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Learn Spanish with movies: El hijo de la novia

Why movies?
  1. Movies are something our students like. At least, they like the format. They are familiarized with them. They probably go to the movies on the weekends with their friends. 
  2. The movies are primary sources for the language. The language our students are exposed through the movies is a native language, produced for/to native speakers.
  3. The language in the movies is real. We will find a lot of authentic registers [poor people talking slang, rich people using a very sophisticated speech...] to work with.
  4. With the right activities (pre-comprehension, ...) movies are not a passive activity but a really "active" activity in our class.
  5. Movies are visual. It is a visual format we (pretty much all) are familiarized with it.
  6. Movies are a huge "exposition" of the target culture. It depends on the movie but lots of them can help us bring up to the table interesting debates/discussions about cultural topics.
  7. Movies stimulate creativity.
  8. Movies develop our students capacity of analysis from different points of view.
A possible sequence to consider for planning purpose:

- Before the movie:
  • Glossary
  • Pre-comprehension activities [Anticipation]
-During the movie:
  • notes
  • comments
  • answers
  • quotes
  • words lists
- After the movie:
  • level-targeted tasks
Sequence based on Martha Florez

In this case, I propose a movie about rethinking our paths through life. The movie also expose us to a good dose of reality. Read the full review in IMDB or in BBC Reviews

It is interesting how many different types of text we can work with our students through movies. We can practice producing a review, a summary, descriptions of characters, dialogues/conversations, informal letter, email, interview, article... 

Ficha técnica de la película:
Título: El hijo de la novia
Dirección: Juan José Campanella
País: Argentina
Año: 2001
Fecha de estreno: 23/11/2001
Duración: 123 minutos
Género: Drama, Comedia.
Reparto: Ricardo Darín, Héctor Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Eduardo Blanco, Natalia Verbeke, Gimena Nóbile, David Masajnik, Claudia Fontán, Atilio Pozzobon, Salo Pasik
Productora: Patagonik Film Group, Tornasol Films, JEMPSA, Pol-Ka Producciones

Possible activities are listed below with worksheets and print outs. Enjoy!

Sources and resources:
“Accordingly, globalization is not only something that will
concern and threaten us in the future, but something
that is taking place in the present and to which we must
first open our eyes.”
Ulrich Beck (German Sociologist; b. 1944)
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Criterios de evaluación para el trabajo escrito. Español BI NM.

En estos tiempos la Organización del Bachillerato Internacional está viviendo un momento muy intenso, un tiempo de cambio en el que hay muchas actualizaciones y a los profesores que trabajamos con estos programas nos cuesta estar al día con todas las modificaciones que se introducen. Por eso, me he propuesto hacer esta entrada para recoger las últimas actualizaciones y explicar como funcionan y expresar mi opinión. Esta entrada va dirigida a los sufridos profesores de español del BI y a los alumnos [no menos sufridos :P]

¿Cómo van a ser evaluados los trabajos escritos de nuestros alumnos? [Guía de lengua B, 2015]

La puntuación máxima del trabajo escrito es de 24 puntos y supone el 20% de la nota final del alumno.
El trabajo escrito tiene que estar conectado/relacionado con los temas troncales [Problemas globales, relaciones sociales y medios de comunicación], tiene que tener una extensión de entre 300 y 400 palabras más una fundamentación de 150 a 200 palabras. 
¡Ojo! ¡Cuidado con el número de palabras, porque se tendrá en cuenta negativamente si escribe más y también menos de lo requerido. Además si escribe más palabras de lo estipulado sólo se tendrán en cuenta para la evaluación el número de palabras máximo permitido.

A continuación presentamos una serie de preguntas que nos ayudarán a centrar el trabajo de nuestros alumnos para alcanzar la máxima puntuación en cada criterio:

Criterio A: Fundamentación y tarea [10 puntos]
  • ¿En qué medida el alumno utiliza la fundamentación y la tarea para completar el trabajo escrito?
  • ¿En qué medida la tarea se presenta con claridad en la fundamentación?
  • ¿En qué medida la tarea aborda satisfactoriamente el tema, y el o los objetivos que se indican en la fundamentación?
  • ¿En qué medida es apropiada la elección del tipo de texto para la tarea?

Otra forma de enfocar esta parte y de ayudar a nuestros alumnos [y a nosotros mismos] a entender mejor la tarea es prestar atención a los siguientes puntos:
  • ¿Qué?
  • ¿Cómo?
  • ¿Por qué?
  • ¿Organización?
  • ¿Cumplimiento de los objetivos?
  • ¿uso de las convenciones/formato específico?
Criterio B: Organización y desarrollo [6 puntos]
  • ¿En qué medida las ideas están organizadas y desarrolladas?
Criterio C: Lengua [8 puntos]
  • ¿En qué medida utiliza el alumno la lengua de forma apropiada y eficaz en relación con la tarea?

¿Quieres saber más?

Nunca consideres el estudio como una obligación, sino como una oportunidad para penetrar en el bello y maravilloso mundo del saber.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
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Specific vocabulary: Internet

Hello all again!
Today I want to share a couple of images containing specific basic vocabulary to use on a daily basis: Internet. 
I know it sounds too easy but I have found out that sometimes this is that obvious that it doesn't get covered in any Spanish class. 
When can this specific vocabulary comes in handy?
The first time I realized the importance of it we were going through a web quest for my Spanish class. One of the requirements for my students were to cite their sources and they all turn to me when they reached that point of the task. 
Yes, our students usually have to cite their sources for their projects/essays... and nowadays almost every single source is on line, so that is what they use it. Therefore if we want our students to be ready for that we need to teach them this essential vocabulary.
I hope these two visuals come in handy to use them for your classes and also feel free to take the brief quiz below to check if you already mastered this specific vocabulary.

“Five years from now on the Web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. 
It will be better than any single university.”

– Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft (2010)
Want to expand your knowledge?
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False friends English-Spanish (I)

False friends are pairs of words in two languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning. 
They are like people you thought they were your real friends and when you needed them they weren't there for you. We don't like them!
When learning languages you have to go through this process as well, like in your real life. You have to be able to identify your real friends [cognates] from your false friends ;)
You don't want to make "embarrassing" ("embarazada" actually means "pregnant" in Spanish) comments... so, take a look to them from time to time and don't let them confuse you.

Check your answers

“Any teacher that can be replaced with a computer, deserves to be.” 
– David Thornburg

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Expressions in Spanish: Ser un pez gordo

To learn idiomatic expressions in the target language is essential because native speakers do use them all the time. 
Expressions are used in formal and informal speech. 
A language learner that is using expressions transmits certain information about him/her that is implied. Students communicating effectively with expressions show a deeper understanding of the language and also of the target culture.
For showing our proficiency in a language. Once you have mastered a certain number of expressions and include them in your interactions you are ready to go beyond the language borders.

Check your answers ;)

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

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Language through content: Geography

This is a trend we must consider when teaching/learning languages. Go a little bit further and offer something else than just the language. You'll get impress by your students response(if they like the topic chosen).
This is one of the sequences we do in class:
  1. Try a website focused in a particular area of knowledge (in my case Geography)
  2. Related vocabulary (Geography) + Locations (Ser/Estar) 
  3. Useful patterns: questions 
    • ¿Dónde está____?
    • ¿En qué continente está _____(país o capital/ciudad)____?
    • ¿Cuál es la capital de ____(país)____?
  4. Help them understand how do you use a question to build up your answer:
    • ¿Cuál es la capital de Chile?
    • La capital de Chile es Santiago de Chile.
  5. Work with them the cardinal points:
    • Sur
    • Norte
    • Este
    • Oeste
  6. This is an excellent opportunity to learn and practice the seasons:
    • Invierno
    • Verano
    • Primavera
    • Otoño
  7.  Help them understand we have different ways of naming geographical positions and explore with them the origin of these words helping them understand the roots of the language and some reasons/logic of the Spanish language:
  8. On a cultural note, I bring up some shocking topics:
    •  How many continents are out there? Explore with them this concept in English and Spanish and the origin and the consequences of it. Talk about the different approaches: geographical or cultural. I also make a connection with the notion of being open minded.
    • Help them understand the logo of ANOC and reason the causes.
    • Names of capitals: do we translate them or not? all? why?
Further reading:
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IB Profile: Open-Minded

This is another poster to use in class about the IB Profile in Spanish. This time we want to make our students reflect about being in someone's else shoes. We want them to really understand the difference and coexist with it. To be a global citizen, to be able to grasp the concept of International Awareness we need to know and show empathy and be open-minded. All these key concepts must be a part of an International Student.

This time, let me borrow an interesting activity from MMNahoum included in the collaborative document for IBLP as a possibility to work with our students in a language acquisition class. Perfect to learn different adjectives and work descriptions on our classes.


  1. Use Learner Profile Attributes to learn different adjectives and how these “work”. 
  2. Link LP attributes to a color and add other adjectives linked to this color (for example: red for communicator, talkative, lively, etc.) 
  3. Students write a description of themselves using the LP attributes using percentages (revision of numbers), for example : I am 25% open-minded, 5% risk-taker, etc 
  4. Students use a Tagxedo or Tagul to create a collage of who they are with the LP attributes.
Show off your skills, take the quiz below:

Check your answers ;)

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open. 
 Frank Zappa





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