroom 

Instead of providing students with a reading on aspects of the Spanish Civil War, I decided to let them research these aspects on their own. It was simple: 

  • Listed 8 different topics related to the conflict 
  • Curated a few websites in English  
  • Assigned student groups 
  • Did a mini-lesson on how to research in English and convey information in basic Spanish 

Throw Reciprocal teaching into the mix!


The pictures above posters students creating posters for gaining a preliminary knowledge about the Spanish Civil War. This was my introductory activity (opposed to doing a scavenger hunt, short reading even a video- all of which are good).  The goal was to create an information highway class from which students could be informed of various causes and players of the Spanish Civil War (The PBL final component will in the next post, this is just the beginning)

 This was just an

introductory activity and they put so much

heart and soul into it!



Comprehensible Input Meets Inquiry-based Learning


Hack: Instead of giving students something to read and take notes on, they each became experts on an aspect of the war. 

  • Students presented to the class (repetition, recycling)

For the presentations, we made a list of expressions (most teachers have great lists they give to students). I noticed that each group looked at the board and chose an expression or lead-in that vibed well with their presentation. 

  • Students circulated, looked at the board and collected the information. 

Click here for the note taking document

We viewed this video in English after the introduction activity. Although this was not in the target language, I filled in gaps for students who were learning this for the first time.

Spanish Civil War in 3 minutes

Check out this video in Spanish 

Spanish Civil War Gallery and Reciprocal Teaching 


After working on the “Teaching Boards” I had students present to class. This was not for a grade, but more of a formative assessment check-in. After presenting, students displayed their boards around the class, they were given the note-taking document below, and they went around taking notes on each of the aspects of the Spanish Civil War. Again, this was their incursion into the unit. We’d begin officially after this. 

Matamoscas in pairs



Click here for resource


I have been working at my new school for about 2.5 years now. I used to teach MYP IB Spanish grades 6-8 for 10 years. Teaching at a high school was very challenging in the beginning. The 90 minute block periods- were another challenge. I share this because we don’t really have textbooks and I have had to create the curriculum from scratch. One of the challenges I have had in the past was making sure everything aligned, the vocabulary was part of the reading (I started writing my own novels and other modified informational texts to satisfy the inner writer in me). This unit, I can saw, without a shadow of a doubt, had a high degree of aligned. Having a bit of time prior to the unit, I was able to:

  • Identify resources need for the unit. For this unit, I actually wrote some material a few years ago, but since we subscribe to Mary Glasgow, I used their reading and video on the Spanish Civil War. If you go to their website, you can get up to 4 free downloads. It is an extremely well- resourced site. We based most of our curriculum off the plethora of resources.

  • Design summative assessments
  • Identify words and concepts necessary for understanding the Spanish Civil War
  • Create vocabulary lists
  • Create games with the vocabulary (see my
  • Matamoscas PPT and paired activity)

Resource Central (Freebies)

Click here for the activities below!

This free packet includes:

  • Vocabulary sheet
  • Paired students interview using the vocabulary words
  • Sentence writing activity
  • Student inquiry-activity
  • Note-taking activity for “Inquiry-gallery”

Multiple Exposures to Vocabulary Promotes Acquisition 

I am reading the book Language Teacher Toolkit by Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti. It is a great book with lots of insight on strategies for teaching a world language. One of the premises of learning a language is multiple exposures, repeated exposure to vocabulary and structures. This is no secret as the Comprehensible Input theory, community, and practitioners all laud this concept. In their book, they make the case for multiple exposures and what happens on a neurological level. Repeated exposure allows the brain, as they stated (page 59) to make viable connections. Words are associated with memorable moments. The activities implemented in this activity did just that. I saw a marked improvement in vocabulary production during speaking tasks and writing task related to the unit.  

Assessments 

For this unit, the video provided two assessments: Listening and Writing.

This is still an ongoing unit, but I have managed to administer two assessments, both on which students performed really well. I accredit their performance to the “multiple exposure” model and the inquiry-based style of learning that hooked them from the beginning. After the initial research, they were speaking like experts and was able to build shared background knowledge (all working together). 

Additional resources for teaching Spanish Civil War:
Propoganda Lesson on the Spanish Civil War (I saw this later, looks really good).
La hija del sastre– check out fluency matters.com (we have this book, and I like it. This year, we did not get to engage due to our school’s PBL mandates).

Time in Between on Neflix (I have materials for the first episode, will be included in the next post)


The student action-inquiry PBLL product will be addressed in the next few posts. The next post to this unit will be, Guernica. 

Click here for follow up post!

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Casi me mata el celular, suspenseful, comprehensible and undeniably gracioso!

Casi me mata el celular, a short story for Spanish class!

     Reviewing the preterite and imperfect tenses? Check out this Spanish novel, for teens learning Spanish as a second language. The updated version is even more suspenseful and “killer.” Your students will love this comprehensible crime-thriller. And, don’t you dare worry about creating activities- get Teacher’s Manual of activities, absolutely free.

Click here for the novel and the 2 chapter preview

Click here for making your life easy while teaching this novel 

1

Last summer, I wanted to write a story that would pique the interest of young boys/men in the class. There is quite a body of L1 research highlighting the discrepancy between girls and boys reading habits, and frequency. In the world language classroom, I have seen with my own students, how the girls gobble up literature and the boys, well, they take time in finding their “reading stride.” This novella, Casi me mata el celular, was conceived with the purpose of “enganchando” the boys in the class and adding details that would involve them in the story. There is a little bit of guy humor, mild violence, and allusion to popular video games that surrounds the problem-saturated drama.  Although this novella, is great for boys, the girls won’t shy away, there is something here for everyone (very odd blooming romance from two unlikely characters-unnervingly hilarious).

So, if your students are looking for a crime/suspense novel with a bold adventure, Casi me mata el celular, will satisfy your students’ thrill-seeking quest. The story could be a great addition to your FVR library or even a quick class read. It comes with a Teacher Manual with 26 activities that include speaking, writing and reading comprehension in addition to vocabulary lists. Check out the specs:

Vocabulary: Technology related/ Crime 

Target structures: Preterite, Imperfect, some subjunctive

There is a mild gun violence (3rd chapter), it is the crux of what they see. 

Synopsis

Federico and his friends have a pretty simple life. They love to play basketball, soccer and go skateboarding at the park. They also love to go to their favorite hangout out, La librería Curioso: the only abandoned building left in a slowly up and coming town. This space gives them the privacy they need to practice pranks and other hilarious stunts to upload to Youtube. But the night of Friday the 13, their joke goes sour. While shooting the breeze and popping firecrackers, they stumble upon an uncanny situation. In an effort to satisfy their curiosity, they witness something will change their lives forever. Now the boys have to try to make it out of this situation, alive. 


 Check out my store for compelling novels, hacks and creative activities to rock your Spanish class!!

Most popular items 

Spanish 3+ Las apariencias engañan

El Muerto en el Armario (skeletons in the closet)


 

La clase de confesiones -Spanish Level 1+ Reader: Glossary and TM included!

                                        La clase de confesiones

A Spanish 1+ novel written mostly in the present tense novel with under 150 new words (non-cognates, basic level 1 vocabulary with a few other gems). 

Now available to order at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pIu4VS.   Let the confessions begin!

Synopsis: Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. She is the reason he “tolerates” his boring class. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up a bit” in class. A simple writing assignment turns out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. First, his nosy teacher tries to “set him up with Jessica,” this plan immediately backfires. Then, the unthinkable happens and Carlos is stunned. This turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. But all is not lost. If Carlos plays his cards right, he could have a winning hand.   Carlos invites you to come along on this adventure into “La clase de confesiones” where…”todos tienen una confesión,” even the teacher!

Excerpt from chapter 2: El profesor Martín (Free Teacher’s Manual of Confesiones)

...Carlos mira a Jessica. Ella saca su cuaderno, una pluma rosada y su móvil. Él piensa que Jessica es muy hermosa. Le gusta su cara. Le gustan sus zapatos y su ropa.  Pero, lo que más le gustan, son sus ojos. Le gustan los ojos de Jessica. Sus ojos son grandes y cafés. Carlos ya no mira a Jessica porque alguien está bloqueando su vista.

Carlos- no la mires tanto– dice el profesor Martín. 


El profesor Martín mira a Carlos mientras él mira a Jessica.  


¿Tienes la tarea? – dice el profesor. 


No, no la tengo. ¿La puedo traer mañana?– pregunta Carlos


Si no miras a Jessica tal vez puedes hacer tu tarea- dice el profesor. 

Carlos mira al profesor. 


Yo no acepto el trabajo tardío– dice el profesor


-¿Puede usted hacer una excepción? Yo tuve práctica de beisbol. ¿Puedo traer la tarea mañana? – pregunta Carlos, otra vez.  

-Más te vale- dice el profesor. 


Preview


This is just the tip of the iceberg for Carlos. Not only does the teacher shakes things up in class, but a normal run-of-mill- writing assignment turns fatal for Carlos’ social life. In an attempt to “pair” Carlos with the girl he has been crushing on, the teacher makes a critical move that backfires and throws Carlos’ life into a tailspin. As Carlos tries to dig himself out of this hole, he actually digs it deeper! He endures endless teasing and gossipy teachers as everyone discovers his secret. He is literally in a “camiseta de once varas.” Carlos soon realizes that his mentiras can only get his so much mileage and that only can the truth set him free….but will it be enough for Jessica?


Themes: Friendship, Love, Bullying, Decisions, and Character.

The story features most vocabulary associated with the classroom such as school supplies, classes, class furniture, prepositional phrases and activities related to the classroom activities. Stretching their vocabulary a bit, there is a little bit of poetry from one of the characters such as “ ella es el sol que ilumina mi día” in addition to common idiomatic expressions such as más te vale, no lo aguanto ni en pintura.  Phrases such as these are footnoted, listed in the pre-reading vocabulary and practiced in pre-reading exercises.  My student also used some of this vocabulary to talk about their other teachers (what happens in Spanish class stays in Spanish class!).

 

 As students read this story, they were on the edge of their seats (they wanted to read aloud because it was fun. I was the narrator to keep the flow). There is a considerable dialogue for it to be read aloud. There are also some lines for the whole class such as “¡Vaya!” and “!Ohhhhhh!” during an intense debate in chapter 10 of the sequel; La bella mentira.  The boys were rooting for Carlos the whole time (Dude, why did you do that?- Jamal), and the girls fell in love with his attempts to woe Jessica (and other funny characters- Rubén is a riot). I had originally written only 5 chapters, but they wanted to know what ever happened with Carlos and Jessica, so I finished with La Bella Mentira. The ending will not disappoint. 

La clase de confesiones partes 1 &2 Novel Bundle! Twice the fun… after reading part 1, your students will be begging for more…¡ te lo garantizo! 

Click here for Confessions Bundle 

Amazing Side Note 

As a post-reading assignment, they begged to write a sequel and prequel so I have them class time to do this (We were at the end of the unit and it was time to assess and move on). One of my students, who came with no experience whatsoever in Spanish, wrote one of the best alternative endings. I included the brief synopsis below. 


The students were asking me the feminine version of Patán (jerk), the name Jessica calls Carlos in the story (intense scene, but funny). So I could only think of mosquita muerta. Well, Hannah ended up using it in her story. Also, one of the motivations of Carlos’ lie was that he had been rejected. She included this, the past tense phrase (not many) in the story into her narrative. It was beautiful and made me think of how students really are sponges. 

I wish I could say that was the end but..Carlos’ adventures don’t stop here… Carlos mete la pata otra vez

Part 2, takes the adventure up a notch.

Carlos is having a bad day, and it’s about to get worse. He leaves Spanish class utterly embarrassed.  He had no idea that the teacher was going to partner him up with Jessica, the girl he actually writes about in his class essay. Adding insult to injury, the teacher reads his essay in front of the class, even the mean-spirited things he wrote about his teacher. After running into a few more problems in math class, he is faced with the big showdown in the lunchroom. Now, Carlos is between *”la espada y la pared.” However, a short story in Spanish class may hold the key to all of his problems, and may ultimately lead to his biggest confession of all.  Find out in part 2! 

Excerpt from chapter 2: La Bella Mentira 

Es jueves y Carlos está triste. Está triste porque tiene la clase de español. La clase de español ya no es su clase favorita. No es su clase favorita porque Carlos escribe sobre Jessica y todos los estudiantes escuchan el reporte de Carlos. La clase de español ya no es su clase favorita porque Carlos dice comentarios muy malos del profesor. Ahora Carlos está triste porque Jessica está en la clase de español. Carlos piensa en el mensaje de texto de Jessica << Eres un patán.>>


Antes de la clase, Carlos ve a Lucas, su amigo en el pasillo: 


Hola Carlos, ¿cómo andas? hermano- dice Lucas. 


Bastante mal, lee esto- dice Carlos. Carlos le enseña a Lucas el texto de Jessica.  


Lucas lee el primero texto de Jessica 


<<Tengo una confesión: tú eres el chico de la clase de español.  También me gustas.>>

Lucas responde: 

-Enhorabuena, ¡Jessica te gusta!


No exactamente. -Ahora, lee el otro mensaje- dice Carlos


<<Carlos, yo pienso que te gusto pero veo que no. Eres un mentiroso y todo que escribes en la clase de español es una mentira. No me gustan los mentirosos. Yo soy alérgica a los mentirosos.  Yo no quiero hablar contigo… y otra cosa… Eres un patán- Jessy.>>


Lucas lee el segundo mensaje de texto y responde:


 ¡Caray! Esto no es bueno. 


Sí, yo sé- dice Carlos con un tono triste. –Y ahora tengo la clase de español. 


Jessica está en la clase. Carlos le explica la situación a Lucas. Después, Lucas dice:


-Carlos, ánimo. Yo te ayudo. Tú tienes que ser honesto con ella.  


-¿Honesto?… pero ¿cómo?- pregunta Carlos.  


Pues, habla con ella. Dile que tú eres un chico estúpido y que todos necesitamos  una segunda oportunidad.  


-¿Eso es todo?- pregunta Carlos.  

-Sí, no es muy complicado- dice Lucas. 

Pero, ¡Carlos mete la pata otra vez! Find out in part 2!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pzd1SZ

Check out my TPT Store activities, informational historical texts, and video activities for class 

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pAnP33

7 authentic activities to increase communication in the TL!

7 authentic activities to increase communication in the TL! 

This week,  I’d like to share a few activities surrounding the structure gustar that helped my students stay in the target language, engage with authentic resources and stimulate ongoing conversation in the class. I implemented the lesson referenced in this post with my Spanish I students, who truly were novice-low at the beginning of the year (I am used to having a novice-mid first year).  Since my students were starting from scratch (pronouncing “que” as “qwe”),  I have had to retrofit my curriculum, to account for the needs of my present class. If you are like me, in need to some quick curriculum overalls, check out previous posts below, otherwise, enjoy the free Gustar activities!

These posts outline ideas, activities maps (most are free) for reshaping the novice- level experience and putting them on track for mastery.

7- Gustar Activities to guarantee fun in the class!
We are well into our school unit, but prior to the unit, my first stop or preferred language structure is the verb gustar, similar to querer, tener and poder, I like to call them, “gateway verbs.”  After learning this verb, conversation skyrocketed to all new heights in my class. I believed the carefully crafted materials helped.  

We practiced discussing likes and dislikes without having had a proper “ introduction” but then the question arose and we dove right in. These seven activities afforded a combination of most learning styles and really pumped up my class. 

1. Activity 1: Rafael Nadal 

Authentic Video Activities for Novice Level Students 

Rafael Nadal: Power Commercial 

 Rafael Nadal: Power Commercial 
Gustar Resource- Video-Listening- Speed dating activity and more!

1. I created a quick blurb about the tennis star so that students were familiar with him. Here is how it all went down: 

  •  First, they read a blurb about the tennis star (in the suite of docs above).
  • After they are introduced to him, I played the video with the audio only. I froze the screen and had them write down the words they heard.
  • Then, I posted the words (in the activity) on the board. Students took another listen and they wrote the words they heard for the second time (I had added some distractor words to get a true test to their discriminative listening skills).
  • Then, I played the video and they were able to confirm. They then spoke about this likes and dislikes. Since the words flash across the screen, they were able to make an immediate connection.

Activity 2-6: María Fernanda, Video and Activities

Click the link below for her Youtube Video 

María una niña colombiana 

Click this link for free resources: Gustar Resource- Video-Listening- Speed dating activity and more!

I really liked this short video of a Colombian girl who talks about her likes and dislikes. Just like the first video, they listened and jotted down what they heard. 

I created 4 activities to accompany this video. They are in the above-referenced suite of documents.

  • Basic question activity. Students listen once and then circle the correct answer (name, age, etc).
  • Students listen again and then check off the things she likes and likes to do (list provided)
  • Write sentences using the structure
  • Extension activity. I gave them several options and they had to choose which event or class María would like or like to attend based on what she said in the video. Students are given a stem sentence/template for citing visual evidence.

Speed Dating: Multiple forms activity (included in Free Gustar Resource Suite)

I gave students a 16 grid interview chart containing questions related to gustar and school.  First, we went over what each verb meant, for my nervous Nellies. They had this Quizlet set to study before hand because we are in our La educación, la tecnología y los desafíos globales Unit.  They went around, interviewed all 16 students and then they had to report out using the third person of the verb who likes what (this exercise is included as well).  Those who were up for a challenge used the plural forms of the verb Gustar. The reporting sheet is included as well. This was very energizing. 

 

Looking for classroom novels or stories that are compelling, creative and crazy! Check o out La clase de confesiones, where everyone has a confessiones, even the teacher!

Reading: La clase de confesiones

 Click here for the story: La clase de confesiones  or order it on Amazon by clicking the link below: 

 

Now available to order at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pIu4VS.   Let the confessions begin!

Carlos hates his English class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays ecropped-clase-de-confesiones.jpgyes on Jessica. Her presence is both distracting and motivating. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up” in class. A simple writing assignment allows Carlos the creativity, which he has never had before in this class, and is a break from the teacher’s lecture teaching style. But the assignment is turning out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. From the nosy teacher inadvertently trying to help him “to get his beloved’s attention” to one of the most embarrassing things that have every happens to him, he sees that all is not lost.  This story proves that No hay mal del que por bien no venga.

“Si juegas con fuego, te vas a quemar;” Camilo learns the hard way that he can’t have his cake, and eat it too! This novel will engage your students as they discover that some secrets, should not come out the closet!

El Muerto en el Armario- Skeletons in the Closet

Target structures: Present/Past Subjunctive

¡Ojalá que lo disfrutes!

Segunda Parte: Damage Control  

El muerto cover- closet door

The installment part of the story “Las apariencias”  ups the stakes, Liliana and Camilo. Their little secret is out: and there will be consequences. Through a series of clever maneuvers, they are still able to evade the truth; but the time is running out. A very close encounter with Juan, that will put students “pelos de punta” builds suspense as our friend Liliana is hiding the closet. Not only does Juan have Camilo’s cell phone, that was left at school, but he also has his contraseña.  The interaction between Juan and Camilo heightens senses as Juan revealed that he has read some of those steamy (nothing inappropriate) messages.  Liliana, who is mired “frenemy” behavior, adds to her personal drama when she discovers a secret, belonging to one of Camilo’s parents. The second installment is chock full of confessions, secrets and mysterious people that will inevitably be at the center book dramatic close, and then dramatic open of “Las sombras.”  How will Camilo’s parents handle her knowing sensitive information? Will Juan find out she is a traitor? How will Salomé exact revenge… find out in part 2! 

Interested in doing this a fun class novel read? No problem, download the Free Teacher’s Manual.

Click here for the first installment of the story

El Muerto en el Armario- Segunda Parte 

Las apariencias engañan: where the drama begins!

62188-las2bapariencias2bengan25cc2583an-tiff

I was thrilled by the concept of Novelas por Entregas such as those you read in Vanidades Magazine. I took a Hispanic American Literature class years ago and learned that authors in the 19th century published chapters of their work prior to publishing a novel.

Inspired by this idea, I created this series for my Spanish IV class. I started by trying to write a simple story that would include the subjunctive. As an on-the-go teacher, it was virtually impossible for me to curate materials (that included both vocabulary and grammar) and control for many other variables, so I create my own. It started out as one story and now it is a full-blown series. After the first chapter, El Psicólogo (the original name of the cuento) students were asking for more. I started writing during my weekends to keep up with the demand. Now, I am working on the last installment, “Las sombras” which could stand alone as it’s own novel or 2 part series. These stories were fun to read as class, as students were freaking out as the plot twists developed- there are some unexpected turns with the first one and everyone had to go back to read the chapter to see the twist. This was exciting as a writer, but even more thrilling as a teacher!

The story starts with a group of close friends who have some pretty deep secrets. The main character Salomé (which students kept calling Salami- so irritating!) is going through a mala racha. With family problems, slipping grades and an ever-so-distant boyfriend, she begins to suspect the worst.  Her best friend helps her to discover that her goody-two-shoe boyfriend has some serious skeletons in the closet; this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The story is dialogue-based is replete with phrases that help students to practice the subjunctive and authentic expressions. No worries about teaching vocabulary,  most of the expressions and vocabulary are included in the footnote! I am working on a glossary, but am also in the process of publishing my limited series books first such as La clase de confesiones, La bella mentira y Casi me mata el celular. The glossary and then print version of this series should be ready soon. Both ebooks are one TPT.  My students did not miss a beat with the vocabulary accessible to them. Click here for the sample. 

Audience

This story may be best suited for Spanish 3 and above. There are a few kissing scenes, romantic talk and threats such as ” Me las vas a pagar, te lo juro.” There is some back-stabbing, betrayal, espionage and eventually a mysterious murder involved. I was surprised that the boys in my class rivaled the girls in their interest in the storyline.

Click here for the first installment of the story

Enjoy, both books have great reviews!

