El Ministerio del Tiempo

While I adore and continue to use El Internado in my intermediate Spanish classes, this year I wanted to try something different with my Heritage Spanish course.  I’m trying out El Ministerio del Tiempo, currently in season 3 in Spain.  I LOVE this show, and have learned quite a bit from it myself.  The rights to it have been bought by Netflix, so I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time before we get to see the whole series.  I have season 1 on DVD, and hope to get to season 2 soon.

Here are some of the reasons for liking it for class:
1. It’s not on Netflix. This means that students need to watch in class & join in the discussion–they can’t watch ahead and then claim they don’t need to watch in class because they’ve seen it already.
2. It’s a different kind of Spanish than many are accustomed to, so we all have the chance to learn new things.
3. It’s rooted in history, but takes place in current time.
4. I have the DVD’s, and each episode has an extra that talks about the actual history referenced in the story.
5. Lots of connections with AP Sp Literature curriculum.

While the show is usually pretty tame, there are definitely parts that NO ONE would want to show in class. However, we just skip on over those parts ¿a qué sí? 😝

Here’s the link to what I have so far:  El ministerio del tiempo introducción y capítulo 1. The activities start off pretty easy/well scaffolded, then move to more open ended questions. In order to understand what’s going on, it would be helpful for students to know a little bit about Los Acueductos de Segovia (http://www.nationalgeographic.com.es/…/acueducto-segovia-…/1), el 11-M, & Velázquez/Las Meninas.


Hope you enjoy it as much as I am!


Update 10/15/17:  Here are some additional resources for this episode:

  • My students have become totally hooked on this show.  As a result, I have not continued the moment-by-moment guides because they seemed to be interfering with watching.  I think I may leave them as recaps later in the week as part of a sub plan.  Students have commented that they are learning new things (a win!) and that they are finding the language a challenge.  This is significant because there was initially resistance among them, saying that they already know Spanish.
  • Quizlet  Kahoot  for episode 1.
  • We played a version of Hedbanz with photos/screenshots from the show.
  • It is very important that you skip minutes 48-49 with your classes.
  • We also have played reverse charades, something I picked up from La Maestra Loca.  To play, I wrote several quotes/sentences that included our recent vocabulary and from the show on notecards.  For example, one phrase was “Yo nunca miento”, a quote from Alonso.  I divided the class into 2 teams, and asked for one volunteer per team to come up front.  We played charades, but instead of the whole team trying to guess what the person up front was acting out, the person up front was doing the guessing and the team was doing the acting.  The idea was that the guesser would have to get the entire phrase, not just a word or two.  We used this to review key quotes from the episode & to review who said what to whom.  The kids really got into it, and were really creative with their clues!
  • I think we will wrap up episode 1 with a writing task… something simple but that will also give me another measure of their progress so far.  They are starting to come along in their self-selected reading too, and I’m looking forward to seeing their progress.

We’re BREAKOUTing outta here!

Today is our last day of classes, and we are wrapping up with one of the most-requested activities of the year: Breakout Boxes.  I’ve found them to be a mind-boggling challenge for students that re-energized a love for learning… and taught content and soft skills along the way.

This semester we did Breakout activities three times in two classes: Spanish 2 and AP Language.  Level 2’s topics were Quinceañera/McFarland USA (some quinceañera activities are adapted from the amazing Martina Bex) ; AP’s were based on the novel La Guerra Sucia from Fluency Matters and season 1 of El Internado (thanks to Dustin Williamson).  I’ll gladly share the materials for the Quinceañera & Guerra Sucia breakouts–just email me with the request.

The activities are challenging to build, but it’s so gratifying to see students diving in and grappling with the adventure.  See some pictures below!

If you are interested in exploring more, check out these links:

Looking for clues

Weighing strategies

Teamwork to select the right answer

EVERYONE is involved!


Mirabal Sisters + 25 de noviembre

As I’ve mentioned previously, we watch In the Time of Butterflies as a prelude to reading Felipe Alou. Here’s a resource I created that uses jigsaw exploration of three infographics related to the issue of violence against women and the UN day on the same issue that is named in honor of the Mirabal sisters.

The first two pages are done as a group. Then they break into 3 jigsaw groups and use worksheet A with infographic A, B with B, and C with C.  Next they come together, prepare a Venn Diagram, and then create a PSA to share what they have learned. Even though it’s short & sweet, I think it’s important to get some of this info in front of our students in case they or someone they know ever needs it.

Mirabal sisters violence against women

Introduction to Felipe Alou

I’m returning to the Spanish 2 classroom tomorrow after several weeks in the background as my student teacher has been leading those classes. Our last unit is called Caras Inolvidables (Unforgettable Faces) and is built around biographies of several well-known people from Spanish-speaking culture. We will read the Felipe Alou book from Fluency Matters, watch the film Selena, and will work with mini biographies along the way. This year we are liberated from having to give a formal final exam, so I’m working on developing an autobiography project to wrap things up.

Tomorrow we are beginning a gentle entry into the unit to get reacquainted and also accommodate the students who will be taking AP exams this week.  I developed this resource (Felipe Alou + Robinson Cano intro) to help us with some pre-reading activities before diving into the book.  Hope it is helpful to you!

Lost in Paradise

Here’s a quick activity that has students shop for clothing in Spain to replace their lost luggage.  After “shopping” online in stores that our exchange students have recommended, they prepare a brief video telling what they bought (similar to a haul video).  Click here to download the file:  Lost Luggage

Central States Conference: Chicago 2017

What a pleasure it has been to be back in the land of good food (Portillo’s, Culver’s Gino’s East, Potbelly, Cafecito, Garretts‘), amazing friends (too many to name!), amazing radio (WXRT), efficient public transportation that works, and my home state of Illinois.

You can find a link to my presentation on Fortify with Feedback here.  You might also be interested in some related posts herehere, here, and here.

Thanks for visiting, y’all.