I have literally gone bonkers with Gran Hotel! I never tire of Julio making googly eyes at Alicia, Diego's (and Doña Teresa’s) psychopathic resolve to be in control of nearly everything, or Ándres' delightful facial expressions like the one above. Sigh. Well, since I’m practically in love with the series, I set out to create various activities that supplement the first episode of the show. I wanted to create resources that could be used with any level of Spanish and supply substantial amounts of comprehensible input in novel ways. I came up with an assortment of game activities, which can easily be differentiated for any class.
COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT WITH A COMPETITIVE EDGE
I created a bundle of 5 games and activities that can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. The purpose of these resources is to enhance the video and give your students continuous amounts of comprehensible input (CI) with a competitive edge. Through game play students will receive lots of repetitions centered around vocabulary and target structures (if you use them). Additionally, your students will improve their understanding of key events that happen in Episode I, as well as the essential characters (12 total) that are introduced.
WHAT is CRISITINA HIDING?
A bunch of secrets obviously! I created a previewing guide to help students build a solid foundation and to understand the premise of the series. The guide provides contextual reference points that will spark discussion and intrigue as you introduce Gran Hotel. This guide also jumpstarts vocabulary and target structure dissemination. For example, students can begin their journey into the world of Gran Hotel by analyzing the letter Cristina wrote to Julio.
WILL JULIO OLMEDO AND ALICIA ALARCÓN EVER BE TOGETHER?
HOW ABOUT READING EXCERSISES?
Well, since I’ve created a previewing guide and an assortment of game activities, I guess the next step is creating some impactful readings for episode I. Since I just wrote that down, I’ll have to follow through! Expect reading guides and activities at some point! However, I do want to mention that Mike Peto and Kara Jacobs have developed wonderful readings for a few episodes of Gran Hotel, which are great for upper-level classes.
It's confession time
Ya'll, I have something to tell you. I've missed you! This past year I was not a Spanish teacher; I was a Special Education teacher/Case Manager. Not teaching Spanish for an entire school year made me realize how much I truly missed it and how passionate I am about it! Even though teaching special education was rewarding, I knew that my heart truly ached to go back to teaching Spanish. So, I put in for a transfer in the hopes that I'd pick up a Spanish teacher position somewhere in my county. And guess what? Not only was I offered a transfer, I was offered a transfer to the very high school that I graduated! And to top that off, I was offered the Department Chair position to boot!
Even though last week was my first week of summer vacation, I've already started planning for next year—I am truly type ‘a’ when it comes to this sort of thing. Consequently, I began to immerse myself back into the world language community (specifically #langchat)—and it was as if I had never left. Seriously, the amount of sharing, giving, caring, and support that teachers have provided for each other is nothing short of absolute wonder.
As I am reading tons of blogs and connecting on twitter, I am inspired by my colleagues to share my resources and experiences as well. In fact, that is a huge reason for why I started blogging in the first place: to join the conversation and add my voice. And of course, the more voices the better! Creating and maintaining a collaborative environment is necessary: we improve and become better educators and people by lifting others.
paying it forward
Personally, having such a strong sense of community pushes me to continue learning, sharing, and improving my practice. In short, I am thankful! And when you are thankful, you share.
For those of you who are using Gran Hotel this school year, here is a (free) resource that I created to use with my Spanish I's (in case El Internado doesn't work out). Also, check out my additional free resources here.
If you like this resource or any other, please leave feedback (on TPT). I’d love to hear from you! And as always, catch me on Twitter to connect.
Los jóvenes actores de 'El internado' mantuvieron en vilo a millones de personas durante siete temporadas | Foto: Atresmedia Internacional
Too legit to quit
Everyone loves a fictitious and dramatic train wreck, right? How about this scenario: A group of young adolescent students try to figure out the many dangerous secrets of the their boarding school—which was previously an orphanage—in order to survive being pursued by former Nazis, who are experimenting with fatal medical examinations, and a torturous Head of School, who relentlessly psychologically tortures the students while carrying out strict orders from the Nazi party. Now add in a few love triangles, the release of a deadly disease, and enough bad guys to make your stomach churn and head spin. And for good measure, let's throw in a traitorous student and another student who sees dead people. All this together makes up El Internado. Are you curious yet?
Or maybe you prefer a period piece drama that begins with a missing maid, a brother who won't return home without her, and two psychopaths who run the most luxurious hotel in Spain? Where social class dictates social norms, and playing with fire surely gets you burned. Welcome to Gran Hotel.
As you can see, telenovelas are compelling! Everyone loves a good mystery with lots of surprises, especially students. I love using resources in class that engage my students so much that they are teetering with excitement and intrigue. In case you haven't already guessed it, the magical resources I speak of are telenovelas, specifically El Internado and El Gran Hotel. Both have enough mystery and intrigue to last the entire school year and beyond. And while I think there are other telenovelas that can be used, El Internado and El Gran Hotel have proven to be invaluable to CI teachers these past few years (dating back to at least 2009; shout out to Mike Peto). Both students and teachers just can’t get enough. In fact, I’m watching El Internado as I’m writing this. So, why are these telenovelas still relevant?
the power of the telenovela
If you’ve watched El Internado, Gran Hotel, or just about any other telenovela, you know that it’s very easy to get reeled into the “telenovela microcosm.” For some reason, the characters, their situations, and their relationships with others draw the viewer in—the more drama the better! And, oh boy, is there drama!
In a conference I attended back in 2012, I attended a workshop called Explorando la identidad adolescente global a través de las telenovelas presented by Maria Meléndez and Kathy Ozment. Going back through my notes, I recall the presenters stating that telenovelas are so compelling because they are addictive and engaging authentic content that individuals can relate to. There are a variety of common educational themes (e.g. social hierarchy, good vs. bad, racism, domestic abuse) that telenovelas display that you can use to teach in your classroom, even if it’s often portrayed through hyperbolic situations. I like the way PBS states that "telenovelas are a cultural touchstone...and a conversation piece." I firmly believe that telenovelas will continue to remain relevant if they continue to be accessible, relatable, and irresistible. As such, they will remain a novel way to teach and acquire Spanish.
Do you have a favorite telenovela? Apart from the Spanish series El Internado and Gran Hotel, I also love Silvia Navarro in Amor Bravío, Jacqueline Bracamontes in Sortilegio, and Ana Brenda Contreras in La que no podía amar, oh, and, Juan Diego Covarrubias in De que te quiero, te quiero, and, also, Angelique Boyer en Lo que la vida me robó, and, well, you get the picture...