Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Short Films & CI - El Vampiro y la Dentista
On the fourth day of Spanish 2, I introduced the following set of focus words: olía mal, comía ajo, tenía miedo

For each new set of vocabulary, I had a skeleton story, and the students helped to fill in the details..  My skeleton story for the above words (day 4 of the new semester) there was a guy that ate garlic all the time & everywhere because he was afraid of vampires. Then we worked on how to solve the person's bad breath problem.  (click HERE for the students' story & my story) In one class, a boy said, "He went to the dentist".  That comment reminded me of a short film that I saw several months ago but had never used in class.   
     The following day I chose new vocabulary that was used in the video. (era = he was, quería ayudar = she wanted to help, and no sabía que = he didn't know that.  Instead of telling another story, I used the new vocabulary as I narrated the film, pausing throughout the video to ask students questions. 
     Below is the list of activities that I used in conjunction with the video:

1. The students watched THIS VIDEO (found on YouTube, "Vampire's Crown" by HM3DAnimation) and I asked many, many questions about it.

2.  The second day we watched the video the second time, but without sound, and I asked questions again.

3.  I used three embedded readings to ease the students into reading the full version.  (see Laurie Clarcq's site for an explanation of Embedded Readings)  
Click HERE to download a copy of the embedded readings.
Version A - I read version A in Spanish and after each sentence the students verbally translated the sentence to English. 
Version B - Students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to read the story. They had to stand (no sitting!) with their partner somewhere in the room to read.
Version C - Before I gave them the last version, I instructed them to move with their partner to make a large circle around the circumference of the room.  Then one person in each group had to move counterclockwise to the next group.  (This provided them an opportunity to work with someone they may have not otherwise chosen.)  They read the story in English with their new partner.  I was in the middle of the room so I could easily help anyone with a word they did not know.

Inserted new message from March 2017 - I share these materials without cost to my readers. When you download my work and it is labeled "CC" that means you are free to use them but you must keep my name on the documents. I googled the script today and found PDFs that teachers made of the script and NO credit was properly given. I even found a Prezi by a teacher that put my story on different slides, as well as the follow activities. So please, show your appreciation by leaving my name on the materials that I have created that you use in your classrooms and ESPECIALLY when you use my materials in a presentation.

4. Collage - I said a sentence from the story and the students said which number matched the sentence, or if it happened before (antes de) or after (después de) the photo.  (Download the collage HERE.).

5. Notebook activity (available through email only) w/ the Epson Smart Projector.  Students put the pictures in order.  After placing each one, the student or someone the student chose, had to say a sentence in Spanish that matched the picture. Students were permitted to look at their Embedded Readings if they didn't know what to say.

6.  I gave students in groups of 3 a copy of the Collage used in #4.  A member of the group pointed to one of the 9 photos and the other two students said a sentence in Spanish.

7. Antes de/Después de worksheet.  (to download)

8. Group writing activity.  (click on link for explanation - scroll to #3 at that post) 

9. Freeze frame activity - as per Carol Gaab's session at ACTFL.  (click on link for explanation of how I used this activity in the previous semester.)

10. CLOZE activity  (found HERE or use Laura Avila's version below)

11.  At the end of the week I will give the students a 5 minute timed writing in which they can choose to write about this video.

As a follow up, I may decide to show the Señor Wooley's "La Dentista" video.  There is a lot of vocabulary in that video that my students don't know yet and haven't been exposed to, but I think the music, animation, and story will grab their attention.  It will be a nice reward for sticking with me for all the above activities!  

Update: Elisabeth Hayles shares her FRENCH resources for this video:
Embedded Readings HERE
Quizlet activity HERE 

Update: For information and materials on an interactive reading of the story that I used to prepare for this video (in Fall 2015), check the blog post HERE

UPDATE: In August 2013, Laura Avila contacted me to say she had also made two readings (which can be used for level 3) based on the reading I created for my Spanish 2 students.  She has generously offered to share her work on my blog so others can benefit from her efforts.  THANK YOU Laura!!!
Below are the two readings. 


  1. This is an awesome lesson!! I cannot wait to try it out next week. I will have to tweek it some since my Spanish 2 students are not familiar with all of the words. I love the short film and the activities you have done with them. I am new to TPRS and even newer to Embedded readings as I haven't done an embedded reading yet. This will be the first time I work with one in class. Thank you so much for sharing!! Nancy

  2. Thanks Nancy.
    I'm new to embedded readings too, but it went well for my first effort. Have fun with the video next week!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Nancy.


  3. I saw last year (I believe) something similar you did with an animated short called Alma. I'm really amazed by your activities! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  4. You're welcome, Jeremy. Just following the lead that people like YOU set. :-)

    I made the Alma activities in November 2011 and that video is still one of my favorite short films.

  5. Love this!!! I'm excited to try it with my "blah" Spanish II classes. I think something like this will really get them interested :)

  6. Emily - Please let me know how the "blah" class reacted. :)

  7. Hey! are these activities available on TpT? or maybe it is the computer I am on...It is not allowing me access to the materials that were here previously.

    thanks for sharing all of your amazing ideas/resources...Really enjoy and am learning a lot through your blog!

  8. Hi Jenn. Thanks for your comment.

    The activities are not available on TpT. The problem may be your computer, or even your browser. Sometimes Safari doesn't cooperate for me on different websites. Let me know if you want me to email them to you directly.

    1. I would love it if you were able to email the activities to me!! you can email me a

      thanks again for sharing your amazingness!!

  9. ¡Hola, Sra. Hitz! I love this mini-unit. I've never done TPRS OR embedded readings before, and since you were so descriptive in this post, I think I will give it a shot with these resources. THANK YOU!

