Introducing the novel Tumba - Mis Clases Locas

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Introducing the novel Tumba

The last quarter of Spanish I this year will be centered around the novel Tumba by Mira Canion. I had the chance to meet Mira at #CSCTFL15 where I botched her name (in case you were wondering it is is pronounced M-eye-ra not M-ear-a). My students think it is pretty cool that I met the author of the book they are reading and that she went to high school in Iowa less that 15 minutes away!

Tumba is centered around the holiday the Day of the Dead in Mexico and is a perfect easy reader for a level one class. The teachers guide and audio book can be purchased here. So far we have read the first two chapters and the students are loving it! I plan to share throughout our journey. 

Last fall we did a mini unit on the Day of the Dead and some of the resources I used can be found here. Once we got back from Spring break this year we spent a couple days preparing to read the novel. Here are a couple of the activities we completed:

1. We watched this video about Día de los Muertos en Michoacán and completed activities by Elena Lopez that can be found here. The video is a great way to introduce some of the typical elements and vocabulary associated with the holiday. 

2. We used this embedded reading for Tumba to introduce structures and characters in the novel. I projected the readings one at a time and read, circled, and discussed them as a class. The next day the plan was to start the novel, but since my son was sick I used these three readings to create an activity for the students to complete individually. For reading one they roughly translated it and answered a comprehension question in Spanish. For reading two they read it and answered comprehension questions in English. Finally for the last reading they read it with a partner and then drew what they understood. A particularly great drawing is shown below. 

I look forward to sharing more soon!


  1. Hola Allison,

    I enjoy your blog tremendously!! Thank you for sharing with us your journey with your students.
    I read Tumba with my students in the fall. They thoroughly enjoyed reading it, learning about Mexico and the Day of the Day Celebration.
    Here are all of my Day of the Dead Resources (free)
    Just click on Recursos del Día de Muertos

    It was very nice meeting you at Central States. It will be wonderful to see all of your posts about Tumba!!


    1. Elena,
      Thank you so much for these awesome resources!!

    2. Elena, are your resources still free? I just got my class set of Tumba and would love to check out your resources, but I hit a password wall on your website.

    3. Andrea,
      If you go to the website, click on Cultura > Celebraciones > El Dia de los Muertos & there is a gold mine of stuff!!!


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