Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spice-it-up writing prompts for world language class!

R.I.P. Summer Vacation

Summer has finally come to an end. The agenda-less days of sun-bathing and endless Netflix binge-watching are now in the rearview mirror. We now look forward the long and winding road that leads us through the peaks and valleys of the new school year. What if we take a trip down memory lane? What if we could go back to the picture perfect day that might have defined our summer? That is exactly what this activity allows students to do. 

I planned this R.I.P. Summer activity for the first or second day of class (we start next week). To see other activities for the first couple of weeks of class, or just a few good "I want to know you activities" click here for Spanish levels 1and 2Click here if you want something more engaging for your upper level students. 


La Maquina de Tiempo activity invites students to describe their picture perfect summer day. This activity is an alternative to "Write about what you did this summer"  a writing prompt, I used every year to get to know my students.  My goal with this activity is for students to: 

  • Write about a pleasant memory.
  • Write in the present tense to ease the affective filter in the first couple of days. 
  • Delve into creative writing (maybe stretch, but let's see).

Instead of writing in the past tense, which many students my struggle with the first few days back in school, they travel back to their most perfect day of summer and write as if they were there. The prompt helps students structure the memory by asking them questions such as:  


* I changed this prompt to best day of your life so it could be used at any interval in the curriculum. 

See post and activity about scaffolding this activity. Click here. 
  • Qué día es
  • Con quién estás
  • Cómo es el clima o el tiempo 
  • Qué llevas o qué tienes puestos
  • Dónde estás y qué haces
  • Qué hueles
  • Qué ves 
  • Por qué es el día perfecto

Role play idea: I was also thinking of having students present in pairs in front of the class and practice spontaneous speaking.  One student would act as the psychologist and  "hypnotize" the other.  While the other students is "under" he/she will take the patient on the journey to remember the perfect day. They would ask the questions in the prompt and/or more questions.  



La Farándula 

 I shared this activity on a previous post, but it comprises my collection of spice-it-up writing prompts. There was so much that happened over summer from celebrity break-ups, to Mega Stars passing away, I always like to give students chance to chime in on celebrity gossip. 

Click here for activity prompt.


My students loved this last year. It really set the class afire and they could not stop talking. This activity could be done as a writing activity or speaking. You could turn it into a mini reading activity by find some pieces of celebrity gossip such as this Hola site. 







Word Wall

See Elaineinthemiddleblog for original idea

Click here for video 

¿Cuál es tu palabra favorita del Español? 

This is one of my favorite videos. It unites many different Spanish speakers across the continents and professions. They share about their favorite word. I am going to have students share out their favorite word( they can think of it in English and translate it to Spanish).  I learn a lot about students from the words they choose. Then they will place their word on the word call in the class. Here is how I will engage them in the video:




Extension activity:
Spanish plans has this great Facebook Template for gathering information about people. Have students choose one of the speakers and: 
  • Create a Facebook, Instragram or Tweets
  • Mini biography 
  • Share out in groups of 4. 

List of people in the video: 

1. Boris Izaguirre 
2. Alicia Alonso
3.Ángel Corella 
4. Valentín Fuster 
5.Antonio Skármeta 
6. Mara Torres 
7. Justo Bolekia 
8. AnaMaría Matute 
9. Raphael 
10. Margarita Salas 
11. Mario Vargas Llosa 
12. Emilo Botín 
13. Juame Plensa 
14. Rosario Flores 
15. Antonio Gamoneda 
16. Julián López
17. Ricardo Darín 
18. Elena Ochoa 
19. Isidre Fainé
20. Diego Forlán
21. Gael Garcia Bernal
22. Chayanne 
23. Eugenia Silva
24. Luis Rojas Marcos 
25. Juan Luis Guerra 
26. Pedro Piqueras 
27. Isabel Allende 
28. Antonio Banderas 
29. María Dolores Pradera 
30. Vicente Del Bosque
31. Shakira 
32. Pau Gasol 


Give traditional activities new twists with these activities:

