Como Agua Para Chocolate/La Casa en Mango Street

Mexican Literature

Teacher:Jose Lopez Espinosa
Extra Help:Thursday from 3 to 4pm 

My two favorite quotes: “A teacher’s job is to make his/her students smarter than he/she” & “The purpose of schools is to teach how to become self-educated’’

Objetivo: La meta de esta clase es narrar y describir en lapsos de tiempo largos en español.

Welcome to the Mexican Literature class. This is a level three class. The goal of this class is to improve your ability to converse in Spanish. All other goals — such as improving vocabulary, understanding culture or mastering grammar — are subordinate to the simple goal of enabling you to speak conversationally. You will speak Spanish every day in this class and you will speak with most students in the classroom. Narrating and describing in major time frames and dealing effectively with an unanticipated complication regarding topics of personal and general interest is the objective of the course using the short stories of the Mango Street book, or the book Como Agua Para Chocolate.

Requisito: El reto de esta clase es entender sin dificultad a otros no acostumbrados a tratar con hablantes no nativos.

The challenge of this class will be to speak Spanish and understand without difficulty by speakers unaccustomed to dealing with non-native speakers. To succeed in this class, you must agree to spend the 75 minutes in the classroom entirely in Spanish. It will be my job (as the teacher) to help you speak and understand; your job is showing up and trying. Trying means not speaking a word of English during the 70 to 75 minute class.

The written work you do outside of class will also be done entirely in Spanish. In written work, you will sometimes be allowed to use  a dictionary app or help from friends — when you do so, you must first ask the teacher to let him know that you are using your time wisely and avoid misunderstandings. 

Filosofía: A hablar se aprende hablando.

This class is designed to help you learn Spanish by speaking Spanish. The class will consist of students speaking about their lives and interests in Spanish — no more and no less. Readings, music and videos will be drawn from expressed student interests and hobbies. Vocabulary, studying and written work will all be drawn from class conversations.

Once in a great while we will have days in English. You will know this because I will speak English to you as we come in. This will typically be to address logistics that cannot be addressed in Spanish.

 Recurring Assessments

Digital portfolio: At the beginning and end of the semester, you will be asked to record yourself and post the recording to your Digital Portfolio. This will act as a record of your improving conversational abilities.

Diary y vocabulario: You will be asked to keep a regular diary in Spanish as part of free-writing. This will be made during class. Your diary will address topics spoken about in class and topics you read about.

In order to justly assess all student work, please expect a two week window from the due date of an assignment before a grade is posted onto x2. 


Honors students in Spanish must take on additional responsibilities in class and take on some additional outside work as well. Responsibilities include:

Liderar: lead small-group discussion activities, committing to keeping students speaking ONLY in Spanish and constantly pushing the level of conversation higher.

Planear una clase: Honors students will have to help planning and leading one entire class period.The teacher will check and approve the lesson plan previously to teaching the class. 


Conversation (25%)

  • Using Spanish in class (i.e. asking questions / addressing teachers or classmates)

  • Using vocabulary words and phrases presented in class.

  • Participating in class dialogues, interviews, surveys, and debates.

Interpretation (25%)

  • Answering questions and/or commenting about topics, videos, and music presented in class (oral and written)

  • Recognizing/applying vocabulary words or phrases presented in class.

  • Following written or oral directions leading to an activity.

Work habits (25%)

  • Participating in class activities.

  • Presenting work on time (homework, assignments, project reports)

  • Showing interest and effort in each class.

Presentation (25%)

  • Keeping journal up to date.

  • Completion of mini – projects.

  • Revision/reflection of quizzes, homework.

Let’s enjoy the semester !    

Maestro:     Jose L. Lopez  Espinosa

Teacher: you can paste content here, or just use the google docs folder to post course documents.

Course Documents