Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class, Thematic Units

Divide and Conquer: Digital Resources that Add Some Jazz to Class!

Well, we have two new resources in the Teaching Spanish Made Easy family! Check them out! And best of all, you can use for remote instruction or face to face!

I love writing and even more so short stories. These are my new ones out the gate. First up we have “Mi vida es un drama total.” I story I created for my students during remote learning to emphasize daily routine, but it morphed into something more! Here are the specs:

  • Level 2 E-book (20 pages)
    • Word versions of activities and story have been included to adapt to teachers’ needs!
  • 18 pages of activities
    • Comprehension questions
    • Vocabulary activities
    • Illustration activities
    • Discussion activities
  • Mostly present tense with a smattering of past tense. Footnotes are used for the past tense sections
  • Themes include:
    • Daily routine
    • Navigating romantic relationships
    • Being oneself
    • Family & school pressure
    • Honesty & truthfulness

Synopsis

Yolanda- Is an only child, and her parents love her dearly. So much, they want to control what she wears, what she eats, and the future she chooses for herself! To make matters worse, her father works at her school and is constantly adding pressure to her life to succeed. She cannot escape his notice, he is hasta por la sopa! Lucas, her best friend, is rooting for her. He’s in her corner, trying to to be the truth whisperer and guide Yolanda in the right direction… which is not back into the arms of her narcissist boyfriend: Jaime. The tension thickens between Yolanda and her father; Lucas and her father; Yolanda and her ex; and Lucas and her ex! She wants to strike out on her own, be her own person, and be free of it all. Will she confront the controlling people in her life or simply play back up to their dreams for her?

El horario de Mónica

El horario de Mónica

Spanish level 1: Novice-Mid/High

Language: Mostly present -tense verbs (pueden, estudia, mira)

The answer key is included!

Totally E-learning adaptable

Mónica is excited about school because her school allowed students to have input in the new schedule. As a result, she has meditation, computer programing, Mexican Cinema, and Genius Hour. Mónica discusses her schedule, and her newfound interest: learning about the culture and contributions of Afromexicanos.

The benefit to your students: Comprehensibility & Culture

Your students will get to review important vocabulary related to school in a new exciting way. They will how students in Mónica school benefit from meditation and how they can actively pursue their own learning through projects such as Genius Hour. Students will also learn about an important Afromexican figure, her ambition, and drive to succeed in life; all in a comprehensible manner!

Resources included:

1. Short reading about Mónica’s schedule with new vocabulary headlining the activity. Unfamiliar words to Novice-mid students have been footnoted.

2. A colorful version of Mónica’s schedule: students can practice days of the week and times.

3. Comprehensible questions regarding Mónica’s schedule. Students will pick up some incidental vocabulary as well!

4. Comprehension questions about Mónica’s schedule

5. One and a half page mini-biography of a famous Afromexican

6. True/false questions regarding the mini-biography

7. Compare and contrast with your schedule/ school situation

Digital learning adaptable

The Word version for the activity is also included so teachers can post on their desired learning platform.

The resources above are just the tip of the iceberg! There is more to see and read in this literary sea of opportunities.

Stories by topic

Stories about resilience, values, and acceptance

Eres perfecto
Eres perfecto. This is a short story about a girl looking for love, but she has what she perceives as a physical defect. She meets a guy online and learns how to overcome her insecurity. In the story, we chose to list a very uncommon characteristic/perceived “defect” so that students would not feel uncomfortable. The story is written in the present tense with many of the same personality traits and physical traits are interwoven throughout in addition to cognates and some common verbs such as busca, mira, quiere, voy, ir. Unfamiliar vocabulary is footnoted. This story features pre and post-reading material (4 activities)

En la papelería

A short story about two- Colombian boy-crazed teens who go shopping for school supplies at a local papelería (the infographic of the Papelería and sales is included). While they discuss common topics about school, boys, and ditching class (Raquel), they stumble upon an all too common situation in the local store. They’ll have the chance to look beyond their privilege and “pay it forward.” This opportunity makes them think more about their good fortune and future decisions.

Gracias

«Gracias» is a short, yet heartwarming story about a young boy whose Venezuelan family has to immigrate to Colombia. It’s his first day of school, and he feels a little bit out to place. He initially happy to be in school and have some sense of normalcy, but is now rethinking the school experience. When the teacher moves close to his desk, to ask about his school supplies, Sam is petrified. The teacher notices, and does something incredible. In the end, Sam feels that he belongs.

EnRedados: Stories about Social Media

Caray, mi abuela tiene un móvil inteligente
Short story for Spanish 2 and beyond! This story can be easily adapted to online class learning as activities are included (vocabulary, and comprehension questions for each chapter). The story has been recently updated with color images. Click here to access bundle for more engaging stories.

Synopsis: Sara enjoys hanging out with her crazy “Primos” and “Tíos” at their weekly “Reunión” at “La casa de la abuela.” From listening to her crazy aunt’s tales about the adventures of internet dating to her grandmother’s funny jokes (comprehensible & appropriate), she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on Sunday. However, this Sunday is super special because it is her grandmother’s birthday, and Sara has just made her day by buying her a smartphone. While Sara teaches her “abuelita” how to use the smartphone, her grandmother discovers some “creative uses” for her new smartphone. Abuela Irma realizes even at 75 years old, her best years are ahead of her!

La cita inolvidable

La cita inolvidable is a short story with many laughable twists! Luis has just recovered from an almost deadly relationship and is desiring to move forward. Frustrated with this dating luck, his friends suggest he starts looking for love online. He’s not excited about the idea, but his traditional way of finding a suitable companion has exactly churned out results. Conflicted, he decides to give it a try; and he immediately becomes entangled in a web of craziness! Will he regret dating online, or embrace the adventure? Find out why this story is titled, “La cita inolvidable.”

No pasa nada

No pasa nada

Manuela, a selfie-crazed teen, is madly in love with her boyfriend. She has finally found someone who her parents approve of, and that’s hard if you know anything about her parents. However, one day, her boyfriend makes a seemingly innocent request. She’s a bit surprised because his request conjures up a lot of feelings; it also goes against everything she was taught. She begins to wrestle with self-image, wanting approval, and making the right decisions. Can teenagers withstand peer pressure? Do they always cave in? Who decides what is right and wrong? These questions guide and frame a decision that could have major consequences. She has five minutes to decide, should she follow her heart, or should she follow her brain?

La obsesión digital

La obsesión digital will have something for everyone! Nuria and her family are utterly dependent on technology. Her parents, once a tranquil and loving couple, struggle to balance the demands of their jobs while spending valuable time with their kids. The effects are obvious: Nuria’s brother is far deep into the world of virtual technology, and Nuria is addicted to social media.

However, when her grandma’s comes to visit, the family experiences an expected shake up; and their secrets are slowly revealed. Grandma has a plan for the family (plus, they cannot resist her cooking). Before they “accept” the terms and conditions of this new approach to life, they will have to “unplug” from their social media, put their devices in “airplane” mode, while pushing past their addictions to be a family. Can they do it? Can you?

Family Life & Daily Routine

Los adolescentes de hoy en día

When Myra’s dad gets stuck in South America on a business trip, she has to pick up a little more slack at home; and she is not happy about the new reality. Her mother is doing the best she can to keep the family afloat, working from home, managing a career and three kids as a temporary single mother, and Myra is not being cooperative at all. She is more focused on her dreams, desires, and dates. Tensions rise, and all the cards are put on the table. Myra has a big decision to make. Should she put life on hold to help her family, or should she sacrifice their needs, to fulfills hers?

Mi vida es un drama total

Yolanda- Is an only child, and her parents love her dearly. So much, they want to control what she wears, what’s she eats, and the future she chooses for herself! To make matters worse, her father works at her school and is constantly adding pressure to her life to succeed. She cannot escape his notice, he is hasta por la sopa! Lucas, her best friend, is rooting for her. He’s in her corner, trying to to be the truth whisperer and guide Yolanda in the right direction… which is not back into the arms of her narcissist boyfriend. The tension thickens between Yolanda and her father; Lucas and her father; Yolanda and her ex; and Lucas and her ex! She wants to strike out on her own, be her own person, and be free of it all. Will she confront the controlling people in her life or simply play back up to their dreams for her?

La fiesta

Romeo is having trouble picking out something to wear for a school party. His “scheming” sister offers to help so that she could further her own agenda. Will her plan help Romeo or ultimately backfire? Find out in “La fiesta.”

Thrillers

La policía ejemplar

Marcela and Rhonda are hardworking policewomen in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As they take notice of the lively nocturnal scene, they count their blessings that their shift is almost over. But, it isn’t. The police dispatch gives them their last assignment…and it changes one of their lives forever (Happy ending).

