Wednesday, January 4, 2017

La clase de confesiones Spanish 1 Novel- present tense, school vocabulary

La clase de confesiones
Target structures -ar, -er and -er present tense verbs 

Now available to order at Amazon:   Let the confessions begin!
Excerpt from chapter 2: El profesor Martín (Free Teacher's Manual of Confesiones)
...Carlos mira a Jessica. Ella saca su cuaderno, una pluma rosada y su móvil. Él piensa que Jessica es muy hermosa. Le gusta su cara. Le gusta su pelo porque ella siempre tiene peinados interesantes. Le gustan sus zapatos y su ropa.  Pero, lo que más le gustan, son sus ojos. Le gustan los ojos de Jessica. Sus ojos son grandes y cafés. Carlos ya no mira a Jessica porque alguien está bloqueando su vista.
-Carlos- no la mires tanto- dice el profesor Martín. 

El profesor Martín mira a Carlos mientras Carlos mira a Jessica.  

-¿Tienes la tarea?  - dice el profesor. 

-No, no la tengo. ¿La puedo traer mañana?- pregunta Carlos

-Si no miras a Jessica tal vez puedes hacer tu tarea- dice el profesor. 
Carlos mira al profesor. 

-Yo no acepto el trabajo tardío- dice el profesor

-¿Puede usted hacer una excepción? Yo tuve práctica de beisbol. ¿Puedo traer la tarea mañana? - pregunta Carlos, otra vez.  

-Más te vale- dice el profesor. 


This is just the tip of the iceberg for Carlos. Not only does the teacher shakes things up in class, but a normal run-of-mill- writing assignment turns fatal for Carlos' social life. In an attempt to "pair" Carlos with the girl he has been crushing on, the teacher makes a critical move that backfires and throws Carlos' life into a tailspin. As Carlos tries to dig himself out of this hole, he actually digs it deeper! He endures endless teasing and gossipy teachers as everyone discovers his secret. He is literally in a "camiseta de once varas." Carlos soon realizes that his mentiras can only get his so much mileage and that only can the truth set him free....but will it be enough for Jessica?

Themes: Friendship, Love, Bullying, Decisions, and Character.

I created this story for my Spanish I novice-mid class. Yes, your students can read it and enjoy it at the novice level!  After countless mini stories and quizlet-self-engaged vocabulary sets, they still had difficulty with some of the basic vocabulary. I knew the target structures they needed to learn but I also thought it'd be fun to familiarize them with native expressions I used in class. Students will immediately see themselves and their teachers reflected in the story (I got some good teacher lines in there as well, all the things you ever wanted to say).  

The story features most vocabulary associated with classroom such as school supplies, classes, class furniture, prepositional phrases and activities related to the classroom activities. Stretching their vocabulary a bit, there is a little bit of poetry from one of the characters such as “ ella es el sol que ilumina mi día” in addition to common idiomatic expressions such as más te vale, no lo aguanto ni en pintura.  Phrases such as these are footnoted, listed in the pre-reading vocabulary and practiced in pre-reading exercises.  My student also used some of this vocabulary to talk about their other teachers (what happens in Spanish class stays in Spanish class!).

 As students read this story, they were on the edge of their seats (they wanted to read aloud because it was fun. I was the narrator to keep the flow). There is considerable dialogue for it to be read aloud. There are also some lines for the whole class such as "¡Vaya!" and "!Ohhhhhh!" during an intense (appropriate to level) debate in chapter 10 (my boys loved this!).  The boys were rooting for Carlos the whole time (Dude, why did you do that?- Jamal), and the girls fell in love with his attempts to woe Jessica (and other funny characters- Rubén is a riot). I had originally wrote only 5 chapters, but they wanted to know what ever happened with Carlos and Jessica, so I finished with La Bella Mentira. The ending will not disappoint. 

Amazing Side Note 
As a post-reading assignment, they begged to write a sequel and prequel so I have them class time to do this (We were at the end of the unit and it was time to assess and move on). One of my students, who came with no experience whatsoever in Spanish, wrote one of the best alternative endings. I included the brief synopsis below. I will include the full narrative after winter break.  

