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, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Miguel tiene que estudiar: The Perfect Digital Resource For Spanish 1!

I discovered the story, “Miguel tiene que estudiar” (available on TPT) last year with my Spanish 1 students. They absolutely loved it. The raved about it for ever! As I read each slide to them, each fragment of the story was met with visceral reactions as this the main character prioritizes playing games over learning. Then, he disrespected his teacher, which garnered stares (some high-fives) because they know they could not talk like that to me! The story is cute, compelling and comprehensible, but most important it is relatable: a kid who does not like to study but rather play games. What a concept!

Click here for more resources by Spanish Plans!

For context, I have Spanish I class three classes a week for 48 minutes (Spanish IV on the other days).

This year, since we have been online, I decided to reinstitute the story. I worried about reading it online because with the mute function, I would hear the spectrum of their reaction. But as always, I had a plan for that too! I ended up making this story into the week’s lesson, here is how I used it and it went beautifully. This resource was easily adapted to the online platform. Here is what I approached it:

This was a fun activity! You can get this story on Teacherspayteachers.com. It is by Spanishplans.

Other stories on the topic of school

  1. Picture talk- this is a CI staple in the classroom and is just as versatile online.
    • For every mini-activity (such as picture talk), I assign questions. I normally single out 3-5 students (beforehand). I let them know that they are going to respond to the following questions about the picture projected on the screen:
    • ¿Cómo se llama el estudiante?
    • ¿Dónde está?
    • ¿Qué tiene que hacer el estudiante?
    • ¿Cuál es el conflicto?
    • ¿Qué juego le gusta jugar?
    • ¿Qué juego te gusta jugar?
    • ¿Lo juegas todos los días?
    • ¿Qué es más importante, jugar o estudiar?
    • ¿Cuántas horas al día se debe jugar los videojuegos?
  2. I read the first 4 slides of the story and asked students questions. They then had to read the rest of the story and respond to these comprehension questions first. The next day, we did the Conversation Circle. I wanted them to understand the story and feel confident in responding, which is why I gave them the comprehension questions first.
  3. The next class, we had conversation circle: I asked students these questions for the Conversation Circle. It went pretty smooth.
  4. Comparison: Miguel y yo (this activity was the last question on the comprehension questions). Students compared themselves with Miguel. No surprise here, they all prefer playing video games to studying!

I love using resources from Spanish Plans. You can check out their store of compelling imput here! Spanishplans.org or Spanish Plans Resources on TPT

Other short stories exploring school topics can found below:

Dreaming In Spanish Bundles

Mi colegio ideal

¿Quién es la chica nueva en la escuela (dialogue with pictures)?

En la papelería

Gracias

El bolígrafo

En la cafetería

La nueva estudiante

Uncategorized

Virtual Special Person Interview : Remote Learning Edition

Special Person’s Interview, made popular by Bryce Hedstrom, is one of my favorite activities to do with students. I usually implement this CI rich, get-to-know you strategy at the beginning of the year while building community; then I recycle it throughout many units where students’ lives and interests can further unfold. The purpose of this activity is to get to know other people, their interests, passions etc. Usually, I am at the helm of the conversation, asking all the questions; however, last week, tables were slightly turned. I did a guest author appearance to Sra. Hendrix’s Spanish class. I was their ” persona especial virtual.  This post sums up my experience being the “persona especial” as well as offer ideas about how YOU can use an activity like this to liven up virtual classes, provide critical input, and give your students a unique experience.

I Love When Events Unfold Organically

I had the pleasure of crashing Ms. Hendrix’s upper-level Spanish class and being interviewed by her amazing and well-prepared students! Best of all, neither one of us had actually planned this!

One week prior to our interview, she had posted puppets of characters in the level 1 school crush- gone- awry novel “La clase de confesiones.” I was as intrigued by the lesson as I was impressed with her artistic skills and creativity. She was doing a virtual puppet show for students! She had used the paper puppets to review the novel, and I couldn’t think of a better way to engage students.

Sra. Hendrix’s Puppet Show

I commented on her FB post and shared it with my followers as this was a great activity that teachers could do with any novel, at any level. However, our message exchange did not stop there. The next day, I received a second message from Sra. Hendrix about another book of mine that her students had enjoyed. At this point, I was like, “I have to meet these students!” With permission from her students, she sent me the pictures below of them reading and drawing out different scenes from the level 3 thriller “El escape.”

El Parque de Los Perros

Well, as most of you know “El escape” is one of my favorite novels as it explores the dangers of social media and technology among teens. Since she raved about her students’ excitement for reading the novel, I offered to drop by before my class; she gladly extended the invitation. 

