This relaxing story is a great way to practice narration in the past (preterite and imperfect) and calm down a rowdy classroom!
You can download PDFs of the free activity sheet and answer key below. The writing prompt on the handout can also be modified as a conversation activity (or as both).
Thank you to Samuel García for writing and narrating the story. Samuel is an author and teacher from Zacatecas, Mexico.
¡Que disfruten el video!
Who’s that present for? Who did you go to the movies with? Sure, grammar rules tell us not to end sentences with prepositions in English, but we hear it all of the time!
Spanish, on the other hand, is a different story. This contrast leads us to such mistakes as “*Quién es este regalo para?”
In this video lesson, I explain how to understand and fix the common error of ending phrases with prepositions in Spanish.
Want to test your knowledge before you get started? Here is a free handout:
Try it before watching the video, try again after the lesson is finished, and then check the answer key!
Enjoy the video!
Also, here is the lyric video for the song I mention in the video, “¿Con quién se queda el perro?” by Jesse &Joy.
This song activity is great for a Día de muertos unit! Also, for my more advanced students in a Spanish Conversation and Composition course, I used this activity together with the story “El otro círculo” by Luis R. Santos (as featured in our textbook, Revista). We compared our analyses of both the story and the song to discuss different cultural perspectives about death presented through literature, art, music, etc.
Enjoy the video below!
As always, I would love to hear about it in the comments if you use this activity in your classroom!
Here are some links to my other Día de muertos themed activities:
In this video I share the 3 tips I use to explain Spanish vowel pronunciation.
Follow up comprehension questions:
(1)What are the 5 vowels in Spanish?
(2) What is a tense vowel? Which vowels are tense in Spanish?
(3) What is an example of a vowel sound that we use in English but not in Spanish?
See below for answers.
1. A, E, I, O, U
2. Our muscles are more tense and engaged when we pronounce tense vowels. All vowels in Spanish are tense vowels (A, E, I, O, U).
3. Answers will very. Some include the “A” in “cAt,” the “I” in “kId” or “fIt,” the “uh” in “bUg” or a relaxed pronunciation of “edUcation.”
I have found that when students are able to answer these questions about Spanish vowel pronunciation, they are able to analyze and self-correct their own pronunciation.
By answering these questions, students demonstrate that they know which vowels to stick to, which vowel sounds to avoid, and physically how Spanish vowels are pronounced in contrast with the lax vowels in English pronunciation that so often interfere with their Spanish pronunciation.
This tense vs. lax distinction is superior to the “short” versus “long” vowel explanation commonly found in textbooks because it allows students to make a physical connection to the vowel pronunciation (by placing the hand on the cheek to feel the tense cheek muscles.)
Furthermore, vowel length is variable, so the “short” versus “long” distinction can be unclear and cause confusion.
Do you have any other tips you think should be included in Spanish vowel pronunciation instruction?
I have been using the song “Humano” by Lido Pimienta for years after seeing it on Zachary Jones´ fabulous website. (Click here for a link to Zachary Jones´ post about this song.) I made this video of the song to visually reinforce geography by showing country names and images as she sings each nationality, as well as conjugations of SER and adjective agreement (humano vs. humana). I have also found that projecting a visual aid helps keeps students focused during such a soothing song. Enjoy the video!
Before you enjoy this enchanting short film, I´d like to share a wonderful article that has helped me tremendously in teaching the preterit/imperfect. I read it in an applied linguistics class with an amazing professor! Here´s a link to the article, “Preterite/Imperfect Half-Truths: Problems with Spanish Textbook Rules for Usage” by Diana Frantzen.
I also use timelines visually reinforce the concept because that´s what helped me finally understand it. Although, also based on my experience, I think the real key to mastering preterit/imperfect is through authentic communication. Well, that´s true for most everything in language learning actually!
Here´s a link to a PDF worksheet for a writing activity based on the short film: Hoja de actividades: Cortometraje: “Día de los muertos”
¡Y ahora al cortometraje! The vivid imagery is perfect to inspire students to write descriptions using the imperfect, and although only 3 minutes, there are plenty of events to list to practice the preterit. Once students have time to brainstorm their own ideas, we go over them together. I draw a timeline on the board and mark the events as specific points. As students describe the settings/characters, I make squiggly lines in different colors along the timeline. Finally, students combine the descriptions with the narration of events to write a short story based on the short film.
I also recommend this video by the Travel Channel.
Welcome to the first post of my personal TRPS challenge! I am teaching SPAN 1002 at the university level this semester, and it is my goal to make at least one story for each chapter of an appropriate length that incorporates as much of the target vocabulary and grammar for the chapter as possible. (We begin with chapter 7 of the Unidos textbook by Pearson.) Where’s the challenge? To create one coherent story that includes all (or most) of the target elements for the chapter. As you will see, in order to include everything my first story turned out pretty strange, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. (I hope not! What do you think?) I’m hoping that the unusual elements will help the story “stick.” My classes always go better when the students get a chance to laugh.
I also plan to make a Youtube video reading each story so students can read along at home if they’d like. I hope this might be a fun way to review for the final at the end of the semester.
In class, first we read the story together. I teach a hybrid course, so students have already seen the vocabulary and practiced verb conjugations in their assigned online activities. Next, students got in groups of 2-3 (in which at least one person had a laptop to view the powerpoint) and read the story together at their own pace. Finally, for the comprehension and written output component I gave them a handout of questions to be answered in complete sentences. They could choose to continue to collaborate with their small group (most did) or to work individually.
Here are all of the materials:
The Dominican Republic holds a very special place in my heart, so I was giddy with excitement while I made this presentation to introduce my high school Spanish 1 students to Dominican culture! Please see the slideshow below (featuring many videos, made in Google drive) and free accompanying activity packet.
The activities include a beginning warm-up to activate background knowledge, content & vocabulary comprehension questions, a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast bachata & merengue, analyses of music videos to explore themes of Dominican culture, and a final discussion mini-essay.
I´d like to make a brief note about cultural presentations in general. Whenever I teach culture I do make an effort to make it as authentic as possible, but sometimes I find it quite challenging! How can I portray an entire culture in a few class sessions? Well, of course it’s not possible to cover everything. That’s why I emphasize that this is an introductory presentation and invite students to explore other themes further with questions and follow-up lessons and projects.
It took our class one 90 minute class period (block scheduling) to cover the presentation and activity sheet (some students took the packet home to finish the final discussion question). My students were very engaged and full of questions, so I’d say it was a success!
One important topic that this presentation does not cover is the story of the Mirabal sisters and the Trujillo regime. We covered this topic later in a lesson based around the film adaptation of Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies. Please follow this link to see my post about it with a free movie guide question packet!
We also watched the movie Pelotero. It’s a really fun movie, and we watched it as a reward in the last 20-30 minutes of a few class periods. Please follow this link for a post & free movie guide. (Coming soon!)
Here’s a link to the Activity Packet, and you can watch the presentation right here!
Any feedback is appreciated. Keep the comments coming! 🙂
In developing a culture unit about the Dominican Republic for high school Spanish 1, my colleagues and I brainstormed about the best way to introduce and discuss the history of the Trujillo regime and the Mirabal sisters who gave their lives in the fight for justice. How could we introduce this key period of Dominican history in a way that is engaging, thought-provoking, and accurate? Furthermore, this history is one of very difficult and disturbing truths. While I am a firm believer that it is important and necessary to teach the darker episodes of history (for reasons I won’t delve into here, but would be happy to discuss in the comments), I strive to do so in the most appropriate and considerate way.
Julia Alvarez’s novel In the Time of the Butterflies has long had a place on my bookshelf as one of my favorites, so I was delighted when a colleague found a movie adaptation of the novel. We all watched the movie and decided that its depiction of the events was appropriate for our lesson. As all communities of students, parents, and administrators are different, please use your own discretion in determining if this is right for your classroom.
As Fridays were “culture days” in our FL department, we showed this movie the two Fridays following our introductory presentation on Dominican culture. (I plan to share the materials for that soon!)
The movie guide I prepared and am sharing here has three main parts. Part one provides questions for a brief warm-up and discussion to help students activate previous knowledge, part two features comprehension questions for students to answer while watching the movie, and part three features short-answer discussion questions for students to answer in writing and then discuss. Regarding part two, the comprehension questions, I have found that they do help students stay on task in the movie. Furthermore, I pause the movie frequently and go over the past two or three questions that students have answered, as well as allowing students to ask any questions that may have arisen. I have found that this method helps students to stay engaged and it also allows me to assess how well they are following the movie and understanding key concepts. My students were really full of questions about In the Time of the Butterflies! The following discussion of the movie was one of the best we had all semester, and I was truly impressed by some of their thoughtful comments while grading part three of the movie guide.
You can watch the movie right here! (Click the arrow symbol to make it full screen. I have embedded it from Hulu.com.) Since Hulu provides it for free, it does have commercials. I do believe it is available on Netflix as well.
As always, any feedback is welcome and appreciated. There is lots of room to expand upon this lesson. Please keep the comments coming!