Videos for Esperanza

While teaching the TPRS Publishing novel, Esperanza, we watched an interview with a Honduran coyote. The coyote talks about the business of human trafficking and bribing officials along the way as well as how much the coyotes charge. We watched this at the end of chapter 9 where the parents suddenly need to bring their children to the US

Then, we watched clips from a documentary that Mike Peto shared on his blog. While we didn’t watch the actual documentary, we did watch several clips available from the documentary’s website. It shows the Tapachula Detention Center in Chiapas. We watched a portion of about 4 clips. These clips show the faces and voices of children, who are in the same situation as Ricardito and Liliana. Video Clips for Esperanza Spanish novel

We talked about how scared the kids looked and their only desire was to be with the family. It was a really eye-opening experience for my students. Seeing these kids showed them that the experiences from the book are real. Listening to “Jose’s best friend in El Salvador” nearly broke my heart when the kid said “Ya no juego mucho como jugaba antes con él” and when the interviewer asks him if he could have anything in the world that would make him happy and responds that it would be for his friend to be reunited with his mother.


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Immigration with Esperanza

I have been using the TPRS Publishing novel, Esperaza, with my 8th grade class and over halfway through the book, it has been a success.

My students have particularly enjoyed listening to the audio book as they read. I find it helps with the comprehension. And it has also inspired some students to go around the school chanting “Huelga… Justicia… Huelga… Justicia…”.

Speaking of justicia… Continue reading

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Class Dojo in Spanish

I recently started using the App ClassDojo to track student participation/incentivize Class Dojo in Spanish classstudents to speak only Spanish. I know some teachers give participation points, some use a system where they hand out tickets/fake money, but this is novelty for students.

I have added the following ways to earn points: Continue reading

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React in Spanish

Something I wish I would have done at the beginning of the year: Put a sheet of common Spanish expression on the students’ desks. Having them on each students desk or table, Spanish Expressions on Desksas opposed to a poster, makes it very handy to students to reference. I include common questions that students ask, as well as a list of reactions. The reactions, such as “¿En serio?” and “Guácala” are a great way to students to express themselves to what is happening in class. It keeps students in the target language and slowly they will internalize these words and no longer need a reference sheet to be able to react appropriately in the target language. If they something something in Spanish, I can just discretely point to the phrase on the sheet in front of them.

They are a great way for students to give their opinion on what is happening in a class story or a class novel. You can get this expression sheet plus a poster sheet of the most important verbs for storytelling in our new Essential Spanish Words Posters and Handouts.
Essential Spanish Words

It also includes a Question Word poster plus Common Verbs poster.
Top Spanish Verbs PosterI used our school’s poster maker to print the sheet to poster size to hang up in my classroom. I can easily reference when these words come up in a story

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Writing a Novel Chapter Summary

Our students just finished the first three chapters of the novel Esperanza by Carol Gaab, of TPRS Publishing. So far, so good. I’ve been using the Teacher’s Guide, which is very helpful. And the audio book is a great support for comprehension.

At the end of chapter 3 and the end of the week, it was a a good time to stop and digest what we’ve read so far. I had my first two classes write a summary of each of the first three chapters. I then realized that perhaps some students needed some support in writing a summary.How to summarize a chapter in Spanish

So we talked about “Los Eventos Importantes” from each chapter. I gave students a statement from each chapter and we decided “Es importante” o “No es (muy) importante”. You could prepare a list ahead of time and have students circle the “important events”, star the “super-important” events”, checkmark the “maybe important events” and cross out the “not important events”. This gives them a framework going forward of what type of information to include in a summary.

If you would like a blank template for students to write their own summaries, or for your to type in the events of any story or novel you are reading as a class, you can download our free template, click on the picture below:
Chapter Summary

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March Madness Book Tournament

Our March Music Madness was a huge success, so today we’d thought we’d offer an alternative that you may have seen from LA/LIT teachers or in your school library. This is a book tournament of novels, written about the Hispanic culture.  These books are in English, but are a great way to open the perspectives of your students.

If you don’t have time to pull this off this year, considering using it during Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15).
March Madness Novel Book Tournament

For ideas on how to implement this in your classroom, keep reading… Continue reading

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March Music Champion

And the winner is….

March Music Madness BracketMarch Music Winner Banner

I had the students fill out a survey as part of the voting process and here’s a few key notes: Continue reading

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Stocking the Spanish Classroom: What supplies to order

Whether you are starting at a new job, opening a new school, opening a Spanish department, or just getting ready for next year, lots of teachers are looking for suggestions of what are must haves for teachers. If have a budget to spend for your department, here are some suggestions:


  1. Subscription to
  2. Novels from
  3. Scholastic Magazine Subscription
  4. Mini-White Boards / Personal Dry Erase Boards  or SmartPals Sleeves
  5. Props: Plastic foods, puppets, Mr. Potato Head for body parts unit, Guess Who Games for practicing descriptions  (Some of these you can probably find at
  6. a lot of awesome ready to use lessons tested by actual teachers. Did you know they accept purchase orders?

1. Computer Projector or Document CameraSpanish class supply order
2. Digital Recorders
3. Earbuds for students
4. Music Player (Stereo) or Speakers for Computer to play audio activities
5. Teacher Account for Continue reading

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MarzodeMusica 2016

March Music Madness 2016 is just around the corner. We are ready for another fun competition where songs go head-to-head to decide a winner.MarchMusicMadness

This years bracket features 16 songs and we’ve broken them down to 4 categories: Bachata, Pop, Rock/Urbano, and Salsa.  We avoided songs from our favorite artists Juanes and Jesse & Joy, which we listen to quite frequently. The tricky part was also to find new, hip songs with appropriate lyrics. We avoided any songs with overly sexual lyrics.

Here is our bracket: Continue reading

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La Criatura Story Continued

I used Martin Bex’s La Criatura story with my level 1 class a few weeks ago. The next day we continued that story to explain what happened to the “criatura”/science teacher. We were able to recycle so many vocabulary words that we had already been using.

With permission from Martina, we are sharing our follow up story.
La Criatura Parte 2 Spanish story

To use this in your classroom:
Continue reading

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