We are about to begin the novel El nuevo Houdini by Carol Gaab with my Spanish 2 class. To introduce the book, I started with the Houdini Slideshow from the book’s Teacher’s Guide. Then, I followed it with a MovieTalk using this clip of Houdini’s rope escape.

Great success!! It was fun to watch the clip slowly, pausing frequently to MovieTalk it, waiting with anticipation to see how it would end. Afterward, I showed the clip in its entirety to the class.

Here is the script I used:

Remember, with MovieTalk, you are narrating what is visible. This is a great clip to use because there is no dialogue–everything is communicated visually. It’s okay if you use words with which the students are not already familiar, because you can point to them and students can make good hypotheses about their meaning (hopefully!). Remember to circle your statements so that you get in multiple reps, but don’t “circle lightly”–not as thoroughly as you would in traditional TPRS.

Rope Escape MovieTalk Script in English:

Here is the English version of the script, for those of you that teach Houdini in other languages:

There are four men. The man in the center is Houdini. Houdini is wearing a black hat, a black jacket, and black pants. The man on the left is a police officer. The police officer is wearing a hat, a long jacket, and pants. The man on the right is wearing a white hat, a black jacket, and black pants. The third man is wearing a black hat, a black jacket, and black pants.

Houdini sits down in a chair. The other men wrap him in rope. The rope is very strong and very long. First, they wrap his stomach with the rope. Houdini can’t stand up. Then, they wrap his neck with the rope. One man takes off Houdini’s hat. Then, they wrap his legs with the rope. They wrap his hands with the rope. Houdini tries to move, but he can’t move. Then, two of the men leave. The police officer sits in a chair. He looks at Houdini. He talks with Houdini. The police officer falls asleep. While the police officer sleeps, Houdini moves. He moves a lot, but he can’t move his hands. He moves his body. He takes off his shoes. The chair falls to the floor. Houdini moves more. He escapes the rope and he stands up. Then, he takes off the jacket. He escapes.

I received express, written consent from the publisher to share the materials that I created for this novel in this blog post. I am not compensated in any way by the author or publisher for writing this post.

More resources for teaching El nuevo Houdini

Pre-reading: Houdini Rope Escape

Using novels in class:

3 replies on “Houdini Rope Escape, Movie Talk

  1. I just want to say, Martina, that even after all this time, your work is golden. This was written and put out to the world in 2013, and we still need these things NOW. If I could, I would throw you a parade. I would call it the Martina Bex is a secret genius and a wonderful human-day parade. Just sayin.

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