Posted in culture, noticias

Plans for Post #ACTFL17

Plans for Post #ACTFL17

It is a big Sunday as many of you are winding down from ACTFL and coming back to a two or three day week.  Maybe you are pumped to start implementing something new, but you need a day or two to put it together.  Plus, students are antsy due to the short week.  Here are a few activities that I put together to infuse more culture into these two days.

My plans for Friday were to discuss the Latin Grammy song of the year.  Then, whomp whomp, it was Despacito.  You can open up a discussion on this on Facebook groups or Twitter, and watch Spanish teachers get all in a tizzy about whether or not they would use it in class.  (For the record, I don’t want to use it!)  I focused on the new nominees instead.  I made a Google Slides of everyone nominated for best new artist.  I shared this with my class and allowed they to choose an artist, research them and embed a school appropriate song into the slides.  Then at the end, we listened to all of the music and their slides.  It was low pressure, and at least to me, the class seemed to fly by!  I also chose this for my class because they really love music.  Also, if you would also like to extend this, you could do a fashion police activity!  Have students rate each outfit and explain why they gave each rating.

In addition, I am continuing my news articles, so you can read these with your class on Monday.  They are a little shorter this weekend, but they include information on who is running for the election in Chile.  The election is actually occurring today, so you could discuss the results with your class.  Black Friday is also covered in a variety of different countries.  You could pull up a variety of promotions to look at and compare/contrast.  You could also have students compare the prices of sales in the US to sales in a variety of Latin American countries.  On the Spanish Teachers Facebook group, someone shared this site of El Buen Fin which is also similar.  Finally, the University San Francisco of Quito tried to beat a Guinness World Record to see how many people they could dress up as Star Wars characters!  Here is the newsletter:

Noticias 20 de octubre

Posted in noticias

Noticias: 6 de noviembre

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Here is the latest edition of my version of Noticias.  In this edition, I included:

  • Selena’s Hollywood Star
  • November 4th celebration in Panama
  • An update on Venezuela
  • A tourist attraction in Ecuador
  • Lego makes 4 NASA scientists (Thanks Bethanie for the suggestion!)

In addition, here are some extension activities:

  • Listen to Selena’s music!
  • Check out the hashtag #vivapanama on Twitter for some short video clips of people celebrating and includes video clips of the parades.
  • Also, you could listen to the Ruben Blades song Patria.
  • Here is the café that I mentioned in the article on Ecuador and the restaurant as well.  You can have students check out some pictures and the menu.

Enjoy!  (Updated to edit typo on last page!)

Noticias 6 de noviembre (1)

Posted in noticias

Noticias: October 23, 2017

Noticias 23 de octubre

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!  I put together a shorter group of articles for Monday.  I helped to host EdCampMetroDC on Saturday, so I couldn’t dedicate as much to this edition.  But, I think it will be friendlier for level 1.  In this edition, I included:

  • The sea of plastic off the coast of Honduras
  • The parade of alebrijes in Mexico City
  • The newest baseball stadium in Nicaragua

To extend it, check out some of these alebrijes from the parade!  They would be perfect for a picture talk to discuss what animals they see in each float.  If you notice any mistakes, please tell me, so I can fix them!  I realized a headline was wrong a few weeks ago!  Here is the PDF:

Noticias 23 de octubre

Posted in Favorites, noticias

Noticias and a few of my favorites from the past week

noticias 9 de octubre

Happy Sunday!  I am waking up slowly with a lot of coffee as a result of chaperoning the Homecoming Dance last night.  It is fun to see all of the students dressed up, though.  I wrote a new set of news articles.  I am hoping to complete this on the off weeks of Martina’s El Mundo en Tus Manos.  I HIGHLY suggest that you buy her subscription for all of the other weeks.  This week, I included:

  • Updates on Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • An article on a Bolivian biologist who is working on biodiversity in Gran Chaco
  • Information on Michoacan cuisine
  • A large archeology excavation in Colombia of muisca artifacts
  • Costa Rica’s tie with Honduras to qualify for the World Cup

I would encourage you to have your students look up various aspects to share based on their interests.  Here is the menu that I shared in the article.  You can also visit the website for Gran Chaco in Argentina that has a lot of pictures of the forest and animals.  This website has information on the Muisca culture.  While the text may be too difficult, you could look at the pictures of artifacts with novices.  Also- you can watch the video of the Costa Rican goal here.

Here is the whole newsletter:

9 de octubre 2017 noticias (1)

Also, there are two ideas that I have done this week that are quickly becoming some of my favorite activities.  I LOVE this idea that Arianne explained from Cynthia about using play-doh to recreate scenes from novels or stories before a gallery walk.  I used this while reading Frida and also after two stories from my Spanish I class.

My other favorite new website is Photos for class.  I found this from the website Ditch that Textbook.  It sorts through all of Flickr pictures AND puts the correct citation on it, so you can attribute them correctly.  It is so easy- dare I say even easier than Google Images?!  Hope these ideas help you in the upcoming week!

Posted in noticias

Noticias: 24 de septiembre

Noticias 24 de septiembre

I have put together another edition of Noticias for this week.  I included:

  • The earthquake in Mexico and the dogs who are helping rescue people
  • The indigenous Kulla Raymi celebration in Ecuador
  • The RefugiArte exhibition that is now in Panama
  • The newest cafeteria to open in Costa Rica where people of all abilities can work
  • A brief biography of Michael Peña from the Lego Ninjago movie

There are also some videos that you could show in class to discuss any news article.  This video is from Facebook, and it highlights the dogs in Mexico.  This is the original article about the new cafeteria in Costa Rica.  In it, they interview the owner of the café.  He speaks both in Spanish and uses sign language.  Finally, Zachary Jones has a great activity to compare both trailers of the Lego Ninjago movie.  If it is too advanced for your students, you could watch the trailer like a MovieTalk and just describe what is happening.

