El Día de Muertos

Posted by Alvaro under: News

In “De Ciudad de México a Madrid” we go for a walk with Cedina, a girl from Ciudad de México who currently lives in Madrid. This is the first video of our Cultural Corner, a section whose objective is to feature people from each of the 21 Spanish speaking countries in a different city in Spain. “De Ciudad de México a Madrid” is organized in three parts:

  • An 8-page PDF document -you can also see it below-  that will prepare your students to watch the video. The first activities are an introduction to Madrid and Ciudad de México, including basic facts and celebrities from both cities. The next pages focus on the Day of the Dead, starting with the key vocabulary (calavera, símbolos religiosos, cementerio, tumba, etc.) and a short explanation about the most important information that your students will hear in the video. Finally, there are two activities the students will complete while watching the video: they’ll help them to understand it (for example, with a cloze activity) and to check whether they got the gist of the video. The PDF also includes 4 listening exercices (3 with Cedina’s accent, and one with mine -from Madrid-, so your students will see the difference).

  • A 9-minute video with optional subtitles in Spanish. Laura meets Cedina in Madrid’s La Puerta del Sol at the beginning of December, and walks with her to the Plaza Mayor, where Cedina talks about the Mexican Celebration “The Day of the Dead”. She also explains and shows how to build and altar, and teaches us when Mexicans build them and what for. You can see a 2-minute extract of the video in our Cultural Corner.

We hope you don’t stop the lesson there, and we encourage you to continue it by organizing your students in groups that will have to build their own altars in class. They’ll have to organize themselves to take all the materials needed to class (following Cedina’s example), and another day they’ll build it and explain it in Spanish. For example, they’ll say what food they’ve brought or what pictures or toys.If you’d like to have more information about this section, please read our post about the Cultural Corner project. And remember that suggestions and comments are always welcome, so please use our Contact Form

A (very) original and (not very) scary video to teach the present continuous

Posted by Alvaro

In Bablingua we try to make videos that are different and that attract your students’ attention. This month, we have updated our icebreaker section with “¿Qué está ocurriendo?”, a video filmed during the Madrid zombie parade, an event that every year gathers hundreds of people dressed up as zombies. Using this context, we planned a story with a young journalist and her cameraman who see the parade believing that Madrid is really under a zombie attack. Through their dialogues and reports, the video presents many examples of the use of the present continuous, with regular (estamos viendo) and irregular (estamos oyendo) verbs.

This is a great video for beginner (Spanish I and II) classes, and it also covers the basic vocabulary about news and catastrophes: oir, grabar, informar, destruir, terremoto, incendio, herido, superviviente, ayuda, socorro, ambulancia, policía, héroe, valiente, etc.

The activities included in the “¿Qué está pasando?” package include listening and reading exercises about the big Chilean earthquake, a miming activity and different extracts of the 8-minute video, so the students can practice the grammar and vocabulary. You can see one of these extracts here:

Can the subjunctive be fun?

Posted by Alvaro

The subjunctive mode will be, without any doubt, one of the biggest challenges your students will face while they learn Spanish. We want them to understand that it’s indeed something extremely important and hard, but that doesn’t mean they should be worried or intimidated. Those feelings affect learning in a negative way, and that’s the whole idea behind this new series: our goal is to teach the subjunctive in a relaxing and entertaining way. And we have a luchador to help us out.

The Luchador subjuntivo is based on Mexican professional wrestlers, and his job in the series is to tackle the problems your students have with the subjunctive, one round at a time.
Since the subjunctive is used for things that are not certain, for wishes, hypothesis and advice; we wanted our main character to look as unreal as possible, and that’s how we came up with the idea of the luchador.

Each video should be played at the beginning of the lesson (the instructions are included in the PDF document of each episode) as an explanation of one of the uses of the subjunctive. Then, students will work on other activities to practice what they’ve learnt during the episode.

These are the episodes we’ve published so far:

El Luchador subjuntivo 1: ¿Qué es el subjuntivo?

Posted by Alvaro

The first episode of our series about the subjunctive is an introduction to this mode, its main difficulties and also some good news. The goal of El luchador subjuntivo is to teach the subjunctive in a fun a clear way so your students get in the best possible mood to learn such an important topic.

In this first episode, your students will meet Keuvwe, a Nigerian young girl struggling with the subjunctive. Her real interviews to native speakers show that this is a complicated topic, hard to put into words. All of the interviewees failed in their attempts to give a clear explanation of what the subjunctive is:

The mission of El luchador subjuntivo is precisely to explain what the subjunctive mood is and, what is more, how essential it is. To prove it, Kevwe asks two questions to several people and we time how long they spend until they use the subjunctive for the first time. The result: just a few seconds. We want students to understand that if they want to speak Spanish well, the subjunctive is a must, there’s no way around it.

At the end of the video, the Luchador subjuntivo will give them some good and bad news. On the one hand, the subjunctive is used in lots of cases, and it’ll take a while to cover them all. On the other, the conjugation is quite simple –the activities included in this episode explain the conjugation of regular verbs in the present tense, with exercises to practice- and the subjunctive is so common that they’ll see tons of examples. And what is more, El luchador is on their side.

You can preview and order El luchador subjuntivo from our icebreaker section.

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