El desfile de los alebrijes: A Story in Spanish for Beginners (Video & Text)

3 alebrijes

     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.

     You can click “CC” in the lower right corner of the video to turn on accurate Spanish subtitles. Also, here is a full transcript of the story if you would like to use it for reading activities: El desfile de los alebrijes Full Text Transcript (PDF)

     Enjoy the video! Any comments are welcome and appreciated. I’d love to know if you share this video with your students!

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“Un día típico de un estudiante” Read-along story (video & free activity sheet)

un día t“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!

Download the free PDF activity sheet here:  Un día típico PDF HANDOUT

And here is the video narration of the story!

Any comments or suggestions are welcome. If you use this activity with your students, I’d love to hear about it!

Learn Spanish with Family Guy! Video & Activity (Free PDF)

Family Guy THUMBNAILBefore 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!

First, we watch the video below together to provide comprehensible input for introducing family vocabulary.  I pause frequently to ask “circling” style questions, all in the target language, Spanish. (Click here for a great video on circling by Kaizen Teaching).

Next, students work together to fill in the blanks with the target vocabulary. Click here for a free, printable PDF of the handout!

Finally, students put what they learned into production by writing a similar description of a family on the back of the handout. Here are the instructions I project on the board:

¡A escribir! Descripción de una familia
Use the Family Guy presentation as a model

  • Describe una familia famosa (de la televisión, el cine, un libro, la historia, etc.)

  • Usa el vocabulario para expresar las relaciones entre los miembros de la familia.

  • ¿Qué hacen los miembros de la familia?

    • –Escribe 1-3 frases sobre cada persona.

  • Dibuja (draw) un árbol familiar.

I instruct the students who finish writing early swap papers to do peer editing.

Any feedback welcome in the comments! I´d love to know if you use this activity in your classroom or have any suggestions for expansion/improvement!

Video: Spanish Formal Commands: Practice with Memes!

Formal Commands THUMBNAILHere is the latest video in the “Practice Spanish with Memes” series! In this video we start with a quick review of how to conjugate formal (USTED y USTEDES) commands & where to place the pronouns. Then it’s on to the memes!

Here’s  a link to all of the memes categorized to “formal commands” on this site if you’d like more practice! Which one is your favorite? https://estudiafeliz.com/tag/mandatos-formales/

Thanks so much for watching. Any feedback is welcome!

If you would like to subscribe to the YouTube channel, we’d really appreciate it!!

Video: The hundreds in Spanish, step-by-step (with worksheet)

I have observed that many students in my most advanced courses still struggle with numbers above one hundred. Here is a video I made to go over things step-by-step.

This first video covers 100s through 900s, and the next one will be practice (with memes!) with the thousands up to the millions!

Here´s a PDF activity sheet for a comprehension check after the video! Los números 100 – 999 PDF Activity Sheet

Here´s the answer key! Los números 100 – 999 Answer Key

Enjoy the video! Any feedback welcome in the comments!

La Monumental Rosca de Reyes de Zacatecas: Story and Activities (preterite versus imperfect) (culture: holiday celebrations)

rosca title page imageMain Street is closed for the whole city to enjoy 2 kilometers of cakes! Yes, this really happened! I came upon this scene January 7th of last year in Zacatecas, Mexico, and have been wanting to share this fun celebration the day after Día de Reyes with my students ever since. The result: this read-along video story (narrated by a native speaker from Zacatecas) and accompanying handout for story-based activities. I hope you will find it useful to incorporate into a unit on holidays, for targeted practice for preterite versus imperfect, and/or as a reading comprehension activity.

The following activity sheet features 5 components:

  • Vocabulario – quick prep for understanding key words in the story

  • Comprehensión de lectura

  • Conversación y escritura– retelling the narration to solidify comprehension and practice narration in the past tense

  • Gramática – Preterite versus imperfect cloze activity

  • Conexiones y culturas – internet search for other celebrations and written description of other ways Día de Reyes is celebrated

Download the PDF here! Rosca story activity sheets (2 pages)

Here´s the video…

And here´s a PDF with just the text of the story: La Monumental Rosca de Reyes de Zacatecas Printable Story

Also, teachers, if you would like to download this story as a Powerpoint or a PDF for a printable book for your classroom, I have uploaded a bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers! Click here!

Any feedback is welcome in the comments!

Song activity: “Sembrando flores” de Los cojolites (imperfecto del subjuntivo) (cultura y música: el son jarocho)

HB_CO_Ilustracion_SF_02 In this activity, students practice using the imperfect subjunctive in indirect speech, including a writing prompt to add verses to the song.

Also, conversation prompts based on the video and music are a great jump start for cultural discussion of the son jarocho.

For more information about the son jarocho, NPR´s All Things Considered has a great 8 minute episode on the topic. Also, www.sonjarocho.com provides detailed readings in both English and Spanish about this musical genre from Veracruz, Mexico.handout image sembrando flores

Access the PDF activity sheet and answer key with the links below:

Sembrando flores. Hoja de Actividades (activity sheet)

Sembrando flores. Clave de respuestas (answer key)

¡Qué disfruten el video y el son!

Yo soñaba: Un cuento para practicar la narración en el pasado (video & activity sheet)

Yo soñaba thumbnail image.png

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).

Yo soñaba: Hoja de actividades (activity sheet)Yo soñaba handout image

Yo soñaba. Clave de respuestas (answer key)

Thank you to Samuel García for writing and narrating the story. Samuel is an author and teacher from Zacatecas, Mexico.

¡Que disfruten el video!

Errores comunes: Ending a phrase with a preposition in Spanish (video & handout)

Errores comunes Preposition End PhraseWho’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:

HANDOUT: Errores comunes. Terminar una frase con una preposición

Try it before watching the video, try again after the lesson is finished, and then check the answer key!

ANSWER KEY Errores comunes. Terminar una frase con una preposición 

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.

“Calaverita” by La Santa Cecilia: Día de muertos themed song activity

calaverita-activity-imageThis 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.

Click here for  the free PDF activity sheet

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:

Actividad con infografías: Los comparativos – Día de los muertos versus Halloween
Cortometraje: “Día de los muertos” con actividad de escritura para practicar el pretérito vs. imperfecto