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March: An audio file and a sample of the activities from the new video of our Cultural corner: Aprende a bailar tango.
Posted by Alvaro
“Las fallas” is one of the most famous Spanish celebrations. It takes place every year in Valencia, and the images of these artistic monuments being burnt on 19th March are so well-known that we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go there to film it.
It was our first visit to “las fallas”, but it won’t certainly be our last, since we really loved the event, which surprised us positively in many ways. For example, it isn’t as crowded as we expected: there are indeed a lot of people, but since every neighborhood build their own “falla”, there are plenty to chose from. In addition to this, Valencia is a big city, and this also helps us to get close to the “fallas” to record great images for the icebreaker.
We also got the help of Lucía Alcázar, a young girl from Valencia who did a great job for us explaining what the “fallas” are, and interviewing several people to know their opinions. The result is a 15-minute video, with optional Spanish subtitles, that covers the main events of this celebration: a lot of information about the Falles (materials, themes, sizes, etc.), the Mascletá and, of course, the burning of two Falles: a children’s Falle and a big adult one.
The package includes a 5-page PDF file with activities that will help your students understand the video, and an audio file that covers part of the main vocabulary. We’ve kept the grammar very simple, and thanks to that, the pre-building activities, the optional subtitles and the visual information, this video can be appropriate for any level. You can also preview it in low resolution in the icebreaker section to check whether it’s convenient for your classes.
Finally, we’ve included a PowerPoint presentation in the icebreaker that you can use to make presentations about “las fallas” with your students, which will be a great speaking end-of-the-lesson activity. If you have any questions about “las fallas,” feel free to contact us, we’ll be very glad to answer them.
We hope our trip helps us to take your students there, so they can also discover this very special celebration.
Posted by Alvaro under: News
We’re aware of the many headaches the difference between ser and estar gives every year to teachers and learners. It’s a difficult topic, and we understand the frustration it causes in the Spanish class. That’s why we’ve decided to approach this issue with a different perspective, away from traditional drills and endless explanations. We want to make it fun and engaging, and to achieve this goal, we’ve decided to mix it with one of the most exciting dances of the world: the tango.
The result is our new 3-episode series: Ser y estar a ritmo de tango:
Episode 1: Catalina es muy impuntual. This first episode covers the main uses of ser and estar, providing lots of examples about how to:
- use ser for permanent characteristics (Virginia es una chica muy simpática); possession and the relationship between people (Catalina es la mejor amiga de Mar); occupation and origin (Mar es argentina); and telling the time and date (Son las 6:15).
- Use estar for the state or condition that objects are (Los restaurantes argentinos están vacíos); location (Mar está enfrente de un teatro); moods or how people feel (Virginia está contenta); and to form the present continuous (Mar está tomando mate y mirando internet).
Episode 2: Carlos está malo. In this episode your students will learn the different meanings some adjectives -aburrido, bueno, listo, malo, nervioso, rico and seguro- have when they are preceded by ser or estar.
Episodio 3: El Nuevo espectáculo es muy bueno. A review of all the uses of ser and estar, and an opportunity to listen to a beautiful Argentinian song (Volver, by Carlos Gardel).
Each episode includes a PDF document with activities and an audio file. The activities are organized following this structure:
- An introduction exercise, to present the series (Episode 1) or review what your students have already learnt (Episodes 2 and 3).
- Some pre-building activities that cover the main grammar and vocabulary, and will prepare your students to understand the video.
- Several exercises to do while watching the video.
- A review activity.
The three videos (which feature optional subtitles in Spanish), the audio files and the PDF documents with the activities, transcripts and answer key are available in the icebreaker section of this site.
We think the best ending for this series is to learn the most important facts about this dance, and the basic steps to do the basic tango move. You’ll find all that, and examples of the most common estar expressions, in Aprende a bailar tango.
Posted by Alvaro
The two main objectives of our Cultural corner are that your students are exposed to different accents, and that they learn some relevant cultural issues about the different Spanish speaking countries. If there’s a way to somehow reproduce those cultural elements in the classroom, as we did with the altars of the Day of the Dead, even better. This is the idea behind Aprende a bailar tango, our new video and activities about Argentina and its famous dance.
I guess it’s ironic that me -a terrible dancer and a person with no sense of rhythm- defends the idea of teaching tango to your students, but after visiting the dancing school where we filmed the video, I honestly believe that your class will have no problem following the 8 steps of the basic move.
Aprende a bailar tango is not only a tango class. As far as the grammar, it’s the perfect ending of the Ser y Estar a Ritmo de Tango series: it includes some additional activities to practice the difference between these two verbs, and it focuses on some common expressions with the verb estar: estar a punto de, estar conforme, estar de acuerdo, estar de pie, estar de vacaciones, estar en condiciones, estar en forma, estar en las nubes and estar molido.
Your students will also learn/review some basic vocabulary about body parts -espalda, hombro, mano, pie- and other words to follow the steps: adelante, atrás, derecha, izquierda, junto, etc.
Aprende a bailar tango is appropriate for all levels since it includes optional subtitles in Spanish, but we highly recommend it for classes that have just covered the differences between ser and estar. Your students will learn the most important facts about this dance, and they’ll enjoy a different class with a great ending: dancing tango in pairs! You’ll find lots of videos in Youtube with music for that activity, just look for Francisco Canaro or Carlos Gardel.
You can order and preview the video in low resolution in the Cultural corner section.
Posted by Alvaro under: News
We’re getting ready for our sixth school year with Bablingua and we’d like more teachers to have access to all of our online resources. We’re offering schools and counties a special account for their Spanish teachers: unlimited access to all the icebreakers, cultural corner videos, smart lesson plans, vocabulary cards, games and ebooks published in this website at a low price, a one-time payment of $450 per school (check our how to order section for more details.)
If your school or county is interested in this offer, just contact us. We’ll create an account for each school with access to the whole site. Please notice that even if a school doesn’t renew its subscription (the renewal fee for 2013/14 is $20 per school), all its Spanish teachers will have access to our current content for an unlimited period of time.
We encourage school districts, teachers and schools to email us to open their doors to the Hispanic world.
We publish new materials every month so you have a wide variety of up-to-date videos to choose from. These are our resources so far (contact us if you’d like to receive a copy):
- 47 Icebreakers for different levels, which cover the most important grammar and vocabulary topics. We’re currently working in adding optional Spanish subtitles to all of them, check our progress here.
- 11 videos and activities from our Cultural Corner so your students are exposed to the different Hispanic accents and cultures
- 4 Smart Lesson Plans with all you need to offer a different class based on new technologies and active involvement from your students.
- 4 sets of Vocabulary Cards that will help your students remember and practice vocabulary previously taught.
- 2 ebooks: “Hablan2”, designed to encourage speaking from the first day and “Escucha: hay un ladrón en mi clase”, to boost your student’s listening and reading skills.
- 2 Games easy to use in your classes.
- A 4-episode story and a documentary about the flea market of “El Rastro”. De Compras en el Rastro is our longest production so far, and it includes a Teacher and a Student’s booklet that will help your students to get the most of the videos.
Contact us or download this application form (clicking the ↓ arrow) if you’d like to open a school account: