Some week long units to start the year. Please share!

First, this unit is COMPLETELY inspired by Cynthia Hitz (check her out on

Last year, my colleague Paige started the year with a unit she designed around a commercial for BHD Bank called Cactus.  Cactus and the Bank  Her unit is designed to turn a movie talk into a week long unit with embedded reading, slide show, screenshots to retell the story from… It is great!

El Cacto CLOZE El Cacto y El Banco Embedded Reading Photo Story

This year, I created two further units, one for Spanish 3 and one for Spanish 4… but neither is level specific.  Just a good way to review some past tense, get a few reps of some subjunctive structures, and add a little new vocabulary… specifically some good transition words.

For Spanish 3 I am using this commercial for Directv called Parecidos

Parecidos PhotoStory Parecidos Slide Show Parecidos Parecidos Cloze

For Spanish 4 I am using this commercial for Saga Falabella called Atrévete Cambia

Atrevete Cloze Atrevete Embedded Reading Atrévete photo story Atrévete slide show

My lesson plans are pretty simple:  Monday in all 3 levels we will do a movie talk of the commercial after our 10 minute free read.  Tuesday, we will do the slide show after free reading and will read version A of the story.  Wednesday we will watch the video one more time, we will read version B, and then we will sit in a circle on the floor with printed screenshots on the floor in the center.  Students will pick up the screenshots and describe them, tell what happened in the story, ask questions, etc. as a class discussion.  Thursday we will read 10 minutes then practice retelling with the photo story page with a friend.  They will write out the story from the photos alone for an assessment.  On Friday they will do the cloze activity as an interpretive assessment and will call my google voice and record the story from the photos.

I hate doing this many hours of work and then not getting a ton of use out of them so please borrow and share!


  1. Thank you for sharing. I am just starting to use embedded reading and would like to see this lesson in action. Is there a video of a teacher doing this that you would recommend? Gracias

  2. Thank you so much! I used the “El Cacto” video and movie talk with levels 3 and 4. I assigned a re-tell for homework. One of my 4s said not to re-tell to a young kid because they will think they have to change to have friends. It led into a whole discussion of “would you” with them. Lots of more complex structures and all student led. Gracias!

  3. I really appreciate all that you do! Thanks for your willingness to share. I hope you know how much of an inspiration you are!

  4. Super awesome! In order to introduce some structures, I made a vocabulary slideshow with some vocabulary/structures to focus on. (¿A qué se dedica? atreverse, y vencer plus some review questions for tener miedo, confianza, requerir). If you would like a copy, I’d be happy to send it. I have a quick question of what activities you are planning to do with reading. Are you planning to translate line by line or just circle the sentences? I can’t think of another thing to do with the readings. Suggestions?

  5. Carrie!
    I’m trying these out this year and can’t wait for school to start tomorrow! 🙂 Thanks for all you share! Hope you’re first day of school went well at the new school!

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