This story is written mostly in the past tense. Unfamiliar words are bolded. The story incorporates cultural references from Argentina such as Bombonera Stadium, La Boca Neighborhood, Immigration, and Night Life (nothing inappropriate).

La pesadilla (coming soon!)

Me gusta tu ropa

Looking for a fun way to review clothing, personality traits, school vocabulary, and present tense structures? Me gusta tu ropa is the perfect option! This short and thrilling new story features a bevy of present tense verbs such as gusta, tiene, son, es, prefiere, puede, quiere, dice, embedded in a context of cognates and/or common vocabulary to facilitate comprehension.

Synopsis

Everyone thinks that Clara is Rebeca, and this is by design! Clara is obsessed with Rebeca’s clothing, her hairstyle… even her boyfriend. She has all the teachers fooled, even the principal, who doesn’t wear his glasses in an attempt to look younger. However, the obsession deepens as Clara takes her “imitation game” to new heights. Clara tries to fool Rebeca’s boyfriend… this scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Your students will love this story and the drama!

Afro-Latina Pioneering Woman

Vanessa Mendoza

Whether you are looking for an activity for Black History month, or want your students to know about the lives of Afro-Hispanic people, start with Vanessa Mendoza! She was Colombia’s first Beauty Queen of African descent, and it’s perfect for Spanish 1!

Alejandra Robles

Berta Vázquez

Invite more Afro-Spanish representation in your curriculum with this elaborate introduction to Berta Vásquez. Students will immediately widen their perspective and learn about his trailblazing woman who continues to break barriers. Best of all, this is digitally compliant! Both PDFs and Word copies have been included to make your life easier!

Looking for more FVR novels for your class? I have teamed up with Fluency Matters and my novels, featured below is part of their E-learning platform!

Instagram: a.c. quintero 

Twitter: @klasekastellano 

Facebook/TPT: Teaching Spanish Made Easy 

Website: acquinterobooks.com 

Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero 

Youtube channel

 Catalog: unlocking potential, one story at a time 

Comprehensible Input, Identity,, Thematic Units

The Formation and Politics of Identity: Spanish Level 4 Unit by A.C. Quintero

Picture by E. Gómez, Barcelona

In an effort to give teachers a peek inside my classroom, I will be using this space to share resources, ideas, and lessons that have shaped by Identity unit for my level 4 classroom. This unit consists of a plethora of resources, both paid and free. Some of the resources were authored by me, while others are contributions other teacher authors. I am listing as I go, with the goal of distilling everything into implementable lesson plans (long-term goal). If you have tips in terms of organization, please email me, and I will try my best to organize the information so that it is accessible and useful to teachers. My units are broken down into phases. Each phase culminates with either a formative assessment or a summative one.

Phase 1: Let’s Get To Know Each Other

Task 1: Special Person Interviews 

I implement this unit the first week back to school. After doing “La máquina de tiempo” and Allison Wienhold’s Find someone who activity, we delve right into Special Person, or “La persona especial. 

This activity was developed by Bryce Hedstrom, and has been used by countless of world language teachers. In an identity unit at the beginning of the year, it is the perfect task to get students to find out about their classmates. The Special Person’s activity is guided by this free resource: Todo sobre mí.

How Do We Get From “Todo Sobre Mí” To Special Persons Interviews

#1 Model the type of response you want

I invite students to interview me, asking me those same questions as those listed on the activity Todo sobre mí. This will give students an opportunity to listen to my responses to the questions, vet the activity, and hopefully, determine that it is a safe and fun activity for them. Sharing things about themselves during the first week could be very daunting, but these questions are perfect for upper-level (they represent a mix, in my opinion) high schoolers.

1.  Students complete the Todo sobre mí activity 

2.  I review questions that’ll prompt the answers to the questions on the board. For example, students have to provide information on their favorite application. I’d ask students to write the question that would solicit that particular response.

3. Students then move into groups to converse about their preferences as detailed on the Todo sobre mí activity. This becomes the basis of our Persona especial

Where is the input? 

Since we watch El Internado, students would read about these famous actors from Spain. I got this resource from Martina. You can click on it here to be directed to her TPT store. It was a great way to discuss other people in the target language. I also created an additional one to add some diversity, and she is one of my favorite actresses on Spanish television.  You can click on that resource here!

Task 2: Interviewing students 

A la Bryce, 10 students are interviewed everyday until we are done interviewing. I only require students to take notes on 4 students a day. Click here for the organizing document.

Task 3: Assessing the students

Phase 2: What Is Identity?