 Check out this Five Post series on teaching Identity in Spanish class 

6 Ways to privilege input in the WL classroom  

Five "I want to get to know you" activities   

Tons of input for the Spanish Film Unit 

Short Stories for Spanish Class (Pre, during and Post activities included)

Spanish 1
La Clase de Confesiones (part 1) 

La Clase de Confesiones (part2 ): La Bella Mentira

El Muerto en el Armario (Skeletons in the Closet

Sunday, August 28, 2016

5- "I want to know you" activities for Spanish Learners


Win students' attention and hearts the first week of class:Teaching upper level Spanish Class 

This post will discuss and provide resources for exploring the theme of identity in Spanish class. 


"Getting to know you activities"

If you start class with diving into the content and work; you'll lose them on the first day. This was the first line of an article I read last year about engaging teens. It was my first year teaching high school. Prior to that I was teaching at an International Baccalaureate school for 10 years. Most of the students and families knew me so the first day was always pan comido.  

When I was first hired, it was in the middle of the year. I did not know the students and it was an uphill battle that I begin to win towards the end of the school year. The students were great, I just did not know them. I decided to dedicate the whole first unit to discussing and exploring identity. My objectives for the unit at large is: 
  • For me to get to know my students 
  • For students to get to know each other (I teach across grade levels)
  • Dive into juicy and relevant content in the beginning of the year. 
  • Pick up on a topic that has gotten tons of traction in the past few years. 
 This unit starts with them, their identity and then slowly building out complex issues surround the topic. You can peruse each sub section for ideas, resources and activities to help foster the dialogue in your class while integrating authentic voices and realia.  Here are my first day teaching Spanish 4 class.

Side note: We have 90 minute blocks. I usually do three activities a day. This is my new miminalist teacher challenge. But since it is the first day, I want to keep things moving and active so these five activities will inaugurate the school year. 


Día 1 
¡Hola- Bienvenidos!
Goal: I can say the names of my classmates and share information about myself. 

Setting a positive tone one of the most important tasks of a teacher at the beginning of the year. I read a great article on edutopia that gives some brass-tacks advice on being positive, mindset focus and digging into identity and purpose at the start of the school year. Click here for their article . This article dovetails perfectly with my Quien Soy Yo Unit.

Activity 1 

  • Welcome students as they come. 
  • Hand them one of these setting cards by Martinabex.

 Last year the students cracked up when I passed them out. I had plastered them with tape- little coutre, but this year I plan to laminate them and use them whenever they have “Nuevos Amigos” or have to change seats. I plan to kick off the presentations by sharing a little bit about myself such as: 


Dori 
-My favorite book-

El intenso calor de la luna by Gioconda Belli





- My two cats - Dori y Zoe
- Favorite pass times- reading and Telenovelas 

Zoe





                                                Velvet


Velvet 






Students' Present

Then, I turn it over to them. Students introduce themselves to the two people on either side of them. This is the first stage of the introductions!



Activity 2: What's special about your name?

-Quiero que mi nombre se refiera a mí- Mark Haddon

I am fortunate to work in school with a very diverse student body. Names have always interested me. After they have met other students, warmed up with the short communicative activity, we discuss names. I have found this as a great way to for me to get to know them as well. 
  • I give students a blank sheet of card stock paper for them to write their name. They fold the paper lengthwise and write their name on the front. 

-Students label their nameplates regarding the origin, meaning of their name, who named them and why their name is perfect for their personality. 

  • They share this information with other classmates and compare and contrast names, meanings or family origin. 

Although I have done this activity, I also like this activity that Misclaseslocas mentioned in her first week of school. For this activity students pass around a ball and introduce themselves and another student. More information about the ball activity can be accessed here.  


Activity 3: ¿Quiénes son mis compañeros?

Now that students have met their "immediate family members, they go around and met other students.  I have multigrade students so not all of them are familiar with each other.
 Last year most students did not know each other. So this year I am making sure I include this vital component. 

-Levántate 
-Circula por la clase 
-Conoce a dos colegas




Preguntas de introducción 

¿Cómo te llamas?
¿En qué años estás (segundo, tercero o cuatro)
¿Cuáles son dos clases que tienes este año escolar?

Activity 4:  La Farándula 

There was so much that happened over summer from celebrity break-ups, to Mega Stars passing away, I always like to give students chance to chime in on celebrity gossip. My students loved this last year. It really set the class afire and they could not start talking.  Students share out. 


Activity 5:  Perfil 

 I wanted to do an About Me activity that would also capture personal information that "humanize" my students. This activity invites students to: 

  • Discuss their preferences
  • Describe their learning style 
  • Personality in three words
  • 3 Topics that they are passionate about
  • Their fears
  • What inspires them
  • What they hate 
  • Something they'd want me to know about them. 
This last piece is important because in class you cannot get to know everything. I learned that one of my students was a finalist for Fencing!  He had went to Thailand to compete and came in second place. I would not have known this otherwise. We had great
¿Quién soy y que me gusta?

What are some activities you do in order to get to know your students? 

Stay tuned for more activities for engaging older students!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Infuse problem-based thinking in your Spanish class with this project

How to infuse problem-based thinking into your world language classroom

A fews years back when I was teaching in an International Baccalaureate middle school, I started the year dreamy-eyed with this cool social media project.  I could not wait to implement it.  Coming off a summer of PD around the Personal Project, a design cycle research project for students, I was sure this was going to be the year that we do big things and tackle relevant themes such: 

  • How do we interact with social media? 
  • What digital footprints are we leaving on the world? 
  • How to use social media thoughtfully and responsibly?

 I"d walk my students step by step in the target language. Then it happened. My hopes were dashed.  This critical and awe-inspiring week was met with three challenges: 

  • We had no working technology in school
  • We had no access to computers 
  • We could not use the textbook 
This was not going to work because the whole  crux of my plan was to get them to design their own websites of something of import to them; then it hit me: 
  • How am I teaching them problem-solving skills when I am vexed with a problem like this? 

Limited connectivity, no problem!

 So I had this paper website idea. The idea was for students to create a futuristic social media outlet dissimilar in style and purpose from the ones we have today. Essentially, they could not rebrand Facebook.  My 6th graders had to include the normal suite of buttons such as upload, download and the like (see activities below). They also had to think of a novel idea for the media outlet and a purpose it would serve- in basic Spanish. We charted our course with these essential questions:

If I could design a website in the future, what will it look like? 
How will it be useful? 
Who will be my targeted audience

For the final product (more to come on the brainstorming sessions and planning documents), they had to include the following on their paper website all in the target language:

  • Title (creative title in Spanish)
  • About me section (Descriptive adjectives, gustar, family)
  • Tabs and links (vocabulary for technology use)
  • Picture or description of service
  • Testimony (very simple) (persuasive writing)
  • Email links 
  • URL
The assessment for this activity as a presentation of their website to the class. I neglected to mentioned that students worked in pairs.. 

(I will be doing this again this year, so stay tuned for the final format)

How did we prepare? 
To prepare, we work with the vocabulary before hand. Students used something similar to this Vocabulario para la tecnología sheet to familiarize themselves with the verbs. Students used activities such as   This activity helped students to:

  • Practice core verbs needed to discuss how they use technology 
  • Familiarize themselves with core vocabulary such as redes sociales, aplicación, etc. 
  • Engage in conversation about their social media usage. 
  • Share about their favorite sites and usage. 

An expansion of these activities in all including but not limited to reading texts, debates and student experiences with social media in the target language are included in my social media school unit.   I actually spread these throughout and because this was middle school we used only use the reading and for the short debates the story Yo no puedo vivir sin mi celular. This text is about a boy who:

  • Talks about his phone 
  • His use of technology 
  • Why cellphones should be used in school  

The second story is  "El uso de celular destruyó mi vida is more for Spanish 2 (or the end of Spanish I as it has some preterit).  This story narrates the negative side of technology, cyber bullying and students' insensitive behavior.

Infographics on the use of technology

Eres adicto al celular

This was a tesoro that I found online and I am considering using this as an interpretive assessment.  Stay tuned for more activities!





Friday, August 26, 2016

3 activities to rev up your Spanish I class and get them moving!


How to use input-rich videos for structuring simple activities in Spanish class 


This upcoming week marks my first week of classes and I am super excited and a little anxious. Although I have taught Spanish for 11 years and counting, I have always had Spanish 1B classes. This is the second year I will teach Spanish from scratch.

So, what are my goals for the beginning of the year? My main goal this year is for my students to:


  • be involved and immersed in the language and culture from day 1


This post will feature two activities that I have created around the use of basic level 1 Spanish. I struggled with teaching the first month of Spanish so I am really digging deep to make the experience as much as enjoyable as intellectually stimulating. The activities are designed to give students exposure to a wide range of simplified input that ties into the cultures of Latin America.

Los Saludos en Español

I found this really cute video about greetings and leave-takings in Spanish. In this video they interview a host of Spanish-speakers from different parts of Latin America. These people share what a typical greeting is like in their country. They are authentic, animated and of course natural in their sharing.

This video is very chévere because it:
  • Features people from all over
  • Has a wide range of diversity and races from Latin America
  • Is dialectically rich.
*I learned some new one from La República Dominicana. ¿Qué es lo que?- qué tal- chévere ¿verdad?

How am I using this resource?
  • My students will watch the video once without notes (Give them a chance to take it all in)
  • Ask students what greetings did they hear, where were the people from (2 minutes)
  • Watch a second time this with this video activity.
  • Click on Video
  • Download activity here.
I went over this activity a few times as a student and I realized the first time that it would be hard pinpoint to greetings:

  • So I inserted the pictures of people next to their written text.
  • Not all the people in the video are captured because they are some repeats.
  • I also added a Banco de Palabras
  • Pero ¡Ojo! I still wanted to make it challenging so students will have to pay close attention to what the hear and see as there are palabras que sobran.
My journey this year to redefine the beginning of the year. If you have any suggestions or activity, please comment below and add your website.

Redefine your first weeks of Spanish 1 with these input rich activities


How to use input-rich videos for structuring simple activities in Spanish class 


This upcoming week marks my first week of classes and I am super excited and a little anxious. Although I have taught Spanish for 11 years and counting, I have always had Spanish 1B classes. This is the second year I will teach Spanish from scratch.

So, what are my goals for the beginning of the year? My main goal this year is for my students to:


  • be involved and immersed in the language and culture from day 1


This post will feature two activities that I have created around the use of basic level 1 Spanish. I struggled with teaching the first month of Spanish so I am really digging deep to make the experience as much as enjoyable as intellectually stimulating. The activities are designed to give students exposure to a wide range of simplified input that ties into the cultures of Latin America.

Los Saludos en Español

I found this really cute video about greetings and leave-takings in Spanish. In this video they interview a host of Spanish-speakers from different parts of Latin America. These people share what a typical greeting is like in their country. They are authentic, animated and of course natural in their sharing.

This video is very chévere because it:
  • Features people from all over
  • Has a wide range of diversity and races from Latin America
  • Is dialectically rich.
*I learned some new one from La República Dominicana. ¿Qué es lo que?- qué tal- chévere ¿verdad?

How am I using this resource?
  • My students will watch the video once without notes (Give them a chance to take it all in)
  • Ask students what greetings did they hear, where were the people from (2 minutes)
  • Watch a second time this with this video activity.
  • Click on Video
  • Download activity here.
I went over this activity a few times as a student and I realized the first time that it would be hard pinpoint to greetings:

  • So I inserted the pictures of people next to their written text.
  • Not all the people in the video are captured because they are some repeats.
  • I also added a Banco de Palabras
  • Pero ¡Ojo! I still wanted to make it challenging so students will have to pay close attention to what the hear and see as there are palabras que sobran.
My journey this year to redefine the beginning of the year. If you have any suggestions or activity, please comment below and add your website.

New spin on teaching the date, and other boring things! Mix it up with these input-rich activities

Use this detective activity to practice dates, 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. 

Are there any basic videos or series you'd recommend for teaching the first few weeks of Spanish 1?

See other posts related to teaching ideas, activities and resources for teaching Spanish I


6 ways to priviledge input from the very first day

Project-based activity for Spanish I students 

Reading, writing, debating and speaking activity all in one

55 activities for teaching the school unit 

Creative Detective Activity to practice days of the week, numbers, basic verbs and more!

Turn your students into 007 agentes while reading Agentes Secretos by Mira Canion 

Short Stories for Spanish Class (Pre, during and Post activities included)

Spanish 1
La Clase de Confesiones (part 1) 

La Clase de Confesiones (part2 ): La Bella Mentira

El Muerto en el Armario (Skeletons in the Closet



Monday, August 22, 2016

Exploring complex concepts in the lower levels- comprehensibly and carefully


School and Global Issues Unit 

Taking Spanish 1 to the next level, carefully and comprehensible!

 I have to say, teaching my unit: Education it's promises and plights, is one of my favorite units of all time. There is just so much meaty vocabulary, themes and lengthy conversations about everything.

 A few years ago, while teaching at an IB middle school, I really wanted to delve into big concepts. My dream was having students discuss big ideas and concepts in simple terms. Many resources were way too advanced, so collected some articles, did a bit of research and created some powerful educational texts. These texts discuss the differences in education systems around the world. It was spawned by this Pin on Pinterest: 

Education system in Finland 

We read this wonderful Pinterest article this in class, discussed the big ideas and then it hit me: 

What about education in other countries and cultures? 

It was fun and very enjoyable creating these resources. See my students samples from 7th grade below. 

In this Global Education resource, students learned about:
  1. The dangers of educating women in Taliban controlled areas 
  2. The plight of women in Afghanistan 
  3. Education Inequality in South Africa 
  4. Education in Japan  
As a result of this unit, we held our first Spanish Symposium, which really was a project-driven exhibition of education around the world (the principal kept calling it Spanish Fair, so it stuck). Students conducted the research in Spanish and presented to the community.  
 
The goal with comprehensible School Unit and Global issues activity resource is to  deliver complex concepts in a simplified for. mMost of the texts are written in the first person, with a few past tense words sprinkled in.

 The first couple years of teaching, I wanted to engage students hearts in  compelling topics that wrestled with or discussed in their English class. I hated that they felt that they had to "dumb" everything down when coming to Spanish class. In addition to the comprehensible input novels, we read, I also wanted to give them comprehensible input on live topics; hence the creation of this activity book.  The goal was to capture the students' energy and:
  •  Introduce to them more complex topics on a smaller scale (Global Education Piece)   
  • Contextualize their experience, the vocabulary and bring everything full circle
  • Privilege conversation 
  • Facilitate reading 
  • Promote higher order thinking skills 
  • Engage students in relevant topics such as the use of social media and bullying, but at their level 
  • Present perspectives of schooling in other countries. 

 I realized long ago that I did not have to wait until students got to a certain level of language development to teach them certain concepts. The goal with comprehensible input is to provide it within the realm of their level. I figured, if can get them to interact with similar topics and concepts they'd be exposed to in other class, but at their level, I may have something there! Digging deeper and being able to talk about real issues (and some fun things too) were my main goals.

Click here for the school unit free resource- reading and cloze-text dialogue that integrate native expressions

Click here for the Perspectives on Education around the world reference in this post. 


7th Grade Student Samples For example, my 7th graders (they were oddly more advanced then my 8th graders that year), read about plight of women in obtaining and education in the mini uni




















This activity is included in the book below as well (also sold separately on TPT).  After reading about Malala and a few other girls, all in the target language, they wrote a paper comparing the experiences. Their work is attached here.
The student whose work is in the upper left-hand corner was a new student. She has come from Hawaii and had been in our school a little over a year. Although both  had some errors on their final drafts, they did a great job comparing the girl's issues in the article
We also viewed a few videos on my old blog. If you read their work you will see that they talk about a girl name Neeraj. This was one of the girls featured in the  this tab.  They might have rotated the videos, but it was eye-opening. This was one of the lessons observed by my former principal and she loved it.



