Planning for El capibara con botas - Mis Clases Locas

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Planning for El capibara con botas

I mentioned in my curriculum plan for this year that I was going to add the novel El capibara con botas by Mira Canion for the first time.  The book came out after I had already done my big curriculum purchase last Spring, but I knew it would be a perfect culture filled first novel. I even wrote about ideas for the novel last summer here - libro lunes - El capibara con botas. So this year, I asked if I could use my yearly "classroom supply" allowance to instead by a class set of novels. It was approved and I would much rather have books than supplies. (I can buy those cheap myself at back to school sales:) Here you can purchase the El capibara con botas & the teacher's guide

This year my freshman Spanish 1's previous Spanish knowledge includes two seperate quarter long exploratory Spanish classes over the last two years, where they have done the first few SOMOS units, special person interviews, some Sr. Wooly songs, and other various cultural units. I plan to use this novel towards the end of the first quarter of Spanish 1, as well as during y 8th grade exploratory Spanish second semester. 

Resources for teaching the novel El capibara con botas by Mira Canion

Pre-load Vocab

To prepare for the vocabulary in the novel, my plan is to start the year in Spanish 1 with a review of the super 7  high frequency verbs as well as special person interviews. We will also do Martina Bex's SOMOS unit 5 which focuses on is feeling, has and goes. I also want to use some of the resources that Kristin posted here in her great post about pre-teaching vocabulary for this novel. Since she has already taught the novel, she has also been an awesome resource while planning. 

I like to try to pre-teach most of the key vocabulary before even starting the book. Otherwise students get board if the novel takes too long if you try and add in too many new words before a chapter. However, I do like to pick out a few key words from each chapter to reinforce again right before reading. I usually do this through PQA (personalized questions and answers), but charades or  TPR can be used as well. This helps students fee confident as I read the chapter to them. 

Pre-load Content

Before actually starting reading, I also like to have students dig into the culture of the novel. Luckily this book is chock full of culture since it is set in the Amazon of Ecuador. I am hoping to try and do something cross curricular with the science teacher involving the water cycle, Galapagos Islands, animals of the Amazon, rainforests or other similar themes. I know that most of my students have never left the country, let alone Iowa, and need a lot of background knowledge to fully understand the setting and characters in the book. 

Since most students have never seen this animal, or maybe even heard of it, we will do some research and watch some videos to get a better feel. Hopefully they will fall in love with the giant rodents :) I created this digital stations activity with capybaras and Ecuador, to allow students to do a little research on their own using their Chromebooks. If technology is not on our side we will just do the stations traditional style around the room with the resources printed and videos downloaded. 

Also, here are a few videos that we might use to introduce the capibara. Since most are in English, I may mute some and do them movietalk style. 

I love teaching about geography and exposing my small town students to amazing new parts of the world. I always like to spend some time learning about the country that our novels are set in before beginning the book. I wanted a basic novice level reading about Ecuador, so I created one. It has three sections focusing on the geography, culture and rainforest of Ecuador. It has a lot of cognates and the same high frequency vocabulary as the book. You can download the reading and comprehension questions here

Teaching the novel 
Once the background vocab and cultural knowledge is established, I will start reading the book. My plan is to do about one chapter per day once we get rolling with the book. Since it is a novice level class, I will most likely read to the students and all of our activities will be in class. I do not know what we will be doing day by day yet, but I there are lots of ideas of novel activities searching the label novels. The plan will be to blog about our journey reading the book along the way. I am excited to read a book this early in the year in Spanish 1 and I hope it is a big confidence builder. 

More resources for teaching the novel 

My El capibara con botas Pinterest Board for more ideas for cultural expansion. 

Have you taught El capibara con botas? Please share any additional resources in the comments!


  1. Thanks for the mention! I think you'll love teaching this novel. So fun for the students and the teacher! :)

  2. How long do you think this unit will take you?

  3. Thank you for this incredibly valuable post! I purchased your Capybara and Ecuador resources from TPT, and they were so helpful in the pre-loading stage. I ended up spending about 2 weeks pre-loading Ecuador/capybaras/animals of the rainforest/target structures that we hadn't used much yet, and then about 6 days reading the novel. Thank you again for your guidance and helping me get through my first novel with my students!


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