6 Ways to privilege Input from the very first day of class. Easy-peasy-cognate-laden-intuitive reading (interview) activity for Spanish class!

How to get students talking in the target language the first day of class: A new twist on a routine strategy. 

The first week of school is always exciting for freshmen students, especially those who have not taken a Spanish as a second language. From the very first day, I encourage students to speak only in the target language. Like most teachers, I start my stating my name in the language as a model and then by asking them to state theirs. We go around until we get the hang of it. Please note that this activity has been extended. 

During the first week, I usually engage students in this About Me activity, which is all in the target language.  The activity is loaded with simple at a glance cognates that really require no front loading.  It is also a great activity for ESL students who would benefit from compound words and Latin roots. 

 

Output Rich Activity play by play 


1. First, students look a list of words, mostly cognates but some, such as película are not as familiar. 
2. The most important thing is that students cannot use a dictionary!  This helps them engage in incidental learning. Students read over the cognate vocabulary words and decide what they mean. 
3. They complete a short warm-up cloze-text activity that gives them a sneak peak into the meaning of most words. 

4. Here is the kicker- they read a simple interview about a Spanish girl who discusses her interests. Her interview contextualizes most of the vocabulary. 


From the basic answers she provides to the questions,  students then glean the meaning of the words. Also, don’t worry about overloading then.  The questions and answers are really simple.  

5.  After reading the interview, students use it as a guide to complete their own questions. These questions and vocabulary words are provided in this About Me activity demo.  
5. The questions are split into two section and students engage in a paired interpersonal activity after reading. 

6. Complete a compare and contrast activity using their information and that of the girl interviewed. 

This activity could be great for engaging students in inquiry, allowing them to learn basic vocabulary, cognates, interrogative words, sentence structure without a formal lesson!  
Some modeling suggestions

       To maximize and optimize input, teachers could also consider answering the questions for themselves prior to the interview. Research indicates that  it takes interacting with a word 20 times before it becomes a part of our lexicon, so answering the questions beforehand gives them additional experience with the word. I usually answer the questions for myself to give them an example of how it’s done. For example, the question: Cuál es tu programa favorito, I’d respond by saying  mi programa favorito es el Internado. Then I’d ask them cuál es mi programa favorito. This sets up the stage for me to then ask them their favorite program.  After going over my questions and asking a few students, they can work on the Interview.  I try to get as much bang as possible out of this buck. 

I like to move it, move it!

After students have finished their activity (I have moved around class to make sure we are all on board), I have them engage in a little speed-dating activity, also included in the About Me activity document.  This takes about 5-10 minutes of class time. They move around and interview one person or they could get into pairs. They begin by  asking them one (or 7) of the questions. At this point they would also be practicing simple greetings such as hello, how are you, what is your name, goodbye, etc. 

Not done yet!

After this activity students are of course excited to share about their one person. After this, I ask for a few volunteers to sit in the Hot Seat. Various students in the class ask them the same questions from the list.  My the end of the period the students have acquired new vocabulary, incidentally learned something about the structure of the language,  heard keywords several times in addition to being introduced to their year-long roommates! 

Check out these 7 Free activities with the verb Gustar 

If you have any questions, you respond to this post or email me at:

Profesoraquintero@gmail.com 

Turn your students into 007 Agents with the novel Agentes Secretos

Agentes  Secretos

Agentes Secretos by Mira Canon (see it on Amazon) is one of my favorite CI novels of all time. I started teaching this novel while teaching a middle school Spanish course at an IB school. After the second go around, I was hooked (my good friend Rachel introduced me to it while we were in Colombia!).

Now that I am working at a different school with slightly older students, I was compelled to take a fresh look at the teaching possibilities with this TPRS classic. I changed a few ways in which I had approached the novel. Instead of the usual run of the mill, get into to groups, make predictions, highlight cognates and so forth (these are good pre-reading/ building excitement exercises), I wanted to bring in the novel with a bang!

Priming students for the unit- Franco and Guernica

Last year, when I taught this unit, students were very curious about Guernica and Franco. During chapter three of the book, I had them perform a Guernica -basic analysis activity. I had also created an activity in which students created headlines about Franco (you can see some examples at the bottom of the page). As a result, they were curious about the history. To satisfy that sweet tooth, I created the resource below, which delves into Franco, the Spanish Civil War and Guernica- all in basic Spanish! Skipping on the history? Now problem, see the Free pre-reading starter kit below!

Spanish 1+ Reading, Franco, and Guernica- 10 activities!

Franco-Guernica-Spain

  • Text on Franco and his rise to power (super simple text, footnoted)
  • Pre-and post-reading vocabulary activities
  • Comprehension question (could totally be an assessment)
  • Guernica text/ with blurb on Picasso
  • Writing assignment- connected to Guernica.

Making the unit title a mystery and Music Please!

 

Click here for the free pre-reading starter kit!

This year, I did not tell students the book we were going to read. Instead, when they came into the room they had spy pictures and gadgets scattered about. As my students entered the room during the first day of my unit, they were met by the ambiance of Secret Agent Man (all these years I thought it said something else!).  Not only was the music saturating the atmosphere, but I had made the classroom into a gallery of secret agent themed paraphernalia that would represent the book.

Johnny rivers .png

The activity sheet instructs them to: write down the object, even in English, go back to their seats.

  • Write down the object- even in English
  • Go back to their seats and look up words
  • Write full sentences using “yo veo” and the items
  • Try to figure out the theme
 We have parliamentary style seating so as students walked through the long columns of

student desks they viewed pictures, products, and gadgets making a list of them in their notebooks. Below is a list of several items used:

Mission #1

  1. Picture of James Bond
  2. Picture of special suitcase
  3. Glasses
  4. Spy watch
  5. Binoculars

 I printed pictures from the internet in color and then placed them in plastic sleeves. Students were not allowed to speak during this activity but had to walk around, observe, list to the musical trope and jot down what they saw. They loved it! This was their first mission. 

IMG_6022

 

 

 

 

 

Mission # 2

Afterward the initial silent gallery walk, students had a chance to go back to their seats, look up words and share with the class and complete this activity sheet.  While looking up the word, I emphasized making sure they included both the definite and indefinite article. This lesson is always needed no matter what the level!

Mission # 3

 On my iPhone I had also created an Agentes Secretos Playlist. Secret Agent Man, Skyfall by Adele and theme music for Mission Impossible filled the class during these types of activities.

Thought-provoking at the novice-level

Rigor, Rigor, and Rigor. In the past few years, this five lettered word has been drilled into us as educators. One of my favorite activities is this cognitive priming activity where students get a list of discussion questions, which would be input +2 at first, but through modeling and conversation, it becomes challenging but doable.

The first thing I do is the take one of the questions, have them lean on their prior knowledge and then I model how to respond to the question using a circumlocution. The results were amazing. The discussion was rich and robust. My students got a lot from this activity, they definitely felt the stretch. My principal loved it as well.  Check out the protocol and sample questions below.

Protocol for this activity

One of the tasks I found extremely useful this time around teaching Agentes Secretos is engaging students into thinking about espionage.

1. They do in groups in discuss the questions and how to respond.

2. They maximize their limited vocabulary by responding to questions with as much vocabulary and thought as possible- they got tons of circumlocution mileage out of this activity 

Questions: 

  1. ¿Qué es un agente secreto?  ¿Qué hace un agente secreto? 
  2. Menciona una organización secreta en los Estados Unidos (U.S.)
  3. ¿Cómo debe ser la personalidad o perfil, de un agente secreto? 

For the first question, students would use very basic vocabulary such as: 

“Un agente secreto es una persona que trabaja en una organización secreta... “

Students could put their own twist on this. For the question about the typical profile and gender, students really had a lot to say. The circumlocution was the highest because they were so impassioned to speak. 

Death to Franco

Okay, I did not tell them Death to Franco, but this headliner activity was truly revealing. It allowed me to assess their prior knowledge, productive vocabulary output while allowing them to use logos and pathos in unprecedented ways at the novice level.

Here is how it all went down (this was the second or third day).

  • First, we read the first chapter of Agente Secretos (see it on Amazon)
  • Students made predictions about who he was based on the text.
  • Students voted on if they’d side with him or not based on what they learned in the first chapter (I had a few franquistas here- it was troubling at first).
  • Read the text on Franco, it has so many cognates and understandable vocabulary that it took them about 20 minutes to read in groups.

After the short contextualized activity on Franco activity, we came back to the question about Franco and they were stunned.

But I could not leave it there. I wanted to capture this emotion so I had them put themselves in the shoes of journalist during the Spanish Civil War. The eres un periodista activity encouraged them to do perspective-taking by assuming role of a periodista from the times of Franco. They had to create a headline for Franco based on what they had read. To be fair, they could choose either side; and they did. There was a good debate, to say the least.  Again, they used very simple terms but powerful.  Here are some examples (I will  scan and get the originals):

Novice Semester II Spanish I students:

Franco mata a las personas de España. 

El Nuevo Hitler (okay, one kid pointed out that they were contemporaries, so this isn’t valid, but good start). 

El Dictador Cruel

¿Franco, tu peor pesadilla!

¿Es Franco cruel? Pregunta a Guernica (this was a good one!)

There were plenty of headliners that really surprised me.
What are activities you do in class to promote literacy? Do you use Agentes Secretos?  Please share!
Enjoy!
profesoraquintero@gmail.com

Top 5 Reasons why you should add Desconexión to your curriculum!

5 reasons_desconexion .png

For the past two years, my upper level Spanish class has been captured by the short film- Desconexión by  Yecid Johanan. The film tells the harrowing story of a father who tries to save his son’s life, but is challenged in doing so from a series of compounding missed step in his journey.  This of course is the surface story. The upper story points to societal vices, mindsets and other paradigms that prevent people from progressing. This film was produced by a father and son team from Bolivia. Although the film highlights stumbling blocks relevant to that society, it could be applied to any place in Latin America and abroad.

The first time I showed this 20 minute short film, one of my students got up and left the room. He was so angered by the outcome of the film-not me for showing it-but his response was cathartic in nature. The ending has a mega twist that kept my class talking for days.

I used this litany of pre and post viewing activity. The mini unit is culminated with a film critique. These documents are par of my film unit. That said, once students get to the film critique that is attached they’ve had a pretty good idea of what I am looking for in terms of the writing.

Check out this teacher’s Movie Packet. I purchased it and use it every time I watch a movie.

The Devil’s Miner is another great film that highlights Bolivia. My colleagues and I showed to our Spanish III students and it was a hit. The movie is spoken in Spanish but has English subtitles. Bolivian Spanish is so incredibly beautiful and very easy to understand. Click here for the English packet to the movies by http://cdn.itvs.org/devils_miner_discussion.pdf. Click here for the Spanish packet for the movie by http://www.todoele.net/actividades_mat/cine/DEVILS.pdf.


Cortometraje Eres

 Interpretive Mode Visual Literacy

This year I used a ton of Latin American short and long feature films associated with a particular theme. One of my favs is the short film “Eres” which, is aptly named because all the friends of the protagonist preface every interaction with  ” Eres.”  This is the second year I have used this film, available on here on Youtube.

