Posted in noticias

Súper Tazón lesson plans and a reading


The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday!  If you are like me, my students talk about football pretty much year round.  I like to incorporate some of the traditions into my classes.  I have posted some information from previous years.  You can find:

I have developed a lesson plan this year that incorporates both comprehensible input and authentic resources.  Typically, I like to have students look at articles or videos that are completely comprehensible then try the authentic resources.  This exposes them to the important words first, so they will understand them later when they see them again.

I am going to try the bracketing for input idea that I read on Sara-Elizabeth’s blog!  I will put up a bracket of popular foods: hamburgers versus pizza and salsa versus guacamole.  Then, we will vote to see which one wins- and which one will be the ultimate winner!  I love to add this to my input at the beginning of class list.

Before the reading, I will have students make predictions on the following statements:

  • Canada has the most fans attending the game from a foreign country.
  • The avocado company has a commercial each year during the game.
  • Americans eat 35,000 tons of chicken wings during the Super Bowl.
  • This year, companies paid between $4,500,000-$5,800,000 for a thirty second commercial during the game.

Then I will have students read the following articles about food that Mexicans eat during the Super Bowl and Mexican fans of the Pats.  (Thanks to Kattia Higdon for helping with the edits!!)  While they are reading, they are checking to see if their predictions were correct:

Super Tazon 2019 Reading

Edited to add: I made a short Quizizz to play as well!  Students will then vote on who will win overall.  I have found by doing this before the event, students come in ready to talk to you about what they saw during the game!  If you have a lot of Patriot’s fans, I suggest checking out the Pat’s Army Mexico Facebook page!  They just uploaded a video of the history of the team, and it is pretty comprehensible for most levels.


Posted in noticias, Reading

Romeo and Julieta: A story of frog love and conservation for novice high and up

romeo and julieta.jpg

Sometimes, I love a story from El Mundo en Tus Manos so much that I want to create even more materials for it.  And occasionally, I have a three day weekend, so I can do that!  Romeo used to be the world’s loneliest frog in a museum in Bolivia looking for a mate… until recently!  Scientists were scouring the forest, about to leave for the day when they found five frogs just like Romeo… including Julieta!

I made this slideshow to tell the story of these two love… frogs??

Then, I made some other fun activities.  Have your students write a fake text conversation between Romeo and Julieta- especially because now she is in quarantine until they meet on February 14th.  I also found out a lot about frogs in general.  In December, biologists found a frog in Ecuador that they thought was extinct!  I wrote up two short summaries about cloud forests in general and the other rediscovered frog.

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This would be a fun unit to tie into an ecology unit.  Or you can save it to use around Valentine’s Day!  As we find out more about the frogs’ first date, I will keep updating it.  You can download it for free here!

(Note: It seems that the second article isn’t accessible.  Here is a new link for the two articles!)

Posted in noticias

News article presentations

news article presentations

Following up on the news article unit, we decided to have students give mini presentations on one of the news articles.  I planned this presentation with the other Spanish 3 teacher, and we both have 18 students in our classes.  We decided on the set-up first.  Any time I plan presentations, I really love Laura’s small group speaking assessment.  In this, she emphasizes that the original students present, but then they have a conversation about the topic.  In order to allow students to engage in some sort of a conversation, we divided the class into four groups of four to five students.  The day of the presentation, one group only presented to one other small group.  That way, the group that was listening would have a chance to speak.  In a whole class, some students might never talk during the conversations.  Not only would this allow for more of a conversation, and it also made for a more laid back presentation which I always try to achieve.

As we had been working with current articles during the previous parts of the unit, we used an older edition of the news.  We used this set of articles which included many articles on the caravan, a rally race in Peru, the new library, the new video game from Chile and hurricane Willa.  I allowed students to form their groups then choose the article that they wanted to highlight.  While they were preparing the presentation, I told them to create slides around:

  • Background information about the country where the article took place
  • The who/what/when/why/how of the article

The group that they were presenting to had not previously read the article, so the group presenting really had to provide a lot of information to them.  We started with the information from the articles, then I shared the authentic resources with them, and I had them elaborate on the presentation.  The authentic resources were more accessible to this level since they had already read the articles.  After they researched everything, they had to come up with 20 questions to ask the group who was listening.  I encouraged them to think beyond the comprehension questions to make connections to previous units as well as personal questions that could start conversations.