The next phase of our unit, we start to explore identity. The core of this unit, is comprised of my identity resource packet. You can click here for details. This resource packet consists of 25 activities, including readings on the construction of identity. It includes reading comprehension questions, debates, and writing prompts. There are more abridged versions of this resource on TPT.

Task 1: ¡Soy yo!

Who doesn’t love this anthem about identity? I know that there are many great resources regarding how to Movie talk or Picture talk this song. This is the one that I use, and I very much enjoy it. Click here for the resource!

Since the band is from Bogotá, I play this video to give students a taste of what the city is like. You may find other helpful videos, to introduce student to Colombia!

1. Listen to the song, just to absorb the beat (see TPT packet for video on Youtube). 
.4. Go on to Quizlet and review the flashcards (10 minutes). Have them make observations of the tense (past tense). 
4. Reflection: Describe a time when you… Me caí, fracasé, me paré, te criticaron/ share out. 
5. Sing the song with your class!! We always try to conquer the fast melody, but fail every time. It creates laughter and community.

Task 2: Taking A Deeper Dive

We view this video that is inextricably related to adolescents and identity. The video can be accessed on Youtube.com by clicking the link here. The materials that I have created for the video are free on TPT. Click on this link to see how I introduce the theme.

What does teaching this video look like in my class?

1. Students complete the preliminary questions prior to watching the video. These questions are on identity. For example, students are asked to offer a definition of what is identity, and then, who determines your identity.

2. As students share out, I draw an identity concept map on the board. We list out elements such as culture, traditions, music, language, etc. I ask them to provide examples, to get the conversation going.

3. We watch the video on Identity, which is in English, but has very few words offered by the protagonist. She walks around the school with a mask and is pretty mum the whole time.

4. After the video, I have them write down their reactions immediately. I have them share whatever they can about the video. I do this as a confidence builder. Then, I ask them questions about the video with language and vocabulary tied to certain parts. For instance, I asked why they thought the girl had on a mask, why was unique about her mask, who else was wearing a mask.

Side note: One student said he noticed that the teachers did not have masks on, and that he thought they should also wear them!


Frida Painting and Poem Comparison

A few years ago, I stumbled upon this poem, “La mujer del otro lado” by Sylvia Mejía. It is the perfect addition to an identity unit because it oozes with declarations and dichotomies about the nuances of identity.

We did this poem on the heels of our “Soy yo” song, so it was the perfect segue to exploring the theme even more. Here was the game plan:

  • We had students examine the Frida painting ” The Border”. I thought many of what was referenced in the poem about identity could be visually illustrated with this painting. It also reacquainted them with Frida as an artist, consummate example of strong identity (Our Frida unit with Kristy Plácido’s book is set for February). Students described all the elements in the pictures and discussed some of the elements related to identity as well.
  • They read the poem with this poem guide. Later, we compared and contrasted with the poem
  • After reading and discussing the painting and poem, we administered this formative assessment.

Yalitza

The rise of Yalitza from the cultural rich pueblo of Oaxaca, also piqued my interest this year. Since her debut in Roma, and EL Sol article last year published about her, I wanted to find a way to sneak her into the already jammed-packed curriculum; and I did! Below are a few activities, references to resources that made this mini-unit possible. Here was the game plan:

  • First, I wanted to make sure students had a change to become familiar with Oaxaca and all the rich things he had to offer. So we did this scavenger hunt. I supplied students with websites where they could access the information in Spanish. You can click here for this activity.
  • Internet Scavenger Hunt Activity
  • They also had this Quizlet set of vocabulary words. These words were extrapolated from the upcoming readings, and subsequent listening activities. Due to copyright, I cannot share the article from El Sol, but I encourage you to visit their website to see all the great offering they have for the CI classroom!
  • Following Quizlet, students worked on these contextualized sentences with the vocabulary. This particular activity gave them an opportunity to get a brief preview of these words in context. It also made their Quizlet work a bit more challenging.
  • Following the scavenger hunt, students had an opportunity to talk about what they researched. If we are following the input/output paradigm. They received their input from reading about landmarks, food, etc. The output was an outgrowth of that.
  • Listening: Students listened to this video. Instead of providing specific questions, I wanted to see what they had actually understood. They listened to the video and then responded to these questions. I was pleasantly surprised that most of them performed extremely well on this activity.
  • Students had this article to read. I had them only read the first two pages. We stopped where it said “Grabación de Roma.” The goal was to get them more acquainted with her life. Prior to reading we did this pre-vocabulary activity as well.