El Nuevo Houdini, Chapter 2

Yesterday, we worked on vocabulary for Chapter 2 of El Nuevo Houdini, and today we began the chapter. Here are my plans for Chapter 2:

  1. UnknownPre-reading discussion questions from the Teacher’ Guide; discuss as a class.
  2. I assigned words and sound effects to groups of students by handing out the cards from this document (Chapter 2 sound effects); one to each student: “dormía” “durmiendo” “dormitorio” “cama”= pretend to sleep & snore, “respeta” “respetar” = say “tsk tsk tsk” and strike together pointer fingers, “enojado” = say “grrrrr” and pound fists on table, “nos vamos” “se fue” “se fueron” = say “adiós” and wave, “el carro” = say “vroom vroom” and steer a car.
  3. I read aloud Chapter 2. Whenever I said one of the words from the cue cards, the students with that card would stand up and “interrupt me” to do their motion and make their sound effect. Then, they would sit back down.
  4. Kids read through the chapter individually, without the distractions of the sound effects.
  5. Students worked in groups of three students to respond to the after-reading comprehension questions (from the Teacher’s Guide) using the Fan’N’Pick structure. I printed up 12 questions (I had to add two, since there are only 10 in the guide) on a piece of paper, and kids cut apart the cards. One student drew a card and asked the question, another student responded to the question, and the third student recorded the response. Then, they switched roles for the next question. I had them write down their answers on this form (Chapter 2 discussion questions), which gave them a little more structure and another repetition of the instructions since the activity can be kindof confusing the first time that you do it with a class.
  6. We reviewed the questions as a class after most groups had worked through all 12 questions.
  7. We did the “expert” activity from the Teacher’s Guide. I wrote the title/name a different expert (policía, amigo de Brandon, novia de Brandon, profesor de Brandon, consejero de Brandon, asistente social, Brandon, los padres de Brandon) at the top of 8 pieces of chart paper and posted them around the room. Students worked in groups of 4 to do the activity as described in the manual, then I had everyone sit down, and we discussed their responses as a class.
  8. Students re-read Chapter 2 individually, then completed the Venn Diagram activity from the Teacher’s Guide individually.
  9. We discussed what the kids had written.
  10. I gave the kids the Chapter 2 quiz. Done and done! I am saving the car activities from the Teacher’s Guide for Chapter 3.


  1. I cannot tell you how glad I am that you are doing this book. I just started Houdini in my class and your ideas are wonderful! Thanks for posting. Nancy


      • I am not too sure yet. This is just my second semester doing TPRS after 15 years of Realidades. You have been such a blessing. I started out with Blaine Ray’s LICT and my students did great with them but I was looking for a variety of activities to keep them excited. Your activities have done just that but I also want to do his LICT….which then leads me to Pobre Ana. So, I am thinking a chapter a week and maybe leave out Pobre Ana?? I haven’t decided yet. What do you think? I think that if i go slower than a chapter a week, they will lose interest. And, now that you have started Houdini, it is an advantage for me to follow along with you.


      • I have not had any success with Pobre Ana…I can’t seem to make it engaging for my students. It has worked out well as free reading material, though, because it is very comprehensible, and kids don’t mind reading it when they can just read it straight through at their own pace. They get angry when I try to draw it out with activities and what-not. A chapter per week is a comfortable pace for me; there are enough activities in the Teacher’s Guide and opportunities for further exploration that you can fill up a week’s worth of classes with different kinds (in form and content) of activities without sacrificing student engagement. LICT teaches high frequency vocab that will be useful in any novel that you read, although it is most nicely matched to Pobre Ana. If it’s working and the kids like it, keep it up!


  2. I haven’t started Pobre Ana this semester. I have done the first lesson of chp 1 of LICT. They did like that and I do like the high frequency vocab. I don’t know if you have used m.socrative.com or not but it is something I use instead of the whiteboards. We have ipads or they can use their smart phones. It is a great website for them to give their responses. I pose a question and they can answer either by t/f, m/c, short answer, etc. and their answers show up on the website which I then put on the smartboard. I have used it three times with high schoolers and they don’t get tired of it. I use it when I have them practice the new vocab such as in Cierra la puerta, Camina y corre, etc. The only down fall is that they can post not so appropriate things but I have promised them no more use of this website if anything inappropriate pops up…and it has worked so far.


  3. Just checking Martina – If I understand this post correctly, you read the text to the students and they make sound effects, and students read the text 2 additional times on their own between different activities. Is that correct? If so, do your students show any resistance on the 3rd reading or are they focused on making sure they understand the chapter, with extra motivation because they know they’ll be quizzed on the information, and they actually appreciate the opportunity to reread it the 3rd time?


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