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



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.

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 have teamed up to bring you giveaway! Check it out below, and make sure you participate to win!

Let the Games Begin!

Back-to-school Language Activities, Comprehensible Input, Spanish class

20+ Back-to-School Activities that World Language Teachers Love!

During our recent giveaway, we posed a question: What is your favorite back- to- school activity? And the responses were plenty! As someone who struggles with back-to-school activities, I was very appreciative of the ideas, suggestions, and routines shared, and I’d like to share them with you! Some teachers shared links to activities on Teacherspayteachers, so those links are provided as well!

School Tour CI Style!

One of the beginning of the year activities I did last year was a school orientation with my freshman students. I distributed the sheet below, and took them to places around the school, describing each on in the target language. Later, once we reconvened, students talked about what each place was. Most, if not all, of my students where very excited to have learned some new words and feel accomplished the very first day of school. If you have attended any of my workshops, you know this is my go-to activity! I made this based on the characteristics of my school, but you can do something similar with your school environment.

Click here for link (example):

¡Qué interesante!

This is another favorite activity for level 1 students who have had not had experience with the language.

How does it work? I simply distribute some information about learning Spanish. If can be an article on Bilingualism, or countries where Spanish is spoken. Click here is an example of such an article. The article is in English. Students read and make a note of three facts that took them by surprise. They go around the class and using two structures only: Yo aprendí (I learned) and a rejoinder, they share out with the class. So, I usually have two- three rejoinders on the board that they can pull from:

Click here for a copy of the information sheet I use most years. I actually copied and pasted these from an infographic on Pinterest. It was just easier to share on Google classroom.

Many teachers shared how they loved doing Personal Interviews, this is one of my favorites as well. Click here for my resource on Personal Interviews, which is two personal interviews, listening activity, writing, reading & speaking.

Free download Back-to-school download for easing back into the year. Click here for resource. I have done these activities for the past years with my level 4 students, and they have been a hit. The first one is the “devuelve el tiempo” activity wherein students transport themselves back in time to their part day of the summer. They explain what they see, feel, hear, smell, etc (as if they are there in the moment). I do an example with a picture from my summer vacation and then we’re off! The second one is called; La farándula. Students share celebrity news/gossip, ets. This is normally where I find out about the newly minted summer celebrity relationship and messy break-ups. The only problem is that I can’t get them to stop talking! 

LAS COSAS QUE ME GUSTAN A Mí IS A SHORT AND ENGAGING COMIC based on the characters from Spanish CI Reader: La clase de confesiones. The two characters, Carlos and Sofía are friends and talk about their likes and interests. Although this activity features many cognates, students will be able to easily guess the meaning of non-cognates words by their context. The communicative nature of this task makes it a perfect complement to “SPECIAL PERSON INTERVIEW.” It includes a reading, speaking, writing, and listening activity.

See some of my other “Go-to” activities below!

What did teachers on Twitter choose as their most engaging BTS activity? See the list below!

Links to the activities mentioned: This Is Us activity mentioned by Tarafarah7 is listed below:

Click here for link!

Click here for link!

Comprendes Mendez Spanish Shop was mentioned, so I am included the activity below. She has a BTS Regreso a Clase Comerciales Bundle. Check it out here!

Teachers also mentioned activities. You can check out her shop here. Also, her famed, “Find someone who” activity can be accessed here: Find someone who…

Did you know that I write short stories as well? Check out my Dreaming In Spanish Story Bundle below!

Click here to preview the “Dreaming in Spanish Ebook Bundle”

Here are some of my other favorite activities to use in the class:

El profesor estudioso (free on TPT)

Click here for link!

“El profesor estudioso” is a short story for Spanish beginners. The story is told in the present tense, highlighting mostly -ar verbs in the first person. It is about a teacher, who is also a student. I used this short story with my Spanish 1 students who were learning verb conjugations. 

