Botas Picudas Lesson

At Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido’s session on “Thinking on Your Feet” at NTPRS 2013, Kristy demonstrated a lesson about “Botas Picudas”. It was an idea that was originally inspired by Crystal Barragan, and both have written blog posts about it. You can check out Kristy’s full lesson sequence that she used in her own classroom here, and Crystal’s blog post on the topic here. Martina Bex also created a lesson plan on this topic too, which you can see here. All the links are worth checking out as they have posted some excellent but different ideas as well as videos and songs that could be worked into a complete lesson! Thanks for the great ideas ladies!


FilmArobics specializes in comprehensive lesson plans which accompany feature-length films in four languages (SpanishFrench,German and Italian) and ELL. Although each lesson plan is different, the basic outline and types of questions are the same. They break the film down into 10 to 15 minute segments for each lesson. Each lesson contains:

  • vocabulary necessary to understand the film or necessary to discuss the film
  • cultural notes when appropriate
  • several comprehension exercises
  • two communicative exercises where students either discuss something in the film or discuss a topic related to their lives but which is brought up in the film
  • a follow-up homework assignment that is often a writing assignment

Each lesson generally lasts anywhere from 45 to 50 minutes of class time. They recommend you show a section of the film once per week over a period of 8 to 9 weeks.

For more specific information on how their lesson plans work, see How It Works.

Film Study

I have often wondered if students get much out of watching movies in the target language. Since it is difficult to make movies entirely comprehensible, they may seem to not fit well with the TPRS method, however there are other reasons to show a movie than as a tool to help students acquire language. Often movies are tied to a cultural topic, and they can be a good way to capture students’ interest as well as to give both yourself and the students a bit of a break. If you want to, you can even teach the movie in a CI-friendly way. For example, a film study unit could happen as follows:

  • begin with an attention-getting activity
  • introduce the background culture in the target language through CI techniques (such as storytelling and circling)
  • vocabulary study (list cognates that may come up in the movie and/or relate to the topic)
  • show the film (in English with subtitles in the target language) and discuss
  • once per week (possibly on Fridays), show 10-15 minute sections of the movie and watch each section twice to discuss (watch the section in the target language without English subtitles the first time and with English subtitles the second time)
  • once per week, do a lesson related to some aspect of the target culture in the film
  • once the film study is complete, discuss the topic in depth
  • tie the film study into a novel study (ie. the movie “Romero” and the novel “Vida y Muerte en La Mara Salvatrucha”
“I have had so many kids leave after 4 years of Spanish saying that they were so grateful that we had studied the language but also gotten deep into cultural topics. I couldn’t do it without the films. It is a way to really hook them into learning the material without feeling like its a chore. It goes beyond food, capitals, and landmarks and really into those 21st century ACTFL skills of making connections between their culture and the culture of other people. The visual images of life in another country are very powerful.”

Source: Carrie Toth, moreTPRS