The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish: Activities and Resources

The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish: Activities and Resources

Inside: Resources and ideas for teaching The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish. 


The Very Hungry Caterpillar has to be one of the most endearing picture books out there. Lucky for us, almost all of Eric Carle’s iconic works are available in Spanish as well! My own kids truly never seem to tire of his books, and our copy of La oruga muy hambrienta is beyond well-worn. 

In this post I’m gathering resources for teaching Spanish through La oruga muy hambrienta. It’s the perfect book for covering numbers, colors, fruits, some foods, days of the week, and high-frequency words like come, es, tiene hambre, grande, pequeño, etc. 

There are two directions you can with a book like this, and Spanish learners. You can teach them every single phrase so they understand the original language, or you can teach the words they need to understand the story. I usually choose the second option, focusing on the essential, high-frequency needed to narrate the story. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish


Los números


La oruga hambrienta focuses on numbers 1-5. Here is a great list of numbers songs in Spanish to get started. 

The song Cinco monitos is a perfect tie-in as well. You can check out my freebies and post on activities for los Cinco monitos.

One of my favorite games for practicing any vocabulary is musical cards. For that one, pass out cards with 1-5 written on them. Play music, and have the students walk or dance around while holding their cards. When the music stops, call out a number. All the kids with that number sit down, and see which students stay in until the end. 


Las frutas


I like to focus on the fruits in the book, since several of the other foods are not so high frequency. Besides using real fruit or play food to talk about them (how many? what color?), I like to do a graph of favorites. If you are working with a small group, you can have the students ask their family members or friends (¿Cuál fruta te gusta más?) and color in a graph. 

Here is a video for learning the fruits:


Los colores


The colors aren’t directly part of the story, but they’re an easy tie-in with each fruit being a different color. You can see my lesson and activities for colors in Spanish, or keep it simple with the same game described above for numbers. 

Here’s a freebie from my Orugas y Mariposas unit, too! You can work on both numbers and colors to add circles to the caterpillar (try using a bottle cap as a stamp for paint). 

Los días de la semana


Of course, you can’t teach this book without the days of the week! The days can be an abstract concept for very young kids, so keep that in mind. If you are working with K-2 students it will be a bit easier. I recommend starting with a días de la semana song. You can also display a calendar with the days of the week, and discuss what your students do on which day. 

Once you have read the actual story, you can do some sequencing activities to show what the caterpillar ate on which day.



Ciclo de vida de la mariposa


Once you have read the story (or before), it’s fun to learn about the life cycle of butterflies. Here are two free PPTs I made to learn about caterpillars and butterflies (the life cycle PPT is part of the unit on TpT). 




Once you’ve worked on caterpillar and butterfly facts, it’s fun to do a simple wheel or craft to show each stage in the life cycle. There are sooo many ideas on Pinterest for this!


Related videos for The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish





Want to See My Unit?


I’ve made picture cards, games, mini-books, printables, displays, stories, and PPTs all about Orugas and Mariposas. Teaching this unit will set your students up with the essential vocabulary they need to understand La oruga hambrienta. 


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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Latin American Movies on Netflix: What to Watch

Latin American Movies on Netflix: What to Watch

 Inside: The best Latin American movies on Netflix


It can be overwhelming to sit down for a night of Netflix, especially when you’re trying to sift through lesser-known films. I’ve spent the last month marathon-ing my way through Spanish-language movies and shows, and this post focuses on titles related to Latin America. 



Latin American Movies on Netflix

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!



There are quite a few titles available, so it’s probably easier to jump over to my post on the Best Argentinian Movies on Netflix


There are lots of Mexican movies as well, so I’ve got a post on Mexican movies on Netflix coming your way as well. I will link to it as soon as it’s live!





An indigenous Guatemalan family arranges a marriage for their 17-year-old daughter, Maria, to the foreman of the plantation. Maria, however, is in love with another worker and wants to escape with him. What follows is a clash of modern-day and traditional life: beautiful, sad, and compelling, both cinematographically and story-wise. The movie was filmed in Kaqchikel, which all of the actors natively speak. 

Info: Drama | Kaqchikel Audio, Spanish Subtitles | 2015




Four friends leave the U.S. and plan to live on $1 per day in Guatemala. Although this film can reinforce the storyline of interpreting poverty and Latin America only through the eyes of foreigners, it’s an interesting watch. 

Info: PG | English Audio | 53min





Sin filtro

Pía is surrounded by people who take her for granted and take advantage of the fact that she doesn’t speak up for herself. One day she can’t take it anymore, and sees an alternative Chinese doctor. He administers a dubious treatment that turns out to be extremely effective: now Pía can only say exactly what’s on here mind. 

(Heads up– there’s a somewhat explicit sexual scene near the end that I found a little disturbing. It’s meant to be uncomfortable, but just letting you know.)

Info: Comedy | Spanish Audio, Spanish/English Subtitles | 2016





To Be a Miss 

A look into the famous beauty pageant industry and process in Venezuela, through the eyes of three women. 

Info: Documentary | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2016




(Beyond movies, there are also some great shows set in Colombia. You may want to check out La niña, and Pablo Escobar: Patron del malo.) 


Entre nos 

Info: Drama | Kaqchikel Audio, Spanish Subtitles | 2017



Carteristas (Pickpockets)


A group of teens in Bogotá are mentored in the art of stealing by an expert thief, in a gritty, coming-of-age sort of story. 

Info: Crime, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2018



Colombia magia salvaje (Colombia: Wild Magic)


A group of teens in Bogotá are mentored in the art of stealing by an expert thief, in a gritty, coming-of-age sort of story. 

Info: Crime, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2018





Cuba and the Cameraman

A look into Cuban life and changes, over several decades, through the eyes of three different families. 

Info: Documentary | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



El Che

Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II retraces the life and journeys of Che Guevara. (It was difficult to find the trailer, so below is a section of the documentary itself.)

Info: Documentary | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2016





Peru, Tesoro Escondido (Peru, Hidden Treasure)

A group of teens in Bogotá are mentored in the art of stealing by an expert thief, in a gritty, coming-of-age sort of story. 

Info: Documentary | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017


Asu Mare 2

Machin, who comes from humble origins, is now dating the girl of his dreams– who happens to be in a wealthy family. Machin

Info: Comedy | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



Discover the mysteries and marvels of Machu Pichu in this doucmentary from PBS. 

Info: PG | English Audio | 53min




Of course, there are many Latin American movies that aren’t available on Netflix. Here are some famous titles:



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Latin American Movies on Netflix


Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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Spanish Romantic Movies on Netflix

Spanish Romantic Movies on Netflix

Inside: A list of Spanish romantic movies on Netflix. 


Spanish is one of the most romantic languages out there. So as I made my way through Spanish-language movies on Netflix, I obviously needed a list of romantic comedies and dramas!


Spanish Romantic Movies


Remember that Netflix regularly adds and pulls shows– just let me know if you catch something I should update!

This list was NOT made with students in mind! I’ve included ratings and links on each titles to help you decide what to watch. See my Spanish movies and shows page for tons more suggestions for Spanish-language titles, and of course let me know if I missed one of your favorites. 




León finds a lost cell phone, and calls the owner, Ivana. When they chat, there’s an instant connection, so he asks her out. There’s just one detail she doesn’t know: he’s only 4.4 feet tall. The rest of the movie explores whether or not they can make it: is their mutual attraction enough to overcome shallow societal expectations?

Info: Comedy, Romance | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017 | NR  | Argentina





A light-hearted comedy about two Spaniards who move to Berlin in hopes of finding work, only to end up with humble jobs in a café. They navigate cultural differences, confront their new economic reality, and meet new people, all while hiding their actual circumstances from family back in Spain. Things get complicated when one of them falls for another Spanish girl living in the new city.

Info: Romantic Comedy | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2015  |   |  Spain



3. Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)


A luscious, sensual tale of food and passion in the tradition of magical realism this iconic work by Mexican author Laura Esquivel was adapted to screen by Esquivel herself. A young woman, Tita, falls in love with Pedro but isn’t allowed to marry him. He ends up married to her sister, and Tita directs all of her emotion into the food she prepares. 

Info: Drama Romance | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1992 | R | Mexico



4. Estar o No Estar (To Be or Not to Be)


Augusto, a single man in his 40’s, moves back to his hometown– a small Mexican town. He meets two women: a friendly neighbor, Ludivinia, and a local Russian waitress with whom he falls madly in love, Nástenska. 

Info:  Drama, Comedy  |  Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles  | 2016  |  NR  Mexico



5. Órbita 9 (Orbiter 9)


A young woman has lived her entire life in a space pod, orbiting towards a distant planet and faces staying there, alone, for another 20 years. When an engineer visits to make a repair, she quickly falls for him and he can’t shake the their interaction either. When he makes the bold decision to go back, she begins to learn her life is not what she thought.

Info:  Romance, Sci-Fi  |  Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles  |  2016  |   |  Spain



6. Perfectos Desconocidos


The gap between the virtual “black boxes” carried in our phones, and our real life interactions, forms the premise of the dark comedy by Italian director Paolo Genovese, Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti). Seven close-knit friends gather for a dinner (three couples, and one single man) during an eclipse. Eva, the hostess, proposes a game: for the duration of the dinner, all phones will sit face-up on the table. All calls will be answered on speaker, and every message read out loud. As the evening progresses, the game reveals enough secrets to threaten every relationship within the room.

Info:  Romance, Dramady  |  Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles  |  2018  |  Spain





“Cuando el sur y el norte chocan, el conflicto alcanza proporciones épicas.” Spanish culture collides when a Sevillian falls for a woman from Basque– even though he’s never before left his hometown. The sequel (which I thought was better) is also on Netflix!

Info: Romance, Comedy |  Spanish Audio  |  2014  |   |  Spain




8. Elvira, te daría mi vida pero lo estoy usando


Elvira’s husband leaves one night to buy something at the drug store, and doesn’t come back. Reeling from shock, confusion, and fear, she takes matters into her own hands and launches a search to find him and figure out what happened. This movie kept surprising me, right until the end. It’s not your classic rom-com at all, but a good watch. 

Info: Comedy, Romance | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017  |   |  Mexico






A Spanish woman travels to Africa in hoping to unearth old family secrets, after finding a letter her dying father left behind. The story moves between her search and forbidden love in the time of colonialism. 

(Trigger warning– there is a lot of violence, including a rape scene.)

Info:  Drama  |  Spanish Audio, Subtitles in English/Spanish  |  2015  | NR  |  Spain


10. ¿Qué culpa tiene el niño? (Don’t Blame the Kid)


The plot here has been done before: a one-stand results in a pregnancy, this time between a successful professional and an irresponsible young man. 

Info: Comedy, Romance | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1992 | R | Mexico


11. Sabrás Que Hacer Conmigo


An epileptic man and a woman caring for her suicidal mother meet and begin an intense affair– the way many romances begin. As real life sets in, they have to decide if they will give each other a real chance to fall in love. 

Info: Drama, Romance | Spanish Audio, Spanish/English Subtitles | 2015 | NR | Mexico





Different from the usual rom-com storyline, this romantic “dramady” follows a couple who meet in a coffeeshop and decide to maintain an out-the-box-friendship: no exchange of personal information, and no romance. Things go beautifully until their personal lives intersect with fantasy, and they must confront reality.

Info:  Romance, Comedy  |  Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles  |  2016  |   |  Spain



What other Spanish romantic movies did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!


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Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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The Best Argentinian Movies on Netflix

The Best Argentinian Movies on Netflix


Inside: A list of the best Argentinian movies on Netflix. 


I’ll be honest: Argentinian films don’t feel immediately accessible to me. When I made my list of Netflix titles, and settled in to watch, I didn’t know what to expect. After having kids, especially, after a long day I often turn on Netflix looking for something easy and happy.

“Easy and happy” doesn’t seem to be the best description for Argentinian cinema. 

If these movies are representative of the larger film industry, then I think it helps to approach them like this: the story is perhaps being told to make you think or feel; not to tie up all the loose ends and live happily ever. Endings may be unsettling or unsatisfactory. 

I’ve been going through different Spanish-speaking countries, and the Spain movies were fairly easy– lots of Rom-Coms. When it came to Argentina, I learned to watch quietly, glass of red wine in hand. 




Remember that Netflix regularly adds and pulls shows– just let me know if you catch something I should update! There aren’t really any family-friendly titles here, so please be sure to click on the title and check ratings. See my Spanish movies and shows page for tons more suggestions for Spanish-language titles, and of course let me know if I missed one of your favorites. 


1. Corazón de Leon (Heart of a Lion)


A woman (Ivana) loses her cell phone, the man who finds it (León) calls her, and when they chat, there’s an instant connection. He asks her on a date. Though she’s shocked to discover he’s only 4.4 feet tall, she really does like him and the connection is real. The rest of the movie explores whether or not they can make it: it their mutual attraction is enough to overcome shallow societal expectations, or not.

(This is the only true Argentine Romantic Comedy I was able to find on Netflix at the moment. It’s good!!)

Info: Comedy, Romance | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



2. El Ciudadano Ilustre (The Distinguished Citizen)


Anyone who grew up in a small town, and left, will relate to much of this dark comedy. A Nobel-prize -winning author travels from Spain to his hometown in Argentina to accept an award, and the story begins predictably enough: used to fame a recognition, a lauded celebrity comes homes to those who knew him before, where daily life continues. However, the story takes darker turns as we learn more of his past and why he went home. Well-done movie with a twist ending.

Info: Comedy, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



3. Vaquero (Cowboy)


Julian is a struggling actor who wants more out his life and career. The film moves in and out of his head, where we hear his bitter thoughts about those around him, and see life on and off-stage. When he hears that a U.S. Western will be shot in Argentina, he is consumed with getting the part. The build-up of everything seems to end in cruel irony, which we might feel he deserves– or not. 

Info: Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2011



4. El Clan


A true story of a notorious family who kidnapped and murdered wealthy young people, while maintaining the appearance of a normal and happy family. (Currently still on my to-watch list– I wasn’t sure I could take the violence.)

Info: Biography, Crime, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



5. Nazi Gold in Argentina


A look into Argentinian history during World War II, political alliances with the Nazis, and business deals between the elite in Argentina and Germany. I was not well-versed in Argentinian history going into this post, and watching this documentary helped make sense of other films that take place in the 20th century (like Eva No Duerme and Gato Negro). 

Info: Mystery, Thriller | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



6. Eva No Duerme (Eva Doesn’t Sleep)


The story of famous Eva Peron’s corpse– told over several decades, across continents, and from different perspectives, based on the real journey her body took before her final burial in Argentina. This one was difficult to follow and understand, especially if you’re not familiar with 20th-century Argentine history, but definitely fascinating.

Info: Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



7. Gato Negro


The life of Tito Pereyra, from his humble beginnings in a small town, to powerful businessman. We follow his turbulent life story across the 20th century: a man who was both good and bad, and made terrible sacrifices to rise out of poverty into wealth. 

Info: Crime, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Spanish Subtitles | 2014



8. El Rey de Once (The Tenth Man)


Ariel, an Argentine with Jewish roots, returns to Buenos Aires to connect with his father, a well-known founder of a Jewish charity in Buenos Aires. Instead of meeting up directly, his father stalls and gives him errands and tasks to do over the phone. Along the way Ariel meets Eva, who is struggling in her own way and helps him face his personal history and relationship with his father. 

Info: Comedy, Drama | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2016



9. Nieve Negra (Black Snow)


Years ago, a teenage boy was accused of killing his younger brother in a hunting accident– or was it an accident? Now living as a recluse, he’s visited by his other brother, with his pregnant wife. They come looking for a signature to sell family land after his father’s death.The camera moves back and forth between the past and present, as the family’s sordid past is confronted, events turn awry, and dark decisions are made. 

**Spoiler alert**

Sexual abuse of sorts is discovered in the family’s past. Be aware, in case this is a trigger you’d rather avoid.

Info: Mystery, Thriller | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 2017



10. Todo Sobre el Asado


Exactly what the title says: this is a documentary ALL about el asado in Argentina: the process, history, traditions, interviews, and more. 

Info: Documentary | Spanish Audio, Subtitles | 2016





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Spanish Movies for Kids: G and PG Rated Titles

Spanish Movies for Kids: G and PG Rated Titles

Inside: A list of family-friendly Spanish movies for kids.


A lot of my recent Spanish movies and shows lists have been for parents and teachers. Today I’m focusing on more kid-friendly movie options. After the wild popularity of Coco, hopefully producers understand we want more Spanish-language options!

I’m starting with my top picks overall. You might have to rent or grab these off of Amazon, but they are great films. I’ve tried to include movies that are either originally written in Spanish, or Latino-themed. A few are rated NR, but fall within the family-friendly category. Of course, please preview or check parent content advisories if you’re watching with young kids.

The second part includes titles available on Netflix. My post on how to change the language on Netflix might be helpful and also includes quick tips on different searches and adjusting settings.

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!




Ready? Let’s get started.


1. COCO 

A young Mexican boy, Miguel, has dreams of being a musician. Unfortunately, music is the one thing that’s forbidden in his family. Miguel ends up visiting the Land of the Dead, where he uncovers old family secrets. This has to be one of the most beautiful Latino movies made, with good music, stunning visuals, and a heart-warming tale of family, love, and memory. Keep the tissues nearby. Coco was meticulously researched, and is an excellent introduction to Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico.

UPDATE: Coco is coming to Netflix in May! 

Info: PG | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1hr 45min



2. El Libro de la Vida (The Book of Life)


Manolo is a young Mexican man with big dreams. Unfortunately, his father’s are completely different: he wants Manuel to continue the family tradition of bullfighting. Torn between the two, he travels to three fantastical worlds (the underworld, the Land of the Forgotten, and the Land of the Remembered). Told in semi-musical style, with surrealist graphics, El libro de la vida is a beautiful movie. 

Info: PG | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1hr 29min



3. Canela (Cinnamon)


A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter, Maria. Maria tries to convince her grandmother to her return to her former love of cooking and the family restaurant El Molcajete– which has been straying from its original traditional recipes.

Info: NR | Spanish Audio | 1hr 41min




4. Ferdinand


Ferdinand is a calm bull who likes to sit and smell flowers. Due to a run-in with a bee, he gets mistaken for a fierce fighter, and selected to fight the infamous matador, El Primero. This has a great, happy ending and introduces watchers to Spain and bullfighting without the gore. 

Info: PG | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles (DVD, I think) | 1hr 48min



5. Casi Casi


Emilio, a teenager is Puerto Rico, ends up running for school president against the most popular girl in school– who also happens to be his crush. Will he choose winning, or her– or is there a third option? This is a fun story about friendship and loyalty. (Rated PG for language and innuendo.)

Info: PG | Spanish Audio, English Subtitles | 1hr 33min



6. Atlético San Pancho (Never Too Young to Dream)


A rag-tag soccer team in Mexico get help from the school janitor to reach their dream of playing a championship game. 

