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Guatemalan Chicken Busses cultural unit cover 866131 1

Multi-level readings

Novice (Levels 1-2)

Gringos commonly refer to Guatemalan public buses as 'chicken buses' because it is so normal to see chickens and other livestock riding along with the passengers--but that's not the only difference! Find out how retired US school buses end up in Central American countries and what changes that they undergo to enter their second lives as chicken buses.

These plans will fill 120-180 minutes of instruction. They include

  • A four-level embedded reading in Spanish: each leveled reading is more challenging and includes more details than the previous level. Readings can be read in sequence or used individually as stand-alone readings. The lowest reading is easily comprehensible to novices, and the level 4 reading is appropriate as a stand-alone reading for intermediate/advanced Spanish students.
  • Assessment questions for each leveled reading
  • Discussion questions for each leveled reading
  • Projectable versions of each reading
  • Three video-based activities (slideshow, film trailer, music video)
  • A design-your-own-bus activity with writing component.
  • Answer keys for all assessment questions
  • Complete lesson plans to use the materials successfully in class

For more information about the Embedded Reading strategy, please visit


  • I have now used this resource twice and my students have loved it every time. There are so many different ways you can use this, depending on your students' level of Spanish. My novice level learners loved the challenge of all the levels included in this resource. They have felt so successful with this! I have been to Guatemala, so this was a great resource to include with my Guatemala unit! Thanks so much!

    Jeni S.
  • We watched the video along with this embedded reading activity. They loved seeing such vibrant buses. Great little adventure in culture for us. 

    Jamie A.
  • Loved this! My favorite part is being able to provide students a more simplified version if necessary. You have several options with this lesson. My students loved designing their own bus.

    Erica M.
  • This unit was so much fun! The readings were great. I loved the activity where students draw and customize their own bus. Fantastic!

    Kristi B.
  • My students enjoyed this packet. We used it when they read Patricia va a California. A great cultural addition and a lot of conversation about chicken buses and boring yellow buses. Gracias.

    Jimma Aikman

Guatemalan Chicken Buses


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