Post related to revolutionizing the curriculum and classroom activities  (there are some free downloadables in the post as well). 




















Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Authentic vocabulary rich commercials for your Spanish Class


  Get students talking at every interval!
I love my Spanish class, but I have to admit, It would be difficult to get the conversation going without sounding contrived or sacrificing free form for a more formulaic model. Year after year I am always exploring ways to get the students talking. This year, I took a slightly different approach.  I decided to include more visual stimuli while expanding the opportunity for more  comprehensible input. If you do not know what comprehensible input is, please click on this link comprehensible input as it may explain why students have a difficult time grasping language- it did for me.  In a nutshell, it is providing students with rich, varied and slightly challenging language input before they are expected to output. 

Last, year, I had attended the ACTFL conference and I heard one of the presenters give the analogy of a sponge (recycling from a teacher at her school). The sponge soaks up the water, and then when you wring it out, it produces!  What a great visual of the algebraic input=output equation! 

Now that we are our unit Education, technology and global challenges, I am have amassed a few resources that I use with students for them to practice their vocabulary and also structures in the interpersonal mode. Using these resources have transformed my lesson. 

1. Activity 1: Rafael Nadal 

Authentic Video Activities for Novice Level Students 
Rafael Nadal: Power Commercial (Spanish I)


Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCjjzOqFNvk


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


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

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

Activity 2-6: María Fernanda, Video and Activities 

Click the link below for her Youtube Video 

María una niña colombiana 

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

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

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


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

Argentine School Supplies Video 

(I am currently developing materials for these videos) 
I found this really cool video on Pinterest. It is an Argentine commercial about school supplies. It is rebonito and the kids loved it Argentine School Supplies Video . Here is with my students: 
1. Watch the video through without taking notes. 
     First, I had students view the video without their notes- remember input is king here! This may be a no-brainer to most teachers but usually, I have student take notes on everything!  This time I thought about how distracting taking notes could be and how much more they'd be able to withdraw from their "language ATM.  In addition, taking notes the first watch precludes students from watching the video as a whole, spikes up their affective filter and is overall not beneficial to the language learner.  

Post viewing student engagement activities 

After watching the view, they describe the characters and any words they might have heard. 
2. Watch the video a second time and then use the note taking sheet. 
3. Students then draw from their notes and discuss the video.  
4. Class discussion- after students have written elements of the video they have seen.  We have a class discussion about the video. Since we learned interrogative words, they use those words to ask questions and follow up questions of other students. I ask them a ton of questions about the video in addition to allowing them to ask each other.  I sit back with my "ACTFL" modified class rubric and take notes on their language abilities. I am not grading them but collecting soft data. 

Notes: Students also were exposed to the verb gustar so they talked about the boy in the video liking the girl, the pen with the flower (we had just wrapped up our Day of the Dead Altars). 
How to extend this video activity?
This year, I will add the following activities to my lesson (this was done at the beginning of last year)  
- True and false  activity
-Match activity for the vocabulary 
-Have students create a mini/simple back story.

Viewing with a purpose- Detective work 
The second video I showed students was one I also found on Pinterest. It may be part of a textbook program. Again, I followed the same protocol as above with one variation- the students had to watch the video a third time and take the role of a detective to report  student's whereabouts. This activity was sooo fun!!!  
School in Spain Video- School in Spain
1. Watch the video through without taking notes. 
2. Watch the video a second time and then respond to questions in groups. Click here for activity Video Worksheet- School in Spain.
3.  Discuss the video as a class with the worksheet. I usually give the Writing for a Purpose Activity as an exit slip. 
While students are talking in groups or individually, I usually circle around with my board to take notes on their communicative proficiency and competence.

Use this detective activity to practice dates, 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.