Info: NR | Spanish Audio, English Subtitles | 1hr 3min



7. Rio and Rio 2


Though Rio and Rio 2 are set in Brazil and not technically Spanish-language films, both DVDs have Spanish-language options and deal with many Latin American themes (environmentalism, deforestation of the Amazon rainforest). 

Rio: A pet Macaw in Minnesota, Blu, travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to learn about his home. 

Rio 2: Blu and Jewel now have 3 kids. When they see their kids are too used to life in the city, they decide to take them into the Amazon jungle to experience real life. 

Info: G | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1hr 35min, 1hr 






Anina, a ten-year-old girl in Uruguay, gets into a fight on the playground at school. The punishment from the principal is strange: each student gets a black envelope they’re not allowed to open for a whole week. During that anxious week, all sorts of adventures happen that help Anina understand herself better. 

Info: PG | Spanish Audio, English Subtitles | 1hr 18min



9. McFarland, USA


McFarland USA has all the makings of a classic sports Disney story: this time about a cross-country team in California. It explores cultural tensions and life in a predominantly Latino and agricultural community. This one isn’t in Spanish. 

Info: PG | English Audio, Subtitles | 2hr 22min



10. Selena


Selena introduces the life of Mexican singer Selena Quintalla-Perez, from her early life, to her rise to to the top of Latin and U.S. music charts, and untimely death. Jennifer Lopez stars as Selena in this emotional film. (I’m including this on the list as a PG film, but I don’t recommend it for young kids.)

Info: PG | English Audio, Subtitles | 2hr 7min



11. Il Postino


An Italian film that introduces Pablo Neruda during the time of his exile. A local boy is hired to as a personal postman, discovers Neruda’s poetry, and the two form a friendship. 

Info: NR | English Audio, Subtitles | 2hr 7min



Spanish Movies for Kids on Netflix


1. Zipi y Zape y la Isla del Capitán (Zip and Zap and the Captain’s Island


Zipe and Zape– the main characters in the film, are based on two popular, mischievous Spanish comic book characters that have been read for decades. In this movie (the sequel is also on Netflix!), a family vacation goes wrong and they end up at a mysterious home with missing parents. 

Info:  | Spanish Audio | 1hr 45min



2. The Road to El Dorado

Two swindler get waylaid in their search for gold in the famous city El Dorado. This one has some cultural connections, but be sure to preview or read through the parent content advisory. 

Info: PG | English Audio, Subtitles | 1hr 29min



3. Kronk’s New Groove

At last, a G-rated movie! This sequel to The Emperor’s New Groove has Kronk wanting to impress his hard-to-please father, only to find in the end that he just has to do his own thing.  

Info: G | Spanish/English Audio, Subtitles | 1hr 14min



4. Peru: Tesoro Escondido (Peru: Hidden Treasure)


Info: PG | Spanish Audio, Spanish/English Subtitles | 115min



5. Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmerman 

Andrew Zimmerman explores the signature foods of places around the world.

Info: PG | English Audio, Subtitles | 2hr 7min

Puerto Rico
Mexico City
Buenos Aires



6. Colombia: Wild Magic


Info: PG | Spanish Audio, Spanish/English Subtitles | 135min



7. Living on One Dollar


Four friends leave the U.S. and plan to live on $1 per day in Guatemala. Although this film can reinforce the storyline of interpreting poverty and Latin America only through the eyes of foreigners, it can be a powerful way for students and families to see outside their everyday lives. 

Info: PG | English Audio | 53min



8. Ghosts of Machu Picchu


Discover the mysteries and marvels of Machu Pichu in this doucmentary from PBS. (Be aware that skulls are shown in places.)

