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


Freebie-Internado aficionados: The Untold Story of Vicky- Target structures, Spanish Idioms and a whole lot of Scaffolding!

La Chica Nueva: Short story for Spanish class

Edición Internado 

Free Resource 

I want my students to read, be intrigued, acquire vocabulary in new ways and conceptually understand the interplay grammatical structures- all while having fun! I love it when their eyes roll across the pages and a smile slowly cracks across their faces, their eyes light up and it’s obvious; they are caught up in the gravitational pull of a good novel or story. I was attempting to recreate those moments with La Nueva Alumna. 

This short story started out essentially as a review piece. My plan was for students to review structures and vocabulary prior to a writing assessment. But then, I soon realized that students really liked the story (this happened with a few other stories), so the original one-page review activity blossomed to a short story about one of the characters in El Internado. 

Although La Nueva Alumna is loosely based on one of the characters of the Internado series (which is available on Netflix), rest assured that your students don’t have to be familiar with the series to understand the storyline (See the synopsis below). 

However, on the flipside, if your students are engrossed in the drama of El Internado, then this story will be perfect for them (after episode 5) for a number of reasons: 

  • It houses many of the expressions used in the series, along with some common ones used in everyday language. 
  • The text gives ample opportunity to practice core structures such as the preterit, imperfect, subjunctive and conditional (more subjunctive than anything, that was our target structure). 
  • It sheds light on Vicky’s socio-economic status and leaving her other friends behind (little back story) 
  • Touches on her being colada y enamorada hasta las trancas de Iván (pobrecita, ¿verdad?) 
  • Contains dialogue that approximates native speakers’ vernacular and idiosyncrasies (my students love dialogue) and it’s not overbearing. In fact, many words and expressions are detailed in the footnotes. 

Students always ask me, so, do you have a story for everything? Yes, I do!

We were just about the review our target structures prior to an extended response writing assessment. Instead of the regular grammar review, which is sometimes the necessary evil, I  created this story to include the structures, the idioms and the backstory of one of the characters in our beloved series: El Internado. 

 Once I witnessed how students reacted with reading some of the other dialogues in stories in the class, I couldn’t resist.We’ve done similar activities in the past, but not his in-depth. If you are an Internadista,  Click here for more Episode 4 Internado summary dialogue.  If you are more of a watch and creative writing type,  there is something for you, click here.  If your class loves to debate, you have to click here for the Amelia and Elsa faceoff (both resources are free).  If you are looking other interesting compelling reading drenched with drama and laced with your favorite-no-matter-how-much-I-teach-they-still-don’t-get-it structures(kinda long, I know), then click here for the well-reviewed series: Skeletons in the closet (El muerto en el armario). Now that we got all of that out of the way, shall we dive into our short story?


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!

La Nueva Alumna has five short sections: 

1. La hija de la frutera 

2. La gran noticia

3. El primer día 

4. Cómo salir de la zona de amigos

5. La chica de mis sueños 

This story packet has the following activities and resources

  1. Short Story: La Nueva Alumna
  2. Unfamiliar vocabulary is footnoted in the text. 
  3. Pre-reading vocabulary and Spanish Idiom activity (some expressions are used in the series El Internado and other are common expressions).  
  4. Comprehension questions 
  5. Pre-reading grammar subjunctive activity 
  6. Cloze-text fill in the blank abridged version of the story to practice the subjunctive (mood), preterit and imperfect tenses. 

Please enjoy and consider giving it a rating on TPT!

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:   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. 


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:

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

Click here:

3 Part Short Story Series for Spanish Class -Skeletons in the Closet

Las Apariencias Engañan

Scroll down for the synopsis, free Teacher’s Manual and the preview of first two chapters!

I was thrilled by the concept of Novelas por Entregas such as those you’d read in Vanidades Magazine. You’d flip to the back, and there was always an intriguing story: short, but sweet. This was the same method used by 19th authors who published chapters of their work prior to publishing a novel. I started with this method and now las entregas constitute a Spanish 3-part language-learning mini-series for Teens, with dynamic and relatable characters, complex scenarios and drama-drenched encounters. 


Be sure to check out the quizlet sets!

  I created El Muerto en el Armario series for my Spanish IV class. I started by trying to write a simple story that would include the different facets of the subjunctive tense, which was the structure for our unit on Identity and Relationships.  I know there is a lot of good TPRS books and shorts out there, but as an on-the-go teacher, it was virtually impossible for me to curate materials (that would include both vocabulary and grammar) and control for many other variables, so I solved for X and created my own. 

          It started out as one story about friends with different types of issues and has now blossomed into a full-blown series. After the first chapter, El Psicólogo (the original name of the cuento) students were asking for more. They thought the story was “beast” and wondered if the author (I did not tell them it was me) had more chapters.  I started writing during my weekends to keep up with the demand. Now that I have finished and perfected the novel, I am sharing with you!

       Since my students really enjoy reading the story and acting it out in class, I made sure to quite a bit of purposeful dialogue. The dialogue in the story is replete with witty remarks, idiomatic expressions and real reactions to problems. No worries about teaching the vocabulary, most of the expressions and vocabulary are included in the footnotes in addition to being scaffolded through the tons of activities in the Teacher’s Manual.  The footnotes, which are bountiful, ensured that my students did not miss a beat with this engrossing story. The story has received good reviews, so I hope you and your students enjoy it as well. It would be a great asset to any FVR/SSR program or could be read as a class with reading, speaking, grammar,  and creative writing activities.

Synopsis for part 1 of the series


        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 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 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 changes her perspective on things, 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 the 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 the timeless truths that things are never what they seem to be.

Click below for the two-chapter preview!

Las Apariencias Engañan (Part 1)

Click the link below to access the free Teacher’s Manual for this Series

Teacher’s Manual of Activities 

El Muerto en el Armario: Las mentiras tienen patas cortas 

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 quickly 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 (nothing inappropriate) found on his phone. 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 La Nube: Corre y No Mires Atrás.  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! 


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.

Activities for using the story in class 

Most activities cater to the present subjunctive. Many questions require students to respond to the story in a way that evokes the subjunctives. There are also tasks wherein they take the role of the psychiatrist to recommend how the people in the story could solve their problems. The activity below, included in the story bundle, is one such activity. A list of the activities are included below:

Resources for this series

Please Make a copy of the editable version of conversation cards

Conversation Cards for El Muerto en el Armario Series 

Enjoy, books in print coming soon!