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!
Main 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
In keeping with my TPRS challenge for the semester, here is the short story I made for ch. 8 of the textbook Unidos. (Click here for ch. 7’s story!) This (very) short story is for practicing preterit vs. imperfect as well as vocabulary based on Semana Santa in Guatemala.
Here are links to the materials I made based on the story:
Here’s a video of me reading the story. I make these to give my students (and a small number of youtube subscribers!) the option to read along with me at home.
Also, it is important to note that this story does not provide in-depth details of Semana Santa en Guatemala. My students already watched videos about it, so this story and activity sheet serve to reinforce and practice key concepts. Here are some other video resources about Semana Santa in Guatemala.