The film is superior to touching on the Identity and even self-esteem. However, the dialogue can be difficult to understand when you add the speed of light pace of the conversations and other nuances.  To facilitate listening and to lower the filter,  I created some listening, viewing and reading activities to offset the language barrier. The cool thing is that most of the vocabulary that I have included  is in very clear sound bites through the film.

My students really loved the film because they really saw how other people form our identity. Many students think they are “themselves” but this film points out our nature to conform as well as how to preserve our own identity- at least that was the lesson I got. Please enjoy and consider giving me a rating. If you have any questions, please send me an email at profesoraquintero@gmail.com

One more thing…

The film is more of an PG-13. It is about 10 minutes and my students have liked it for the past two years (or 1.5 years). There is no nudity although there is a 5 second showing of two of the characters kissing while falling onto the bed.

Conversation circle, film interviews and debate: 7 activities to broaden students cultural knowledge through film

El niño- cartel

Spanish Cinema delivers with El Niño

Before talking about the pedagogical merits of  El Niño , I have to say that I absolutely love the protagonista (Luis Tosar) and antagonist (Jesús Castro). I have seen their work in other films and series and they are the real deal!  I have become a fan of Spanish Cinema as I find the films to be refreshingly real, costumbrista and very gutsy. This film not only delivers on action, but it does on thematic content, storyline and romance!

Te llamas el Niño, por qué te gusta jugar…

    This month I got to introduce some of my favorite short and full feature films and series from Latin American and Spain. The goal was to get students talking in Spanish much like they do in their English classes.

          El Niño is an action-packed 1 hour and 40 minutes film. ¡Ojo! it does have two scenes that I usually censure. Prior to this film, I do a mini lesson on Spanish-Africa, we watch a video on Ceuta and Melilla as the film takes place at the crossroads of the two cultures.  The film explores the themes of illegal immigration, oppressive governments, corruption, unemployment and the selling of contraband- all these things really mesh together to create the storyline.  Many students were completely unaware of the presence of Spanish Africa, the Moors and the confluence of Spanish, African and Arabian culture. The love interest and tension between the Spaniard and a muslim girl from Africa, kept them on their edge of their seats and gave us some meaty morsels for class discussion.

    One of the best activities I did associated with this was the Film Interview. We compiled a list of themes presented in the film. I called five students out randomly and facilitated a discussion with them highlighting  one of the themes. I tossed one catalyst question and they just went at it. Of the comments made, it was encouraging to hear them use their accountable talk phrases to agree, disagree and when they struggled they relied on circumlocution, much like they would in a more authentic context with native speakers.  They added  new perspective to the film that I had not even noticed (I annotated them for the following year). However, students noticed an interesting detail in the film; possessors where criminalized more than consumers of contraband. This dichotomy surfaced as those who shipped, grew and sold  contraband were relentless pursued by police, while those who topping the  “demand” aspect of the chain  aspects brillaban por su ausencia. This led to several dynamic discussions. I had to extend interviews because se calentaba la mesa de conversación.

Activities for viewing the film 

1. Conversation Circle 

To introcomunicacion-iconduce the lesson, we discussed favorite books and movies. These lively conversations inevitably led to words and ideas that would comprise our vocabulary list. I used activities such as these to engage them in the begging stages. From there I created a simple vocabulary list.  The list was used as a point of reference and also provided students with vocabulary for describing, analyzing and writing about films.  Vocabulary for Flim unit 

I’d also like to put a plug in for this amazing Movie Sheet  I got from one of the teachers on TPT. This sheet saves my life every time I am in a bind. If you ever show a movie or even a Telenovela, just have a view of these handy to avoid students annoying asking ” Do we take notes? What do we do?

Preliminary input and interest 

2.  To get students excited about the unit in addition to providing them with resources they could view on their own beyond the four walls of the class,  I featured a few trailers of Spanish-speaking series. Most of the series are from Spain (I have A3series- a new channel offered on RCN).  However, it also highlights Spain’s dominance in this particular market. Series such as Gran Hotel and El Internado are also popularly viewed by both Spanish-Speaking and non Spanish-Speaking audiences. Since we had been working on the subjunctive in this particular class, I organized activities to include that grammatical point. This activity Hoja de actividad worked the vocabulary and grammar.

Trailers o Avances to the series. 

El principe 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_BHRKwrUVI&list=PLuHasT3Ww6UdvlsIenVN-CsV8JCObWpsg&index=15

El barco 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91YNyeENQ0w&list=PLuHasT3Ww6UdvlsIenVN-CsV8JCObWpsg&index=14

El Mar plastico 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5z87AaAi1Y&list=PLuHasT3Ww6UdvlsIenVN-CsV8JCObWpsg&index=12

3. As we begin to discuss how to analyze film. we looked at camera angles and shots in terms of their importance in bringing the story alive.  Here is the activity with the video that I used to help students get a sense of the language used to describe angles in addition to their importance. This is the second year I’ve included the angle shots. The first year I had introduced them was disastrous as I assumed that students had some familiarity with photography (we have AP Photo at my school). Lesson learned! This year we covered all but only emphasized a few.

Film shots in Spanish (the url of the video is embedded in the document).

https://drive.google.com/a/cps.edu/file/d/0B2Nr2F00fm_yT2hXUWxSazd2R3M/view?usp=sharing

4.  Film Carrousel

This was something different I did this year. We have 90 minute block periods so this worked perfectly for one class. I selected three films. The vocabulary as well as questions front loading some the films content and themes were included in the anticipatory set prior to seeing the film (see the PPT).  The order was as follows:

– Complete previewing activities

– View cortometraje and jot down new vocabulary words

– Turn to a partner to discuss the themes, characters, plot and overall impression of the film (next year I will include the camera shots)

– Engage in a class discussion about themes.

Power Point used to launch the film carrousel activity

https://drive.google.com/a/cps.edu/file/d/0B2Nr2F00fm_yMkEtSlcwLXJyUTQ/view?usp=sharing

Activity sheets for students

https://drive.google.com/a/cps.edu/file/d/0B2Nr2F00fm_yc0JmR3BTQjZ0V0E/view?usp=sharing

Useful websites

Film Vocabulary in Spanish

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/learning-spanish/42396-going-to-the-movies-vocabulary-expressions/

http://www.muchomasquecine.com/biblioteca/vocabulario-de-cine/

http://www.uhu.es/cine.educacion/cineyeducacion/glosariocine.htm

!Más actividades por delante! Please share your favorite films!  

Join the ACTFL Cinema SIG page on Facebook where we discuss and share film ideas!

Navigating Project-based Learning in Level 1 Spanish Classes


Project-based learning sounds very daunting to do in one’s native language, let alone transferring the principles to a second language classroom. Can project-based learning be accomplished in the world language classroom?  Yes, it can and many teachers engage in this level of learning at the higher level. However, the vexing question for me was: can PBL be accomplished and sustained with my Spanish I, Novice-mid-intermediate students?

Click here for conference documents. Editable Word documents are included.

When I attempted to “solve for x” I was overwhelmed with crushing amount of information that I thought students had to know, in order to “PBL.” At the heart of Project-based learning lies a problem. This was essentially my PBL, and the questions inevitably led to an instructional shift, a “can do” attitude (yes, ACTFL pun!), and a curriculum whose currents intersected at the nucleus of a student-centered curriculum. This nagging question of student ownership, discovery, and design sparked my journey into developing curricula that married language acquisition with inquiry-based practices.

ACTFL Attendees 

So, if you are interested in learning about how to incorporate project-based learning principles into your novice curriculum or wanting to refine the tools already in your toolbox, join me Saturday, 11/18/2017 in Nashville.

The session will take place at the Music City Center, Room 106c at 11:15-12:15. Following the session, I will post all materials referenced during the presentation here in this post. See the agenda for topics below. These questions posed will be answered through the concrete resources that participants will have access to following the presentation.

Materials to be distributed at presentation 

  1.  ACTFL Unit Plan
  2. Guided Inquiry/ Internet Scavenger Hunt
  3. Vocabulary Packet/ideas
  4. Communicative activity
  5. Simple reading connected to topic
  6. Brochure example and rubric
  7. Presentational rubric
  8. Samples of products

Distance-Learning Participants

Not able to make it to ACTFL? No problem! You will have full access to the materials on this page!

Project-based learning materials from ACTFL

Click here for conference documents.

 Novelas para la clase de español

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pzd1SZ

TPT Store!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pAnP33

12 Super Comprehensible Language Learner Novels for your Spanish class

12+ Language Learner Novels (print and paper) for your Spanish class! Guidance materials for novels included.    

La Clase de Confesiones (Spanish 1)

This story is dedicated to anyone who has ever had a class crush

Synopsis: Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. She is the reason he “tolerates” his boring class. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up a bit” in class. A simple writing assignment turns out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. First, his nosy teacher tries to “set him up with Jessica,” this plan immediately backfires. Then, the unthinkable happens and Carlos is stunned. This turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. But all is not lost. If Carlos plays his cards right, he could have a winning hand.   Carlos invites you to come along on this adventure into “La clase de confesiones” where…”todos tienen una confesión,” even the teacher!

Now available to order at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pIu4VS.   Let the confessions begin!

Order your class set today and save $1.25 per novel! Click here for more details: Class set and save!

Also available at Brycehedstrom.com 

Author’s note: This novel pairs well with a school unit as most of the vocabulary centers around the school and the classroom environment. I wrote this story initially to recycle vocabulary associated with school supplies in addition to basic Spanish verbs in different forms. Therefore you will see a lot of vocabulary words repeated. The unique word count is around 120.  My students loved it (and so did many others). They demanded I write a part 2 (you will see why at the end) and I did. La clase de confesiones 2: La bella mentira is 

Glossary included!


Language:  Mostly present tense

Look for us in the Carlex Fall Catalogue!

The confessions don’t stop there, part 2 is chock full with even more confessions!

La clase de confesiones Part 2: La bella mentira (Spanish 1+)

Carlos is having a bad day, and it’s about to get worse. He leaves Spanish class utterly embarrassed.  He had no idea that the teacher was going to partner him up with Jessica, the girl he actually writes about in his class essay. Adding insult to injury, the teacher reads his essay in front of the class, even the mean-spirited things he wrote about his teacher. After running into a few more problems in math class, he is faced with the big showdown in the lunchroom. Now, Carlos is between *”la espada y la pared.” However, a short story in Spanish class may hold the key to all of his problems, and may ultimately lead to his biggest confession of all.  Find out in part 2! 

Now available on Amazon!

http://amzn.to/2sI5mXt

La espía huérfana by Andrew Snider (New book)


Click here to view on Amazon 

I just purchased my copy of this book for my FVR library. The premise is so compelling. 

