Back to School – ¡Somos diferentes!

Back to school? WHAT!?!

It will be here before we know it!! And if you live in the south like I do, school starts at the end of July. My first day with students is August 3rd.

I want to share with you a unit I am working on to start the year with my 6th graders. It has a message of we are more alike than different.

NOTE – These students are not FIRST YEAR students.

I was inspired by Annabelle Allen‘s version of Evolution ROCK PAPER SCISSORS that she used for a brain break in her iFLT 2016 Language Lab. (see my observation notes here)

I was also inspired by the video I saw that I use as MovieTalk at the end of the unit. I love the message of a new student looking for friends, finding them in unexpected places, and how we are all different but together we are stronger. It is PERFECT for back-to-school.


busca- he/she looks for

gana- he/she wins

simpático/malo- nice/mean


Introduction- Describe un amigo perfecto. Describe un amigo horrible.

Use this slideshow to discuss a good friend and a “toxic” friend. (You might need to explain what “toxic” means or let them come up with a good definition.)

Then show the images below that compare them. I don’t expect my students to understand these alone so I will go over them and see if they can figure out some of them.

These images are not mine. They are from this link


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Possible Discussion – Do you agree with this article? Are you a good friend according to this article? Could you be a better friend?


Possible BRAIN BREAK Circle ball- (I have a Pokémon ball that I use but you could use any fun ball or thing to throw.) The class sits in a circle and I have the ball.

I make a big deal about the ball. I tell my students that it’s my favorite. I love it. I hug it. It is important to me. I stop to do quick TPR to reinforce anything I am saying. Then I tell them I am going to throw the ball BUT only to nice (simpático) people because the ball is so important to me. I narrate the whole thing in Spanish “throw softly.” “Are you nice?” “Anna is so nice. Bryce, throw it to Annalee. etc.” I narrate with more details and circling in the beginning. Then, as the game goes forward, I start to just narrate who they throw to. If I have a good actor, I have them hug the ball and talk to the ball in a silly voice.


ROCA, PAPEL, TIJERAS PowerPoint (circling, asking)

I introduce the different symbols. Then, we go through the sides, or I bring up actors to portray each situation. We talk about who wins. (ganar)


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Roca, Papel, y Tijeras Slideshow PDF


GAME- Rock, Paper, Scissors

  • Have students come up, one pair at a time, to play “Rock Paper Scissors” using UNO-DOS-TRES ¡DALE! Narrate and announce a winner (gana/ganó)
  • Have everyone find a partner and play. Announce the winners.
  • Introduce EVOLUTION Rock Paper Scissors – Egg, Chicken, Dragon (learned from Annabelle Allen)

EVOLUTION Rock Paper Scissors – Everyone starts at the lowest level (an egg). but if they win a game of rock, paper, scissors, they get to evolve to the next level (chicken). Out of each game, there is a winner who evolves up a level and a loser who stays at the same level. Participants can only play against people at the same evolutionary level, egg vs. egg. There is a pose/action and noise to indicate which level they’re at, and they have to find other people doing the same thing. The game is over when one dragon wins against another dragon. Announce the winner. You could use any animals you want.


STORY – A boy wants friends. He loves to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. He is a bad sport. No one wants to be his friend.

**I like to do it with student actors.

un niño arrogante.jpgPDF of the image above – Un Niño Arrogante PDF


Review the story – I like to take pictures while telling the story. Then, I make a slideshow and review that way. Another way you could review is to play the game ¡PARA!

Write the story with the class- As a class, we write the story. I tell the story in present tense and write it with the class in past, but you can do it either way. I type the story as I ask questions for information and details while checking for comprehension along the way. Students write on their paper. It can be a storyboard, or I have them fold a paper longways and they write on only one side because I have them draw the story in the next activity.


Draw the story- I give time to draw the story next to the written story.


Share drawings- I project some of their drawings and review.


ASSESSMENT – (listening or reading) Students listen or read 3-6 FALSE statements about the story. Then, they write in ENGLISH why the statement is false.

** This is the post-reading activity I chose for this unit, but there are ALL KINDS of ways to review a story. Check out Martina Bex’s website for great ideas.


Reading / “Speaking” Presentations – Students use their folded piece of paper with drawings on one side and written story on the other. Or they may just have drawings and you can project the story.

Check out this post by Martina Bex for this activity called Blind Retell 

  1. In pairs, students face each other. One is looking at their drawings. The other is looking at the written story on their page or the projection. If you are using the projection, then the student with the drawings turns away from the projected story. (Check out Bryan Hedstrom’s “AMIGOS de ” pages for pairing up students quickly. They are under the Classroom Management Section.)
  2. The student looking at the drawings tells the partner the story in SPANISH as best they can. The objective is NOT getting it PERFECT, but being able to communicate the important parts of the story.
  3. The student following the written story prompts them if they need help. Their partner DOES NOT tell the story WORD for WORD.

HINT- Really this is an activity for the partner who is reading the story to help their partner. They are having to read the story, listen to their partner, and provide support. I do not grade this as a speaking assessment. I really don’t assess this at all.



Annabelle Allen talks about this video in her post Movie Talk is the BEST THING EVER! WHY?!


MovieTalk Rock Paper Scissors

Rock Paper Scissors MovieTalk Script PDF

After MovieTalk discussion

Class discussion – This video has no words. What do you think it is trying to communicate?

What does the following phrase mean?



Matching Game

Students match the sentences with the screenshot from the video. THEN, after being checked, they put the sentences in order.

MovieTalk Rock Paper Scissors screenshot activity

PDF – MovieTalk Rock Paper Scissors screenshot activity


POSSIBLE BRAIN BREAKS throughout the unit

  • TPRtira (fuerte, suavemente, 3 veces), es simpático, es malo, está nervioso(a), tiene miedo, está contento(a), busca, camina, corre  **Not all at once but spread out as brain breaks on different days. A lot of these words are review.
  • Circle ball- shorter and maybe just in their seats (see Day 1)
  • EVOLUTION Rock Paper Scissors


Here are some signs I have on my door for this unit. Just for laughs!







  1. Love this activity. I am going to try it out.
    The activity that you couldn’t remember is Blind Retell from Martina Bex

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