Info: PG | English Audio | 53min

Here’s the entire documentary (though the quality is not as good):



Spanish Movies for Kids

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Spanish Movies for Kids


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Spanish TV Shows to Use in Spanish Class

Spanish TV Shows to Use in Spanish Class

Inside: Spanish TV shows: a list of series you can (hopefully!) use in class.  


If you’d mentioned movies or shows to me as a new teacher, I’d have assumed you meant how we teachers sometimes use them (hey, we’ve been there right?): that last day before winter break, when the stack of grading gets too high, or a weird testing day when half the class is gone. 

Since then, I’ve realized just how amazing Spanish TV shows in class can be. We can bring native speakers straight into our classrooms. We can travel to different places and cultures. I can get them hooked onto authentic resources they’ll remember for years.

When using Spanish shows in class, I vary my approaches depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes I incorporate a lot of extra activities, because when it comes to TV, it’s not just “listening practice.” As my classes get invested in the characters, and story, it’s a really great chance to have rich discussions and readings. If the show if not immediately comprehensible to them, it takes these extra activities to turn the show into meaningful input.

Sometimes, though, if I’m sure the language is accessible, I let them get absorbed and try not to pause too often. At the end of Spanish 2, one year, we were getting frazzled and sort’ve limping to the end. I enacted a Spanish-only rule, and told the class that every day, for the rest of the year, I would write “10” on the board. That meant 10 minutes of Extra, at the end of class. If I heard English, I erased a minute. If I slipped into English, I added a minute.

It was so much fun, and served two purposes: motivation, and input. Because, as we all know: if it ain’t compelling, they aren’t acquiring much. That’s why a good show is gold.

I used to use a lot of isolated listening “practice” clips that my students totally dreaded. Part of reason they dreaded those clips was that they had no relation, no meaning we cared about. But give them an interesting show, and they can’t get enough. Why? Because they care about the plot and the people. 

Of course, it’s tough to find shows that are appropriate for middle school and high school classes. I’ve done my best to give an idea of content you should be aware of, but of course preview and make sure these shows will work in your situation. 


Spanish TV Shows for Class


See my Spanish movies and shows page for many more Spanish-language suggestions, and of course let me know if I missed one of your favorites. You can also see Learn Spanish on YouTube for a more extensive list of videos, including shows and options for younger learners. 

If you have eager students who want more practice and input at home or over summer vacation, this list can be a great source to keep them hooked on Spanish outside of class as well!


Spanish Language TV Shows




Let’s start off with just free Spanish TV shows you can find on YouTube or other free sources. 



1. Mi Vida Loca


Designed for absolute beginners, BBC produced this free show to introduce basic language, the kind you would need to get around town while traveling. Set up as an interactive mystery show, my students really got into this one and didn’t mind that it’s a tiny bit outdated. This is a perfect end-of-the-year treat when students are getting restless, or to watch over the summer and keep up the language from Spanish 1. If you click on the link above, you can watch interactive lessons. If you don’t have flash, you can also use the episodes on YouTube. 

Level: Novice-Low and up
Episodes: 22



2. Extra


A loose spin-off of the sitcom Friends, Extra is fantastic for beginners, in the sense that it provides compelling, highly comprehensible input. My students loved it and by April it was the perfect little reward to watch at the end of class, a bit each day. 

However, I feel that it’s often awkward and borders on inappropriate, even for high school. I usually kept my clicker in hand and skipped awkward parts; you can preview and use your judgement. 

Level: Novice-High and up (with support)
Episodes: 10



3. Destinos


Destinos is a bit dated, but if you can get past that, it’s a great resource! Follow a lawyer around the world as she tries to solve a mystery and travels the world in search of answers. This is a great way to get immersed in Spanish in the context of a telenova, with culture thrown in too.

Level: Novice-High and up (with support). 
Episodes: 52



4 ¿Eres tú, María?


Created by Realidades for Spanish beginners, this is another (somewhat dated) mystery show. 

