10 Steps to working a short story IPA style in Your Classroom!

Filomena is my new favorite short story! It was written and performed by Theresa Jensen. You can find it on her storytime Youtube channel. The story and all its activities can be found on storylabs.com See the video for the story below and use in your class right away!

*Activities for the story are at the bottom of the page!

Our first unit of the year for level 1 is identity, and this story helped us to circle back to those traits as a way to keep them fresh on our brains. You can access my list here: personality and physical descriptions. We relied on these to describe the characters and the situation. It kept us talking!

Theresa has a ton of materials for implementing this short story. I have listed them at foot of this post. Here is how I approached the story in class IPA style.

I introduced the story as a “La hora de cuentos” story time. 

A: Let the frontloading begin!

  1. First, I introduced some new words (some were familiar). You can see this from the slide deck below. I was greasing up those neural pathways! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MbZbJSXkfYtvevRbKXVbwPhN6_9FEv9q/view?usp=sharing
  2. [Interpretive] Before seeing her video (above) about Filomena, I used Theresa’s audio track (see materials below). Students listened to the words and circled the ones they heard. I have to say they got 90% of the words correct. I had them pat themselves on the back because listening is very difficult in the WL classroom. 
  3. They had them break off into groups and discuss what they thought the story was about. They did this in English. Most of them said they thought the girl had a problem: They were spot on!
  4. I wrote a short introduction to the story and read it to the class (this is included in the slide deck below). They had to choose which of the problems they thought the girl had based on the vocabulary. Again, they talked it out in Google Breakout Groups.  
  5. [Interpretive/Interpersonal] We talked about the science of being bored. See my little write-up of the upside of boredom according to neurologists. I asked them text-dependent questions.
  6. Students then watched the video and identified the vocabulary based on the illustrations. 
  7. I gave them the Quizlet set that Theresa created. They reviewed it (below in resources).
  8. [Presentational] Students had to answer the comprehension questions with Quizlet words. Although they did have the ability to expand. This really alleviated the cognitive burden and helped them focused on the vocabulary 
  9. [Interpersonal] Talk it out! I asked them questions and let them answer freestyle (write it out)
  10. Reviewed responses and corrected them. 

The next day, we read the text message! My students really enjoyed this.

This was a very engaging lesson, and I’d say participation was 95%. The kids absolutely loved it! And, I hear that Theresa is making Filomena into a short novel!!!! I Can’t Wait!

Theresa is a gifted storyteller, a dynamic Spanish teacher, and an author. Her books are amazing and really resonate with students. You can check out her books at CPLI.net by clicking this link!

Check out her books here on Amazon as well!

Important Links to Activities

Listening and writing activities that I created for the video


Theresa’s plethora of resources! Awesome sauce!


Novels and Resources by A.C. Quintero

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A.C. Quintero Literary Partners!


Fluency Matters

Teacher’s Discovery

Command Performance Language Institute

Teaching Spanish Made Easy (TPT) Catalog

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Instagram https://www.instagram.com/a.c.quintero/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/993395751183802/ 

Website: https://acquinterobooks.wordpress.com/

Books & Bundles Novels and resources by A.C. Quintero 


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