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Blast to the Past: Addressing AP Themes using Past Tense narrative

August 21, 2018

 You’ve ditched your textbook and committed to comprehension based methods of teaching. You’re looking at a blank lesson plan book’re stuck. TPRS? CI? SLA? CBM? T1? T2?  How will you ever fill an entire year with lesson plans when you are still trying to keep all the acronyms straight?

There are SO MANY teachers that have transitioned away from the textbook and have felt the same way that you are feeling right now. And lucky for us, many of them have taken the time to put together some of their best comprehension based lessons for other teachers to use! From working with teachers around the country, I have found that working from pre-made materials is one of the most effective ways to give new-to-no-textbook teachers the confidence they need to stick to their commitment to comprehension based ways of teaching.

TOMORROW (August 21) is Teachers Pay Teachers’ one-day Back to School Boost Sale. This sale will likely be your last opportunity to save up to 25% before Cyber Monday in November!! 


Win $50 to TpT by joining in the back to school boost sitewide sale

To help you get to know some Teacher-Authors that have stores filled with materials to help you this year, I have put together a unit that draws from materials from several of my favorite Teacher-Authors as well as some free materials from this blog!

Last year, we shared a Food Unit. This year, we decided to go a little deeper, exploring two AP Themes using past tense narrative:

» Personal and Public Identities » Alienation and Assimilation

» Families and Communities » Friendship and Love

This unit is very flexible, and you could easily use it across several levels (2-AP) by adjusting the language and the depth of your conversations surrounding the discussion questions provided and the language that you use to narrate each of the short films during MovieTalk.

And similar to last year, we’ve got an incentive for you to try out this unit!



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During the Sitewide Sale (August 21, 2018) purchase one product from each of these sellers: (You can purchase the product referenced in the plans below, or you can purchase another one if you already own the product referenced below!):

Comprendes Méndez SpanishShop Placido Language Resources Somewhere to Share The Comprehensible Classroom

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Complete this form before Wednesday, August 22 at midnight EDT:

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What is a friend? This Spanish unit works with favorite comprehension-based resources from around the Internet to address the AP Spanish language themes of Alienation & Assimilation and Friendship & Love


  1. What kinds of relationships do I have?
  2. Which relationships are most important in my life?
  3. Which relationships do I long for?
  4. How do my most important relationships influence the way that I live my life?

This unit plan is not divided into daily lesson plans; rather, it is broken down into four sections. Each section works with a different resource that is available on Teachers Pay Teachers and could take 1-3 class periods to complete, depending on your class period length and the depth of your discussions.


AP Theme: Families and Communities » Friendship and Love

  1. Storyask “El amigo simpático” in the past tense using this script.
  2. Read Pepinillos, el muchacho simpático.
  3. Do a Horizontal Conjugation of one paragraph of the story.
  4. Discuss using these questions:
  • ¿Cómo les ayudó Pepinillos a sus amigos?
  • ¿Pepinillo era un buen amigo o un mal amigo?
  • ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre un buen amigo y un mejor amigo?
  • ¿Cómo es un mejor amigo?
  • ¿Qué hace un mejor amigo ideal?
El mejor amigo MovieTalk


AP Theme: Families and Communities » Friendship and Love

First » Say to the class, “Vamos a ver un video, “El mejor amigo”. Mientras Uds. ven el video, piensen en cómo el amigo en el video es un buen amigo”:

Second » MovieTalk the short film using the script from Comprendes Méndez SpanishShop (page 20)

Third » Play Pencil Grab using the True/False statements from the True/False activity on Page 31 of the Comprendes Méndez materials.

Then » Put students in groups and have them play Eggspert using the game materials from the Comprendes Méndez plans.

Last » Discuss these questions:

  • ¿Qué hizo el perro que también hace un buen amigo humano?
  • ¿Cómo puedes ser un buen amigo?



AP Themes: Personal and Public Identities » Alienation and Assimilation AND Families and Communities » Friendship and Love

First » MovieTalk the short film using the script from Somewhere to Share lesson plans:

Second » Students read Version A of the Embedded Reading (from Somewhere to Share lesson plans).

Third » Discuss the short film using these questions:

  1. ¿Qué problema tenía el cacto?
  2. ¿Qué quería el cacto?
  3. ¿Cómo solucionó su problema el cacto?
  4. ¿Por qué el cacto estaba feliz al final del corto?

Last » Continue the discussion with this essential question:

¿Es importante tener amigos? ¿Por qué sí o por qué no?



AP Theme: Personal and Public Identities » Alienation and Assimilation

First » Discuss these questions:

  1. ¿Cómo influyen en tu vida tus amigos?
  2. ¿Quién más influye en tu vida?
  3. ¿Son influencias positivas o influencias negativas?
  4. ¿Qué impacto específico tienen las influencias positivas en tu vida?

Second: » Have each student create a three-column chart about how their friends influence them:

  • Me animan a _______.
  • Me ayudan a _______.
  • Me apoyan cuando _______.

Third » Put students in groups and have them share their three-column charts  using the Team Windows structure.

Next » Discuss group windows as a class.

Then » MovieTalk the short film Alike using the script from Pages 8-9 of the materials from Placido Language Resources as your guide.

Last » Discuss some of the questions from  Page 5 of the Placido Language Resources activity pack.


  1. Have students draw themselves in the center of a blank piece of computer paper.
  2. Ask students, “¿Cuáles son las relaciones más importantes en sus vidas? Piensen en su familia, sus amigos, otros adultos influyentes y animales”.
  3. Have students draw those people or animals on the perimeter of the computer paper.
  4. Now, have students illustrate and label (in Spanish) the different ways that those individuals influence/impact them and the ways in which they influence/impact those people. These labeled illustrations should go in the space between the illustration of the student (in the center of the paper) and the influential individuals (around the perimeter). They can show the direction of the influence (friends influencing them or them influencing friends) by drawing directional arrows beside each illustration.
  5. Have students share their mini-posters using the Simultaneous Presentations format or use them as a prop to do a more formal presentational assessment.

Voilà ! We hope that this unit will help you feel confident to tackle a traditional theme in a new, acquisition-friendly way!

Shop these stores during the sitewide sale on Tuesday, August 21 to get the best price on the resources contained in this unit!

After you do, enter the giveaway to win a $50 shopping spree on us!

The TpT Sitewide sale is Tuesday, August 21!

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