Level: Novice-Mid and up
Episodes: 10



5. La Catrina 


A 17-year-old Hispanic-American studies in Mexico for the summer.

Episodes: 14
Level: Novice-High and up (with support)



6. Violetta


Many teachers showed Disney’s Violetta– about a musically gifted teen who moves to Buenos Aires– when it was on Netflix, but it’s since been removed. Most of the DVDs on Amazon seem to be foreign (do you hear us, Disney/Amazon? We want to give you our money), but there are episodes available on Vimeo and YouTube (I have no idea how long these will be there). 



7. Buena Gente


Buena Gente is designed for beginners, and follows Mateo and Sofia searching for clues about a mysterious box left in their apartment in Mexico. This is a new series with clearer and more modern visuals than some of the other series mentioned!




All of these are authentic shows, and only truly “comprehensible” to Intermediate-Mid or High and up. However, many teachers have developed materials (readings, discussion, guides, etc) to make the material more accessible to their students. 


1. Go! Vive a Tu Manera

A new Argentinian show that just landed on Netflix, Go! is a musical series from the same producers of Violetta and Soy Luna created for a pre-teen and teen audience. Mía Cáceres is a talented young singer who gets a scholarship to Saint Mary, an elite prep school with a prestigious music program. There she meets both friends and arch-enemies (namely, the daughter of the school’s owners who is determined to sabotage her musical dreams). 

This is your best bet for middle school and for those who need a G-rated show for high school. Netflix recommends it for ages 7+.



2. Siempre Bruja (Always a Witch)


A 17-century slave in Colombia narrowly escapes being burned at the stake as a witch by time-traveling to modern-day Cartagena. She must navigate life in the modern world while seeking to rescue her 17th-century lover from being killed. (I haven’t finished this series yet, personally, but there is no nudity or language so far in the early episodes.) Although the acting is great and the scenery gorgeous, the shows disappoints with a shallow treatment of deep racial issues– something to keep in mind if you use this in class. 



3. Gran Hotel


Set at the turn of the century, a young man applies for a job at a hotel to investigate his sisters’ disappearance. Forbidden romance, intrigue, and danger follows as the truth comes to light. 

Here are resources from Mis Clases Locas for using the show. Though it has scenes I would skip, it’s one of the cleaner shows out there and really good!



4. Silvana Sin Lana


A wealthy family’s life comes crashing down when the dad leaves and their fortune is lost. The mother must get a real job and the kids have to adjust to a “normal” life. I haven’t seen this one to the end, but the first episodes are pretty clean and funny. 



5. Nailed It Mexico


Contestants who don’t really know how to bake have to recreate masterpieces in the kitchen, in competition for $10,000. Light and funny to watch in class!



6. Celia


Learn the story behind the Queen of Salsa: how she began her career in the tumultuous years of Cuba in the 50’s, and eventually rose to be one of the top salsa performers of all time. Gorgeous filming and music in this series. 



7. El Internado (The Boarding School)


Students in an isolated boarding school become involved in mysterious events and dark secrets from the past, as friendships and loyalties are tested. (Sidenote: I haven’t watched the wholes series. It’s VERY popular among many amazing teachers, who choose to skip over some scenes. There is language, and if you put on English subtitles, the language gets translated more strongly than in the original Spanish. I didn’t feel comfortable using it in my own classroom, but you decide!)

Check the following resources if you plan to use the series:
Kara Jacobs
Mis Clases Locas



8. Soy Luna


An Argentine telenovela produced in partnership with Disney, this series is currently on Netflix in some countries. A teenage girls who loves to skate moves to Buenos Aires with her parents. I haven’t watched the entire show, but it looks appropriate for middle school and along the veins of Violetta. (If this isn’t available for you in the U.S., you still *may* be able to access by using a VPN and selecting a Spanish-speaking country on your device.) 




What other Spanish TV shows do you recommend for using in class? Let me know in the comments below!



Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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