This resource comes with: 
1. Verb chart to practice writing first person of -ar verbs 
2. Short story that incorporates the verbs from the chart 
3. Comprehension questions 
4. Short sequencing activity.

All About Me Activities

Click here for link! This one will go well with those who like to do personal interviews. Students pick up a lot of vocabulary through the dialogue.

This All about me/Interview with Ainhoa activity blends together tons of relevant cognates (programa, persona famosa, celebridad, música, etc), common structures such as ser, gustar and basic verbs in Spanish, with cultural information (Spanish superstars, food, school) all in a short dynamic interview. 

Ainhoa, who is actually from Pamplona, talks about her favorite music, programs, classes, books, and hobbies. Students have several pre and post activities to engage them on different levels: 

1. Vocabulary list with most words from the interview 
2. Information gap activity: students plug in the words from the list 
3. Interview: students read silently first, and then read with a partner
4. Mini-lesson possessive adjectives as students respond to questions about Ainhoa (no more writing “tu película favorita” for a third party).
5. Comprehension questions 
6. Students use the structures and vocabulary then to discuss their interests
7. Interview a partner with the same activity 
8. Venn Diagram- compare and contrast with Ainhoa. 

Free ” Todo sobre mí” activity

Click here for freebie (level 2+)

What are your favorite back-to-school activities? Please send me the link if you have one or made one and I will include on this post!

Comprehensible Input, Spanish CI Readers

El mensaje: New Reader for Level 2 Spanish Class

I am happy to announce the newest addition to the A.C. Quintero collection of novels: El mensaje. The novel delves into issues related to teen life, especially their obsession with their phones, and penchant to believe everything they see. This novel is perfect for FVR or a thematic unit with a relationship/technology focus. In addition to an engaging storyline, students can look forward to the following:

-Present tense with a spattering of past tense phrases (Novice High/Low Intermediate range)

-Spanish-speaking countries and capitals (relevant to the storyline)

– Vocabulary related to geography, technology, relationships & family

-A little bit of poetry from our overly dramatic protagonist

Synopsis (see preview below)

Adán’s life is turned upside down when he gets an unexpected and  heart-wrenching text message from a friend. It is a text about his beloved girlfriend, and it’s not pretty. At first, Adán does not think much of the text, as he knows students love to spread rumors and gossip. He would rather focus on his upcoming test on the capitals of Spanish-speaking countries than indulge in petty high school drama. But  as he considers the last few days talking to Fiona, a startling picture starts to emerge. Why has she been incredibly secretive and avoiding him like the plague? Adán tries to keep his cool. So, instead of going into full panic mode, he hatches a plan. He may be risking everything to uncover the truth, but he knows that the truth will set him free. Will it be worth it? 

Synopsis in Spanish!

Teaching Materials will be available late August. 

This book is available on:  

Click here to go to Amazon:

Click here for preview

Click here for preview

Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero 


Las sombras: Thrilling New Reader for Spanish Class for Upper-Levels

Teachers have been waiting…

I am a Spanish teacher that has utilized your novels in my Spanish class.  I am wondering where I may purchase “Las Sombras”? – Teacher 

Could you please tell me when “Las Sombras” will be available for purchase? – Teacher 

I am in the process of purchasing a bundle pack for your site. I love these mini-series starting with Las Aparencias. However, I can not find Las Sombra anywhere. I am so excited to start using your novels. I have used several novels prior and your supportive material is going to reignite the students. Thank you for your vision. – Teacher 

 I have ordered your first two series novels (El Armario & Las Apariencias) and will get them on Tuesday. Just out of curiosity, when will Las Sombras be released? – Teacher 

Las sombras

Download the preview here!

Click here to get the book on Amazon

Well, teachers, the wait is over! Las sombras is finally here! After working, reworking the storyline for the past two years, and I thrilled to be adding this new level 3+ novel to the already amazing collection of Comprehensible Input literature for language learners (link to other novels here). This book is part of the series “Las apariencias enganan,” which includes “El armario.” Las sombras is the third and culminating installment of the series.  