In just a few days, her students were able to compose questions about the novel, the nature of writing, my long term goals, and professions; and their questions were deep! They asked me about my inspiration for my novels and I, of course, spilled the beans! I told them about my crazy teachers and classmates from middle school who were reincarnated as characters in the book, mixed in with my experience as a teacher. I really appreciated the time that Sra. Hendrix took to coach them on questions. They were organized, direct, and I was such a great experience for me to see students so passionate about learning another language, and so respectful of my work. I also want to give a shoutout to Sra. Hendrix and her approach to the interview. If any teacher is interested in having a guest speaker, the items below can help you organize it so that it’s worthwhile for all participants.

1. There was a class ambassador. She introduced herself and the class and gave me an overview of what they were going to ask. 

2. Each student had a prepared question, and each of those questions were well-crafted (there was also a document with questions so I could look at that as well).

3. They asked a wide range of questions. I thought they were only going to ask about the book, but they actually inquired about my lifelong goals and where I saw myself in the next 5 years. That was profound! I love how they connected this interview to what they were currently learning. 

Overall, I had a great time connecting with Ms. Hendrix, an awesome educator on the East Coast and her students. Her love for teaching and great relationships with students was extremely palpable and I had a great time! 

You can hear the interview here if you like, these kids were amazing!

More about “La clase de confesiones”

See animated book Trailer here

Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. She is the reason he “tolerates” his boring class. 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. First, his nosy teacher tries to “set him up with Jessica,” this plan immediately backfires. Then, the unthinkable happens and Carlos is stunned. This turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. But all is not lost. If Carlos plays his cards right, he could have a winning hand. Carlos invites you to come along on this adventure into “La clase de confesiones” where…”todos tienen una confesión,” even the teacher!

More about “El escape”

Can an obsession with technology, turn deadly? Well, these techy teens are about to find out. Federico and his friends have an insatiable desire to “capture” and “record” every memorable moment. However, not all memories are created equal, and these boys are about to discover this harsh reality. Against the advice of a town elder, these thrill-seeking “know-it-all” teenagers set out to film their usual pranks and upload them to Youtube…and they won’t get the last laugh. They stumble upon an incident that has the hashtag #danger, written all over it. Anxious to add to their video repertoire, they press record. Now they’ve become the ”victims” of a new crime thriller. There is no turning back. Federico and his friends must outsmart the bad guys, get “deleted” forever.

Novel by A.C. Quintero Catalog

Novel and Resources by A.C. Quintero

Books on Amazon

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers

Flipping The Script: CI Novels in French and Spanish by Author Terri Marrama

I had the privilege of speaking to yet another CI author, who is flipping the script in Spanish and in French! Theresa Marrama is a French CI teacher, who has been working with authors such as Jennifer Degenhardt and A.C. Quintero on adapting their books from Spanish to French. What I did not know, is that Terri had some compelling stories herself! She debuted her first novel last year, Une obsession dangereuse, available at fluencymatters.com. Her debut novel was the first, but not the last we’ve heard from her. Her quill has not gone dry; this year has seen a record number of books from Terri in both Spanish, and French. And, watch out German teachers, she is also coming for your classroom library as well! Check out her author’s page here, to see for yourself.

Who is Theresa Marrama?

Theresa Marrama is a dynamic French teacher who has been in the trenches for more than 11 years. She has been holding down the fort, teaching French in Northern New York. Her students span from levels 1 to 4, from grades 7 to 11. Three years ago, Terri took another bold step in her teaching career (teaching is the first!), she joined the Comprehensible Input (CI) corps of teachers; she’s a been a fierce advocate of the approach. This year, she went from practitioner to literary contributor, as you will see as your read on!

Reading As The Cornerstone

Like most CI teachers, her favorite teacher-input activities are movie talk and picture talk, however, the cornerstone of her curriculum is reading. She places great emphasis on reading with her classes and allowing time for students to soak up this practice and regularly explore her Free Voluntary Reading Library (FVR). Well, now we have the opportunity to have her books in our library as well!

What Is FVR?

Note: FVR , for those of your hearing this term for the first time, a classroom library comprised of chapters books that are written at the students’ level. These book present a host of topics, and storylines yet told with very limited unique vocabulary that allows for reading comprehension, a low cognitive load, and can greatly facilitate language acquisition. You can visit Mike Peto’s blogs for more information FVR. He also wrote a book on Pleasure Reading! You can see a picture of my FVR library below if you are unfamiliar with this concept. Also, check out the twitter accounts of teachers such as @lovemysummers, @karajacobs, @janina_hanson to see how they structure their classroom libraries.

Teacher-Author

Theresa started writing CI novels about three years ago. She had begun to use more comprehension- based readers in her classes, and immediately witnessed the impact they had on her students’ language acquisition. She wanted to contribute more readers to her own classroom library, as there were not as many readers in French. So, she picked up a pen. Theresa confessed that she loves writing about mysteries, culture, and heartfelt stories that everyone can relate to ( we definitely have that in common! I am a mystery girl myself)! Because of Theresa’s penchant to flip the script and contribute to the growing body of comprehensible literature, we can now line our libraries with new, compelling mysteries, in French, Spanish, and German. Let’s take a look at what Theresa has to offer, and why YOU DON’T WANT YOUR KIDS TO MISS OUT!

Theresa has authored the following books:
Une obsession dangereuse – Françoise’s obsession with alligators is a bit concerning, but when she plans a face-to-face encounter, it becomes downright dangerous. As she and her friend Monique secretly venture out into the bayou for an alligator encounter, they discover that both alligators and the bayou are much safer when viewed on TV ! Françoise finds herself in a life-or-death situation, and her only hope for survival rests on the wits of a 13- year-old girl.  

Une obsession dangereuse is available on Fluency Matters website. http://www.fluencymatters.com

Une disparition mystèrieuse – It has been a week since Alice’s best friend Dominique disappeared. Since that day, Alice’s world has turned upside down, and her life has begun to spiral out of control. Will Alice see her best friend again? Did Alice pay enough attention to the details leading up to her friend’s disappearance? Will an old Louisiana legend come to life? Will she discover a far greater mystery that has haunted the marshes of Louisiana for years?  
REVIEW OF BOOK : 

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***Also available in Spanish*** 
Una desaparición misteriosa-It has been a week since Ana’s best friend Daniela disappeared. Since that day, Ana’s world has turned upside down, and her life has begun to spiral out of control. Will Ana see her best friend again? Did Ana pay enough attention to the details leading up to her friend’s disappearance? Will an old Peruvian legend come to life? Will she discover a far greater mystery that has haunted the children of Peru for years?  

Review of the book:

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L’île au trésor: Première partie: La malédiction de l’île Oak –

Daniel is a typical teenager who just wants to spend his summer vacation with his friends. Unfortunately, he must spend another summer in Canada, where his father works. Will his summer be as boring as the last, or will he manage to make the most of it in the absence of his friends? Will he find adventure and excitement in the long days ahead?  

Review of Book :

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La ofrenda de Sofía-It has been nearly a year since her grandfather has passed away. Sofía is not coping very well with his death or her recent move to Mexico. The Day of the Dead celebration is approaching and Sofía’s mom is persistent in her efforts to get her to participate. Will Sofía learn things about her grandfather that she didn’t know? Will she learn the true meaning of the Day of the Dead celebration?  

Review of book:It’s full of suspense and heart.
Ooooh!  It’s a page turner!!  Pick it up for your classroom libraries!!

Léo et Anton –  

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Anton is different – a mouse that isn’t afraid of cats who lives in the Parc du Bois-Beckett forest in Quebec, Canada with his mom and dad. But, Anton is not happy. He doesn’t have any friends, and he is not allowed to explore the forest alone as his father fears he will get attacked by a cat.  Will Anton venture alone into the forest against his father’s will?  Will Anton ever be able to make any friends? Will Anton’s courage get him into trouble? Sometimes it is our differences that not only set us apart from others but make us exactly the same.

Luis y Antonio –  

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Antonio is different – a mouse that isn’t afraid of cats who lives in the Arrayes forest in Argentina with his mom and dad. But, Antonio is not happy. He doesn’t have any friends, and he is not allowed to explore the forest alone as his father fears he will get attacked by a cat.  Will Antonio venture alone into the forest against his father’s will?  Will Antonio ever be able to make any friends? Will Antonio’s courage get him into trouble? Sometimes it is our differences that not only set us apart from others but make us exactly the same.  

Review of the book:

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This story (Léo et Anton) will soon be available in German as well. 
Theresa has 2 more stories in the works! Please stay tuned 🙂 
You can find all of her books and audio book CD’s for her books at her website : www.compellinglanguagecorner.com

Theresa Marrama’s book are becoming a staple for teachers looking for compelling comprehensible literature. I have several of her books, and will be adding more to my classroom library. If you want to find out more about Theresa, check out her website and her Amazon’s author’s page.

The Compelling Language Corner

Theresa Marrama Author’s Page

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.

