El sombrero

Thoroughly updated on February 1, 2015 This post contains a five day lesson for teaching the structure ponerse with clothing as well as with emotions. PQA and class story ideas, a short video for MovieTalk,  a Beyoncé song and two readings, one done in class featuring a popular rapper and the other to be completed as an assessment

niño charroI am in the process of revisiting old lessons and improving them. While I have used this with my level 1 students in second semester, I think most teachers would find it most useful for their level 2 students. I really like the final story: a boy has a Mexican cowboy hat and is known as the most interesting kid in the universe because of the hat. One day he realizes that people don´t even talk to him if he doesn´t have the hat (even though he is in fact the most intelligent boy in the universe)… so he decides to leave the hat at home. He goes to a party and nobody even recognizes him. They talk about him without realizing that he is there. The party girl comes to the party wearing a chef´s hat and he says to her: take it off, take off the hat!

day 1

Target structures for day one:

se pone (se puso) el sombrero

se quita (se quitó) el sombrero

como si fuera

Day 1: The phrases se pone, se quita and como si fuera are written on the center board. We quickly establish meaning (they write the phrases and translations in their notebooks, we act out the first two phrases). We move to a Movietalk activity using a two minute film called el sombrero mágico (click here to see it on youtube) . I will focus on the target structures se pone el sombrero and se quita el sombrero. First time we see the video I narrate what is happening on the screen using the present tense.  Afterwards I use actors to retell the story using past tenses when talking to the class, but verifying in present tense with my student actors. In the second retell I will also use a paper hat cut-out that we will use como si fuera el sombrero mágico. Note that I am being careful not to use the conditional; I am just using the phrase como si fuera. I will frankly look at my class and whisper something like this:  

Tengo un secreto… ¿tengo un sombrero mágico de verdad? No, la verdad: (holding up the paper hat) no es un sombrero mágico. Shhh, es mi secreto. El sombrero mágico del video es verde. Yo no tengo un sombrero mágico. Yo tengo un sombrero de papel blanco. PERO vamos a actuar como si fuera (point at board and pause) un sombrero mágico. (I then write the phrase actuar=to acton the out of bounds whiteboard). Vamos a actuar (point and pause) como si fuera (point and pause) un sombrero mágico. ¿Es un sombrero mágico? No, claro que no… ¿de qué color es el sombrero mágico? (Class answers verde or we keep circling that fact until they do) ¿El sombrero mágico es blanco? No, pero vamos a actuar… (hands open awaiting answer). No le vamos a decir nada al señor León (pulling out my lion puppet), porque es un secreto.

Now we have a character with whom we can discuss the magic hat, and I will keep putting the lion in his box whenever I tell the class that the hat is not magic, while giggling in conspiracy with the class whenever we tell the lion that it is in fact a magic hat. We can also put on the magic hat and take it off multiple times. And of course, while the lion is not from the USA (he is African of course), he always talks como si fuera estadounidense. I wonder if I can find a cowboy hat to bring in as a prop…

Like most TPRS teachers, I often interrupt MovieTalk and class stories whenever I have a chance to recycle structures with PQA. Students often think that they are hijacking the lesson (which they love) when, in the middle of a story, we start talking about them. Here are a few PQA moments that I plan to include on this day:

¿Te gusta cuando el señor Peto se quita los zapatos en clase? (They tend to freak out when I do that). ¿No te gusta? Pero… ayer me quité los zapatos. ¿No te gustó? ¿Querías vomitar? ¿Cuántos estudiantes querían vomitar ayer cuando me quité los zapatos? ¿Puedo quitarme los zapatos ahora?

At the end of class I ask the class if Beyoncé ¿es una chica o chico? Then I play just the beginning of Beyoncé’s song Si yo fuera chico… just enough to get them to hear the phrase si fuera in a familiar song. The video that I use does not have images, just the words, and we do not hear more than the first few lines.

day 2

Day 2: UPDATED JANUARY 27, 2015
My colleague Tammy Cullen made a power point presentation to provide some photos while she does PQA for the structure se pone + emotion. I used it all day today and did not manage to actually get to the last slide in any of my classes… lots of opportunities to personalize!


day 3

Day 3: Class story adding se pone triste, someone yelling ¡quítatelo!