As with most books in my collection of series, this novel can be read as a standalone, meaning that critical elements of the previous two books were carefully interwoven into the narrative, thus making it familiar to those students who are fans of the series, and accessible new students who start with this book. I’d venture to say that  Las sombras is probably more of a standalone book than its precursors because it introduces new characters (without eclipsing the characters we’d come to love and hate!), new scenes, and new challenges. These new characters are introduced in the beginning and play a central as a role in the phenomenon that is sweeping the town. They join the cast characters met in the previous two books: 

  • Camilo- the cheating boyfriend and Juan’s best friend
  • Juan- Liliana’s boyfriend 
  • Luciano- Camilo’s mysterious father/ mad scientist who has a penchant for collaborating with alien-like forces 
  • Salomé- Camilo’s ex-girlfriend 
  • Liliana- Salomé ex-best friend, Juan’s girlfriend and Camilo’s “amor prohibido” (who also witnessed some disturbing events in Camilo’s house. Can you guess who is after her? You’ve got it! Luciano!). 
  • Nico-  She shape-shifting hybrid (but, who’s side is he really on?)
  • A spattering of alien language, but it’s all good. There are footnotes, so students can see what these beings are up to!

* I include a pictorial synopsis of these crazy relationships in chapter 2! 

 Students who follow the series will see old wounds exposed, and new alliances formed from the unlikeliest people as those characters seek to defeat a new enemy. 

New look, same great series! 

Las sombras has a slightly different look from the other books as well. The pictures have more of a graphic quality to them, and the scenes are much more detailed, allowing students to experience the book through multiple modalities. See example below: 

Interior artwork 

Scene: Salomé and Camilo (unlikely alliance for sure!) walk through the forest looking for clues… what they don’t know is that someone or something is lurking behind them. 

Read & Engage 

Since engaging in Free Choice Reading more regularly, I felt that there was a need to include more discussion type questions in the book. My students crave space to discuss their books with their friends, and I wanted to bring this level of discussion to the book. Click here to see my video on Literary Book Talks in level 1. Therefore, the newest addition to this series is the Read & Engage format, which is discussed below. 

Questions and writing prompts have been included at the end of most chapters to further engage students as they read. Teachers can decide to use these as assignments, literature circle prompts, or maybe even a guide for Literary Book Talks.  Students may use these prompts to recall information and/or give their opinion of the story. Several questions prompt students to think about what they would some of the sticky situations. This gives them an opportunity to empathize with the characters, use specific communication functions, and think outside of the box.   

Two For The Price Of One!

Originally, there were going to be a total of four books in the series. However, both concepts were seamlessly integrated into Las sombras. To this end, the book has a part 1 and part 2 (the continuation of the story, there is no conceptual break).  

Are you ready for a taste of this new sci-fi thriller? See the book trailer below.

Also, download the preview of the first three chapters. 


Download the preview here!

Click here to get the book on Amazon 
Teaching Materials 

Teacher Guide Mini- Will be available at the beginning of September. This will include the following:

  • Book Trailer (to garner interest)
  • Additional Chapter Questions
  • Free Choice Reading Guide 
  • Task cards for discussions 
  • Picture Talk Material 

MORE Comprehensive Teaching materials should be completed by the beginning of the Fall semester (end of July/August).  

Where can I get this book? 

Click here to get the book on Amazon (Individual copies)

Novels & Resources by A.C. Quintero (Bundles)

Books by A.C. Quintero are also sold at: 

Fluency Matters  

Comprehensible Input, Movie talks

¿Eres tú? A detective series for Spanish I: Free Resource Included!