La espía huérfana by Andrew Snider 

After the tragic death of her parents, Violeta struggles to adjust to her new life in San Diego. Her life takes an intriguing turn when she receives a mysterious letter warning that she is in grave danger. When she learns that one of the world’s most wanted criminals has escaped from prison and is looking for her, it will take more than courage to survive. This book was written for Spanish language learners and contains a glossary of over 250 words to help keep the text compelling and comprehensible. 

Author’s note: La espía huérfana is written mostly in the present tense, but it does not shelter grammar. There are instances of “advanced” grammar so beginners can begin to see the language in a more complete context. To keep this text engaging and comprehensible for all learners, La espía huérfana includes a gloss of vocabulary considered “likely unfamiliar”. 

Andrew Snider is an author and an avid blogger. His website http://readtospeakspanish.com/ features shorts stories, ideas, and materials for engaging and improving reading in Spanish. 

La vida loca de Marta by Andrew Snider 

La vida loca de Marta is a brief novel written for late beginner or intermediate students of Spanish. It is written almost entirely in present tense and is at a good reading level for most students in Spanish two or above. 

Description: Marta is a single mother who is trying to do it all. She has two kids, is working as a secretary in a law office, and is taking classes at a local college, all while her family is thousands of miles away in Mexico. Will Marta be able to balance everything when she meets a great guy?

Why I love this book? It is refreshingly real and connects to the lives of so many of my students!

Click this link to view on Amazon 
Andrew Snider is an author and an avid blogger. His website http://readtospeakspanish.com/ features shorts stories, ideas, and materials for engaging and improving reading in Spanish. 

Spanish FVR Printable Stories and Mini Novels by Spanishplans.org  

Compelling, comprehensible and convenient!

Author’s note: These stories are from our MovieTalk and TPRS Story products. Instead of the entire lesson, we are offering them as readings to be a part of your classroom library, such a Free Voluntary Reading program (FVR). Each reading comes with a glossary of all the words from the story. These stories were written for novice level students. See the description for the number of total words in the story and the number of unique words.

Available on TPT

Check out more amazing resources by Spanishplans.org. Click here for their website:

Facilitating Aquisition through Comprehensible Input- Spanishplans.org 





A New Short Story for Spanish 2+. Activities included!

Mi abuelita tiene un móvil inteligente

“Mi abuelita tiene un móvil inteligente” is a short story for Spanish 2+ (although, I used this at the end of Spanish 1). This short story can be read individually as part of Free Voluntary Reading, or collectively as a whole classroom as the questions are included. I used this story as part of my technology unit. It includes many relevant terms that students used today to interact with technology such as “descargar una aplicación”, “subir una foto al Instagram”, “chatear con los amigos”, etc. Many of the words are naturally embedded into the context of the story and repeated.

Click here to check out two-chapter preview 

This resource included: 
1. Story ” Mi abuelita tiene un móvil inteligente” 
2. Four sets of chapter questions- there are 4 chapters 
3. Technology Vocabulary list with information gap activity 
4. Pre-reading questions and writing activity 

Topics: Technology, Family Relationships, Online activities, Love 
Grammar: Preterite, Imperfect, Affirmative Commands 

Editable version of story included

Synopsis: Sara enjoys hanging out with her crazy “Primos” and “Tíos” at their weekly “Reunión” at “La casa de abuela.” From listening to her crazy aunt’s tales about the adventures of internet dating to her grandmother’s funny jokes (comprehensible & appropriate), she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on Sunday. However, this Sunday is super special because it is her grandmother’s birthday, and Sara has just made her day by buying her a smart phone. While Sara teaches her “abuelita” how to use the smart phone, her grandmother discovers some “creative uses” for her new smart phone. Abuela Irma realizes even at 75 years old, her best years are ahead of her!

Casi Me Mata El Celular (Spanish 2+)

Federico and his friends have a pretty simple life. They love to play basketball, soccer and go skateboarding at the park. They also love to go to their favorite hangout out, La librería Curioso: the only abandoned building left in an up and coming town. This space gives them the privacy they need to practice pranks and other hilarious stunts to upload to Youtube. But the night of Friday the 13, their jokes go sour. While shooting the breeze and popping firecrackers, they stumble upon an uncanny situation. In an effort to satisfy their curiosity, they witness something will change their lives forever. Now the boys have to try to make it out of this situation, alive.  

Available on TPT (pending)

Click this link to view on TPT  (2 chapter preview)

This book is currently being reformatted with illustrations and a glossary! It will be available at the beginning of August on TPT and Amazon!

 

Superburguesas by Mike Peto 

Click here to view it on Amazon 

This is another CI hit that I have added to my library. Very compelling and funny!

This easy to read short novel in Spanish is designed for learners who want learn Spanish the fun way– by reading interesting stories. Check out Superburguesas!

Enter into Rodney’s World 

Rodney is a smart high school student who has to pay for his own AP tests. Everybody else he knows has parents who actually pay for things, but he has to work at a hamburger restaurant to earn enough for his exam fees. Of course, Rodney doesn’t take the job too seriously. He would rather spend the time studying, so he devises a plan to make sure there are never any customers to interrupt him. Nobody comes to the hamburger joint where the employee never washes his hands… well, almost nobody. Two days later, when Rodney is being pursued by a ruthless drug trafficker, he barely has time to regret his unsanitary ways. The entire story is a little over 4200 words, or 60 pages. It is written at the level of my Spanish 2 students: mostly in the present tense but with a spattering of advanced grammar when needed. Don’t worry about either the grammar or the vocabulary; anything even slightly complicated is translated at the bottom of the page. There is also a complete glossary at the end of the book so that this story is 100% comprehensible to all readers.

Check out Mike’s website here, a repository of activities and strategies for language acquisition instruction. 

What teen hasn’t tried to throw a party while their parents were away? Well, Antonio almost gets away with the big party, if not for a few loose ends. Check out the synopsis below: 


Antonio dreams about throwing the biggest party ever when he finally gets his big break: his parents are taking a short trip to take care of some “family business.”  Armed with the advice of his friend and teen blogger, Lucas, a.k.a. el parrandero (party animal), his weekend fiesta is destined to be unforgettable. Antonio follows Lucas’ five rules of “fiestas inolvidables” and everything is smooth sailing. Even better, Antonio’s love interest shows up; now the pressure is on. Everyone is having a blast when a few unexpected obstacles arise. Antonio has to think quick and then problem-solves in order to have the best party ever. However, will his skills be enough?  Find out in La fiesta inolvidable… a night to remember! His parents will never forget either…especially his mom (¡pobrecita!).

Available on TPT

Click this link to view on TPT 

Language: Preterite, Imperfect and some subjunctive

Themes: Relationships, Love, Friendship, Family, Travel and House related vocabulary  

These novels tell a tantalizing tale of intricate teen relationships and secrets that will hook your students from the first page. Your students wil go on an adventurous ride, deepen their language skills while they solve dark mysteries that lie at the heart of the series: Las apariencias engañan.  Check out 2 chapter previews and reviews! 

*The full series will be re-posted with illustrations and new cover late August!

Las Apariencias Engañan (Part 1) (Spanish 3+)

Camilo is hiding a secret, and it won’t be long until his girlfriend finds out. She sets out to spy on her once romantic poem-writing boyfriend, who is beingincredibly secretive as of late. Between poor grades, his erratic behavior, and her parents’ divorce, Salomé feels like she is going to implode. Her new discovery of a chica who is colada with her boyfriend puts her over the edge even más. Seeking help and sanity, she decides to visit a popular town psychiatrist; he forces her to change her perspective, and with that comes a cost. His advice ultimately leads her to discover a much greater truth about Camilo, his father and the town in which they live. She goes on a quest for truth but then gets more than she bargained for. Every chapter is a twisty rollercoaster that abruptly stops at a cliffhanger, right before it pushes you over the edge. Las Apariencias Engañan reveals thetimeless truths that: things are never what they seem to be.

Tons of dialogue and easily adaptable to classroom skits and reader’s theater.

 Language: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect

Themes: Relationships, Betrayal, Friendship, Family 

The second installment in the series El Muerto en el Armario ups the stakes for all the players involved. “Las cartas están sobre la mesa” as Salomé (Camilo’s girlfriend) holds all the players hostage to their secrets. Through a series of

 clever maneuvers, Camilo (Juan’s best friend) and Liliana (Juan’s girlfriend) are still able to evade the truth; but the time is running out. Situational “close calls, will put readers’ “pelos de punta” especially when Juan confronts Camilo on his secretive behavior and the steamy text messages found on his phone (nothing inappropriate). Liliana adds to her personal drama when she discovers a secret belonging to one of Camilo’s parents; this secret is the just tip of the iceberg. The second installment is chock full of confessions, secrets and mysterious people that will inevitably be at the center of the drama in the third installment ” Las sombras.” How will Camilo’s parents handle her knowing sensitive information? What price will she pay for this secret? Will Juan discover the truth about his friends? How will Salomé exact revenge? Find out in part 2!

Language: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect

Themes: Relationships, Betrayal, Friendship, Family 

Las sombras: corre y no mires atrás (parte 3)

The much anticipated third installment, coming soon, real soon. 

There is something weird happening in Buena Vista.

 Did your students

enjoy Las apariencias engañan and El muerto en el armario? Well, they will love Las sombras! Originally the third and last installment of the series, but it just could not stop there. The fourth book La esfera tops off this teen-centered series.

Don’t have time to read all four? No problem! The good news is that there is enough information from the previous series for students to start with Las sombras and finish with La esfera; I am calling this a four-part split series. The teachers whose classes beta-read the last two installments loved it!  Check out the synopsis below:

Andrés throws the party of the century, as it is quickly upstaged by the weird, mysterious and threatening events that take place in the surrounding forest. As a dark cloud blankets the sky and an ominous atmosphere start to imbue the air, the towns’ secrets are peeled back layer by layer, exposing sinister murder plots and paranormal activity. An investigation into the murder of a high school student uncovers secrets that have haunted the town for centuries that an ancient book may contain the answers that everyone is seeking.  Can the teens overcome their social conflicts, backstabbing and disloyalty (okay, that’s a lot, but like my students say- it’s so juicy) to save the town? Corre y no mires atrás is a page by page supernatural thrill-seeking adventure that will intrigue, entertain and keep readers begging for more!

La Nueva Alumna (Spanish 3+)  -Freebie – Activities included!- 

La Nueva Alumna is a fictionalized account of Vicky’s journey to the prestigious boarding school: El Internado. It gives a bit of a back story highlighting her working class roots, and her major crush on Iván, another pivotal character from the series. This story was originally written as a cloze text practice of language structures such as the present and past subjunctive and the preterite and imperfect. Said formative assessment was administered to students after viewing episode 5 of El Internado when it became clear that Vicky was colada con Iván. The story presents a mix of narration and dialogue, which could be easily acted out in class or in groups!

Available on TPT 

Click here to check out additional resources for all levels of Spanish!

El Cine Colombiano: 11 Activities for Teaching Film- ¡Qué Chévere!

Cine Colombiano- ¡Qué chévere! 

This year’s film unit is taking even a steeper climb through the South American Continent.( Click here to see the post about 5 film activities for your class. Most activities are free! ) I’ve added two films to explore cultural themes and social issues while conversing in the target language.  

On a personal/pedagogical note, this year I have been learning about MovieTalk, a TPRS strategy for enhancing listening comprehension and focusing on structures. I am still learning about this key strategy in facilitating conversation using film, I am no way an expert, but I have incorporated some of those practices in my class (Check out my Wanna-be-Movietalk activity: Eight free engaging activities for teaching the preterit and imperfect tenses). I am slowing incorporating these strategies as I go.  


Shall we take a peek? ¡Dale!

Film unit vocabulary and activities– absolutely free. Engage your students in the following activities: 


1. Vocabulary matching- in the target language


2. Writing about their favorite movie, using the vocabulary. 


3. Pique their interest in Hispanic movies by allowing them to view images of movies and read summaries/ respond to questions (I have used this activity in Spanish Club). 


4. A short activity of films shots, I go all out in my film unit!




I used the Free Film Unit to introduce vocabulary and get students discussing movies in Spanish. The movie images come with summaries (upgrade from last year, if you downloaded this activity) and the narratives really pull students in. This can be used as part of a film unit or as a teaser or cultural assignment… or even sub plans (I’m just saying).

Check out this teacher’s Movie Packet. I purchased it and use it every time I watch a movie. This resource is really my go-to for anytime I have found a great resource, but have not either created materials or found them online. It is very simple and I have used it mostly with series or in Spanish Club.

Now on to the films!

El Almuerzo 

This short eight-minute film highlights the challenges that poor families, especially children face in Colombia. It is about two young girls trying to get a meal. They face a few difficulties, which force them to be creative in solving their problem.  The resource below gives an overview of the film for students, vocabulary activities, especially Colombian regionalisms. It also gives students an opportunity to think about the broader themes touched upon in the Cortometraje. We had a great discussion and then went around the class greeting each other with “Qué hubo” a particularly Colombian expression. See the activities outlined below. Check out the preview on TPT! 

– Short introduction to the film in the target language 
– Vocabulary from the film and information gap activity using the vocabulary

– Watch and pause questions (freeze frame- paying homage to the Movietalk strategy).

– Discussion questions

– Deep Dive (more in-depth) questions

– Writing prompt

Maria, Llena Eres de Gracia 

This film has become a staple in my Cine Latino Series. It highlights the life of “mules” or people who transport drugs. I used the SparkEnthusiasm’s packet, click here for the link. I also created some of my own resources to widen the snapshot of this issue. You can see those resources below. They are totally free and were compiled by online resources and made more comprehensible for students. With the SparkEnthusiasm Kit, I was able to do a gallery walk around the class and have students jot down information about the movie. Also, this packet comes with tons of activities that could be used for pre, during and post. In fact, my summative assessment will consist of the viewing questions, listening, and summary. Had I more time, I would have organized stations. 


Current Event: Model turned Mule 

The featured article below is a sad but true event that occurred a few years ago. A model from Medellín, Colombia made the regretfully dreadful decision of becoming a mule. We read this article right after seeing the movie María, Llena Eres de Gracia. 


This news article sheds light on this issue and the kids were every surprised, even after watching the movie. Click on the original news article here, for your native speakers! Click here for the “Comprehensible Input Version.” I have to say that I only added a few things. I thought that most of the words used were cognates or easily identifiable. I might have changed phrases such as ” le cayeron veiente años” for “recibió veinte años.” 


After reading this article with two classes, I decided to change things up for the third class. Turns out that the students in my second class actually googled her and found out that she was sentenced to 15 years; hence my notation in the article. Also, they found a video of her modeling days.


Prior to giving the last class the article, we watched the modeling video. I told them that the video was about an up and coming model from Colombia. After the video, we read the article and, boy, were they surprised. This had more of an impact because this girl is young, beautiful, obviously not poor, had a youtube presence and was blossoming as a model. We then read the article and responded to questions.  Click below for the video, and it is totally appropriate.


Check out the film resources below!

La fiesta inolvidable- A Short Story for Spanish 3+; the 5 golden rules of throwing the best party…gone awry.

 

La fiesta inolvidable: Unforgettable Spanish 2 Novel- activities included!

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This story is dedicated to all the wanna-a-be party animals! Antonio learns a powerful lesson about throwing parties and following instructions… al pie de la letra. Check out the two chapter preview below. This story comes with a glossary and 5 reading comprehension activities. 


Lighten the mood with this short, funny and crazy story,”La fiesta inolvidable for level 2+. This story about an unsuspecting teen and his experience in throwing a party, albeit with a few hiccups, like his bratty sister who’s smart as a whip, his crush with an overprotective father (her story is coming out) and is forgetful mother, well, her and Antonio might have this in common. La fiesta inolvidable will definitely lighten the mood in class as it is filled with funny situations, close calls, hilarious characters, and scenarios totally relatable to teens. Some of the thematic vocabulary includes: 


Click here to view on TPT

See two chapter preview below!

  • Family
  • House 
  • Travel
  • Relationships   

Prevalent Structures include: 

  • Preterite
  • Imperfect
  • Past perfect 
  • Some subjunctive

Students will definitely relate to the bothersome but crafty little sister (I think this character was inspired by my brother), the helicopter mom, impatient dad and, the cougar grandmother (okay, this one may be a little crazy, I”ll admit) and a host of friends who think they have all their bases covered (the youth these days!). The story also sprinkled with a few common Spanish saying such as “Ni papa”Lo pasado, pasado está,” and “Llevar la fiesta en paz” (well, this literally). If your students have ever tried to get away with something, which I sure they have, then this story will have them laughing at themselves and at the characters attempt to pull this party off (confession, my brothers and I threw parties all the time!). 

The story includes a glossary. Furthermore, unfamiliar “critical” words are also footnoted so students don’t skip a beat. If you using this a quick class read, then great! You will definitely benefit from the student activities included in the packet.  It entails several activities for deeper engagement such as: 

  • Pre-reading questions 
  • Post-comprehension questions 
  • Preterite v.s. Imperfect activity 
  • Planning the perfect party activity 

Synopsis 

Antonio follows a teen blogger who writes about throwing bang-up parties, of course in the absence of parents. Lucas, alias, el parrandero has a few “secret” parties under his belt. Antonio’s big break comes when his parents have to take a short trip to check up on his grandmother. Turns out that the widowed grandma is now back on the dating scene, dating a man that almost half her age. Antonio’s dad resolves to go visit her and “set” the potential boyfriend straight. This is Antonio’s chance to put into effect the 5 golden rules of throwing a “fiesta inolvidable.” 


However,  Antonio a few snags in his plan could possible thwart his efforts.   First, his sweet-angel-faced sister blackmails him and swindles him out of some much-needed cash. Then his mom refuses to leave him alone- his anxious friends are blowing up his Snapchat ready to invade his house. Then, the dust settles and now, his party plans are in full effect. He follows the 5 golden rules of throwing a party, and everything pays off, well almost.  His love interest is present in the midst of all his friends, he couldn’t ask for more. Then suddenly, things take a turn for the worst.  When he least expects it, several obstacles arise, putting at risk his hard work. He and his friends work freaky fast to make everything perfect, but they forget some very vital details. Check out the 3 chapter preview below:  

Synopsis for students (This is what students have in their packet).

Antonio dreams about throwing the biggest party ever when he finally gets his big break: his parents are taking a short trip to take care of some “family business.”  Armed with the advice of his friend and teen blogger, Lucas, a.k.a. el parrandero (party animal), his weekend fiesta is destined to be unforgettable. Antonio follows Lucas’ five rules of “fiestas inolvidables” and everything is smooth sailing. Even better, Antonio’s love interest shows up; now the pressure is on. Everyone is having a blast when a few unexpected obstacles arise. Antonio has to think quick on his feet in order to have the best party ever.  However, will his skills be enough?  Find out in La fiesta inolvidable… a night to remember!

————————————————————————————————————————–

 La fiesta inolvidable- comprehensible, funny short story for Spanish class. 

                                                      

   Capítulo 1                         

                  Cómo echar una fiesta inolvidable 

          Antonio acabó de leer la entrada del blog “las cinco reglas de cómo echar una fiesta inolvidable.” El autor era Lucas, conocido como “El parrandero.” Él no sólo daba consejos a otros estudiantes de cómo echar fiestas inolvidables, pero era un ejemplo máximo de sus consejos. Antonio pensaba en la fiesta que iba a echar pronto y los consejos de Lucas eran muy necesarios. Además, Lucas estaría en la fiesta para guiarlo.  

Dentro de poco, sus padres viajarán a Canadá para pasar tiempo con la abuela…y a conocer su nuevo novio. La abuela tenía 70 años y su nuevo novio tenía sólo 40. El padre de Antonio vio unas fotos de él en Facebook y tenía sus sospechas. «Es un hombre demasiado joven y guapo para querer estar con una mujer tan vieja» decía su padre. La madre de Antonio siempre defendía la decisión de su suegra, diciendo que ella tenía derecho de estar con quién quisiera, pero su padre no pensaba así.  Su madre había heredado mucho dinero después de la muerte de su padre y él no iba a dejar que un “cazafortunas oportuno” se lo robara. Sin embargo, a Antonio no le importaba la razón del viaje porque fue justo lo que necesitaba para poner en práctica los consejos de Lucas. 

         El vuelo era a las diez y sus padres iban a salir a las siete y media. Antonio les dijo a todos sobre la fiesta por Snapchat y no pudo creer su suerte: Fabiola respondió diciendo que estaría allí. Ahora, más que nunca, todo tendría que salir bien. <<Qué fenomenal, ella va a estar en la fiesta>>.

Antonio pensaba en Fabiola cuando su madre interrumpió su trance:

-Hijo, ¿qué haces? Estás muy concentrado– dijo, Elena, la madre de Antonio.

  • Estoy buscando una solución de matemáticas– mintió Antonio, mientras cerraba la computadora

Pues, te estoy llamando hace rato– dijo Elena, en un tono irritado. 

-Perdón, estuve pensando en la prueba de cálculo… es que quiero sacar una buena nota- mintió Antonio, tratando de impresionar a su madre.

Eres un buen hijo. ¡Vas a ser un buen ingeniero! ¿Me puedes ayudar con…. Antonio respondió antes que su madre terminara la frase.

Sí, te ayudo, ¿qué necesitas, ma?

-Tráeme los suéteres sobre la cama- pidió Elena, juntando todos sus papeles para el viaje.

Mientras ayudaba a su madre, Antonio pensó en los consejos de Lucas, en la regla número uno de cómo echar una fiesta inolvidable:

Regla#1: Ser el hijo modelo.                                

————————————————————————————-

                                                                                                                                                                 Capítulo 2                                              

                                                 El hijo modelo                                                       

         Antonio subió a la habitación de su madre y recogió sus cosas cuando escuchó la conversación entre su hermana y su padre. En este instante Antonio recordó un detalle muy importante para su fiesta: Mariana, su hermana menor.

Su padre le preguntó a Mariana si ella quería que la niñera viniera a cuidarla. 