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Caras Vemos, Corazones No Sabemos: A New and Compelling Novel From The Creative Mind of Theresa Jensen

The world of reading in the target language just got bigger, adding more intriguing layers with the new novel, Caras Vemos, from Theresa Jensen. Over the summer, we saw a record number of teachers, picking up the pen with the goal of enriching our literary experiences, and upping the acquisition factor. Some of the books featured this summer were La última prueba by Jennifer Degenhardt, La ofrenda de Sofía by Theresa Marrama, Alice, La liste by Cecile Laine, and El mensaje by A.C. Quintero. Jensen added to this working body of student-friendly literature with the highly anticipated, Caras vemos (corazones no sabemos). In this post, you will get to know Theresa, what compels her to write, and why you should get her new book! Best of all, she has just published a teacher’s manual, so if you are thinking about this book for a classroom novel, go for it! She’s got you covered!

This summer, I had the opportunity to speak withTheresa, and I learned that she is very letrada! She has been teaching for a total of 20 years! She currently teaches Spanish level 3. Her knowledge of curriculum spans the gamut, as she teaches in both the AP and IB programs. Adding to the mix of thematic and skill-based learning, she is celebrating her 10th year as a TPRS practitioner. The these experiences have enriched her grasp on language acquisition, and guided her on her first CI reader: Caras Vemos. See the transcript of our conversation below:

A.C: What is your favorite aspect of teaching with CI/TPRS? What changes have you seen when you started experimenting with this approach?

TJ: My relationship with my students is different than it ever has been, as the focus is on them. I feel like before I was more of a taskmaster, more focused on the curriculum. Now I am 100% about helping each individual student achieve his/her potential. I always wanted that, but the different methods brought about by CI-based instruction have helped me connect more with students and reach even my less invested students. My absolute favorite part about CI is the sheer JOY it brings to my classroom.

A.C: Do you have a favorite CI/TPRS resource?

TJ: Currently Señor Wooly is just about my favorite discovery.

A.C. Free Voluntary Reading has really taken off these last few years. I remember learning about it from Mike Peto, and although I was an author, at that point, I had only read some novels, both mine and others with my students and some short stories. I had not started with FVR reading. Once I did, I was amazed! What role has FVR reading have in your curriculum?

TJ: Last year I began a FVR program with my students. I was very concerned they would just pretend to read, but the research was so convincing, I had to try. I did everything I could to fund it. I wrote little books, printed free books online, and bought them with my own money. We did it once a week, and at first it was a little tough for some of my students. They had never read by themselves before. As the year went on, through observation and Google form surveys, I saw that their interest and confidence increased. They were so proud they were reading books all by themselves! They actually looked forward to reading! Then, I brought up the idea for Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, which I sponsor, to provide a mobile FVR library for our department (9 Spanish teachers). From the start, my colleagues began doing FVR with their classes for the first time, and their students loved it! The library is continually growing, and this year I have a mini library so we can do FVR more than once a week! It has been transformative!

A.C: That is so exciting!!!! Speaking of FVR, let’s talk about your new book, which I love by the way! I actually studied in Cuernavaca, and found the city and people to be very inviting. I love the compelling storyline, and the way the culture has been interwoven throughout the book. The artwork is so supportive of the story, which I love.

TJ: The title is “Caras vemos,” which is short for “Caras vemos, pero corazones no sabemos (or “faces we see, but hearts we don’t know)” explores the idea is that people are sometimes just not as they seem.

Synopsis: A girl wakes up in a park beaten and disoriented with no memory of who or where she is. Every face is unfamiliar, and all have a different story to tell. Who is the mysterious man? What happened to him? The more she learns, the less she knows what to believe or who to trust. The novel is set in beautiful Cuernavaca, known as the “city of eternal spring.” Cuernavaca is the capital of the state of Morelos, Mexico, just south of Mexico City. All of the places and businesses in this book are real. Experience everyday Mexican culture as the search for truth leads you around the city. Join her in a harrowing adventure to discover the secret of her past, and learn the meaning of “caras vemos, pero corazones no sabemos.” 

A.C: That is intense! Love it! For those teachers who will consider this amazing story as a class novel, what details could you give us to help them decide?

TJ:  This book is intended for novice high to Intermediate level Spanish students, so level 2-3. Word count is just under 8,000. There is a comprehensive glossary, as well as some small culture lessons, both integrated and in boxes on the side, throughout. Teachers can get the book in paperback on on kindle!

Get this amazing book on Amazon

Get the kindle version here

A.C: Why Cuernavaca?

TJ: I have a very strong connection with Cuernavaca, Mexico, the setting of the story. I have been to all the places in the story multiple times and am in love with the city. I have been happy, stressed, sad, annoyed, lost, scared, excited, enamored, in wonder, and I believe the characters experience all of these emotions too! 

A.C: I have to ask, what motivated you to start writing?

TJ: I’ve always written stories for my students, but never thought about publishing before. Inspiration just struck the end of June! A while back, I began learning Italian off and on just in free time, and after a year of reading when my students did FVR, I thought hmmmm I should practice what I preach! I then bought my first intermediate novel in Italian, “Il segretto di Julia.” I began reading and liked how mysterious it was. It was a first person perspective and only told you enough to intrigue you, but not enough to really know what was going on. I only read one chapter before I put it down to flesh out an idea I had for my own story. I later read the rest of it and I highly recommend it! My book is actually nothing like it, but it inspired a book I am very proud of! Two of my students contacted me about something else and I said hey, want to read a book I wrote? They did and loved it! my favorite message that one (Grant) sent was this:

Shook” lol! I love it! He also wrote the following:

A.C: I love to get messages like this! They really affirm what we’re doing as teachers and writers.

Teachers, thank your for checking out this post and reading about Caras vemos, the debut title from Theresa Jensen. Please check out this book, and don’t just take my word for it, look at the reviews! Also, Theresa’s daughter designed the cover and interior art. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait for another book by Theresa.

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If you want to learn more about Free Voluntary Reading, check out these podcasts and websites below!

Stephen Krashen Free Voluntary Reading
Mike Peto My Generation of Polyglots

Pleasure Reading Ebook by Mike Peto

Señora B Free Voluntary Reading

Inspired Proficiency Podcast with A.C.Quintero

The Role of Reading in the World Language Classroom Podcast by Becky Morales

Back-to-school Language Activities, Comprehensible Input, Movie talks, Spanish CI Readers, Spanish class

Animated Book Trailer And Movie Talk For The Spanish Level 1 Novel: La clase de confesiones.

Confesionista: Anyone who uses the novels “La clase de confesiones” or “La bella mentira” in class!

Confesionistas, this animated book trailer/ Movie Talk has been in the works for a very long time, and I am so excited to be finally launching it! I actually started this project one year ago, and have been so busy with so many other worthy projects (such as publishing El mensaje, and working to teaching materials for Las apariencias engañan, El armario, Las sombras, etc), that I had to put this on the back burner! However, this summer, like many of you all, I was able to settle down, and bring this beautiful project to a close (well, open it for you!). This new resource can be used by ANYONE!. If you have been using La clase de confesiones series with your level 1 or two, this will be a perfect addition! If you are not familiar with the series, but are INTRIGADO BY the animated book trailer, you can use it as a Movie Talk as all the supporting materials are directly related to the video.

What is the animated book trailer about?

This animated book trailer is an introduction to the novel,”La clase de confesiones.” It sets up the major events, that are central to the storyline. For example, we see Carlos going to school, talking to señor Martín, not having his homework (too busying thinking about Jessica) and realizing that he is head over heels for Jessica (spoiler alert, if you haven’t read the book). The narration ( done by Diego Cuadro) is well-paced. Additionally, you gave access a plethora of activities to help bring this resource to life in your classroom. These resources will provide students ample practice with commonly used structures, school vocabulary, and clothing It is also wildly entertaining!.

OMG, I am starting La clase de confesiones tomorrow, how do I get this resource?

¡Tú tranquil@! There are two ways of accessing the video and all the accompanying materials.

1. If you have the teacher’s manual for “La clase de confesiones” you can just re-download (click here to access teaching material) the file from TPT or my website. The new materials have been added to that bundle.

2. If you don’t have the Teacher’s Manual, you can download the Bundle here.

3. The video is also free on Youtube!

How can this resource be used?

The animated book trailer/movie talk can be used as an introduction to the novel along with the following activities in the manual: Dos confesiones y una mentira, Confesiones. Teachers can use the new character descriptions activities post video as they will help to contextualize the characters a bit more. Or it can be used as a standalone activity. Let’s say that you haven’t even heard of this novel, but the video mola , well, you could simply use it in class as the materials are solely based on the video, and do not make a reference to the book. The 14 additional materials include another cute story about the main character.

Check it out!

Let’s Take A Look

There are 14 activities total. You can click here to read the list of descriptions and to download the preview for on TeachersPayTeachers. The activities range from circling questions, matching activities, pictures/descriptions activity and a new short story: La casa de confesiones. There is also an informational article about wearing uniformes in school in Latin America.

Are you new to the world of “Los confesionistas?” Check out the synopsis below!

Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. She is the reason he “tolerates” his boring class. 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. First, his nosy teacher tries to “set him up with Jessica,” this plan immediately backfires. Then, the unthinkable happens and Carlos is stunned. This turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in his life. But all is not lost. If Carlos plays his cards right, he could have a winning hand. Carlos invites you to come along on this adventure into “La clase de confesiones” where…”todos tienen una confesión,” even the teacher!

