El camino, The way, El peregrino

The movie called The way, is one of my ultimate favorite movies. I have watched it at least 15 times. I have read the book by Paulo Coelho and yet, every time I watch the movie I learned something new about myself.

Typically, the topic of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela is one left for a level  3 class because…well, I have no clue. It seems to me that everyone has a personal journey, whether you are 10, 15, 18, or 51. A journey is a personal path and everyone has one. So, in honor of Saint James, here is my lesson plan.

Many thanks to Martina Bex for creating some pretty amazing documents which can be found on her TPT page. I will enhance my lesson plan with two of her brilliant ideas. Gracias amiga.

Below is the link to my lesson plan. Hope it inspires you 🙂






La palabra secreta

Bryce Hedstrom is a gracious and giving soul. He inspired me to start an FVR program in my classes and has now inspired me to add the “secret word” routine to start my day. You can read all the details about the secret word in his blog but here is a brief summary:

For me, classroom management starts at the door, with me greeting each and every single one of my students at the door. I usually say something like: Hola, Buenos dias, Buenas tardes. Last year, I had a student who wanted to be the greeter and basically emulate what I did. It worked great. However, after reading about the “secret word” on Bryce’s blog, I realized that he was presenting an opportunity for WL teachers to add authentic and useful input that our students can and will use when they visit Spanish speaking countries or even when they meet a native speaker, right here, at home.

So here is a list of some of the phrases that I will teach my students and use to start the day, right at the door:


Update: Alina Filipescu, a Spanish teacher whose blog is tprsforchinese.BlogSpot.com started the palabra secreta many years ago. I had no idea. Alina, gracias. Please check out her blog for this and many other wonderful ideas on teaching with comprehensible input. Some of the words/phrases that she used: lo siento, lo que sea, no es justo, mil gracias.


My way to school

As a way to teach the “school – school supplies ” unit, I was inspired by a French documentary called My way to school, that I found on Netflix. The documentary highlights the importance and value of receiving an education and how children from different parts of the world do what seems to be the impossible in order to get to school.  The documentary is no longer available on Netflix and it is very difficult to find for purchase, but the trailer is available on you tube.












Padlet is a fantastic web tool to help students create a presentation. Padlet is basically a canvas that allows you to include visuals, attach documents, music, voice recordings, etc.

Here is how we used it to help students represent who they are, their legacy and their heritage.

Made with Padlet

Quick writes – warm ups

Quick writes – warm upsI am not a big fan of warm up activities because all they really serve is to get students busy while you take attendance. However, I am required at this point to have some sort of written/busy warm up so…here is an idea that might be helpful. It kind of help students who get easily distracted but it also forces them to produce written output that they may or may not be ready to do. Anyhow, I keep it simple and short. I don’t really collect them because I don’t grade them. I use the questions to start a conversation in class.




La pulsera project

Every year, for the past four years, I have sponsored this amazing project called La Pulsera Project. They are a phenomenal group of people who dedicate their lives for the betterment of others.

Here is what we did…



Personal family tree: to be done in Padlet {create a free account} this is a project that each student will have to do. The completion date for this assignment is Tuesday, January 31st, 2017.

Step 1: Yo soy… Due Monday, January 23rd 2017. (In class work)

  • Picture of student
  • Name of student and explanation of the origin of their name [first and last name]

Step 2: Mi familia es… Due Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 (in class work)

  • Picture of the entire family
  • His/Her definition of family

Step 3: Audio of the student describing his/her family. Student will use MP3 online. Teacher will provide link.

  • Students will work on this in class/ home [if not finished in class] Due Wednesday, January 25th, 2017.  (in class or at home, depending on student’s work)

Step 4: Upload a picture of your country’s flag. Due Monday, January 31st, 2017

Step 5: Upload a song that is representative of your country of choice. Due, January 31st, 2017



















Mi nombre es _____________________________________________________________

Step 6: Video of student asking his/her father/mother/guardian about: Due ________________________________

Students will interview parents in dual language: students will ask in L2, giving a prompt card in L1 to parent so that the parent answers in their native tongue. The entire interview needs to be recorded and uploaded to Seesaw as a video/audio recording.

  • Level 1A – ask all questions without an asterisk. Level 1B – do all the questions.


  • What is your name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
  • Where are you from? ¿De dónde eres?
  • How are you? ¿Cómo eres?
  • How old are you? ¿Cuántos años tienes?
  • When is your birthday? ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
  • What do you like to do for fun? ¿Qué te gusta hacer?
  • What do you love to do? ¿Qué te encanta hacer?
  • What is your favorite place in the world? ¿Cuál es tu lugar favorito en el mundo?
  • What is the name of the middle school you attended?* ¿Cuál es el nombre de la escuela intermedia a la cual tu fuiste?
  • Did you have lockers? Backpacks? *¿Tenías armarios? ¿Usabas mochilas?
  • What was your favorite subject? Why?* ¿Cuál era tu clase favorita? ¿Por qué?
  • Did you have to wear uniforms? Did you like that?* ¿Tuviste que usar uniformes? ¿Te gustaba usar uniformes?
  • What is something that you do not like?* Dime algo que no te disgusta.
  • What is your job?* ¿En qué trabajas?
  • Why are we here? (In Virginia) * ¿Por qué estamos aquí en Virginia?
  • How did you meet mom/dad? (where, when, how)* ¿Cómo conociste a mama/papa?
  • How did you motivate or currently motivate your children to achieve their dreams? ¿Cómo motivaste o motivas a tus hijos a alcanzar sus suenños?
  • How do your children inspire you? ¿Cómo te inspiran tus hijos?
  • What positive words do your children tell you? ¿Qué palabras positivas le dices a tus hijos?
  • What is your favorite family tradition? ¿Cuál es tu tradición familiar favorita?

The Odd Life of Timothy McGreen

Teaching grammar is a CHORE…I dislike it as much as my students. So…I used this movie to teach lots of grammar as a concept, in context. We basically watched the movie in scenes and then read what we watched. We read together, in class. We clarified any questions and did “pop-up” grammar reviews, if needed. This is an excellent movie to teach acceptance, tolerance, goals, dreams, and to always strive to love one another, to look at the glass half full or overflowing with blessings.

Attached are the links to what we used in class. Hope it is hopeful to someone.


Here is the short quiz that my students took after watching and reading the entire script on Timothy McGreen.


Here is a document on vocabulary on the movie