Gran Hotel, episode 1 student guide

I have finally finished the episode 1 student guide for Gran Hotel. If you have wanted to use El Internado but just could not due to the swearing and sexuality, then please take a look at Gran Hotel on Netflix. I think you will be happy.

Unlike El Internado, I do not think I will ever use this with level 1 students; the language is just a tad more complex. My study guide is useful for both student and teacher because it simplifies the language, making it comprehensible to students, while providing enough opportunities for teachers to slow down and recycle key vocabulary so that students do not get lost. Currently I am getting best results by first choosing a target structure to use while explaining the scene (before viewing it), add PQA when natural, then we view the scene followed by reading the description in the student guide. Check out a sample:

example 2 ep 1

There is a short paragraph describing the plot for every 2-4 minutes of video. There are also several comprehension breaks and links to three Kahoot! activities to be played in class. I have also included target vocabulary phrases that I use to discuss the scene prior to viewing it in class. I teach this with my Spanish 3 classes; you might want to choose different target phrases to fit your curriculum. However, the use of target phrases helps simplify the language and allows students to grasp more. Along with the target phrases I also include some suggestions for PQA (personalized questions and answers) that I use. The goal is to make students so comfortable with selected vocabulary before viewing the scene that their cognitive load is significantly lighter and they can process more. Finally, the timings cited in the margins are approximate, taken from Netflix. They will help you quickly return to the scene without wasting class time, but they may be off by a few seconds.

This guide follows the video from Netflix. On Netflix the first episode is about 46 minutes long; if you have original DVD´s of the series from Spain then it may have been edited (or episode 1 may have been split into two episodes to suit the viewing habits of American viewers).


  1. Your raving about Gran Hotel prompted me to “check it out” and it looks very good! The version that I see on Netlix has English subtitles, though. Do you show it with English subtitles?

    • Roll the mouse over the screen and a few symbols show up on the bottom right. One of them controls subtitles; you can either have them in English, turn them off or have them in “European Spanish”, which is the option that I use when showing in class.

  2. There is also a new Mexican version of Gran Hotel called El Hotel de Secretos that just recently started. The first few episodes are on Hulu. I only watched the first episode because it was just too different to me. I loved Gran Hotel so much that I kept comparing it and laughing. It does show a lot of cultural differences though, so it might even be something to show students how culture is different even within Hispanic countries. They have different vocabulary for “maid” and some other things, and there is a butcher & farm animals at the hotel. Some of the costumes are different and they talk about eating different foods.

    • I did not realize that it was on Hulu! These episode guides take so much work that I try to only do them for series that I can obtain on DVD (in case they disappear from online), which reminds me that I ought to track down Gran Hotel before Netflix drops it…

      • I remember when I first watched Gran Hotel last year that Netflix only had part of it & Hulu had the other part (or visa versa, I don’t remember which), but I had to use both of them to watch the whole series. I hate when online services do that! It’s a good idea to get them on DVD or find a way to record them off of Netflix or Hulu. This new one, El Hotel de Secretos, is a Univisión show & I think it just recently started. Hulu only has a few episodes of it so far.

      • What they have now is all that I use… it is complete as best as I know. I was thinking that they split the episodes into two, but if they really did edit out scenes then my guides are following the Netflix version.

  3. This looks great! I discovered CI/TPRS this school year and have been trying to incorporate it into my classroom more and more. How much time do you think one could spend on one episode? When do you anticipate releasing the guide for the second episode? Thank you for providing such wonderful resources.

    • Thank you! As for planning out the experience, please look at my response to Josh below. I watch telenovelas all year long, not every day but several times per week. Even when rushing I rarely can finish more than a couple episodes in a semester. I am currently working on episode 2… could take 2-3 weeks.

  4. I am thinking of adding Gran Hotel to my Spanish IV curriculum. Using your materials, about how long do you spend watching/discussing/reading about each episode?

    • There are 22 separate scene descriptions, not including Kahoot! games and comprehension checks. If you want to fly through this because you have other things that you want to cover, then at a minimum quickly pre-discussing the scene, watching the scene and then reading the scene description might take 10 minutes. Do two scenes for the last 20-25 minutes of class every day and you will be done in 11 school days, more or less. On the other hand, I can spend 20 minutes easily on each scene. Add in a few quick writes, PQA using the suggested target phrases, perhaps make a PPT throwing together a few screen shots to inspire a speaking activity… one episode can easily last more than a month. Most people report that their first time through, they fly because they want to see what happens next and the kids are begging to move on BUT the next time through they learn to milk each scene to really focus on target structures and maximize the benefit. It is easy to make this build on a set curriculum. For example, if you are currently teaching about the subjunctive, make all of your target phrases in the subjunctive. There is an endless amount of things you can say about what people will do en caso de que something else happens, con tal de que somebody does something, etcetera.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s