Everything you need to teach La Llorona in your mid-level Spanish classes

It’s the end of October, and while I LOVE teaching about Día de los Muertos, I felt like I needed to do something a little bit different with my Spanish 2 and 3 students. Last year, I spent about 3 weeks on Day of the Dead. I was able to teach in depth about Alebrijes with resources that I wrote about here. And while all my students begged to watch Coco again, I just don’t think I can justify taking up that much class time two years in a row–don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Coco! And I definitely show it in my Spanish 1 classes with LOTS of supplementals! But this year I wanted something different. Something…spooky.

Below you will find the materials I used to plan a mini-unit on La Llorona, the Weeping Woman. This unit had students on the edge of their seats–literally!

(1) La Llorona: Reading & Activities by Martina Bex

La Llorona: Reading & Activities by Martina Bex

As expected with resources from Martina Bex & the Comprehensible Classroom, this resource was PERFECT! It includes a reading and activities in both the present and past tense. I read through the past tense version and used this slideshow with pictures of what La Llorona may have looked like before and after she became a monster. You can click my slideshow link and make a copy that you can use in class.

We spent almost one entire class period with me reading/acting out the story and students translating it back to me. At the end, I asked them if they knew what she was called now. I told them that there was a movie about her and showed the trailer for The Curse of La Llorona.

Then, we spent another day doing the activities included in the resource above: unscrambling sentences & sequencing events. Students did both of these activities in small groups.

(2) La Llorona episode from Grimm

Grimm Season 2, Episode 9: La Llorona

After talking about the different versions of La Llorona (Did she have two or three children? Did her husband leave her or cheat on her? Did she kill her children in a mad rage or as revenge toward her unfaithful lover?) I showed this episode from the television series Grimm. Students absolutely LOVED watching this! We watched it with the lights off and the blinds closed. There were a few screams from my high school students and at least one that nearly fell out of his chair!

This episode is rich in Spanish language, culture, and cast members! However, there is very mild profanity usage, so preview this 40-minute episode and make sure it is appropriate for your students. This episode is available on Amazon Prime.

Check out these excerpts from Se fija! hyping October 2012 premier:

“Latino producer/writer Norberto Barba may be one of the reasons that a Latin American fairy tale finally made it into the show at all…and what’s even more refreshing is the amount of Spanish language and culture that invests this retelling–so much so that it’s essentially a bilingual story, that both English- and Spanish-speakers will enjoy.”

While cast member, Bitsie Tulloch was born in San Diego, “she grew up in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina, and both her parents speak Spanish fluently and at home. She transposed part of that passion for Latino culture to her character, and now–finally–it’s on display in the newest episode.”

(3) La Llorona: Escape Room by Manzana Para La Maestra

La Llorona: Break Out Room by Manzana Para La Maestra

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know how much I love La Manzana Para La Maestra and all of her AMAZING escape rooms!! I just checked and I’ve purchased NINE of her Break Out rooms in Spanish. They are SO much fun!

This one includes code breaking and listening comprehension via YouTube videos that students access with QR scanners (if your school does not allow cell phones, students can scan the QR code on any computer that has an accessible webcam with this app, or you could have videos preloaded on a couple different computers around the room. Or, you could even have them linked on Google Classroom!)

These activities are SO MUCH FUN! They do require you to print things out and to get organized ahead of time, so make sure you plan time to prep the papers that you will need to copy! Depending on how knowledgeable your students are about the subject of the escape room (in this case, La Llorona) and how much Spanish they know, these rooms have taken my students between 20 and 40+ minutes to complete! Our class periods are only about 43 minutes, so I try to start things ASAP and put a “countdown” on the board for about 40 minutes. NO COMBINATION LOCKS or any other items needed. Just print and GO!

Resources: Día de los Muertos Break Out Room by Manzana Para La Maestra
La Leyenda del Espantapájaros by Speak More Spanish
Sudoku de los Muertos by Profe Pistole
Frida Kahlo Break Out Room by Manzana Para La Maestra

(4) La Llorona: Free Voluntary Reading

La Llorona: The Weeping Woman, a bilingual reader by Joe Hayes

This year my Spanish classroom has its own library! And La Llorona, The Weeping Woman, by Joe Hayes is one of the books that all of my students are scrambling to read this week. The book is bilingual, so it is accessible for students at any level!

You can find many additional Spanish readers for La Llorona online and I will include some below that I have not used (yet). You can also print out the first resource listed in this post (by Martina Bex) and include it in your library! With vocabulary on the right side of every page, the story is very comprehensible for even novice learners.

Additional Resources

The book is available from Fluency Matters.  We  have five copies of this book in our classroom library, and I'm looking forward to reading it!
Another option for your Free Voluntary Reading library or a whole-class novel is La Leyenda de La Llorona by Bryce Hedstrom.  You can purchase copies of his book from his website.
If you are looking for a way to practice the preterite vs. imperfect tense, you may want to check out this resource by Teaching Great Spanish.
Here is a fantastic (and FREE) resource from Holy Frijoles!  Students read (or listen to you read) about the different versions of La Llorona throughout Latin America!

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Click here to access a YouTube video of Joe Hayes reciting La Llorona in Spanish.

Click here to watch & listen to the song “La Llorona” by Angela Aguilar, a young Mexican-American musician who recorded this song in 2018 at the age of 14.

Click here to watch a short, animated film in Spanish by Cuenta la Leyenda.

I hope these resources have inspired you to use the legend of La Llorona to expand your student’s acquisition of the Spanish language & spark interest in this fascinating legend from Mexico that has permeated so many cultures.

Happy Halloween!

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