No, papá, mi hermano ya tiene 16 años. Voy a estar bien. Él es responsable- dijo Mariana. 

El padre le sonrió:

Hija, eres una chica muy madura para tu edad. ¿Seguro que tienes 13 años?– preguntó el padre, abrazando a su hija. Su padre notó la presencia de Antonio en la habitación. 

Hijo, ¿vas a estar bien aquí solo?– le preguntó cerrando la maleta.  

Sí, ustedes solamente se van por tres días. Lo he hecho en el pasado- respondió Antonio.

Sí hijo, pero no fue por tres días. Fue por una noche solamente- respondió el padre. 

-Son dos días más, no te preocupes. Además, Mariana es muy responsable, sé que no me va a dar problemas, ¿verdad Mariana?- preguntó Antonio, mirando a Mariana. 

Claro, yo soy un ángel e incapaz de darte problemas -respondió Mariana.

Es verdad hijo, pero ¿no quieren venir a la casa de tu abuela?… ella tiene 70 años¿Seguro que quieres esperar hasta el verano para verla? – interrogó su padre.

Antonio pensó en su oportunidad de poner en práctica la segunda regla de Lucas:  

Regla #2: Usar la psicología inversa. 

-Pues, tengo un examen de cálculo y creo que es mejor que me quede aquí en casa. Pero si tú piensas que yo debería irme…voy con ustedes.  Tal vez, no me vaya bien en el examen de cálculo, y no iré a la universidad prestigiosa, pero puedo ver a la abuela – dijo Antonio.

Su padre quería lo mejor para su hijo y razonó «Son tres días, él es maduro, ¿qué puede pasar?».

Hijo, tienes razón. Te puedes quedar aquí- es mejor que estudies. Además, mi madre goza de una buena salud. Puedes venir con nosotros durante el verano- anunció su padre.

Bueno, pa. Todo va a estar bien. No te preocupes– dijo Antonio, dándole palmadas a su padre. 

Antonio miró a su próximo desafío: Mariana y pensó en la regla número tres, que era la más difícil según Lucas:

Regla #3 Reclutar a los hermanos para “llevar la fiesta en paz.”

*Unfamiliar words, such as “Consejos” and “Cazafortunas” are footnoted in the story.

                                                          


Check out my novel’s page for more exciting funny, creative, comprehensible short stories;  your students will be begging for more!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pzd1SZ

Check out my TPT Store for additional materials curriculum activities!

Click here: http://bit.ly/2pAnP33

Teacher Appreciation Sale! Save up to 28% on resources for class!

Teaching Spanish Made Easy

Click here for your curriculum companions! 

Check out the reading materials for class: comprehensible, creative and fun!

Click on titles to see preview and reviews!

La Clase de Confesiones (Spanish 1)

Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. 86dcf-clase2bde2bconfesiones2bHer presence is both distracting and motivating. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up” in class. A simple writing assignment allows Carlos the creativity, which he has never had before in this class, and is a break from the teacher’s lecture teaching style. But the assignment is turning out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. From the nosy teacher inadvertently trying to help him “to get his beloved’s attention” to one of the most embarrassing things that have every happens to him, he sees that all is not lost… but the adventures doesn’t stop here. La Bella Mentira, part 2, will have students on the edge of their seats. Want this in paperback? Check out the links below: 

Targeted structures: Present tense -Ar, -Er and -Ir verbs.

La Clase de Confesiones Part 2: La Bella Mentira (Spanish 1)

Carlos leaves Spanish class embarrassed. He had no idea that the teacher was going to pair him up with Jessica, the girls he writes about in his short essay. Adding insult to injury, the teacher reads his essay in from the class; e1efc-cover2bthe2bla2bbella2bmentira2beven the mean-spirited things he wrote about his teacher. Carlos goes to Math class and get’s his phone taken by the teacher: he never receives the redemptive text message from Jessica. When they meet in the lunchroom, his embarrassment, ignorance, and fear get the best of him. Now, he has to win Jessica back. Carlos learns that the truth always prevails over a lie. He learns how, to be honest, vulnerable and to take responsibilities for his actions. Will this be enough for Jessica?  Targeted structures: Present tense -Ar, -Er and -Ir verbs.

Casi Me Mata El Celular (Spanish 2+)

1Casi Me Mata El Celular  Spanish 2/3 (Preterite, Imperfect, some subjunctive) Federico and his friends learn that technology can prove to be deadly when abused. While hanging out at their favorite hideout in the abandoned building in an up and coming part of town, they stumble upon an uncanny situation. In an effort to satisfy their curiosity, they witness something will change their lives forever. Now the boys have to try to make it out of this situation, alive.

Las Apariencias Engañan (Part 1) (Spanish 3+)

Las apariencias engañan .pngCamilo is hiding a secret, and it won’t be long until his girlfriend finds out. She sets out to spy on her once romantic poem-writing boyfriend, who is being incredibly secretive as of late. Between poor grades, his erratic behavior, and her parents’ divorce, Salomé feels like she is going to implode. Her new discovery of a chica who is colada with her boyfriend puts her over the edge even más. Seeking help and sanity, she decides to visit a popular town psychiatrist; he forces her to change her perspective, and with that comes a cost. His advice ultimately leads her to discover a much greater truth about Camilo, his father and the town in which they live. She goes on a quest for truth but then gets more than she bargained for. Every chapter is a twisty rollercoaster that abruptly at a cliffhanger, right before it pushes you over the edge. Las Apariencias Engañan reveals the timeless truths that: things are never what they seem to be.

Tons of dialogue and easily adaptable to classroom skits and reader’s theater.

 Target Structures: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect

El muerto cover- closet doorEl muerto en el armario (Part 2 of “Las apariencias”)

The second installment in the series El Muerto en el Armario ups the stakes for all the players involved. “Las cartas están sobre la mesa” as Salomé (Camilo’s girlfriend) holds all the players hostage to their secrets. Through a series of clever maneuvers, Camilo (Juan’s best friend) and Liliana (Juan’s girlfriend) are still able to evade the truth; but the time is running out. Situational “close calls, will put readers’ “pelos de punta” especially when Juan confronts Camilo on his secretive behavior and the steamy text messages found on his phone (nothing inappropriate). Liliana adds to her personal drama when she discovers a secret belonging to one of Camilo’s parents; this secret is the just tip of the iceberg. The second installment is chock full of confessions, secrets and mysterious people that will inevitably be at the center of the drama in the third installment ” Las sombras.” How will Camilo’s parents handle her knowing sensitive information? What price will she pay for this secret? Will Juan discover truth about his friends? How will Salomé exact revenge? Find out in part 2!

Target Structures: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect

La fiesta inolvidableLa Fiesta Inolvidable (Spanish 2+) New Short Story/ Teacher’s materials included!

Antonio dreams about throwing the biggest party ever when he finally gets his big break: his parents are taking a short trip to take care of some “family business.”  Armed with the advice of his friend and teen blogger, Lucas, a.k.a. el parrandero (party animal), his weekend fiesta is destined to be unforgettable. Antonio follows Lucas’ five rules of “fiestas inolvidables” and everything is smooth sailing. Even better, Antonio’s love interest shows up; now the pressure is on. Everyone is having a blast when a few unexpected obstacles arise. Antonio has to think quick and problem-solve in order to have the best party ever. However, will his skills be enough?  Find out in La fiesta inolvidable… a night to remember!

Targeted structures: Imperfect, preterite and some past and present subjunctive.

La Nueva Alumna (Spanish 3+)  -Freebie – Activities included!

La Nueva Alumna is a fictionalized account of Vicky’s journey to the prestigious boarding school: El Internado. It gives a bit of a back story highlighting her working class roots, and her major crush on Iván, another pivotal character from the series. This story was originally written as a cloze text practice of language structures such as the present and past subjunctive and the preterite and imperfect. Said formative assessment was administered to students after viewing episode 5 of El Internado when it became clear that Vicky was colada con Iván. The story presents a mix of narration and dialogue, which could be easily acted out in class or in groups!

Informational Text Resources for enriching your curriculum; reading level appropriate materials in Spanish!

23 activities for teaching and discussion technology in Spanish

Franco, Picasso and Guernica: La guerra civil (Spanish 1+)

Inquiry-based activities and cultural readings on Spain (25 activities)

La breve historia de España (Spanish 1+ present tense)

La vida sana- reading and activities on healthy lifesyle- Spanish 1+ (Freebie)

Reflexive verbs reading and activities – 11 activities (Spanish 1+) 

¿Qué te gusta?- Activities with Gustar, speaking, reading, viewing and writing (Spanish 1+) Freebie 

Spanish class activity book- 30+ activities for class

Exploring Identity- reading on the politics of Identity in Latin America (16 activities)

Bull-fighting controversy: Debate (Spanish 1+)

Short Film “El Almuerzo” Colombia + viewing and comprehension activities 

Guernica- The Art of War- Resources for teaching Guernica

 

The Art of War 

The Art of War is my unit title for teaching about Guernica. I started this unit a few years ago as a middle school teacher, and now that I am at a high school, it blossomed considerably. Our finale to the Spanish Civil War unit, for which you can access information here, was this mini-unit on Guernica, which includes a PBL action component. After learning about the reasons undergirding this powerful piece of protest art, students had to dig deep and find a cause that was Guernica worthy and start the creative process of bringing awareness to their issue. Guernica was our inspiration or muse for the resultant personal projects (collages are below, but this is only the first part). You can see the planning documents and the first part of the projects below. 

Starting with Guernica

To pique students’ interest in Guernica, I used a few videos on the subject from Youtube, one being this awesome trailer of Guernica to the left. Although students had some familiarity with the topic, due to our unit on the Spanish Civil War unit, they were very interested in this trailer, and of course, they wanted to watch the movie (maybe just to pass the time in class).


Click here for Trailer 

Guernica 3D video 

Prior to the video that is highlighted below, I projected the painting of Guernica and had students jot down what they observed. Students could readily identify the following: 

  • El toro
  • Las personas
  • La luz

We discussed how the painting portrayed the atrocity of Guernica, and students responded accordingly.  I asked them to list and to add an interpretation of each of the items they pointed out.

Side note, the last time I implemented this unit, I had the Guernica Image painting enlarged. I had 15 printed and students gathered around in groups to view, more microscopically, the elements of the painting. This year, I had a different approach. I found this really nifty video on Youtube video that showed the painting three-dimensionally. The room was silent as students were so tuned-in to the slow moving pieces parading across the screen. 


 Short Expository Video about Guernica 

Click here for the video 

We watched this quick video about Guernica in Spanish. It supported the first video, because it give an interpretation of the events.  The video does not have subtitles, but I stopped periodically and asked questions such as: 





1. ¿Quién estuvo en París?  

2. ¿Qué hacía el hombre en París?

3. ¿Cuáles fueron las ciudades bombadeadas? 

4. ¿Qué significa la bombilla? 


After learning about Guernica and the causes that compelled Picasso to denounce the Fascist campaign. Students had to develop their own artistic “campaigns” that were “Guernica worthy.”  Below is the first page of the packet that recapped “el siniestro” and led-in to their project.  