La bella mentira (Yes, there is as sequel)

The second book in the series can be read as stand-alone…saving the best for last! Click here for preview.

Carlos is having a bad day, and it’s about to get worse. He leaves Spanish class utterly embarrassed.  He had no idea that the teacher was going to partner him up with Jessica, the girl he actually writes about in his class essay. Adding insult to injury, the teacher reads his essay in front of the class, even the mean-spirited things he wrote about his teacher. After running into a few more problems in math class, he is faced with the big showdown in the lunchroom. Now, Carlos is between *”la espada y la pared.” However, a short story in Spanish class may hold the key to all of his problems, and may ultimately lead to his biggest confession of all. Find out in part 2! 

Where can I get the book? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero

Amazon

Fluencymatters.com

Brycehedstrom.com

Teachersdiscovery.com

Carlex

Updates With Other Books and New Resources!

Back-to-school Language Activities, Changing Seats, Comprehensible Input, Movie talks

5 Ways to Use Authentic Realia in the World Language Classroom; You’ll Be Surprised by How Simple This Is!


Teachers have a very special skill set when it comes to up-cycling. Where our non-teaching buddies see an old shoe box, we see a diamond in the rough: that shoe box could be used to create a dynamic diorama! 


And up-cycling has it “upsides”. We contribute to the environment why providing a new use of for an old product. That is divergent thinking (we’re all going to be CEOs one day)! This post is just about that: making use of items we’ve may have garnered during our summer vacations.

I usually curate a TON of postcards (as well as museums programs) when I am abroad. On my last trips to Spain and Mexico, I have a lot of postcards that feature breathtaking views, and can also give students algo de qué hablar. I realize that these trinkets could could give me a lot of mileage out of everyday classroom functions. Let’s take a look at how we could use these items to make interesting any classroom activity.

Using Postcards (or other authentic realia) for Changing Seats & Speaking Activities

I get a lot of mileage out of these postcards. Last year, I decided to laminate them to childproof them. I had bought a laminator on Amazon for $24.99 and the thermal sheets were 100 for $10. Although we have a laminator at school, I bought my own, por si acaso…


I used these postcards for two main activities:

  • speaking activities.
  • changing seats: I never have a method for changing seats, so this -postcard activity helped a lot because students love receiving things. They are curious and visual.

I usually get 4-5 copies of the same postcards, dole them out to students and they sit next to someone with the same postcard. You can always limit your variety as well. If you haven’t traveled abroad, you can get postcards from your town, or printout places, and or landmarks from the target culture. 

Using Postcards To Engender Diversity and Balance In Class

In the classroom, we want to provide meaningful input, but we also want to students be able to use the language they are acquiring. Postcards (or something similar) provide a great way of getting students into groups and making sure those groups are as diverse as possible.  

I learned something very valuable about my students a few years back. While discussing the role of appearances in choosing a friend (part of our Identity Unit), some students were disgusted by the article’s suggestion that “they choose friends based on appearances.” I said, “well, let’s get into groups to discuss.” They all got into groups. Before they could discuss the article, I had them pause and look around. I asked them “how many of your group members look like you?” They were floored! Point taken, and they disbanded and found people who were different from them. Remember, different can be race, personality, etc. 

To avoid this scenario, I pass out the cards and have them get into the group. This helps a great deal because: 

  • I don’t have to announce “Find someone different” this would make the poor kid whose different feel a little awkward 
  • The pressure is off the teacher
  • Students will have an opportunity to meet other and build relationships with other students (takes the onus off of them as well!). 

 First-week activities for intermediate students:  Introduce yourself to someone with the same card! 

No one wants to go up to a stranger and introduce themselves! We all need excuses to do the things we want to do. Isn’t that the reason behind speed-dating? Well, you can accomplish the same thing with help from an item such as postcards. 

When I didn’t know any better (three years ago), I’d project a prompt and tell students “Go meet someone around the class!” I really thought, “Wow, this is great!” Meanwhile, the students were terrified. Now, when we do introductions (I feel like I am selling some kind of infomercial at 2 in the morning here, this little activity really helped to strengthen my routines), they get a card and they are working their way around the class, collecting information and getting to know their classmates, all the while seeing some interesting sites!\

Mix it Up!

  • For lower-level classes use postcards (or similar activity) to talk about colors. 
  • Students can also talk about the postcard, especially if there are interesting pictures! 
  • For upper-level classes, students can say they’d like to go, and why. They can also say they had visited and the things that they saw. 
  • Postcards make very good Picture Talks in any travel unit. 

Use as a circumlocution challenge! 

One word that my students know more than any other words is “circumlocution.” They know that when they don’t know a word or have forgotten it, they navigate the known words in their vocabulary and they “make it work.” I have heard some create a combination with circumlocutory attempts. Culture realia and be used as a fun challenge to win extra points or however you want to structure it. 

  • Give a student one of the postcards or picture 
  • They have 30 seconds to describe it to class
  • Group student according to different cards and have each one talk about their card in their group. 
Back-to-school Language Activities, Comprehensible Input, Spanish class

What’s Your Mood: Six Ways To Use the Mood Meter In WL Class To Facilitate Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition

The Mood Meter Activity is a Perfect Addition to Your Classroom Routine!

¿Cómo estás?

Really, how are you? Does your mood affect how willing you are to learn? Or to engage in a particular lesson? Do you think that acknowledging feelings can help you make a shift? These are the questions explored by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and their creation of the Mood Meter has provided students with specific vocabulary for identifying their emotions, and possibly, making a shift (from red/blue to yellow/green). We have been using the Mood Meter in our school for the past three years. It started with an initiative to inject more social emotional awareness into the ethos of the school, flowing through and connecting the veins of classroom practices. With this  systemwide shift to teach the whole child, the Mood Meter protocol became routinized in our school, and naturalized into our educational discourse.

Descriptive Language For Identifying Nuanced Emotions

As pictured above, the Mood Meter is a square divided into four quadrants — red, blue, green, and yellow — each representing a different set of feelings. Different feelings are grouped together on the Mood Meter based on their pleasantness and energy level. Classroom.couture, a Spanish Teacher and Fashion Guru on Instagram, has enabled us as language educators to access this matrix of emotions in Spanish class, while honing a very useful communicative tool (Check out her blog here, and discover productivity hacks, fashion advice, and how to stay healthy and vibrant). Find out how I use her adaptation of the Mood Meter in my classroom, and you’ll be in the MOOD to use it as well! Click here to link to the resource created by Classroom.couture.

This Is How We Roll

We start class everyday with the Mood Meter! I printed out the MM Dashboard, and laminated the cards to make them durable. After the first few introductory rounds, students grab a card as they file into the room, or I have a student distribute them (it depends on the class). After everyone is seated, check-in begins. Since we’ve been employing this practice daily Novice level 1, and it has proven to be one of the most effective, vocabulary- acquiring bellringers! IT SETS THE TONE FOR THE CLASS. Students look forward to the Mood Meter activity because they get to share how they’re feeling while expanding their vocabulary. How do I introduce to my class? Check out my introduction as well as my sustainability routines below!

Created by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
Adapted to Spanish by @Classroom.couture

Check out my Youtube video here! I will be providing demonstrations through out the first couple of weeks as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9zTe6XvSNk

Starting From Scratch

Prior to the implementing the Mood Meter, on the first day of school, I’d have three emojis projected on the screen. Each one with an easily identificable expression. I would ask students how they were feeling, and they could point to the emoji, or try to say it. Now, with this new Mood Meter tool, I can take that a step further. The first thing I do is have students observed the quadrants of the MM. Then, I commence classroom discourse pointing out the specifics of the tool. I provide examples below:

Hay cuatro partes aquí, clase y hay cuatro colores. Aquí tenemos rojo, azul, amarillo y verde”. ¿Cuántos colores hay? ¿Hay dos colores (I do this holding up two fingers)? ¿Hay tres colores? ¿Hay cinco? ¿Hay diez?

I capitalize on this activity to integrate more input, and have them make associations, even on the first day! This can be taken a step further. To introduce them to colors, I repeat the four colors of the quadrants, and then asking them how to say them in English. You can easily use one of the two approaches below (or a novel one!).

  1. ¿ Cómo se dice “rojo” en inglés? ¿Cómo se dice “amarillo” en inglés, etc?
  2. ¿Cómo se dice “rojo” en inglés? Red or White?

This activity can be further comprehended by students if you write the colors on the board. or use a poster with where to you can point. You may not have to, but I also do this for my students who have processing issues, and may need struggle with auditory/visual learning in this sense.

Turn it into a lesson!

I proceed to go around class to see who has those colors on. I’ll point out that someone has amarillo, then rojo, etc. After doing that for a few minutes, I will model commands, and direct students to stand up when they hear the colors. See my examples below:

“Levántense [todos] los estudiantes con el color amarillo” (pointing to yellow)

“Levántense los estudiantes con el color azul”

“Levántense los estudiantes con el color rojo”

“Levántense los estudiantes con el color verde”

There will be students whose colors don’t match; which in the CI World equates to an opportunity to circle (ask questions) using those colors not representative in the Dashboard palette. At this juncture, I would model the other colors; “Tú no tienes el color rojo, tú no tienes el color amarillo, etc. Tienes el color blanco. Y tú, tú tienes el color morado.” You could use this activity for front-loading the other colors.

