Creative detective activity to practice dates, numbers, time and more!

Use this detective activity to practice dates, days of the week, numbers, time and more in Spanish 1

I  am always looking for creative ways to teach important vocabulary and grammatical points that form the ABC’s of learning Spanish.  I have become a detective in a way myself,  constantly looking for ways to spice up a lesson to deliver content that is original and fun for me as well.

I love role play, creating stories and dialogues that contextualize to such a way that students learn more than they bargain for incidentally. This method has earned many dividends over the span of my 11 year career.

This year, I have found a new twist to teaching the days of the week, dates and other ancillary but important building blocks to the language.

At my school, we do not use the Realidades series, but I happened to stumble upon the connected series Eres Tú María a few years ago; and I have shown it ever since. It can be found on Youtube and Vimeo. This series is wonderful in starting with basic Spanish and then getting more complex.

I usually show the first 10 episodes sprinkled throughout the school year as each one builds on the  other in terms of vocabulary, structures, themes and storyline. My students love when it is Maria time. At first, I was showing it as a treat more or less. After an arduous 90 minutes of class, this was a good brain break every couple of weeks. However, now that I have a better idea of how best to engage students in the first couple week of my Novice Level Spanish I class, I will use this resource to maximize and capitalize on input for listening and practicing:

  • Days of the week

  • Dates in Spanish
  • Highlighting countries
  • Greetings
  • Simple vocabulary words such as libro, periódico and some verbs to get them started.

Since Lola is a detective privada in the series, I created this investigative report/ detective activity in where students will:

  • View content with a specific purpose
  • Write for a specific purpose and have an audience in mind

In this role play activity, students are tasked with watching Lola (who is investigating a possible crime). As such the activity calls for them to:

  • Answer 7 basic questions related to the video. They actually get the information while watching the video the first or second time. The video is about 10 minutes.
  • Investigative cloze-text report template with word bank
  • Section to fill out their own information (includes writing out numbers and email)
  • Directions for filling out the report.
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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!  

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