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!

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Video. Spanish direct object pronouns: Practice with memes!

direct object pronouns memes image thumbnailMemes are a great way to illustrate/review grammatical concepts and expand vocabulary!

One of the first goals of this website was to provide an organized site that I could refer to my students to find memes for fun practice on their own. I was not comfortable referring them to the original sites where I find the memes because there is a lot of inappropriate/offensive content. Furthermore, here I can narrow the selection to what will be most helpful for students and categorize them by topic.

Students respond very well to the incorporation of memes into the classroom. I use memes as a basis for quick conversation/analysis while illustrating target grammatical concepts. Since my goal in the classroom is to maximize communicative activities and maintain conversation in Spanish-only, I am working on a video series that has more slow-paced, English-based explanations of how these memes illustrate the grammatical concepts. My hope is that it will be an interesting way to review and/or present the material in a different way.

I am working on making more videos this summer because in Fall I will be teaching more “blended” classes with less time in the classroom and more time in online learning. The goal is not to assign my videos to students, but to offer them as a resource for further explanation/exploration/review that will complement our in-class communicative activities. This is the first “meme-based” video, so feel free to give me any constructive criticism!

Click here to filter for all of the posts on this site categorized to “objeto directo”to find more memes!

Enjoy the video!

Video: Different ways to say “time” in Spanish

time video thumbnail.pngThe word “time” in Spanish can be translated to Spanish in several different ways! This is a source of confusion for many of my students, so I made this video to explain which words to use depending on the intended meaning of “time” in different contexts.

Enjoy the video!

Spanish Vowel Pronunciation: My 3 Best Tips!

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?

Video: “Humano” de Lido Pimienta (Ser, la geografía, las nacionalidades)

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!