Overall, the presentations went well.  I was really impressed with some of the conversations that started, and two groups (of my four) were even generating questions on the fly based on their partner’s responses.  I definitely had a good assessment of their speaking; however, some groups were able to start a conversation and others didn’t.  I have decided a few changes that I want to make to facilitate a better conversation in the future, so that all groups can generate more of a conversation.  First, I want to give students a variety of responses to questions and have them grade them using the rubric that we use for interpersonal conversation.  There were still a lot of comprehension questions and giving one-word responses doesn’t demonstrate a strong proficiency and can’t start conversation.  However, it is hard for students to understand that.  In retrospect, I would have liked them to score the responses before the presentation to help them.

The other idea that I had to help facilitate conversation would be to have the group listening to start thinking of questions to ask the group who was presenting.  While I think it is important for the group presenting to ask questions, I believe that the group listening should ask more questions to that group since they were the “experts” on the topic.  I also want to incorporate this more into the tertulia presentations.  It seems that if I assign a role of one group to make questions other students do not ask questions.  While we are starting to get to more of the natural conversation (as much as it can be), I want to encourage more of a two-way conversation.  Therefore, I should have also incorporated some lessons on how to think of strong follow-up questions before the presentation.  One way I want to do this is to have ALL students create questions on an article instead of just me giving the questions.  I am planning this for my upper-level students because it is more developmentally appropriate for them based on their proficiency levels.

Many teachers ask questions about how to work with articles from El Mundo in class.  I believe that this project would be one option.  You could also have students practice writing questions and having conversations for a few lessons then assess them on their conversation similar to my tertulia.

Posted in noticias

How to develop a unit around news articles

news article unit

The other Spanish III teacher and I incorporate a lot of current events into our curriculum.  I knew that this year, I wanted to develop a unit around the news articles that I write with Martina.  I have some ideas on how I supplement articles with these ideas.  However, I wanted to explain how I am making these resources link together with this unit.  I first decided on the goals of the unit.  They are:


  • I can understand current events in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can make connections between current events in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can make connections between current events in the US and Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can understand how current events reflect upon the culture of each country.

Then, my co-teacher and I discussed some assessments that we could use.

  • For interpretive reading, I love Señora Chase’s Quick Quiz rubrics.  We will use the newest edition of El Mundo en Tus Manos and have students complete the quiz.  The other benefit is that we can allow students flexibility to choose what article they would like to be assessed on.  I always appreciate when differentiation can be that easy!
  • We have classes of 18 students total.  We will have them divide into 4 groups, and each group can choose an article.  Students will read the article then use the authentic resources to investigate even more into the topic.  The small group will present their topic to ONE other small group, and they will also ask the other group questions to start an interpersonal conversation.  I liked the idea of small groups in order to give each person a chance to talk.  That can be lost in a larger class.  My hope is that this will bridge nicely with the tertulia that I have my Spanish V students complete.
  • Finally, since our news is written, my hope is to have students research their own news topic and create a newscast in the form of a video in a comprehensible way.  I also like that this helps infuse some creativity into the unit.

Here are some of the tasks that I used to start getting my students making these connections.

First, they read the news articles and did this quick assignment from Martina.  Then, they voted on the article that they enjoyed the most.  At the end, I had them brainstorm connections that they saw between at least three of the articles with partners and we discussed them aloud.

The next day I grouped them according to the article that they liked, gave them an older article (but new to them) and I had them complete a Venn Diagram comparing the article they liked the day before to the one that they currently read.  Then, they wrote up comparisons based on what they had read.

After that, I had them share their favorite video on Flipgrid.  As we continue to work on developing their proficiency, I want students to start supporting their thoughts.  Since they are in Spanish III, I want more than I thought it was interesting.  I need SPECIFIC FACTS, friends!

The next week, we had more news to read!  I started with a dictation.  I picked out five significant sentences in the articles.  Then, I read them aloud numerous times while students wrote them down in Spanish.  This allowed me to highlight certain grammar points or spelling.  After the dictation, I asked a few PQA questions to my students.  One article was about José Andrés, and he has numerous restaurants in the DC area.  We discussed which restaurants were his and which ones students had visited.  Also, another program was Hamilton.  We talked about who had seen Hamilton before.