The students were asking me the feminine version of Patán (jerk), the name Jessica calls Carlos in the story (intense scene, but funny). So I could only think of mosquita muerta. Well, Hannah ended up using it in her story. Also, one of the motivations of Carlos' lie was that he had been rejected. She included this, the past tense phrase (not many) in the story into her narrative. It was beautiful and made me think of how students really are sponges. 
Free Teacher's Manual 

Check out the free Teacher’s Manual for this storyIt features 17 front-loading during reading and post-comprehension exercises. This bundle includes pre-reading vocabulary and sentence activity, a Quizlet set (for you techies), sentence writing activities, cloze-text reading text for the story, practice test, listening exercise (you read a passage and students fill out the activity) in addition to contextualized sentences for working some of the idiomatic expressions.  For example, one of the pre-reading activities familiarizes students with some authentic expressions used, such as “ más te vale.” Contextual fill-in-the-blank sentences also offer a unique peek into the story as well as access background knowledge. 

Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. Her presence is both distracting and motivating. 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. From the nosy teacher inadvertently trying to help him “set him up with Jessica” immediately backfires and turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in Carlos’ life; and Rubén is there to witness it all.  After this incident, Carlos takes matters into his own hands and makes the biggest mistake of his adolescent life. Will his social life ever recover? Will his stunt in class win over Jessica, or will it push her away for good? Carlos learns that las mentiras as tienen patas cortas and that the honest is the best policy. Carlos invites you to come along this adventure into La clase de confesiones….todos tienen una confesión (even the teacher!)

I wish I could say that was the end but..Carlos' adventures don't stop here... Carlos mete la pata otra vez


Part 2, takes the adventure up a notch.

Themes: Redemption, Second Chances, Friendship, Courage, Resilience, Rejection... it's a mixed bag. Carlos learns that "las mentiras tienen patas cortas,'" and the only way to win Jessica is by telling the truth (I hear Jack Nicholson in my ear saying " You can't handle the truth!)

Excerpt from chapter 9: La Bella Mentira 

Es jueves y Carlos está triste. Está triste porque tiene la clase de español. La clase de español ya no es su clase favorita. No es su clase favorita porque Carlos escribe sobre Jessica y todos los estudiantes escuchan el párrafo de Carlos. La clase de español no es su clase favorita porque Carlos dice cosas muy malas del profesor. Ahora Carlos está triste porque Jessica está en la clase de español. Carlos piensa en el mensaje de texto de Jessica << Eres un patán.>>

Antes de la clase, Carlos ve a Lucas, su amigo en el pasillo: 

-Hola Carlos, ¿cómo andas? hermano- dice Lucas. 

-Bastante mal, lee esto- dice Carlos. Carlos le enseña a Lucas el texto de Jessica.  

Lucas lee el primero texto de Jessica 

<<Tengo una confesión: tú eres el chico de la clase de español.  Me gustas también.>>

Lucas responde: 
-Enhorabuena, ¡Jessica te gusta!

No exactamente. -Ahora, lee el otro mensaje- dice Carlos

<<Carlos, yo pienso que yo te gusto pero veo que no. Yo pienso que eres un mentiroso y todo que escribes en la clase de español es una mentira. No me gustan los mentirosos. Yo soy alérgica a los mentirosos.  Yo no quiero hablar más contigo… y otra cosa… Eres un patán- Jessy.>>

Lucas lee el segundo mensaje de texto y responde:

 ¡Caray! Esto no es bueno. 

-Sí, yo sé- dice Carlos con un tono triste. -Y ahora tengo la clase de español. 

Jessica está en la clase. Carlos le explica la situación a Lucas. Después, Lucas dice:

-Carlos, ánimo. Yo te ayudo. Tú tienes que ser honesto con ella.  

-¿Honesto?… pero ¿ cómo?- pregunta Carlos.  

-Pues, habla con ella. Dile que tú eres un chico estúpido y que todos necesitamos  una segunda oportunidad.  

-¿Eso es todo?- pregunta Carlos.  

-Sí, no es muy complicado- dice Lucas. 



  1. Just bought both stories to add to my FVR/SSR library! Both sound compelling and relatable for students.

  2. Really useful post to learn spanish because at the beginingg it's so complicated but when you are done some verbs it's pretty easy

  3. Julia, I am glad you've enjoyed it! The book is in print on Amazon if you'd like to add it to your class library.