    One thing: I was able to get all of the resources except #5 (what kind of file is that??) and #9. When I click on the link for Carol Gaab's Freeze Frame Activity, this error message pops up: "Your current account ( does not have access to view this page." Help??

    Thanks again, you rock! :)

  10. Hi Kelly!
    Thanks for alerting me to the problem with #9. I edited it, so the link should take you to an earlier post which explains the activity.

    The #5 activity was made with Notebook software. If your computer doesn't have it, you probably can't open it. Basically, I took screen shots of the video and the students had to put them in order, moving the screenshots on the smart board (projector) and they either said a sentence to describe the picture or they chose a classmate to say a sentence.

    If you have any questions about TPRS or CI (Comprehensible Input) or Embedded Readings, please do not hesitate to ask me. If you're on Twitter you can contact me there @sonrisadelcampo If you're not on Twitter, make an account NOW! It is the best Professional Development available and I can introduce you to some great TPRS/CI teachers on Twitter!

    Thank you for your kind words. Write back to let me know how your activities worked.


  11. Thank you so much for posting these detailed resources! I used this video to make predictions in the future tense with my Spanish III students with great success, and am now planning to use your embedded reading to ease my Spanish II students into the use of the imperfect (we have used the preterit tense a fair amount). This is such a versatile video! I have only done a little bit of TPRS before, but I have been tearing my hair out trying to figure out how to teach preterit/imperfect in a way that's not overwhelming, and I think students will like this.

    1. Emily,
      Thank you for sharing how this worked with your Spanish III and the future tense! You're right - this video is very versatile. I used to teach SpIII but I gave up those classes in order to work with earlier levels, but I like your idea how you used it with your IIIs.

      I would love to hear how it goes when you use TPRS & this video to teach the imperfect and preterit in context. I'm sure you'll be great, even though you say you have "only done a little bit of TPRS before". :-)


  12. Great video and great resources. Thanks! I used many of your ideas recently, and all went well. I didn't have time to try Freeze Frame, but I love the idea.

  13. Hello Cynthia,
    I really like your blog and creativity. Thank you very much for sharing.
    Last June I copied your reading format for this video (El vampiro y la dentista) and took it up two levels. I would like to share them on your blog in case you or someone else might find them useful. Since I can't post attachments here, you can e-mail me to get this going:
    I am learning a lot from your blog. Thank you again.

  14. Cynthia--

    I love your Blog and all your wonderful, creative ideas.

    Would you be able to email me your collage, notebook activity, and antes de/después de activity for El Vampiro?

    Thank you so much!

    Lora Benedetti

  15. Thank you so much for posting your wonderful ideas. Would you also please email me your collage, notebook activity, and antes de/después de activity for El Vampiro? jrooke at glnd dot k12 dot va dot us
    Many thanks,

  16. Hello: I love your blog, I'm learning so much about TPRS. Love this story, can you email me the collage, notebook activity, and antes de/despues de activity for El Vampiro.

    thank you so much I will try this next week with my spanish 2 students.


  17. Hello, I loved this entry! Would you be able to send me the notebook activity? I cannot wait to use it! Gracias!

    1. Hi Desi,
      I emailed the Notebook activity to you but the email came back to me undelivered. Is the above email correct?

  18. How did you take screenshots of your video for #4?

    1. Last year I wrote a post on how to make digital collages. You can find it at: How to make Digital Collages
      There are other collage generators online.
      If you prefer making collages on a ipad, you may want to try the Pic Collage app.

      Have fun!

  19. Hola Cynthia,

    THANKS for these activities! I created a Google slides presentation for circling before watching the video. I can share with you if you'd like. Let me know.

    ¡Eres una estrella de rock!

    Gracias, Nidia

    1. YES, I would love it if you shared it with me!!!!
      and...thank you for your kind words. :-)


  20. Thank you for all the resources you have share with us! Can you please share with me the Notebook file?

  21. Cynthia,

    This looks like a great lesson!! I would love to try it, but don't see any links for Laura Avila's Spanish III version of the story or activities. I am sure that you are plenty exhausted of sharing these files, but could I BEG you to send them to me too??!! ¡Por favor!

    Thanks so much! And thanks so much for all of your ideas and insight that you share on your blog!


  22. Hola...

    I am having a hard time opening the readings by Laura Avila. Any chance you can redirect me to where I can open this?

    This is still one of my favorite stories to tell. I love to open with Larry, el vampiro and lead to La dentista y el vampiro. This story still has a great impact with my students.

    Thanks again,


    1. I sent Laura's document to you. Have fun!!!

  23. Thank you so much! These plans are a life-saver for block scheduling during end-of-year testing. I've translated A and C to French, if you'd like me to share with you. Also, created a Quizlet set to match sentences together from an idea I got from Mike Peto. Let me know if you'd like me to share them with you to add to this page! LOVE sharing the work load.

  24. ¡Hola! I love all of your posts and don't know how I missed this one! I can't wait to try this with my students in the fall. Thank you so much! Would you mind emailing me the materials that Laura Avila prepared for Spanish 3? I am unable to open it. Thanks again - hope you are having a great summer! :)

  25. ¡Gracias, Gracias, Gracias! This unit will be great to supplement Sr. Wooly that I just subscribed to. Your directions are so explicit and detailed that they are easy to follow for a newbie to CI. I am an old dog learning new tricks. Thanks for sharing your amazing ideas and work!

  26. Could you explain the notebook activity please? I don't have a smartboard.

  27. Cynthia,

    I remember doing a song with my kids where they acted out a song about a train and a dentist and someone named Larry, but I can't remember where I got it from.

  28. This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.