Best Valentine’s Day EVER!

I am so annoyed that I couldn’t have TRIED this with students BEFORE today, so that I could have shared it for y’all to use TODAY! Darn it!

Well, save this post for next Valentine’s Day because OH MY GOSH this lesson was DY-NO-MITE and you can TOTALLY use it for multiple levels (I am obsessed with making planning easy… I know I have said that A LOT)….Or you could just use it tomorrow to talk about Valentine’s Day again! YAY!

This is what my classes looked like:

Students came into class and had to write (in Spanish) all they knew about Valentine’s Day on their “do now” sheets. Some students were able to circumlocute and tell me the whole history of how Valentine’s Day came to be, and even my newest students were eager to share what they wrote (Chocolate es muy muy muy importante para personas en D­a de San Valentin).

After 2 minutes of writing and 1 minute of sharing, I gave students some infografas. If you click on the image in the document it will take you to the actual website where I found them. I LOVE using info-graphs in class because MOST of the time they are written in the TL for NATIVE speakers. They are not written for students studying Spanish. They are fantastic authentic texts. If you HAVEN’T used authentic texts before, take a minute in English to explain why it is important for students to start looking at them, and talk about different reading strategies they can use to try to “find meaning”and get the gist of what it is talking about. (Perfectionists struggle with this because often times they want a word for word translation, that is why using authentic texts every now and then is so important) I used the same info-graphs in all of my classes today. (I BLACKED OUT THE PARTS ABOUT CONDOMS AND VIAGRA, SO PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU DO IF THAT WILL BE AN ISSUE IN YOUR CLASSROOMS). HAHAHA!

I passed out the document to every student and gave them a marker. They had 4 minutes to read silently and annotate all over the paper. I modeled this before having them do it. After 4 minutes, I pushed unmute on my computer’s music (I ALWAYS have Pandora playing in the back ground) and modeled the next task. I explained (in SPANISH) that when the music was on, students had to dance dance dance or move move move, and when the music stopped they had to discuss their info-graph annotations with the person nearest them, then when the music started again, they would dance again. It is very important when you model to USE the language you want to hear from them. So when I modeled, I danced (PHENOMENALLY) then stopped and turned to a student near me saying “Yo pienso que la informaci habla de blah blah blah ” (I think that the information means blah blah blah). If they have a few sentence stems IN the target language they are much more likely to use them. ALL of my students (even the 6th graders) were impressed with how much of these info-graphs they understood. 7th and 8th grade were awesome at staying almost completely in the TL as they discussed their ideas.

Next, I wrote “pasta de dientes” on the board and had students guess the meaning. After we giggled about “spaghetti in your teeth” one student inevitably exclaimed “tooth paste”. We did some PQA talking about what tooth paste each of us prefers, and why. One of the classes we ended up diverting for a long time talking about flavored tooth pastes for children. (Go with that! Always remember to be flexible!!! If they think they are de-railing the class by distracting you and getting the conversation off topic, engagement is up, but really YOU are winning because you are still speaking in Spanish and they are getting lots of valuable input!!! They think THEY are winning but really EVERYONE is!)

Then, I told them I had a VERY ROMANTIC video for them that I was ready to movie talk. We quickly reviewed my Movie Talk rules, then jumped straight into THIS gem….

Click on this link “Paste of Love” for a version on YouTube with sound. It was giving me trouble earlier, so it was easier to show the vimeo version above. I played it WITHOUT sound anyways. I seriously could have stretched this for DAYS…. but, I knew somebody would be a butthead and go home and watch it and spoil it for everyone, so I had to finish it…. HOW AMAZING IS THIS SHORT FILM?!?!?!? I can’t even…. I am obsessed. Their reactions were PRICELESS, and I really wish I had filmed them…. I will be teaching it to my adults tonight…. and live streaming as usual so hopefully they will react big! 🙂 The best part is that you can vary the language so much with Movie Talks and can differentiate according to each of your classes. SO great!

Here is a link to my live stream of adult class.

One of my favorite moments was when I asked (in Spanish) What is he saying? One of my 8th graders rose his hand and without missing a beat started singing “Soy Guapo soy muy muy guapo!” and ALL the other kids joined in and so I let the movie play silently while they sang the famous Señor Wooly lyrics. It was AMAZING.

Ok YAY! Happy Valentine’s Day all!

I hope your days were as full of joy and love as mine! (Which started with my car seizing and dying on me while I was driving Isla to school 🙁 It all turned right around!!! )

Until next time,

Happy Teaching!


