Today, my Spanish 2’s read chapter 1 of El Nuevo Houdini. Another big hit; big surprise, right? (I promise that I am not being paid to make these posts!! I just can’t help it–Carol Gaab and TPRS Publishing develop the most fantastic resources for language learners!!) Here is what we did:

  1. We had already done lots of anticipatory stuff–background on Houdini and other activities included in the Teacher’s Guide, available for pennies from TPRS Publishing. Some of the activities were designed to make hypotheses about the book; others were to practice important vocabulary that students would encounter in the beginning chapters.
  2. After yesterday’s read-aloud success with Esperanza, I decided to stick with it today. I read aloud chapter 1 to the kiddos, and they followed along in their books. (Notice: THOU SHALT NOT USE THIS BOOK if you don’t have a class set. Do not buy one copy for yourself and make copies for all of your students. Violating copyright is not only illegal, but mean. Carol puts a lot of work into her company, and she deserves to receive compensation for making your life and the lives of your students so pleasant and productive. TPRS Publishing materials are priced incredibly reasonably–far below what they are worth–and it would be better to have students shell out $5 each to have their own, permanent copies than to get yourself into a legal and moral mess.) As soon as I finished reading, I shouted, “CIERREN LOS LIBROS” (Close the books!), and I was pleased when the students responded with, “Aw!” “No!” “Keep going!” Man, I love these books.
  3. I set the class to work in partners on completing the Chapter 1 esquema that I created: Houdini chapter 1 esquema Additionally, I required that each student write one “On my Own” question on a small piece of paper to hand in to me, so that we could use their questions for our personalized discussion of the chapter.
  4. Students handed in their papers, and then we had a personalized discussion of the chapter using their questions. When theirs ran out, I used the ones provided in the Teacher’s Guide.
  5. Finally, I gave the quiz from the Teacher’s Guide orally as a comprehension check (not graded). Students held up one finger if they wanted to answer “a”/true and two fingers if they wanted to answer “b”/false.

Tomorrow, we’re going to MovieTalk a Pingu video clip as an anticipatory set for Chapter 2…and the rest of the novel, really.

10 replies on “El Nuevo Houdini, Chapter 1

    1. All at once, but we might only do one or two chapters per week because of the amount of extra work that we do with each one. So I’m not teaching anything else while we do a novel, but that’s not to say we do a chapter a day (you could, if it was an upper level class and a low leveled novel).

  1. Hi Martina! I am a relatively new Spanish teacher and a very new explorer of CI/TPRS/etc. I want to read a novel with my Spanish 3 class and am looking at El Nuevo Houdini. My kiddos struggle with reading comprehension and this is the first semester that I’ve been teaching mainly in Spanish. I’m wondering – would this be a good intro into novels for both my students and for me, or is the level too low for Sp. 3? Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!

    1. It would be a GREAT intro to novels for a Level 3 class, just read the past tense version. Since TPRS Publishing’s accompanying Teacher’s Guide is so thorough, it will be VERY easy for you to get the feel of reading a novel with your classes–everything is laid out for you!!

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