Evil Genius DrawingYou know those one-sheet homemade ads you see on lampposts around town? The kind that are popular on college campuses? The kind with the little tear off tabs? I have been experimenting with similar fake ads for my students to enjoy before they get into the classroom.

The goal is to use compelling comprehensible input. To “Control the vocabulary, but not the grammar,” as Susan Gross says. It is high frequency vocabulary with un-sheltered grammar. The ads use the most common words and they are used in a natural sense. If the message calls for the past tense, the future tense, or the subjunctive mood, those verb forms are used. The aim is to create something that is worth reading to them because it is so funny or ridiculous that they will re-read it, talk about it, point at it and share it with others. The hope is that to students they are worth re-telling.

The “ads” are also great conversation starters once students are in the classroom.

These “ads” serve no formal educational purpose. They are compelling input, pure and simple. They are only to delight my students, to show them that Spanish is a real language and we can have real fun with it–fun stuff that they do not see in English. But the subversive, informal purpose is to delight them into acquiring more language. As the “Genio Malvado” would blurt out: Bua-ha-ha!

See the “ads” herehere and here.

Here are the translations


EVIL GENIUS is looking for minions to help him dominate the world. You will need to work day and night, seven days a week (24/7). The pay is not good, but you will be part of something big and historic. It is possible that everyone may die, but you will be able to play with laser rifles. No crazies,  please.

Call 1-555-bua-haha

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Do you want to have a little piece of paper that says “yes”?  Maybe it will help you when you are sad. Take one. Why not?

Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!  Yes!   Yes!

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(Picture of an angry badger)

I have found a cat.

It does not have a collar.

It is aggressive (I think it is scared).

It is very hungry (it has already eaten three guinea pigs and two other cats).

If this is your cat, please call me at 555-555-5555.