Three’s Company

Jim Tripp needs our advice:

Ben, I need some advice. I have a class of 3 Spanish three students. I have found how hard it can be to sustain compelling CI with such a small group, especially for 90 minutes! So I’m not even going to try that. (Plus, I will have half hour visits from the elementary grades during this block, so I’m not expected to supply the CI the entire time.

What I’m looking for are INPUT sites and resources that these kids can get into independently, during class, for a sustained amount of time (at least 45 minutes). There is of course reading novels, which I have a lot of variety of now and will play a big role. But what else?

Here’s what I have so far, which I plan to type up a list of and give it to them, and then I’ll have them report back to me or I’ll interview them or something else to gauge their comprehension of the material. But I want more, lots more! Please send them in!

  • novels
  • Ben’s Bucky Va A Mexico program
  • (online TV nexus)
  • (for limited optional grammar study and vocab practice)
  • (twext site which requires youtube access to view/hear music, which might be a problem, unless they buy the music)

Thanks for any help you all can give me!




11 thoughts on “Three’s Company”

  1. There are several programs on, which is a pbs site in Spanish. For several of the programs there are sites that provide summaries of episodes and character descriptions in Spanish. Some of the programs are programs from other countries that are dubbed, but many are from Spain. Look under the ‘Series’ drop-down menu for a listing. Pulseras rojas and Africa de mi Corazon are a couple that my students have liked.

    Also, Bill VanPatten’s Sol y Viento has most of the episodes on Youtube and the script is available online. It is a short series, though.

    I use a wiki for the class with links to the programs, scripts, and websites. Discussions can be posted for the students to discuss characters and various topics. Sometimes I find suitable cortometrajes on Youtube and embed them for students to watch.

    Buena suerte!

  2. Okay, now we’re talking. Thanks Ardythe.

    I looked up Bill VanPatten’s Sol y Viento and there were several 15 minute segments up, 7 I think. But the sound and lips were off by about 2 seconds, (something I have a hard time putting up with when watching something, I’m spoiled). Did you have that Ardythe? It seemed like it was actually pretty good acting, comprehensible enough (perfect for these students I think), but I didn’t watch enough to get into the story. Is the story interesting?

    I’ll look into the other two ideas soon.

    Thanks again! This is exactly the kind of thing I was fishing for.

  3. I bought the Sol y Viento DVD from Amazon and like that it has the Spanish subtitles. You are right about some of the Youtube quality detracting from the input, but I include the links on my wiki because we have such a high rate of absence, it allows those students to see what we saw even if the quality is not as good as the DVD.

    The vmetv channel, if you can get it, has good movies from time to time. One is a two hour production about Prince Felipe of Spain and his courtship with his wife. It spurred interest in the students to delve into independent research projects concerning several issues that come up through viewing it and current events. I DVR’d it and made a DVD to use in my class.

    One other idea is Aventuras Vascas. It is an older British production. It is just a few episodes, has the script online, and my students used Google street view to “see” some of the things featured in the País Vasco on the series, including the Guggenheim in Bilbao and a restaurant that has a cool website in Spanish with awesome pictures and descriptions of traditional food. I used to find the videos streamed in pretty good quality, but had to use the Youtube versions last week and the quality was not that good. But it was a short enough series and simple enough to understand that it was a good one to start the year with.

    1. Ardythe, I tried to get the Pais Vasco up on Youtube, but couldn’t find it, even after adding “Aventuras Vascos” to the search bar. Any other hints to finding it?

      The Sol y Viento series, do you think it was worth the money? Seems really nice and comprehensible for a Spanish 2 or 3 student, but how bout the story?

      I found the series on vmetv to be a bit difficult (my guess) for my students.

      1. Try typing Aventuras Vascas Program 01 into Youtube. The sound is poor and the first episode is mostly English, but evolves to Spanish. It is about two British exchange students in Getxo, near Bilbao. Found the script online, so that made the poor sound and picture more tolerable for my students.

        The Sol y Viento is about $32 on Amazon–a little cheaper for used. The story features a family/environmental conflict and does provide opportunities for students to take sides and defend opinions. Previous classes liked it and a group of 6 students has just started it and they like it so far.

        A great cortometraje on Youtube with Spanish subtitles is “Ana y Manuel” it is the one uploaded by luismartin. It is only about 10 minutes, but the Spanish subtitles really make it great for Spanish 3.

        I noticed someone recommended Bajo la Misma Luna–a personal favorite.
        Buena suerte!

        1. Oh, yes. There is one Ana y Manuel without subtitulos on Youtube, so you will need to type in subtitulos after the title to get the version with subtitles. It really makes a difference.

          And you are welcome. Hope you find a good match for your students.

        2. Aventuras Vascos is great! Nice and slow and simple Spanish, and the worksheet that goes with it that some teacher created is really great (found it in a google search). But I couldn’t find a script. Is this something you could send to me Ardythe?

          And the Sol y Viento for $32 sounds nice… when I looked it was over a hundred, but that may have been to buy new.

          Thanks again!

  4. This is great info. I am in the same boat, Jim. I have a class of 3 kids. Ugh! I am planning to do a virtual move to Madrid with them 1st semester, as per Robert’s idea. Have never tried this before, but I think they will get into it. It so happens that this year we have a ninth grader at school who grew up in Madrid, so I will have him come in periodically (if I can get him out of his class a few times) to be a guest speaker. I’ve already commissioned him to make us a playlist of songs he and his friends listen to. I also have a former student who is from Madrid–she is now 25–and I hope to get her involved somehow bc she is “young and hip” and can provide us with real-time insider info as a young person in Spain!

    I am going to check out the Sol y Viento series too. Never heard of it, but sounds interesting. Also am planning on doing the dialogue journals that Drew just posted about. That sounds fantastic!

    I have not started yet. This week we just had orientation and service project days, so no classes until Monday!

    1. Jen, the script for Sol y Viento is available online. If you can’t find it let me know and I will send you the pdf’s if you are interested.

  5. Hi, and thanks to those of you who were giving me some advice about creating a curriculum… I am still a bit lost, but will produce something!
    Now that we are down to the last month and a half of school, I have a couple classes that will be dropping down in size to one or two students, as the seniors that were in those classes take trips, exams, graduate early. I see that Jim was asking for INPUT resources for small classes, rather than telling stories, etc. I’m just wondering if anyone has any other recommendations for how to run these small classes?

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