Tag Archives: Spanish

18 awesome TV shows in Spanish

14 Sep

The list: netflix.pdf

TV list

What it’s about:

I created a list of made-in-Spanish shows that are currently on Netflix, and added short descriptions. I shared it with my students before summer, and will pass it out again now. I’ve also thought of showing a trailer or two to try to see if it grabs interest.

I know of some schools that are allowing students to watch the episodes in class, but I don’t think I’d have time in my classes even if I could get permission. However, if you are showing them in class, check out the activity I posted about for movies: Quick Prep for a Movie

I want them to see that not all shows in Spanish are like the stereotypical telenovelas.

My personal favorites are El gran hotel, Lady la vendedora de rosas, and La esclava blanca. But I’ve watched enough of the others to be able to make recommendations. Certain students are fascinated that there’s a series about a secret ministry working for the king of Spain that travels time to correct inconsistencies.

By the way, no denying it, I deliberately left off all of the drug and cartel-themed programs. I don’t like the stereotype of all Latinos being drug dealers and cartel members and feel like a big part of that comes from the popularity of those shows.

I left it blank on top for others to use, but my own contains a disclaimer. I am only letting students know what’s out there and that they are expected to review their viewing choices with a parent, as I am unaware of the ratings or age-appropriateness of the shows, or of what is considered appropriate in their own homes.

Enjoy! Let me know what your own favorites are, especially if they’re not on my list.

Meanwhile, can anyone find out why we can’t view Soy Luna or Violetta here in the States? They are Disney programs made-in-Spanish and available on Netflix in other countries. Soy Luna would be really fun to share with students!



Classroom Dashboard

19 Aug


Here is a tutorial about creating a Dashboard. You’ll need some experience in Powerpoint to understand the tutorial, but it also teaches a lot of simple tips that many regular Powerpoint users aren’t aware of. 

Create a Classroom Dashboard in Powerpoint from Vallarie Sevilla on Vimeo.

Examples & Shares

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate image created by Val Sevilla

Since posting this, I have been asked about sharing my own dashboard. I’ve experimented with a few, so I am putting them in a folder to share, but many of my own have images related to our school as well. My favorite creation is the Yerba Mate that I added to my desk this year, so it is in the folder as well. I created an ending slide that shows the Mate finished up. All files are found here: Dashboards

What’s it about?

As my traditional students enter the room, they see something like this: 

SP2 Q3

And as my online students check the announcements, they see something like this: 


In the classroom, the Dashboard is on the screen letting students know the objectives, warm-up, word-of-the-day, homework, and upcoming due dates.

Online, it presents a clear picture of what needs to be done each day and where to find things. I found that online students frequently skim the page so I wanted to make my announcements more “skimmable”.

And it’s quick and easy to update! I created an overall design, then saved it as an image, like this one, which was customized for a friend. :0)


With the image as my background in Powerpoint, I just drag and drop, or modify text as needed before the next class session. For example, I move the homework from tonight to the box for what needs to be turned in, and the next quiz is dragged from the upcoming dates text. Then I add in any new homework and change the date. I have a full list of what needs to be turned in throughout the quarter, and then I just remove items from the list as they happen.

Please share your image in the comments if you make a Dashboard of your own! I’d love to see more designs. And feel free to ask if you run into any problems making it.

Site Share: Digital Collaboration Board

10 Jan

Picture1Padlet.com is a site I’ve started using for collaboration. Imagine a big poster on the wall and everyone is throwing sticky notes onto it. This site uses the same concept, but digitally. Many sites share this concept, but I prefer padlet.com because it’s easy to use and doesn’t require logins from anyone. We can all operate this site from whatever tech I can get my hands on that day – in a lab, on laptops, personal smartphones, iPads, or iPads. (In my school, it’s easiest to let them use phones, but have a school set of iPods on hand for anyone who needs it).

Open the site and create a board. Copy the link (or click the share button to get a QR code) and share it with the class. They go to the link, click anywhere on the board, and write.

With no login required, you can opt to let students post anonymously or tell them to title each post with their name, initials, or numbers you’ve assigned. Alternatively, if you have a class that may post unwanted material, you can create an account and require each participant to sign in with a name.

Uses I’ve enjoyed in class: 

  • Group or class brainstorming: The group throws their posts on the board then reads all of them to get idea of what to write. There can be a class board or small groups can each have their own board.
  • Feedback: During skits and performances, the audience submits positive feedback for the performers or general statements about the characters (Marcos es muy consentido).
  • FAQ’s: I particularly like using this one when I am explaining a project. When I stop to answer questions as I am explaining, it takes so much longer and I lose their attention. I tell them to post questions as I go along, then I address the questions at the end. By the time I get to the questions, they’ve usually already deleted their question if I answered it in my explanation or if they see someone else already asked it.
  • Predictions: During a movie in class, stop it periodically to ask a prediction question and allow time for them to post before moving on.
  • Comprehension check: After introducing a new concept, ask them to try it on their own and read the responses. If they’re anonymous, this gives them opportunity to find out if they are getting it right without exposing their possible errors to the class.
  • Redaction: 

padletMy most recent use, allowing me to correct their statements in real time before they have to say them out loud for an activity. We were about to conduct celebrity interviews and they had to create questions using “ser” and “estar”. I wanted their questions to be correct beforehand – I didn’t want to correct them during the interviews. One option was to have them turn their questions in and make corrections during my abundant free time. I chose instead to create a board and had them post their questions for redaction. We created a system in which I would move it to the right once it was correct so they could copy it on paper and delete it.

The interviews went very well. Four people had to come to the front of the room (join the panel), acting as the celebrities and answering questions from the “audience”. We then switched the celebrities out two more times during the activity, giving more students opportunity to do the answering. We used Enrique Iglesias, Manny Ramirez, Jennifer Lopez, and Sofia Vergara (because there is a page in our text that starts the activity out with brief bios of these people). We followed up the next class with 3-5 minutes (real) interviews of these four people. The students said they like the “real-time” feedback and knowing the questions were correct before starting the interviews.

Post a comment with other ideas you can think of for a digital collaboration board.

Videos as speaking/writing prompts

1 Aug

I love this video of two twin babies involved in a conversation nobody else understands!  Have you seen it?


When I find a video like this, I like to let students work in pairs and create the conversation themselves.  They can then load the video into a movie editor and write in subtitles so we know what the twins are “really saying”.  This works well with other videos you can find of two animals who seem to communicate.


In fact, I like the one posted below, two foxes on a trampoline, to have students practice actually speaking.  They take the video file and mute it, then voice-over a new conversation on behalf of the animals.


On a smaller scale, you can use videos to prompt speaking in the same way I’ve mentioned using other visuals: Visual Prompt for Speaking

Just mute the volume on any Nature video or video with a lot of action and let the students follow the same steps… words, phrases, questions….

Fox Hunt

NOTE: If you use Firefox, you can get the plug in that allows you to simply download any video easily as a file.  if not, you can use http://zamzar.com to download the video for use.

Oral proficiency rubric in online classes

10 Jul

I let the students know what we will discuss at each of our sessions.  I want the students to feel comfortable with conversation.  In our first sessions, we went over question words and ways to ask questions.

Now, as each session starts, we review current topics and I ask if there is any vocabulary they need me to demonstrate for them.  We then move into conversation practice.  I first ask each of them a question, they they take turns asking each other questions.

Because of my small class sizes in the online academy, I have found it best to have all levels meet at the same time.  Our goal is always to get them speaking and feeling comfortable and confident in the language, not to practice current grammar rules (they have ample practice activities outside of our online sessions).  I do make it clear that I expect them to be using the vocabulary of their level in their responses. in some situations, I can require certain tenses and I let them know in advance when that happens.  For example, I had Spanish II and Spanish III students in class this morning and both levels have worked with the preterite this term so I had them asking about what they did yesterday. 

While they are practicing, I am taking notes.  I write a Q when they ask a question and an A when they answer a question.  I put a plus sign after strong questions and answers, and minus signs after weak questions and answers.  When necessary, I make notes, like “M____ is using the form in his responses”.  I then look at the data I gathered and use the oral proficiency rubric  to determine a grade.  If a student did not attend a session or remained silent, they have a 0/10.  By attending and trying to participate, the very lowest score a student can get is a 6/10.  This is student functioning at the beginner level.

I think one of the biggest advantages my online students have is the messenger tool in our online learning environment.  I use it to give them immediate and detailed feedback after each conversation practice.  This isn’t as attainable in my traditional classes with 120 students in all.  Here is an example of feedback given in my class:

Your grade for the oral is 8.  Go back to the rubric and read what a score of 8 means and what you can do to score higher.  Your pronunciation is good and you have good accuracy, but you were not willing to expand on what you were saying.  I think you have the knowledge and capability of expanding and would like to hear more from you next week. 

Oral practice

19 Jun

I want to keep track of some basic activities I can do in any class period to strengthen oral proficiency. 

Visual prompt:

  1. Start with an image on the screen.  Ask students for “words” to tell what they see. 
  2. After a few of these, ask for “statements” about what they see. 
  3. After some statements, have the students create questions about what they do not see.  “For whom is the girl making a sandwich?”
  4. Make notes on seating chart to indicate who is asking questions or making statements and use ± to record skill level.
  5. Possible extensions: Have students create negative statements or prediction statements. 

Becuase it is a task they will be required to complete for AP, I want them to be able to speak extemporaneously from a prompt. A colleague shared something she does:

  1. Pass out topics, giving three or four to each group, but have the groups receive different topics. 
  2. Allow them 8 minutes to prepare what they will say. 
  3. Allow each student to present their speech verbally. 

If you don’t assess it, students don’t value it.  I am attending a Professional Development workshop on rubrics this week and want to use what I learn to develop rubrics for these oral practices.

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