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El Internado Culture - El Desayuno

A conversation on Twitter a week or so ago got me thinking about using the TV show El Internado: Laguna Negra to teach the culture of Spain. If you have been reading here for a while you know that this past year I followed the footsteps of many Spanish teachers, using the Spanish TV show El Internado on Fridays in Spanish II-IV. While the show was a hit in all classes, I failed in one aspect. I wrongly assumed that by simply watching and talking about a TV show from Spain, the students would gain a deeper understanding about Spanish culture. Through the show many cultural elements can be brought to light and investigated deeper, but most students will not get them simply by watching the show. 

A great example of using a cultural point of the show El Internado as a launching pad for culture is this post about Ratoncito Pérez by Bethanie Drew. A big part of Season 1 Episode 5 is Paula loosing a tooth and this cultural unit about Ratoncito Pérez, the Spanish version of the tooth fairy, is a perfect way to introduce this episode. Just like the great TPRS Publishing teachers guides, a cultural aspect of the show is used to investigate the products, practices and perspectives of a target culture. 

As someone mentioned on Twitter, it is like the show El Internado was made for Spanish teachers with all of the possibilities for the classroom. I decided to start going through the first episodes and looking for cultural tidbits that could be expanded on in class for a richer understanding of the Spanish culture. I started this working document of ideas and would love if you would add to it! The first item that came to mind is something that comes up on almost every episode, breakfast. Food is something that makes an immediate connection with students, so it would be perfect to talk about. 

For example, from my personal experience studying abroad for a semester in Oviedo, Spain. My Spanish "madre" was an excellent cook, by breakfast was by far the most simple meal of the day, if you could even call it a meal. The common denominator in most households was coffee. Pretty much everyone starts their day with coffee, even kids have café con leche. Besides coffee, I was usually served a simple bread product: toast with jam, simple cookies, or magdelena. Other students who lived with families with children may have had cereal, yogurt, or juice as well. This follows exactly what is seen on the show. 




These images are from breakfast during episode 1 of season 1. The students are seen eating the following:
  • café
  • leche en cajas de cartón (milk served in cardboard boxes could be an entire lesson in itself!)
  • zumo (vs. jugo for juice in Latin America)
  • cereal
  • tostada, magdalena, pan



I created this activity to go along with talking about breakfast in Spain and El Internado. Let me know if you would like the editable Pages document. It has very basic vocabulary and can be used as a springboard for more personalized questions with the students. It can be used with episode 1 of season 1, or any time they eat breakfast on the show (which is almost every episode).
Marcos, Paula & the Puleva boxed milk!

More resources to teach about desayuno in Spain

Photo - Vocabulario el desayuno - Idea: print or project this picture & have students circle what foods are shown on the show.


I would love feedback or other ideas of cultural expansion from this show!

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