Then, I gave the students the articles and had them highlight three main ideas from each one.  We discussed the important parts, and I reviewed any questions that students had from each article.  After that, I had students craft questions to do a GimKit collab.

The next day, we had chat stations.  Students worked with a partner to answer these questions then we discussed them as a whole class.  This allowed more students to participate and answer questions.  However, in retrospect, I should have had students complete a presentational writing assignment after the chat stations.  This would have made for an even more significant conversation.  We also looked at some of the authentic resource videos briefly.  You could also have students create an EdPuzzle project with them as well.

We also played Trashketball while students were answering questions about the articles.  I start by giving each team ten X’s.  If they answer the question correctly, they can take away two X’s from any other team.  If they throw the ball in the trashcan from behind one line, they can take away 3 X’s.  If they throw the ball in the trashcan from behind a farther line, they earn an extra X and they can take away FOUR lives from another team.  They can also divide up their X’s if they want to.  Once a team loses their X’s, they can shoot the ball again to earn two more lives and be back in the game.  It is a lot of fun!

As you continue to incorporate news articles into your classes in a small or bigger way, I hope this post offers you more ideas on how to use the articles and create a unit around them!  In my next post, I will include details on how I structured their presentation around the news.


Posted in noticias, Reading

46 pages to add to your FVR library for free!

Collection of noticias 2017-2018

Ok- I will admit, I totally went with a click bait title there!  But it is true!

As I have admitted to before, organization is not strong suit.  I have started to become better about it, but it still falls to the bottom of my list.  Organized me would print off copies of my news articles from the past year and then store them in a binder for later students to read later or the following year in my FVR library.  But, as I have discussed with my husband, I cannot compare myself to a version of me that doesn’t exist.

So instead, I stick all of my news articles from the past year into one huge PDF.  Then I can hit print once, and I am set!  I figured it this helped me- it could help you too!  This way, you can print them all in case you missed some.  You can then put them all in a binder in one fell swoop for Free Voluntary Reading.  You could also print off a few copies if you are just starting your library.

2017-2018 Noticias

If you are looking for more Spanish stories to add to your FVR collection, I recommend looking at Viviana’s post with a HUGE list of stories.

Another perfect place to start printing articles is the Revista Literal.  This magazine has tons of articles written each month by Spanish students.  It is extremely engaging, and students are able to understand it easily.

In addition, Mike Peto is the one who introduced me (and convinced me) to FVR.  You can check out his map to transitioning to FVR.

Finally, if you like these articles and would like new articles for 2018-2019, I am pairing up with Martina Bex to write a newsletter for next year.  We have already started brainstorming some of them, and I am so excited for them!

Posted in noticias

Noticias: 21 de mayo

noticias 21 de mayo

I have put together another edition of las noticias for this week!  Many people helped me edit it!  Thank you Diego, Bethanie, Monica and Alejandra!  This edition includes:

  • The airplane crash in Cuba
  • The newest telenovelas for Univisión
  • Real Madrid’s basketball team is in the finals
  • The Dominican dance group in the dance parade in NYC
  • Celebration of el chivito in Uruguay

21 de mayo

If you would like to use these pre-reading activities in my activities, I have included it here:

word cloud

To follow up with some of the other news, you can:

  • Look up the final results of the basketball game!
  • Watch some videos of Andulleros on their Facebook page.  (Including a live video of the parade today.)
  • You can look at the characters in the new series LIKE.
Posted in Flipgrid, noticias

Noticias: 7 de mayo and Flipgrid collab!

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I am joining up my two passion side projects here today!  First, I have the newest edition of news for the Spanish classroom for free:

  • Venezuela minimum salary rises (along with grocery prices)
  • Teacher protests in Puerto Rico
  • The San Diego Padres consider being a Mexican team
  • The International Theater Festival in La Paz
  • A marine rescue center in Uruguay

7 de mayo

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Below is a word cloud for the news if you would like to use it as a pre-reading activity.  If you would like more ideas, I have a packet of 50 ideas that you can use to supplement any news article in Spanish.  Also, I found the Rescate de la Fauna Marina website to use to show pictures of the last article.

