Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5 Authentic commercials you need to enrich your Spanish class- activities included!


  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. 

Teaching Spanish Made Easy!
Social Media vocabulary and comprehension activity (Freebie)



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La clase de confesiones is now avaiable in print!
Now available to order at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pIu4VS.   Let the confessions begin!



Stay tuned for Las Sombras 

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