In the center board I now have the following written as target structures:

se pone triste

se pone       se puso       siempre se ponía        ¡póntelo!

se quita      se quitó      siempre se quitaba      ¡quítatelo!

Here is my initial story script; it will change for each class as I ask the story and move from the suggestions that I get from each class. It isn’t the most compelling script I have ever come across, hopefully my students can enliven it a bit. It helps that I have a dinosaur mask to use as a prop.

Había un chico que se llamaba Tom. Tom tenía una amiga que se llamaba Betsy. Un día ellos fueron a Target. En Target había una camiseta con una foto de Justin Timberlake. Betsy le dijo a Tom, ¡Póntela! Tom se puso la camiseta. Era una camiseta muy bonita. Betsy le dijo, ¡Qué guapo eres! Eres casi tan guapo como Justin Timberlake. ¡Casi! Tom se puso triste porque quería ser más guapo que Justin Timberlake. Se quitó la camiseta y la tiró en la cara de Betsy.

Fueron a Walmart. Había una máscara de dinosaurio.  Tom le dijo a Betsy, ¡Póntela! Betsy se puso la máscara. Era una máscara fea. Tom le dijo, ¡Qué guapa eres! Eres tan guapa como Justin Timberlake. Betsy se puso enojada porque a ella le gustaba Justin Timberlake. Se quitó la máscara y la tiró en la cara de Tom.

Ellos fueron a In and Out Burger. Había una hamburguesa. Betsy le dijo, ¡Póntela! Tom se puso la hamburguesa como si fuera un sombrero. Betsy se puso otra hamburguesa. Señor Peto salió del baño y vio a Betsy y Tom. Les dijo ¡Qué tontos son ustedes, no son sombreros, son hamburguesas. Tom y Betsy se pusieron enojados. Se quitaron las hamburguesas y las tiraron en la cara de señor Peto.

day 4

Day 4: Reading as a whole class This year one of my students has tried to bring the Chicago rapper Chief Keef into every story that we have co-created in class. Unfamiliar with his music, I have resisted but this week I finally relented and surprised everyone with a fictional story in which my student´s idol plays a central role. Click here to download the power point of the reading , which is very similar to the story that they will read on day 5. It is only partially complete because I did not have time to add more photos, but in any case I only intended to read parts 1 & 2 with them on day 4 of the lesson so that the ending of the story remains a surprise on day 5.


day 5

Day 5: Individual reading assessment  CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the reading that they will read individually in class (or click here for the .docx version of the story  in case you want to change anything). There are many questions on the back to verify comprehension. We have prepared a lot for this reading, and their answers will confirm that they not only understood the gist of the story but understood all of the details as well. I tell students to fill out the top (this is not graded but is there to build their confidence while reading) and to save the pictures for last (which is also not graded but is just there to keep the fast processors busy once they have finished the test). There are 43 questions on the back, including some questions for which there are no explicit answers in the text. Yes, I did that on purpose. I count each question as two points and subtract from 100 so that the final grade is the percentage (i.e. lowest possible grade is 12% because there are only 43, not 50 questions). Alternately you can include some of the structures on the front as part of the grade, or you could count the essay question as more than 2 points.


  1. Hey there,

    Thanks so much for your enormously helpful tools, tricks and awesomeness. I am at a new school, and new to TPRS despite teaching Spanish for 8 years elsewhere. I’m feverishly prepping for the year ahead, diving in full force with TPRS. So glad my colleague referred me to your page!

    In seeing your lesson above, I was inspired to follow suit and wanted to add a resource for you regarding the phrase “como si fuera”. I discovered a whole youtube sensation apparently known as “Si Fuera”. Many of them are far too inappropriate for school, but snippets could work. I’m going to use this one, only for the first minute.

    Again, many thanks and keep up the great work!

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