Many of our students have gotten to know the fantastically colorful and imaginative alebrijes of Mexican folk art through the film Coco. This video-story allows students to build upon that background knowledge and acquire new language while watching compelling film coverage from the Desfile de los alebrijes, an annual parade sponsored by the Museo de Arte Popular in which hundreds of alebrijes come to life throughout the streets of Mexico City.
I play this video first with no volume and lead students in identifying what they see. After watching and discusisng the video, students design their own alebrijes by drawing and writing a detailed description. Finally, students share their unique alebrijes with their classmates in lively, small group discussions.
«Un día típico de un estudiante universitario» is a read-along story for beginner-level students. There’s a special focus on «yo-go» verbs, por versus para, and food vocabulary, my class’ learning objectives for this unit.
There’s one notable absence: reflexive verbs! Usually ubiquitous in any daily routine story, I have left them out of this sequence because my total-beginner students haven’t learned about them yet. My goal is for students to become comfortable with writing and talking about daily routines and sequences of events in a contextual narrative before we reach the next unit in which the main focus is daily routines with reflexive verbs!
Before making this activity a few years ago, I polled my beginner Spanish students about the most well-known families from a TV show or movie. The Kardashians won, but Family Guy consistently took second, ¡so I went with la familia Griffin!
My Spanish 1 students are working on descriptions with SER right now, and I’m always trying to find ways to switch up the usual «¿Cómo eres?» activities for practicing personal descriptions.
In this activity, Peter Griffin and Voldemort are «mentirosos» who have written very inaccurate dating profiles.
Students first re-write each profile to make it more accurate, and then write a new profile for a character of their choice. Correcting the profiles first serves as a model for writing the last profile on their own.
Finally, students swap to share their (often comical) character profiles and peer edit.
Peter Griffin and Voldemort are very recognizable for my college-age students, but the characters could be changed to best suit your students’ interests.
Here is a link to the printable PDF of the handout: