Thursday, May 18, 2017

12 Fun Movie Activities 4 Teaching Preterite and Imperfect


Borrón y cuenta nueva: changing the way I teach

    


A few years back while teaching middle school Spanish, I would not have gone near the preterite and imperfect tenses in Spanish I. In fact, I am ashamed to say that we barely scratched the surfaced with the preterite. We did plenty of reading (before I discovered TPRS/CI). I had the Pobre Ana readers (which was one of the best units) or I just created my own resources, especially those that allowed my students to tackle global problems (IB curriculum) in Spanish I.

Although my views of language acquisition were heavily influenced by what I read from Krashen and another language theorists, I had this threshold in my head of how far we could go in the lower levels of Spanish (5-8). It really was a fixed mindset, a glass ceiling of student potential, which started to shatter over the years; maybe some of you can relate. However, the last few years, I have been experimenting with many different methodologies, and now, I can safely proclaim that my hashtag is now "#borrónycuentanueva." 

Deepening my understanding of the nature of language learning has inevitably fostered more rich and robust experiences for my students. My project-based learning units go more in-depth and privilege the language and process over the final product. My classes have been more communicative and my lesson plans are stitched together more tightly around the core goal of receiving quality input and the emphasis on thinking skills such as inferencing as so forth. Now, I am on the cusp of another strategy that brings the best of all modes: MovieTalk.  

Looking for more resources on teaching film? Check out the links below!

Free film unit starter kit- Movie visuals, questions, vocabulary and speaking engagements 

Cine Colombia-Resources for the short film: El Almuerzo. Click here for the synopsis activities. 

Film Unit Page- wide range of activities including trailers and short grammar/viewing activities for Spanish series


There are two activities I'd like to highlight in this post: 
1. My Wanna-be-Movietalk activity (my-inching-approach to Movietalk)
2. Circumlocution activity we did with a Spanish TV series (this was very fun). 


Wanna-be-MovieTalk


My expertise in terms of Movietalk is at about the Novie-low level, hence the graphic to the right of the text. The activity shared in this post is an approximation to Movietalk as stated above.  It may not be cookie-cutter perfect but I got a lot of mileage out of it and my students responded very well to the activity, hence me wanting to share it with the language community.  






Movietalks prizes itself on using animated silent films to provide controlled, quality input thus equaling comprehensive language to students. In these films, the focus is on the action and its sequence and less on what was actually said (hence the preference for silent animated films).  Furthermore, the absence of dialogue frees the teacher to use the film as a blank canvass from which he/she has autonomy in focusing on selected structures. This is what I loved about my attempt to "Movietalk." I used the film: The Defective Detective (featured in the picture above). In the paragraph below, I'll plot out how I used this movie to practice the imperfect and preterite tenses (again, in the real MovieTalk, you are supposed to focus on one structure). 

Click here for the activity!

Below are some very useful and bonafide examples of  Movietalk, and they abound, are below:

Check out the Balcony Girl Movie Talk, the resources are amazing! It is a great addition to any unit highlighting reflexive verbs!

I really liked this activity and best of all it is free!
https://williamsonci.com/2017/05/06/extra-materials-for-balcony-girl-movietalk/

Background information on Movietalk- this really helped me to develop an appreciation for my new way of engaging students.  

http://glesismore.com/movietalk/preview.html

How to do movie talk
https://tprsquestionsandanswers.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/how-do-i-do-movietalk/

Circling
https://martinabex.com/teacher-training/essential-strategies-for-tprsci-teachers/how-to-circle/


Last year's use of the Defective Detective 

When I used this movie last year, we simply watched it and I had students use the preterite and imperfect tenses to describe what was going on. Why is this not the most effective manner in using resources such as this? 

1. I was forcing students to create based on limited input (completly wrongo!)
2. With the fast pace of the short film, it was difficult to keep up so this inevitably raised the affective filter and students were not ready to take risks. 


This year's Detective Defective

This year, I did the same film but incorporated some of the elements from Movietalk. Again, this was not a bonafide Movietalk as prescribed in the TPRS community, but it was my attempt at using the film to create a safe class culture, providing input and eliciting responses that were aligned to our communicative goals for the day, and it was great! 

Click here for the resource that I created. I did this Movie-Communicative activity with my Spanish 1 students, but this could easily be done with higher levels of Spanish. The lesson took about an hour. 

What does this resource include?: 


Warm-up activity 1 
¡Qué escandaloso!

1. For the warm up activity, I had students look at the screen shot and then imagine that the main character was reading an event that took place in their Spanish class. They then had to write 3-5 sentences about what happened in class. This comes on the heels for several classes being exposed to input using the preterite and imperfect tenses. Activities such as building a story together and re-working the chapters of Agentes Secretos were several preparatory activities implemented. 


The Prensa (the main character reads a newspaper, hence to connection to writing an article) activity included a “Reminder about the preterite.”


For the writing activity, a student example is provided: ¡El estudiante saltó sobre los escritorios! 
This short vignette allows students another exposure to how the past tense is used in Spanish. In preparing for this activity, I read Martina Bex’s article on MovieTalk. Although this activity is more of a variation of Movietalk, the key takeaway was exposure to the language, and that is exactly how the activities were designed. 

Click on Martina’s article here: 

2. Activity 2: La prensa 
Students write about what happened their class, using the preterite tense. They use the newspaper-like template to carry this out, which is included in the document. 

