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Showing posts from 2016

Borrón y cuenta nueva New Year's Activity for Spanish Class

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Borrón y Cuenta Nueva 
Borrón y cuenta nueva, is a common expression around this time of year. It is slowly emerging as my New Year’s Mantra.  As I started to sift through different posts on social media, I became very intrigued as to the origin of this frequently used expression. It made me think about the word Palimpsest that I had learned in graduate school while studying the Chronicles of Columbus. Since Spanish was not Columbus’ first language, Bartolomé de las Casas, transcribed and rewrote 75% Columbus’ journals. The process was compared to a Roman Palimpsest as Columbus' observations were superimposed by those of the Spanish Priests.            For the first day back to school after Holiday break,  all my classes will be engaging in some form of  "Borrón y cuenta nueva" goal setting activity. 
This past year, our staff engaged in a considerable amount of PD on resilience, so why not allow it to take root in the language class. I have created two activities below to …

New Year Tradition in Colombia and Venezuela

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New Year Celebrations in Spanish-Speaking Countries



This year, my goal is to better immerse my students in the traditions and celebrations of the rich cultures of Spanish speaking countries. I say "cultures" to honor the wide range of traditions from Latin America, Spain and Spanish Africa.  We are a few days out until Winter Break and these activities were an attempt to bring in meaningful, comprehensible and fun activities. I have outlined my lessons plans below at the end of this post.  
For both classes, I will be doing the "Maleta" activity. I have seen this ritual in action and it's pretty fun. My husband is from Colombia and last year, at the brink of the New year, many people were running around Cedritos, the neighborhood in which his family lives in Bogotá, the capital.  The activity is pretty simple; you take an empty suitcase (although I would pack it with clothes) and you run around the block. Running about the back is called "dar una vuelta a la…

Las tradiciones de habla hispana- Activities for Spanish 1-4

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This is our last week before break and I wanted to share some short but sweet activities for teaching holiday celebrations at this time.

Resource for Spanish 3 and beyond.
Navidad Hispana and Lotería resource- Spanish 3/4

Resource for Spanish 1
Navidad Hispana and Lotería Short film

The Navidad Hispana resource is by Sergi Martin, the video link is included in the documents. Click here to see the video.  I stumbled upon it this past week and quickly developed some activities that my students could connect to in addition to providing them with an overview of important cultural practices. The video is 14 minutes long,  but I only created resources for the first three minutes.  In an attempt to streamline,  the activity has the same formatting but is differentiated to suit the different levels of students.

Celebraciones de América Latina Videos and resources.

Resource for Spanish 3 and beyond.
Navidad Hispana and Lotería resource- Spanish 3/4 

Resource for Spanish 1
Navidad Hispana and Lo…

Internado Episodio 4:10 Freebies- Edición Escándalo- Gossip Column

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5 Activities for processing chapter 4 of El Internado 
Chapter 4 of El Internado is one of the craziest and most scandalous in the fist suite of episodes. We learn the deeper secrets about the characters. We learn about el descaro de Elsa, la conflictividad sentimental de Carolina and, well, a fin de cuentas, somos de barro y no de hierro, en otras palabras, Iván as feelings too.

I created these resources for my students (free to you) because I wanted to capitalize on four things, hence this post: Discouraging students from speaking in English, Keeping them accountable for what they watch, Writing a Gossip Column about events, but with their own unique twists, reviewing by way of dialogue (I created a dialogue of two students talking about the steamy Internado episode). I found the dialogue to be a much better way of reviewing! 
Internado 4: Edición Escándolo Remix 
1. I was so irritated that students kept talking in English during the episode, so I gave them this  Expressions placemat …

