La Ruta Larga: Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series of posts about using a La Ruta Larga, a particular podcast from Radio Ambulante, with Spanish 3 students. I’m currently teaching it for the first time (just came out mid-October!) but I think I would like to use it again with my Heritage classes next year. To see the first post with pre-listening activities, click here.

We have listened to 12 minutes of La Ruta Larga over the course of 2 lessons! While it hasn’t taken my whole block, it’s been a solid chunk of about 30 minutes for 6 minutes of the podcast. There is a lot of pausing, discussion, circling, and repeating* to keep this podcast comprehensible for my Spanish 3. The important piece is that we are staying in the target language, even if I need to rephrase some of what was just said in the podcast. In addition to pausing, circling, discussing, and repeating* as we listen together, here are the activities I have used for the first 12 minutes:

(1) The podcast opens with the audio from a YouTube video of a group of Cuban Americans in a boat trying to guide a group of 6 Cuban migrants in a raft. To try to give students some visual context of what is going on, I showed pieces of this video (not the same as the one mentioned in podcast) and we discussed the what and the why.

(2) This Listening Guide brought us up to about minute 8 of the podcast.

(3) This transcript poses some questions and has some fill-in-the-blanks, but it also is a chance for students to annotate and highlight new vocabulary or key ideas. I realize that allowing students to read a transcript as we listen may lead to them relying on reading more than listening, but as I’m chunking this podcast I think it’s appropriate to have listening and reading for some parts.

Reflections thus far – Students seem to be enjoying the podcast and getting a lot out of it. I am certainly pushing them to the edge of what is comprehensible and it’s been a challenge. My high-flyers are eating it up, and I’ve been super careful to PAUSE, CIRCLE, DISCUSS, AND REPEAT* to make sure all of us are learning. Even more encouraging to me, students see the similarities and the differences with our class novel Esperanza, and are quick to point them out!

*I literally cannot stress this enough. Without pausing, circling, discussing, and repeating, the podcast is not comprehensible and students will get bored and discouraged.

I would love to hear from you if you decide to use this podcast with students! Let me know in the comments or tweet @LaTazaSpanish 🙂

Happy Listening,




  1. Thanks for sharing how your’e using these in the classroom. I want to start using “Radio Ambulante” in my heritage classroom, and your activities sparked ideas on my part. I appreciated seeing that you actually give them the transcript on paper. I’m debating whether to do that, or use the subtitle videos that Radio Ambulate provides on Vimeo here –

    Thanks for this post!


    • I’m glad I could help spark some ideas! I haven’t used Radio Ambulante yet this year but plan to with my heritage classroom as well. In the past I have used subtitled videos. Both are good options. It’s easier for them to follow along if they watch the subtitle videos, but it’s easier for them to annotate or go back and form questions if they have the paper transcript.


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