La Maestra Loca


  1. Thank you!!! I am in my first year of CI teaching and anxiously spending hours perusing to find ideas like this! Será perfecto para mis clases está semana. Gracias.

  2. Oh, I choked on my soup while watching this video, great one Annabelle! So fun, such a perfect movie talk. I think honestly my K student will cry if I show this (she cried when I told the story of the little Christmas tree who did not have any decorations) BUT I will definitely use it with my adult group!

    Side question: I noticed you do a lot of PQA with your adults throughout the Movie Talk and let them “digress” in Spanish when needed, I love how spontaneous their output is and you are not trying to stick to a formula/script! My question is: do you do this with your little kiddos also? Or do you find you have to stay a little more focused on the video? I have never tried movie talk with Elementary (used to teach MS/HS, just started Elem this year) and I am concerned I would lose their attention. Tips?

    1. OMG yea, don’t show it to bitty babies… haha! I would totally show it to 3rd and up. MAYBE even 2nd. You know your kids 🙂 I do a TON of PQA through Movie Talks. Most of my 60 second movie talks last 2-3 class periods (45 minutes each) because I do SO MUCH PQA. I think it is really important because often times, that is what they want to do anyways so it is good to keep them engaged and to hook their attention. Yes, I did this in elementary all the time. Their minds are so easily distracted and they are eager to talk about how the movie is related to them. GO WITH IT, but then I think you’ll find they are still eager and ready to focus into the movie talk again when you are ready to move it that way. Always relate ALL PQA you are doing back to the movie talk. Here you can watch a movie talk I did with Kindergarten when I was substituting for Señora Broussard.

  3. Hi Annabelle. I watched that video above without sound for the first time, to experience it just like my students would. And I’m a bit lost as to how to use it… Do you usually try to focus on a few target structures or just adapt the video to vocabulary your students know. What did you end up saying? Thanks so much!

    1. I have been pretty un-targeted this year with my classes so I know each classes level and language capability. I worked the vocabulary that I knew each class had acquired and the out of bounds words I allowed were : “tooth paste”and “tooth brush” then I spoke about the video but integrated TONS of PQA as I went.

      Ex. in one class we talked about the setting for a good 10 minutes and we were only a few second into the movie. It is in a bathroom. Whose bathroom. Where does the person live? What color is their bathroom? Who uses the bathroom? (referring to the rubber ducky on the counter). What does your bathroom look like? Is it messy is it dirty? THEN we went further and talked about the toothepaste and made a story up about him when we saw him come to life. What’s his name? Where does he come from? Is he crest or colgate? do you prefer crest or colgate? Why? Etc.

      Another class: In a lower class we just talked about the story as we saw it: There is a bathroom in a house. The bathroom isn’t in a school. The bathroom is big and it has lots of stuff in it. There is a toothpaste the toothpaste is named stripy. Stripy has lots of Stripes but he is sad because he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Stripy sees a beautiful girl and thinks she is fantastic. He wants to have a girl friend. He sings. He walks. He doesn’t walk normally. etc.

      If you want to see how I did it with my adults you can watch the live video I took during class last night. It was the last thing we did, and I filmed up until the surprise ending because I didn’t want to ruin it for people who hadn’t seen the video yet. That may give you more ideas.

      I hope this helps!

  4. Brett,, You read my mind!!! I am at a loss as to how to do the MovieTalk! I don’t know what to ask. The kids just want to watch the entire video and I feel inept! But I love the concept. Sigh. Suggestions would be most helpful!

  5. Thanks for sharing! I didn’t do the MovieTalk because we are in the middle of Wooly Week but I used the infographs with Spanish 2. I just cropped out the Viagra and condoms references – thanks for the heads up!

    After the warmup a couple of students shared the history of Valentine’s Day, and later we compared with the blurb on the blue infograph!

    Students were surprised by some things, already knew some stuff, and it went well. The sentence frames helped when they were talking in partners! “No sabía que…” “Pienso que…” “Esta parte es interesante porque…” “Esta parte dice que…” “Esta parte me sorprende porque…” etc.

    1. YAY! AWESOME! I am jealous you had your kids during Wooly week! We have been off (which has been nice because I have been super sick so I would have probably needed to take days off anyways) but I am sad we didn’t get to participate in the excitement of Wooly Week this year!

  6. Just did this this year, it was fantastic! My 8th graders loved it and it was a perfect introduction to our upcoming unit on daily routines/reflexives! Thank you for sharing!

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