Tumba Chapter 1 – schools around the world

Inside: Lesson plans for Tumba Chapter 1 in Spanish class. Chapter 1 of the novel Tumba in Spanish class.

Teaching Tumba Chapter 1

Spanish I is spending this quarter reading the novel Tumba by Mira Canion and as promised I will be sharing some ideas to go along with it. The teachers guide and audio book can be purchased here, as well as my first post about introducing the novel


Tumba Chapter 1 


On the first day, I read Chapter 1 to the clas. All students follow along in their copy. We often stopped to ask personalized questions. We especially compared their school schedule, uniforms, and setup to our own school. Once finished we compared the two main characters’ personalities, as well as what they link and dislike. 

Schools Around the World

Chapter 1 of the novel is centered around talking about where the main characters go to school in Mexico. Recently I stumbled upon an Awesome resource for teaching about schools around the world in Spanish by Neil Jones. These resources would be great for any “school unit” or as a supplement to taking about schools in a novel such as chapter 2 of Felipe Alou or chapter 1 of Tumba.

This may be old news to many of you since the post Las aulas del mundo is a couple of years old, but I was very excited about it. There is a link to an activity with 15 unlabeled pictures of classrooms all over the world. There are also 15 cards with a city name, facts about the schools, and a description of what can be seen in the picture.

The goal is to match the photo with the other card. There is also a worksheet with a space to write the letter as well as a description in English of why this card was chosen. **Note the card from the U.S should say St. Louis, not Detroit 🙂


While no, it was not just comparing schools in the US and Mexico. I think it was a great way to bring small town kids a bigger picture of what classrooms and students look like around the entire world. It is important to not just the portions that speak Spanish. It is above the Spanish 1 reading level, so a lot of support is needed for it to be successful. The goal is not to understand every word but to use clues, context, each other, and deductive reasoning to match them up. 


How to Implement Las aulas del mundo

  • Make enough copies of the 15 cards & worksheet for each group.
  • Share the link to the 15 color photos. (If you have enough devices for each group, print and post the color photos around the room).
  • Pre-teach and post the meanings of the five main facts on each card (birth rate, life expectancy, etc). I kept these projected throughout as a resource. 
  • Divide the class into groups of 2-3 students.
  • Move through the room as students are working. Help to clarify, check for understanding, and keep them moving in the right direction. 
  • Once groups finished, I had them compare with other groups, where they had to try and come to a consensus, justifying why their picked option was correct. 
  • There are also a ton of extra questions included in both English and Spanish for reading comprehension. If you want to take the activity even further, I chose to just end it by finding out which school was which. 

I was so impressed with how the students worked together and their engagement with the activity. Hopefully learning a little bit about classrooms around the world has opened up some student’s eyes on their way to becoming global citizens. Up next, Chapter 2!

You can find all resources for Tumba here.

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Movies to pair with Tumba

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