Turn It Up!

Okay, so if you’re really “feeling” this activity, you can do a Speed-dating activity whereby students write the names of their new classmates and check off the color they have one. Download the activity here, and use it in class!

Colors and Quadrants

The next step, which does not have to be used in the same day, is to assign emotions to the colors. You could model, “furioso” with the color red, or “relajado” with the color green. This lays the groundwork making the Mood Meter Medley! Next, we play a guessing game. Students love INQUIRY-BASED activities. They love guessing so I try not to rob them of this opportunity.

Make It a Fun Guessing Game!

Have a MM Dashboard in hand. This is the when you start looking at the vocabulary and making those “incidental” corrections. One of the things that my colleague Classroom.couture did in creating the Spanish version is to make sure most of the words were cognates. THIS IS SO HELPFUL! It is an INCIDENTAL VOCABULARY WHEN THROUGH AND THROUGH. How the paper in front of the class, and/or project it so you can now discuss the words (she also does a digital version with her students, so she can gauge how the class is doing).

Distribute mini whiteboards to the students (or they can use their notebooks) and have them guess the word as you model it.

––Point to the color, so that their eyes are not roaming around the board. They can zero-in on one quadrant of the board. This also lowers the affective filter.

––Proceed to say the word with the appropriate facial expression or gesture, and let them write down the guesses in English.

Other options: You can give then three options in English for every word. For example: The word “Enojado” could be paired with the appropriate facial expression, emoji, bitmoji and/or picture to provide a clear connection.

Word Up!

With level 1 Novice-mid 1 students, we focus only on the words first! After the variety of activities listed above, we can now start our check- in. At this point, we do one word check-ins, and I don’t usually instruct on gender-noun agreement during the first few weeks. I allow them to let the words soak-in, and then later, I give examples of gender nouns. This worked really well last year, in fact, mid year, they were correcting each other.

Here’s how this looks in my class:

  1. Students are seated with their Mood Meter in hand.
  2. Teacher asks: ¿Cómo estás? or ¿Cómo te sientes? I prefer the former because it’s less complicated.
  3. Each student who wants to share (I make it optional) share one word.

Speed Dating With Rejoinders

Once we are well on our way with using this feeling-processing tool, I’ll have students take on the role of asking each other how they are doing. Now, this is where it gets fun! Students will have three rejoinders on the board. They get the choose their own reaction to what was said. Check out the pictures below to get an idea!

This way, students learn how to be empathatic in the target language.

As students get comfortable with using the Mood Meter, it becomes second nature to them. As we processed through the year, the structures take on a more complex nature, and students are able to expand how they feel, and what they feel. The best part is that I don’t necessarily have to “teach” the vocabulary. I do provide them with a Quizlet list (why, not?) in case they’ll like to review, but we do this everyday in class, so expressing their feelings become more automatic and authentic. Are you in the MOOD for this activity? Download your activity today, and make sure you check back on @Classroom.couture Teacherspayteachers store, Instagram Linktree, and or Website for more extended use of the Mood Meter!

Additional Sources:

Mood Meter For Students

Back-to-school Language Activities, Comprehensible Input, Giveaways, Free books, Spanish class

Author Spotlight… and Giveaway!

Teacher and Author Jennifer Degenhardt is a household name in ever-expanding Comprehensible Input Author Community. Her novels feature compelling storylines “lined” with cultural elements that endear every character and make them relatable to our students. And I have a feeling she isn’t putting that pen down anytime soon! With yet another novel under her belt, “La última prueba” she has proved that she can tackle the social issues, just as well as the mythological ones (as so expertly done in her latest novel).

Taruka is the new girl at the high school in town. The story takes the reader through a year of high school that Taruka is not likely to forget. She makes friends and meets a boy, Cooper. Like Cooper and many of the students at the school Taruka is very involved in sports, so she gets along with her new classmates well. But issues arise with her newfound friendship with Cooper when their differences are highlighted by the adults in their lives. This book is intended as a reader for students learning Spanish. While the story has a plot similar to the classic story of Romeo and Juliet or Tony and Maria, the vocabulary and grammar are simple and comprehensible even for those just beginning with Spanish.

​Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero and Puenteslanguage.com have teamed up to bring you giveaway! Check it out below, and make sure you participate to win!

Let the Games Begin!