Here is what followed (this was done over two 90- minute classes, I think): 

1. Students read the prompt, which discussed Guernica in Spanish (more comprehensible input).  They then paired up with a partner and thought 5 global issues that Picasso would take on, this is part of the packet. 


2. After thinking and discussing the issues, I gave them this article that I compiled and modified from sources online. It is from the #Niunamenos Campaign, decrying the violence against women in Spain. I listen to Radio National every morning, and this was central to much of the reporting.



3. Students read the article, responded to the questions (the usual). 


4. They were given the prompt below, which was a collage I put together on the issue of #Niunamenos, to give them an example of a powerful issue (this was to weed out topics such as “Call of Duty is the best game ever!). For this collage, students had to choose 6-7 powerful images that would visually depict their topic. The goal was to: 

-Create a visual portrayal of their issue, much like Picasso did

-Conduct preliminary research on their issue

-Present the collage to the teacher first, for an oral interview. 



PBLL Connection 

The collage is one of several assessments and products we are producing.  Students will eventually create a presentation of their issue to create awareness of other learners of the language (some class time was devoted to research, which was carefully scaffolded through the packet information). Stay tuned so your students can check them out!


Discussing collages 


Side note: prior to speaking about their collage, they had a quick write (best idea ever!). For this quick write, they could discuss any part of their project that choose. It was not graded but will give them feedback right in time for the next writing assignment. 


Below are some examples of student collages. Today they had their interview, where they explained their problem, causes and effects and solutions that have been attempted in solving the issue. 


Since they have been working on this for a few classes, I was really impressed with how knowledgeable students were when presenting their problems. Students who struggled with fluency in the beginning of the year had grown leaps and bounds from the structure and constantly revisiting their research. 


You’ll notice that most collages have words around them. I had the research 15 words related to their topic and post around the boards of the collage. When they had their interviews, most incorporated these words naturally into their discourse. Some of the topcis were: 


Racismo ambiental 

Matrimonios forzadas 

La pobreza entre los veteranos 

El blanqueamiento de la comunidad Latinx

(the packet they received walked them through every aspect of the research!)

Gracias for checking out my blog post!



Stay tuned for Las Sombras (sci-fish series).  

CSI Laguna Negra:¿ Quién mató a Cayetano? Detective writing activity and more!

 ¿Quién mató a Cayetano? 
 
I have had such a busy last few weeks. I usually try to blog once every two weeks, but between presenting at a workshop, semester I finals and family obligations, well, I just could not find the time.  But now that I am getting back into the swing of things, and finding my stride again with the curriculum; I have lots to share, so let’s get started!!!


A few things on the radar: 

Be on the look out for these useful resources: 

¡Hay algo para todos!

For you amantes de Frida, you will love the “Arte Sin Limites.”  These resources features a creative twist on teaching her art and persona. It includes (mostly free) PowerPoint, readings and a mini art project. 

 

Teaching the Spanish Civil War or Guernica? The Guernica PBLL Unit will be just right for you. 

Wondering how to incorporate interesting comprehensible informational texts in your Spanish 1 or 2 class?  The Spain PBLL Spanish +1 unit will tickle your fancy. A brief history of Spain, Flamenco Dancing, vocabulary lists, dialogues and two PBLL components served up as the final dish. All for Spanish 1, I have seen my students speaking skills soar!

Internado Aficionados- Be on the look out for S2: E1 mini lesson on drugs and other teen issues.  

Novelas- we can’t live without them!

For students who like suspenseful, slightly mafioso stories, well “Casi me mata el celular” packs in a treat for them! This story is for Spanish 2+

Last, but not least is the third installment to the series “El muerto en el armario.” Although this book is part 3 of the series, it could actually be read as a stand alone. There are enough flashbacks to the drama in Las apariencias engañan and El muerto en el armario to set the stage for the next frontier. It is the quasi-sci-fi finale. 

Bueno, I hope those piqued your interest. Now, let’s get started on El Internado!

                          CSI Laguna Negra 

It is no secret (if you have read my other blog posts), I love El Internado, and so do my students. I have seamlessly interwoven this intriguing series into the fabric of my curriculum by exploring pertinent themes presented in more depth.  This has allowed my students to make personal connections, discuss real world issues and expand their language skills repertoire (S2: E1 mini lesson on drugs and other teen issues, hits the spot!)

For example, during the beginning of the year, while we were exploring the construct of “Identity,” we used the first few episodes of El Internado (available on Netflix) to discuss teen identity. Likewise, once we embarked on our Relationships unit, well, El Internado gave us a lot of fodder. We engaged in vibrant discussions, and debates about topics such as “what is the appropriate ‘dating’ age for teens.” there were lots of opinions there.  These activities really enlivened the class. 

For this past viewing session (we see watch it on a biweekly basis), El Internado delivered, yet again. For the first episode of the second season, students learn about the death of Cayetano during the first 20 minutes or so of the episode (S2: E1).



After watching the initial 20 minutes,  we had to pay our respects to Cayetano.  I gave students the activity sheet to the right. Students then formed groups of 4 to express their thoughts, condolences and wrote positive messages to the first student causality of the series; he is the first of many. 



Click here for the RIP resource

Then, we turn our gaze to a more investigative lens: Who killed Cayetano?

This activity can immediately follow the RIP one listed above. While they are in a state of shock, give them this activity. This activity not only allows them to learn vocabulary for processing a crime scene, but it serves also as a way to review from on episode to the next. If you are like me, I usually show them a few weeks apart, so this came in handy. They will: 

  • review the previous episode by reviewing the crime scene, 
  • discuss the victim 
  • think through the line-up of mysterious characters at El Internado.

Here it is how it all went down

1. Students watched the first 25-30 minutes of the episode. Here they learn which students have died as chapter 6 leaves off on a suspenseful cliff. 

2. Distribute activity to students and have them work through describing the events surrounding his death. With the many mysterious occurrences in El Internado, encourage them to think outside the box and name some suspects. Looking through this lens, Fermín could be a suspect. 

3. For the Informe Policiaco, I had my students use the subjunctive (last part) to write a recommendation on who investigate and why. They used structures such as “es necesario que investiguemos muy rápido” and the like when pressuring their “jefe de policía.” 

Click here for the CSI Laguna Negra Activity

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Internado-S1 E5 El debate y la rebelión

Internado: Gossip Column- Creating writing, dialogue and grammar practice


Check out my store for more compelling and creative activities!


The Deeper Purposes of Art: Walking Murals at the Women’s March



The Deeper Purposes of Art: Walking Murals 

It is an undeniable fact that this past weekend’s Women’s March was a powerful and courageous antidote to the incisively degrading political rhetoric that has dominated recent headlines. Due to it being slightly polarizing to some students and families, I had no intention of discussing the March in class, as we are dead in the heat of pre-finals warfare. However, I had a sudden mind shift when I received this picture from my department chair; it’s a great real world connection to our unit on Art. We are in the midst of deconstructing Frida, along with the significance of art and its multifaceted purposes.  This past week we looked at different art movements and the currents moving her work. This picture captures one of the purposes of art and could be placed in a variety of movements. I thought this was good food for thought, and my students ate it up!  

Prior to digging into Frida, we looked at an article I had curated titled “Qué es el arte “(I will share this in a later post). We learned, in several class periods, the different views of art and some of the basic movements; these documents were our guiding principles that we’d revisit with each artist.    

We started off with the question “what is art.” My students had a lot to say. You can see from the whiteboard collage we made in class.  I had students go to the board and write their own definition of art. We read the article, which highlighted quotes from several artists and art critics. You can see the quotes below. 

 

Monday’s Lesson 

On the Monday following the Women’s March (we are in Chicago), we looked at the poster first and then, described the picture, discussed the impact of the words (they used their art vocabulary, which can be found clicking this link to quizlet.) and lastly   impact of the social context (for aiding interpretation) and then like a math problem, we tried to solve for X. 




Guiding Questions 
1. ¿Qué evento fue y cómo lo sabes? 

2. En tu opinión, ¿es una obra de arte? ¿En qué consiste el arte? 

3. Describe lo que ves en la obra de arte. ¿Cuáles son los colores? ¿Qué impactan tienen? 

4. ¿Qué rol juega el contexto en nuestra interpretación del arte?

5. ¿Cuál cita de arte (de los críticos) mejor explique la función de arte? 

6.  Esta “obra de arte” puede ser un ejemplo del muralismo, ¿por qué  sí o no? 

7. ¿Cuál es el impact que tiene sobre ti?

8. ¿A qué movimiento pertence?

This was our Campanazo (supposedly, a five- minute warm-up) and what a great catalyst for discussion it was!. We discussed the symbolism of the picture and the meaning behind the lady’s mouth being covered. Many of my students, most of the boys, had a hard time relating. When I asked if they felt an impact or connection, most responded “no”. So then, I had really dig deep and flip the question so that gender quality could be neutralized: I followed up with these questions to bring them into the conversation; I started by asking:


Have you ever felt that your voice didn’t matter? 

¿Has sentido alguna vez sin el poder de decidir o sin una voz? 

Have you parents made decisions about you without your input? 

¿Tus padres han tomado decisiones sin involucrar tus ideas o perspectivas? 

Did you have a part in contributing to your final exams (this really got their hands up).

¿Has podido colaborar con los profesores en la creación de los exámenes finales? – this really got them!


After seeing the sea of hands, and the boys finding “their voice” the lesson was, we can all relate to the lady in the painting. We have all felt “silenced” one way or another. I guess my point was “no one is off the hook” and we could all relate to each other’s experience one way or another. 


The second “light bulb” moment was discussing the terms of Muralismo and then looking at the picture. From the article I curated, students had these definitions below of the art movements we studied prior to diving into Frida (I am still editing the article, and will share soon!). The lesson here was looking beyond a fixed definition and thinking more broadly in terms of the “spirit” of the movement or core philosophical values and purpose; looking at the “why” instead of being fixated on the “what.”

Muralismo- un movimiento artístico comenzado en México a principios del siglo XX. Fue creado por un grupo de intelectuales después de la revolución mexicana. Los artistas o muralistas transformaron espacios públicos en lienzos grandes donde se reflejaban sus mensajes politicos y sociales. 

The primary goal was to make them think “outside the canvas” and think more about the “spirit” of a movement and not the letter. Many students clung to the textbook example Muralismo, which centers on it being fixed in public spaces; but this was a public space, and the art was fluid, could it be Muralismo?   After going back and forth we came to the following conclusion: 

The artwork shares various elements of Muralismo, because it: 

-It shares a strong political message- directed to the people

-Transforms (albeit temporarily) a public place (I coined the term Muralismo Andante).

-Although it does not totally comply with technical definition (I am no expert, I dabble here and there in the arts), it does comply philosophically. 

It was a lively debate (and review for an upcoming assessment). We spent about 30 minutes discussing the picture. 

 Click here for the PPT

Click here for the editable version 

Stay tuned for more on Frida: Arte sin limites