Hope you can use these in your classes this week!

(Edited to add- if you have not checked out Martina’s Correcaca news article from last week- do it!  My students LOVED it.)

Also edited to add- the first caption of the date had the incorrect date!  I have updated it!

Noticias 24 de septiembre (1)

Posted in noticias, Textbookless

Two downloads: Unit template and Noticias

Unit template noticias downloads

This weekend, I have been working on two different downloads.  Instead of writing two separate posts, I am including both here!  As I move away from my textbook, I want to have a concrete way to communicate the can do statements for each unit along with key vocabulary.  This also allows for extension vocabulary and students to create their own personalized vocabulary.  I have decided to come up with a unit page for each unit.  This will allow my students (and their parents) to have something to reference.  Here is my unit template page.  This is what my first unit for Spanish I looks like.  I am sure that I will continue to edit it as I go through the year.

In addition, this weekend, I also put together a news page for the news from this past week.  I included articles on Hurricane Irma and its impact on the Caribbean, the earthquake in Mexico, Gustavo Fernandez’s loss in the US Open and a short article on Peruvian Gastronomy Day.  I have included the PDF below.  Hope you can use it this week in your classes!

Noticias 11 de septiembre

Posted in noticias

Noticias: abril 2017

Noticias de abril 2017

Martina has done a wonderful job of writing up news stories, but with everything happening in South America recently, I felt compelled to write summaries for my students.  I have been wanting to write about Venezuela for awhile now.  In this edition, I have stories about:

  • Political changes in Venezuela
  • Mudslides in Colombia
  • Political changes in Paraguay
  • Chocolate festival in Bariloche
  • A Guatemalan fashion designer with Down’s syndrome

I included a few more articles because I don’t want the articles consistently paint Latin America in a negative light.  I worry that while these changes and disasters are important they will perpetuate stereotypes of Latin America.  Pre-reading, I like to have students make predictions about the articles.  Then they can read to determine if they are true or not.  Here is my pre-reading activity:

  1. Nicolás Maduro es el presidente de Venezuela.
  2. El gobierno de Venezuela consiste en dos partes.
  3. Había una avalancha de lodo y rocas en Colombia.
  4. En Paraguay, el presidente puede optar para una reelección.
  5. Los presidentes de Paraguay tienen un término por 4 años.
  6. En Argentina, muchas personas quieren hacer la barra de chocolate más larga del mundo.
  7. En Guatemala, una muchacha que tiene síndrome de Down es una diseñadora de ropa.

To extend the last two activities, you could share a chocolate catalog from the store Del Turista.  Students could choose which chocolate they prefer.  Here is the Down to Xjabelle website and Instagram page.  Without further ado, here is a PDF of the articles:


My main source is BBC Mundo, and the others include information about Bariloche’s chocolate scene, an article about Isabella, and NPR about lack of food and medicine in Venezuela.

Posted in noticias

Noticias: 1 de febrero


Ever since Martina has done an excellent job of writing news articles, I haven’t written as much.  Today, I kept looking for something to work with my class and then just decided to write it!  I only wrote three news articles, but I found some interesting articles!

In the articles, I talked about:

  • the wildfires in Chile
  • food to eat in Colombia from the Hay Festival
  • the baseball tournament going on in Mexico

I decided to use a Google Doc, so I could easily convert it to ActivelyLearn.  I created an ActivelyLearn document.  I cannot share it here due to the platform, but here are some of the questions that I asked:

  • For the food, I took a poll about which foods students would like to try.
  • Also, I asked if students like fish or not.
  • With the wildfires, I had students convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.
  • Students were also able to look at the original article and add other information.
  • From the baseball series, the website had a list of places to visit and restaurants to visit.  Students could look there and decide where to visit.
  • We also took a poll of who they thought would win each game today.  This also leads itself to nice follow-up conversations.
Posted in noticias, Reading

New Year Predictions

New Year's Predictions 2017

Last year, I had fun putting together predictions for 2016.  I found them from el Nuevo Herald.  If you have an advanced class, they could probably read the article by themselves.  I simplified the Spanish for beginning classes.  Also, there is a great commercial for Doritos with Walter Mercado who made these predictions.  Hope you enjoy them and that they are useful in your class!


Posted in noticias, Reading

Airline News

Spanish Airline Reading

I recently discovered an article about an Argentinian man who flew throughout the country and internationally by stealing others’ credit cards for FOUR YEARS and for 30 flights!  He also managed to become part of the frequent flyers’ club.  This was perfect timing for my airport unit.  I rewrote it for my students below:

Un muchacho viajó gratis por 4 años en Aerolíneas Argentinas. Martín Alejandro Fumarola compró 30 billetes con tarjetas de crédito de otras personas. Su destino principal era Córdoba en Argentina. También fue a Italia y Brasil.

El costo de todos los vuelos es US$2.000. Martín compró los boletos durante los días festivos y los fines de semana. Las personas que tenían las tarjetas de crédito supieron (found out) después del vuelo.  Martín tenía que comprar los billetes la noche anterior del vuelo.

Martín también se unió (joined) en el programa de pasajeros frecuentes. Acumuló millas en su nombre. Era en el grupo platino (platinum).

La aerolínea descubrió el fraude. Martín pagó el dinero pero quería tener las millas del programa de pasajeros frecuentes. La aerolínea decidió que no va a seguir con el proceso legal pero Argentina va a seguir con el proceso legal.

To start, I am going to ask students in Spanish how long to predict someone could travel for “free” by using others’ credit cards.  I will also ask them how many flights they think they could take.  Also , it would be an interesting discussion about if it is fair or not.  Should he be able to keep his miles or not?