Also, as your classes are winding down, have your level 1 students connect with mine by commenting on our Flipgrid!  Have your students discuss their favorite parts of summer.  Level 2 students can join in and discuss their favorite day of the school year.  They can also watch previous Flipgrid videos that they made and reflect on them.

Hope you can jump on and collaborate with us!

Posted in noticias

Noticias and new product for articles

Noticias 23 de abril

For this week, I have published my newest set of articles!  These articles discuss:

  • the new president of Cuba
  • 5 Latino people who are listed in Times 100 most influential list
  • Eva Longoria earns a star in Hollywood
  • MasterChef travels to Peru for the finals
  • a festival to celebrate Intibucá

These articles are free, and you can download them below.  Also, I am including a few other ideas!  Did your students read about the Frida Barbie a few weeks ago?  Well now Mexico has forbidden the sale of these dolls within the country.  Check out the article here.  Also, this article has video clips of MasterChef UK in Peru.  Speaking of which, you can also check out the restaurant mentioned in the article here.

23 de abril

For the past few weeks, I have been coming up with a list of pre-, during and post reading activities.  While some of the cultural aspects of the new articles were easy to include, some of the general reading activities were difficult to continue to reinvent.  Plus, it was EXHAUSTING!  So I have decided to come up with a new method.  I have listed ALL of my general ideas in this product on Teachers Pay Teachers.  There are over 50 ideas listed.  (Some are the same from previous editions, but there are many new ones.  Plus, I am sure I will update this product as I come up with new ideas.)  Then, I plan on sharing article specific ideas on my blog here (like above).  I will also include a word cloud each time here as well.  You can use your own ideas or ones from the product.

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I hope this will be more sustainable for me and useful for you as well!  Thank you as always for your support!

Posted in noticias

Noticias 9 de abril

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Hope you are enjoying your weekend!  If you are looking for a way to start your week, I recommend las noticias!  I have included these articles on my blog for free for all of your students to read.  I have modified actual news articles from all over the Spanish speaking world that are comprehensible for levels 1 and 2.  They are also relevant for level 3 as well.  These articles include:

  • The awkward moment between Sofia and Letizia
  • Farruko’s arrest
  • Panama’s movie festival
  • Chilean restaurants in Spain and new Chilean cheeses
  • In Cuba, consumers can start to buy products online

Here are the news articles below:

noticias 9 de abril

Many people want to have supplemental activities to use with these activities.  I have published 10 activities on TPT if you would like ideas of how to use these articles in class.  I have 3 pre reading activities, 3 during reading activities and 4 post reading activities.  They are on sale for $1.50 here.  Hope these activities enrich your classes!

Posted in Brillante Viernes, noticias

Brillante Viernes: March 23, 2018 and Noticias: March 26, 2018

Brillante Viernes March 23

Happy Friday (and happy almost spring break to most people and me!)  We ended up with a snow day on Wednesday which was a nice surprise.  My son literally yelled “FINALLY!” while walking in the snow.  I am posting my news early this week because next week, I am off to Disney World with my son and parents!  I am thrilled and also a bit scared of the crowds, but I know we will have fun. This week, you can find me over at Comprehensible Online talking about my favorite tech tools to provide input to students.  In the meantime, check out these posts:

Posts from the past two weeks:

Noticias 26 de marzo

For the news this week, I included:

  • The Peruvian President’s resignation
  • The first Starbucks store is opening in Uruguay
  • Mexican Pre-Columbian statues are returned from Germany
  • One school in Colombia is banning sugary drinks
  • The Davis Cup and the Uruguayan tennis player Pablo Cuevas

While I didn’t put together a packet due to my spring break, you may want to buy an old packet if you would like more activities to do with them.  While some of them are specific to the news articles, you can get ideas to apply to these articles.  I think these articles would lend to some good discussion about if students think that schools should be able to ban sugary drinks.  The article quoted that most students drink about 2 sodas a day.  It would be interesting to survey your classes and see if they match.  Also, you can look up or have students explore on their own Starbucks cafés in other countries.  Hope you enjoy them!

26 de marzo