 I am always looking for ways to inject more readings and structured conversation into my curriculum. My level 1 students need it!  With Novice- low students being fairly new to the language, this can be problematic. However, I am learning that with a little dose of creativity, peppered by resourcefulness, I can make my class a language laboratory! And I may have found my niche with this older series from Realidades: Eres TÚ María.  I have never used the textbook from which the series hail, but the first 10 videos are on Youtube and/or Vimeo. Each year, we see about 5-7 episodes, and they are well worth it because: 

  • The language goes from simple to complex 
  • In terms of content, it is very safe (you don’t have to preview it)
  • It is fairly interesting, last year we talked about the sexism that the main character experienced as a female detective among her male counterparts 
  • You can provide ample input, and get ample output as well. 

With the accompanying text that I created, you can get even more input!

Download Reading Here 

What is the series about? 

Eres Tú María is a detective series created by Realidades (by Prentice Hall). The main character is Lola, who is a detective, and a darn good one at that! The series kicks off when Lola observes some suspicious activity in her neighborhood. Her investigative senses kick in immediately and the plot begins to unfold. 

I have found this to be a great way to include Movie Talk activities (click here for more information on Movie talks) as you can circle and ask tons of questions about the character. For example, you could ask questions about: 

  • The main character’s clothing
  • The city where she lives 
  • Her personality traits 
  • Her physical traits 

It is quite interesting, and my students are usually engaged as it is the only series they will see in the first couple months of school. 

This past week we just watched our first episode, and it went really well. Prior to the episode, they had just finished up talking about our the things we like with this activity here: Las cosas que me gustan. That is why you will see references to Netflix and Snapchat in the article below for Eres Tú María

Last year, when I included this episode, I had students focused on writing the date and describing the character (boring!)- lots of output-oriented activities. This year, we read, I circled a bit, I asked them questions and it was more suitable for their level. It was also enjoyable. Many students actually wanted to talk (which was not required), and they did and felt successful.  Check out the activity below!

Free Reading Download 

¿Eres Tú María?

Extra Series 

Christy Lade, an amazing CI Teacher created some amazing resources for Extra, another short video series in Spanish. Click here for the first episode. Click here for her resources. We used the first episode resources and it was very complete. Students had a chance to read through and get acquainted with the vocabulary and themes before diving in. I highly recommend it!

What a “novel” idea! Check out the new novels for Spanish class!

Click here:

TPT Store!

Click here:

Comprehensible Input, Word Walls

The Writing on the Wall: The Role of Word Walls in a Comprehension-based Classroom

During my last full day classes, students had an opportunity to share about their top five lessons and activities of the school year. Of course, they raved about Free Voluntary Reading (click here to read post), the Telenovela project, Conversation Circle the assortment of level 1 readers we explored, and of course, the Netflix mystery, El gran hotel. However, when given the opportunity to ask about their upcoming Spanish II class, I was surprised that they weren’t as concerned about “leveling up” as were their predecessors in the previous years. They were more curious about the class itself as a few students asked: “Will there be “Word Walls” in Spanish II?” 

As a former colleague shared with me years ago, “Our classroom walls should be like Hogwarts in where the walls actually speak to the children.” She was a fourth grade teacher, whose classroom caught the eye of our district administrator. Needless to say that she’s now coaching and training teachers full-time. And her point was well taken; the learning environment needs to serve the needs of our students. 

Argentine Street Art

I put her advice into practice last school year, when I noticed that my classroom walls were littered with posters, cliché decorations, and outdated student work; I made giving my class a facelift, a reigning priority. I had to nip, cut, and tuck to engineer an environment that would have an impact on student learning. I ordered verb posters (Teacher’s Discovery), downloaded question words from the TPRS website, and curated a bevy of teacher created materials from TPT (I have some more in my cart for next year!). I can testify that those aesthetic changes proved to be a HUGE practical help to my students. They relied on these “talking walls” to assist them through interpersonal speaking tasks, and presentational writing. I can’t believe that I went so many years without having this compensatory aid for students. We have to do our best to surround learners with the language.

 Since all the the teachers in my department made a similar shift last year to cultivate an “acquisition friendly learning environment”, I was able to affirm with confidence, “Yes, there will be Word Walls!