This is the perfect unit for when the teacher is out of the classroom for a few days: It delivers comprehensible input, it gives students a concrete task, it is multi-level, and the accountability is built in. Plus, the sub doesn’t need to know the language or how to teach it to make this work! It has been a life saver for me more than once.

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Sample of the Rubric and Task

This lesson delivers the the well-known fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel with vocabulary-controlled Spanish and the high-frequency vocabulary students need to acquire the language well.

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The input is compelling. Stories like this one are found in many cultures and have survived for centuries because they have deep and multifaceted meaning. Even though Hansel and Gretel is considered a fairy tale, this is not a story for young children (Disney is not likely to make an animated version of it with happy forest animals signing). The darker and more mature themes make it suitable for high school and middle school students. Class discussions in the TL after students complete their work will be lively.

This activity functions as a big brain break: Students will consider it to be light reading and they draw what they read. It gives students something to DO when they read besides the output of answering only written questions. It will help to give your novice students input, as well as a way to measure interpretive reading without writing. The rubric is very detailed, and it gives students the opportunity to analyze their own work, making grading a snap. Most will be honest with it, I’ve found—and for the few that are not, you can overrule their delusional self-grading.

This familiar story will aid with comprehension and it is designed to make sure students clearly understand what they are reading. There are present tense and past tense versions, plus a challenge grammatical element so you can adjust the assignment for levels 1 to 3. There are also examples of what students have done to illustrate it to give your students an idea of what they can do.