3. Activity 3: El imperfecto 
Students read a“Reminder about the imperfect.” For simplicity, I only teach a few forms. 

4. El estudiante escandaloso revisited 
For this activity students reread the vignette in the beginning, only this time with the imperfect tense sprinkled in. This mirrors what they will do for their short vignette.  Students then rewrite the (fictitious) event that happened in class, only this time sprinkling in the imperfect tense (as done in the example). 

5. El preterite versus el imperfecto
 For this activity, students recognize the different forms of the preterite and imperfect tenses. This could be utilized as a previewing activity as well.  They completed a preterite/imperfect activity. Many of the words were used during the "Wanna-be-Movie-Talk." They were exposed to these words again during our "input session" and then again with the information gap activity.

6. Guided Oral Questions for Movie
 I used a script of questions to guide the movie discussion. I just wrote down what I was going to say because I'd forget. This was the most AMAZING PART! I could not believe how students, after about two classes of differentiated communicative activities with some basic instruction on the tenses, were incorporating the structures into their responses. Since I just read about circling by Martina Bex (I promise that I'm not name-dropping, she actually presented at our school in the beginning of the year and I am just getting around to using these resources). 

At the end of the day, the students felt good. Some of my Spanish IV students dropped by to help them and were amazed that they were learning preterite and imperfect. This lesson was a natural progression because we had just finished Agentes Secretos. Some of the activities we did, had called for the preterite to be used. You can click here for those activities as well (they are all free). 
Exposure.


7. Information Gap activity
 I created a little story about the film, the premise is that the detective is seeing a psychiatrist two years later due to the paranoia-induced evening at his neighbor’s apartment.  Students filled in the blanks with either the preterite or imperfect tenses. A word bank is provided as well a the answer key. 

8. Alternate ending for movie 

 Alternate ending activity. Students wrote an alternative ending to the short film. Check out my website for student examples. 


Circumlocution Fest 

This activity may have a name, but in absence of it, let's say it "Circumlocution Fest." So, I decided to show El Internado, at least the first few chapters in Spanish 1. I use the series for Spanish IV and Michael Peto's website My generation of Polyglots is the go to spot!  Allision Weinhold from MisClassesLocas  also has some charming resources! When I first Allison's  tweet about using El Internado in the lower levels, I was like "No way!" My vehement response was based on me using it exclusively as a Spanish IV series. However, after our Wanna-be-Movietalk and practice with the preterite and imperfect structures, I thought it would be an engaging activity. 



We are only watching the first few episodes, but I recommend it because: 
- The storyline is very engaging 
-Completely accessible on Netflix 

Here is what I had my students do: 
1. View the trailer of El Internado
2. From the trailer, think about what the story series is about and make a list of ten words in the preterite they could use during our "Reacciones" segment. 
3. They had to use only these words to discuss what happened in the segment. For example, one student chose "bailó." Since no one "bailó" during the first 15 minutes, she had to say that Nadie bailó. It was fun "making" our language work. 

Thank you for reading! I really enjoy finding these new strategies and applying them!

 Check out my novels and new resource page!




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El Cine Colombiano: 11 Activities for Teaching Film

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 free "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!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Short story for Spanish 2+ Teacher's manual included!




La fiesta inolvidable- Short Story for Spanish 2+
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 
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!


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8 Plus Language Learner Novels for your Spanish class- Free TMs included!




8+ 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.

Click here for Amazon

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 will be in print in few weeks!
Enter into La clase de confesiones 

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!

Also Available on TPT 

Glossary included!


Language:  Mostly present tense 


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

Available on TPT 

Glossary included!

La clase de confesiones 2: La bella mentira 


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! 








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. 

Me muero por María 

(Spanish 1+) 

This short funny story will have your students in stitches! Relatable characters, funny situations and a kid who just can't get a break, makes this story endearing. This story is ideal for Spanish levels 1 and 2.  It is mostly told in the present tense, with a spattering of the past tense. Me muero por María   comes with a glossary and activities sheets for processing the story and practicing vocabulary and grammar. Read the summary below. 

The big dance is just two weeks ago and Patricio is freaking out. He does not have a date to the party. All the girls are either taken or have had some little run-ins with the “law.” He sets his sights on María, the girl he is dying to go on a date with. But he has a problem: he is awfully shy. “Entre la espada y la pared,” he turns to the only two people who can help him: his best friend Rodrigo, el doctor del amor, and his mom! Needless to say that their philosophies on relationships differ widely, which puts our friend Patricio in a bind. However, things take an interesting turn when his buddy and “wing-man” “inadvertently” spills the beans his crush; now Patricio has to “close the deal.” Patricio embarks on uncharted territory and runs into “unforeseen obstacles” in trying to get a date with María. In a weird twist of events, he gets the surprise of his life, where the expression “Me muero por María” becomes almost literal!

Language:  Mostly present tense, stem-changing verbs 
Themes: Relationships,  Friendship,
Vocabulary: Sports, Food, School 


Available on TPT 

Glossary included!



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 





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.

 Available on TPT 

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


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 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 reposted late July!



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 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.
Tons of dialogue and easily adaptable to classroom skits and reader's theater.
 Language: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect
Themes: Relationships, Betrayal, Friendship, Family 

Available on TPT 


El 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 the truth about his friends? How will Salomé exact revenge? Find out in part 2!
Language: Subjunctive, Preterit, Imperfect
Themes: Relationships, Betrayal, Friendship, Family 

Available on TPT 

Click on this link to "descubrir los muertos en el armario"

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!