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!


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 


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!

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Check out my TPT Store for additional materials curriculum activities!

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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