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Curriculum Update

Using ‘House Hunters’ TV show to boost Spanish

Students in upstate New York peruse new homes in Spanish-speaking countries

Students in a Spanish 3 class at Bethlehem Central High School may live in upstate New York, but they look for new homes in Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.

After discovering her students were fans of HGTV’s ‘House Hunters International,’ Bethlehem Central School District Spanish teacher Jessica Westervelt developed a lesson in which her class searches Spanish-speaking countries online for vacation homes.

“‘House Hunters International’ is something the kids are interested in, and any time that you can find a way to connect that to the classroom, it makes it more realistic to them and more enjoyable,” says Westervelt.

Students are divided into groups of four or less. Westervelt sets various requirements in terms of house price, number of rooms, location (say, proximity to the beach or a city), and other amenities, such as a spa.

The students research numerous houses and create printed brochures that, like on the show, showcase three properties. They also devise a name and logo for their fictional real estate agency and organize in-class presentations to convince Westervelt to purchase one of their homes.

The lesson, all in Spanish, requires research and builds vocabulary—particularly around house-related terms like room, decor and furniture. Writing and oral language skills are bolstered, and students learn about culture as they study housing choices that reflect the different ways people live, work and play.

For her AP class, Westervelt has developed a similar all-Spanish lesson based on the TV show “Shark Tank,” which gives entrepreneurs a chance to get funding for small-business ventures. Students have to propose an invention and then convince classmates to “invest.”

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