7 Free Gustar Activities to guarantee fun in the class!

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Activities that promote a clear path to mastery; practice builds confidence. 
This week,  I'd like to share a few activities surrounding the structure gustar that helped my students stay in the target language, engage with authentic resources and stimulate ongoing conversation in the class. I implemented the lesson  referenced in this post with my Spanish I students, who truly were novice-low at the beginning of the year (I am used to having novice-mid first year).  Since my students were starting from scratch (pronouncing que as "qwue"),  I have had to retrofit my curriculum, to account for the needs of my present class. If you are like me, in need to some quick curriculum overalls, check out previous posts below, otherwise, enjoy the free Gustar activities! 
1. A new spin on teaching the date and other boring things in Spanish! 2. Refine your Spanish curriculum with these authentically engaging tasks: variety is the spice!
3. Authentic vocabulary- rich Videos and activit…

Diversity and the politics of Identity- Last of a four part Identity series for Spanish 4

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The Politics of Identity This week the plan was to engage in a topic that has been sweeping the country and framing many political debates: the fluidity and diversity of identity. At my school, this has been a very heavy topic. We have been knee- deep in discussion about identity for this unit and this was our last week.  Students have learned from each other about their respective identity and the pluralistic ways in which they express who they are.  In addition, our school district crafted a new policy on All Gender bathrooms, so this unit, at this juncture was very timely, to say the least.   Although we did not get the activities below, (my summative assessment was the speaking task at the end of this post), I have outlined how to implement the last segment with your students. The last leg of the unit on identity consists on watching two videos that discuss La Ley de la Identidad and reading the text: Los Chicos Trangénero (please note that "transgénero" was singular in …

100% in the Target Language?

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¡Auxilio! 

Teaching 100% in the TL? 



This year I am struggling with staying 100 % in the target language. Although I slow down and try as much as possible to make the input comprehensible, I still hear students asking- what did she say?  Many students are still shy to ask questions, they want to look "cool" in front of their peers. Many times I just feeling like tirando la toalla and just giving them simple instructions in English. However, I am manteniendo la calma; I don't know for how much longer. I have thought about stopping and making it mandatory for them to ask me questions, but I have doubts about this method as well. How much of class is directed in the target langauge?   


Teaching Grammar?

My other question concerns teaching grammar and providing instructions for projects.  I rarely teach grammar, but when I do mini lessons or give them "flipped" homework, they come to class with questions about the grammar. I struggle with should I stick in the target l…

Promoting Sticking Power with Multiple Interactions with the Same Text

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Facilitating Thinking and Learning with Chat Stations 

This post is the third in a four series lesson on Identity for my upper level Spanish class.  

Part 1: Taking of the Mask 
Part 2: Comprehensible Culture 




Right before administering a reading assessment that draws on the article students read, the videos and discussion in class (see posts 1 and 2), I decided to enact Chat Stations in the class. I learned about this idea from the Cult of Pedagogy last year during my unit on Arte. After discussing questions at the Chat Stations, students felt that the were more prepared to engage in the reading assessment.

The Benefits of Chatting it out

We have 90 minute block periods in my school.  I made sure that students, prior to taking the assessment, had additional time to process the concepts and ideas from the reading and the video. For their warm up activity, they had re-engage with the text with the question on the slide.

This activity allowed students to interact again with the text and c…

"Comprehensible Culture" in the World Language Classroom: How do experiences shape who we are?

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Los jóvenes de Argentina 

This post is the second in a five series lessons on Identity for my upper level Spanish class.  Click here to read about the beginning lessons, video and speaking activities that inform the tasks below.


A. The skinny

One of my goals (among many) for this year is to incorporate "comprehensible culture" in the classroom.  Many times as language teachers we get so caught up in the language that the contextualizing culture gets left behind. I am becoming more cognizant of this as I plan. My aim is to include rich language experiences and culture. This unit on Identity does this in several ways:


Students have an opportunity to understand how they construct identity (psychological and biological point of view) They share that construction of their identity with other students They learn about how teens in the target culture think about identity Students engage in dialogue on a series of subtopics  Quick links: Activities referenced on this blog post can be …