Check out my new video The Spanish Definite Article Part 2. Like this video on the FluencyProf Youtube Channel if you find it useful. Even better, subscribe to the channel to support FluencyProf!
I started a YouTube channel in December 2010, and called it FluencyProf. At this time, my channel has 20 videos, which have been seen 1,470,087 times. I currently have 6,827 subscribers, and the number keeps growing. In an attempt to organize those videos by categories, I created a new section in the FluencyProf website called Video Lessons. There are basically 4 categories: Pronunciation, Vocabulary, Conversation, and Grammar.
I would like to thank all of you who have been using my materials, and personally invite you to take a look at the Video Lessons section. I will continue creating content as I am able, so please subscribe to this website and to my YouTube Channel! If you like Twitter, follow me at @FluencyProf.
Happy Spanish teaching and learning!
To help Spanish learners understand the celebrations and beliefs behind the Day of the Dead, or "Día de los muertos," I created some listening activities. All of them are iPad compatible. If you find these activities useful, please share them with your colleagues, friends, and of course, students!
The first activity is in a comic format, where students listen and type what they can understand. This can help start a discussion regarding Halloween and Día de los muertos. The second activity is a cloze activity to help students get familiar with the Spanish sounds as well as the vocabulary. Students can pause the audio to enter their answers.
Finally, the last activity is based on the movie The Book of Life (El libro de la vida), which is loosely based on the celebration of the Day of the dead. Although this movie is not completely based on true facts, the animations are engaging. The vocabulary is not very complicated, and it could also help start a discussion to understand the concept of death in Mexico and in the United States. Here are the links to all of the activities
El día de los muertos comic activity
El día de los muertos cloze activity
El libro de la vida (The Book of Life) activities
Have fun! Your comments are always appreciated.
A few years back, I was teaching my students the difference between "Ser" and "Estar". As you can imagine, some were confused by the fact that the verb "to be" could be expressed in different ways in Spanish. Luckily one day, one of my students told me - "Mr. Varguez, have you heard of the acronym PLACE and DOCTOR?" I said, "No, what is it about?". That student explained to me that she had found something online that helped her remember the different uses of "ser" and "estar" using acronyms. I had seen other acronyms before, and was not so impressed with them. However, these two acronyms were a little easier to remember.
Students have different learning styles, so I figured there was nothing to loose if I introduced these two acronyms into the "ser" and "estar" unit. Being somewhat successful, I decided to create these two videos to "flip" my lessons a little bit (see below). I hope they help you teach these two tricky verbs.
There are a few other videos on FluencyProf's YouTube Channel. Take a look when you get a chance.
Finally, please leave a comment below this blog entry to share your approach on teaching "Ser" and "estar". What has worked for you so far? Thank you for sharing your expertise!
How to Use the ver "SER" - The Doctor acronym
HOW TO USE THE VERB "ESTAR" - THE PLACE ACRONYM
To kick off 2014, I created a video lesson with the structure "ir a + infinitivo". If you have not had a chance to check out FluencyProf's YouTube Channel, I encourage you to do so. If you find the videos useful, please like them :-). Don't forget to subscribe to the channel to be notified whenever a new video is posted. You are welcome to embed my videos on your blogs, websites, social media sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, etc; as well as within your school Learning management systems such as Blackboard, Angel, etc. All I ask is for you to give me credit! :-) I am especially proud of the video below since I created all of the graphics from scratch! Happy new year and have a great Spring semester!
After debating whether I should or should not create an activity for Spanish students related to the Thanksgiving Holiday, I came to the conclusion that it was necessary. Although it is not celebrated in a same manner in Latin America, I believe that students of the Spanish language need to know how to describe this tradition in the language they are studying! Thus, I created one listening activity with three different levels of difficulty, with the goal in ming that after practicing and completing the activities more than once, students would recognize (and even use) some of the basic vocabulary related to Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas to make this set of activities successful:
A. Pre-listening: Write the "El día de Acción de Gracias" on the board, and have students brainstorm the vocabulary they already know related to this holiday. Expand the vocabulary list by prompting them, such as by saying the word in Spanish and have them guess what it means. Go through a round or two of pronunciation, to help them hear themselves producing the sounds the words. Then, pair them up, and have them work in pairs or small groups. One says the words in random order while the other (not looking at the list) says what it means. Intermediate students can stay in the target language by using circumlocution to describe the terms.
B. Listening: Play the audio from the Easy Thanksgiving Day Activity, and have students write down on a piece of paper as many words as they can understand. Then, have them share their list with each other using Spanish only. If you only have one computer and a projector, project activity one (the easy one) on the screen. To encourage active participation, ask all students to take out a piece of paper. They will use it to write down the answers from the fill-in-the-gaps activity. You may want to pause after each gap, to give them enough time to write. Then, have them check their answers with each other. Ask for a volunteer to type the answers on the screen for everyone to see.
Move on to the "Medium" level. The procedure is similar as above, but this time they get to work in pairs. When they are done, have them check their answers with other groups. Then, have a volunteer write the answers on the computer for everyone else to see.
Finally, it's time to get loud. Line up your students in 4 lines in front of the board. It may be a good idea to divide the board in 4 sections, since each line is a team. They can arrange themselves in any order they want. Use the "Hard" activity for this. The goal is to write the missing information from the fill-in-the gap activity on the board as fast and as accurately as possible. The first team to finish gets a point. Rotate students for every gap. The team with the most points wins!
Now it may be a good time to have students produce the language while talking about this holiday with the the information they know now. As an extended assignment, have them do the activities at home. You can ask them to complete any of the levels accordingly, and print it (or save it and email it to you) as a proof of completion.
¡Buena suerte y feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!
Click Here to view the activities: Spanish Thanksgiving Activities
Here is how you can create animated videos like the ones I posted recently on my site. The paid way, and the free way:
1. Go to xtranormal.com and sign up for an account. You can sign up and have a 15 day trial to play with the application.
2. Once you are logged in, you will be given the option to choose your scene, actors, voices (French, Spanish, Italian, etc.).
3. To create the movie, you will be asked to type what you want the characters to say. Then, the program will generate the audio for you.
4. Depending on how fancy you want to make your movie, you can add movements, facial expressions, sound effects, background music, etc.
5. When your trial expires, you will be asked to purchase "Tokens" to be able to create and download your movies. If you want students to create movies, you will need to pay .50 cents per student.
FREE (Well Kept Secret!):
1. Create your Xtranormal.com account
2. Create a Youtube Account. Then, go to youtube.com/create
3. Scroll down to find the Xtranormal app.
4. Begin creating your movie by adding text, actors, scenes, etc.
5. When you are done with your creation, publish it to your Youtube account and Voilà!
Pros and Cons:
1. The paid version has more features, but it costs 10 dollars, plus .50 cents per students.
2. The free version has less actors and scenes, and you have to publish your videos via Youtube.
Tips: Whichever version you choose, remember to save your scrip on a document, in case the rendering fails...It has happened to me once, and it's a bummer after you have created a "masterpiece".
Listen to some of the classic fables that reinforce values. Help your students boost their listening skills and vocabulary. The moralejas could be used as a springboard to talk about honesty, friendship, loyalty, and hardwork. Click on a fable below and enjoy!
La cigarra y la hormiga
El águila, el cuervo y el pastor
El águila y el escarabajo
El águila y la zorra
La zorra y el leñador
Have you ever had to teach Spanish to native Spanish speakers? If you answered yes, then you have probably experienced the need for us to differentiate and teach them spelling rules the old-fashioned way. This year I have three native Spanish-speaking students. They are all fluent in the language, but their writing needs work, especially when using the accent marks. Here is an activity I designed for them, but that your students can also benefit from, especially your native speakers. I created a video and three self-graded activities to practice the three basic rules to help your students decide whether an accent mark is necessary or not.
There is also an activity to help students practice telling time in Spanish. I posted a video and three self-graded activities.
Your comments to this blog post are welcome, as well as your suggestions for other activities. Enjoy!
I recently added a new comic to the collection of cultural events. Now your students can learn about Columbus Day, while learning Spanish! Click on the link 12 de octubre comic with audio to check it out! I also added a comic about la Tomatina, and a comic about el día de los muertos. I also added text fields to every comic so that your students can take notes and discuss their findings in class, in case you choose to do this activity in a lab setting. This will hopefully save you prep time. Finally, I added interactive translators to the myths and legends sections, so that students can interact more with the vocabulary. Enjoy!