Teaching materials created by others

It’s the time of the school year where we are finishing the first semester on the fumes of the energy we had in August or September, and may be eyeing next semester with some apprehension.

While I am a big believer in free materials for teachers because I know how little we make in comparison to others with the same level of education and experience as us, I also believe that ready-made materials for purchase can help us out when time and sleep are in short supply. I also believe that other teachers should be paid for the materials that they spent their precious time making.  I think for-purchase materials are also great because, honestly, why are thousands of teachers creating curriculum from scratch every year? Perhaps your’re willing to spend some of your own money, or you can get some funds from your school, or perhaps raise funds on https://www.donorschoose.org/.

Therefore, I’d like to dedicate this post to places where Spanish teachers can find reasonably-priced products. I will warn you that I have not purchased and used all of these products, so please look them over carefully before purchasing.

Spanishplans.org has a blog and its own store at http://www.spanishteachershop.com/

DeleArte.com is a favorite of mine, with lots of free activities as well as a few items for purchase in their store at http://www.delearte.com/p/tienda-virtual.html

Feel like showing a movie? Filaromics.com has films with lesson plans for sale.

Spark Enthusiasm a plethora of resources for purchase at http://sparkenthusiasm.com/Teacher_Resources.html

Speakinglatino.com has free and for-purchase materials at http://www.speakinglatino.com/teachers-resources/

This site only has a couple of reasonably-priced resources, but I believe they will add more with time: https://commongroundinternational.com/product-category/spanish-teacher-resources/

This site has free audio with the option to purchase worksheets for listening and reading comprehension: https://gumroad.com/spanishlistening

Teachers Pay Teachers is full of resources:

Bell-ringers https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:spanish%20bell%20ringers

Weekly news readings https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SUBSCRIPTION-Weekly-news-summaries-for-Spanish-students-SPRING-2017-2510441

Projects https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:spanish%20projects

Project-based learning https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:project%20based%20learning%20spanish

Webquests https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:spanish%20webquests

Thematic units from Miraflores https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Miraflores or http://www.miraflores.org/ (might be easier to navigate)

Music-related resources https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:spanish%20music

Free Spanish resources https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:free%20spanish

This teacher has interesting materials for sale at TpT https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teaching-Spanish-Made-Easy

There are even entire curricula available (at a significant price) for Spanish I and II (traditional and TPRS), heritage language learners, and even AP Spanish.

Spanish4teachers.org has FREE resources for teachers.:)

Better Lesson has resources for free, as well: http://betterlesson.com/community/directory/high_school/spanish

TES used to be free, but now many of the resources have to be purchased: https://www.tes.com/us

These free podcasts have accompanying worksheets that are not cheap, but are timesavers http://www.notesinspanish.com/store/

In addition to free materials, Zachary Jones as materials for purchase at http://zachary-jones.com/zambombazo/ebooks/

Bryce Hedstrom sells some reading resources http://www.brycehedstrom.com/shop-for-books

I hope you are able to find some free and low-cost items to make planning easier!



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Acentos perdidos

Estoy un poco obsesionada con un movimiento que promueve el uso correcto del la ortografía en español, y las tildes en particular. Todo comenzó con el siguiente comercial de Sprite que encontré en Internet mientras planeaba una lección sobre la importancia de las tildes para mis estudiantes de español como idioma de herencia.

Croeo que el comercial es un poco difícil de entender, hasta para mis estudiantes hispanohablantes, así que hice mi propia transcripción para acompañarlo. Tuve que escuchar muchas, muchas veces; si encuentran errores en mi transcripción, por favor, avísenme.

Sprite commercial accents

El protagonista de este movimiento es Pablo Zulaica. Él anda colocando tildes en vías públicas donde encuentra errores ortográficos.

acentos perdidos

Zulaica tiene su propio sitio, y lo que me gusta más del sitio es que se puede bajar las tildes con las reglas incluidas para imprimir y colocar en su propia ciudad. He estado pensando en un uso más didáctico, o sea, una actividad del aula que se puede hacer con las tildes. Yo podría tener palabras colgadas en las paredes, y los estudiantes tienen que poner la tilde con la regla correcta en la palabra correcta o algo así.

Plantilla acentos_x6FINAL

El sitio de “Acentos perdidos” con los recursos imprimibles es http://acentosperdidos.blogspot.com/search/label/Imprimibles

La revista TECLA para estudiantes de español tiene un artículo con preguntas de comprensión sobre el movimiento “Acentos perdidos” para nivel C en http://www.mecd.gob.es/dctm/ministerio/educacion/actividad-internacional/consejerias/reino-unido/tecla/2010/05-10c.pdf?documentId=0901e72b80b4b4dd

El movimiento “Acentos perdidos” llegó a ser un Ted Talk. Aquí les comparto un artículo y el video de TEDx en Cuauhtémoc, México.



Para dar un argumento más balanceado al debate sobre la ortografía, les dejo con este artículo sobre un discurso que dio el gran escritor Gabriel García Márquez sobre la ortografía española.




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Ernesto “Che” Guevara: ¿Héroe revolucionario?

After my students watch the film “Diarios de motocicleta” I want them to debate Che Guevara’s place in history. Here are the resources I found so far for planning the post-viewing activities.


The film paints a more positive, idealistic impression of Che, so I looked online for resources that would show a more critical view of him. I found an article and comprehension questions that a teacher created for the article. In the interest of time, I might shorten the article.



This is a unit of study about heroes, and Che Guevara is included.


What I find very interesting and hope to have time to do both are a song and a poem that speak positively of Che.

The song by Víctor Jara and is called “Zamba del Che.” Here are the lyrics and the audio:


The poem about Che Guevara was written by Nicolás Guillén, which surprised me; it never entered my mind that Nicolás Guillén witnessed the Cuban Revolution. It does make sense since he passed away in 1989. Theh poem is called “Che Comandante.” Here is the poem with an audio of Nicolás Guillén reading it.


Finally, I have one more song that I want to add in order to critically examine Che’s role in the history of Latin America. It is called “Mc Guevaras o Che Donalds” by Kevin Johansen. Here are the lyrics and the music video:


What I have left to do is write questions for the songs and poem to not only check for understanding, but also lead students to evaluate the opposing points of view

This web page has several lessons relating to Che Guevara; one has a rubric for an argumentative essay about Che. I think I will do more of an oral debate in Socratic seminar style. http://pier.macmillan.yale.edu/lesson-plans-5

Here is a podcast with comprehension questions about Che Guevara’s life: http://www.delearte.com/2013/11/podcastellano-ernestito-ernesto-y-el.html

Just about every time I research a topic for class, I stumble upon other topics that could be made into lessons. This time Víctor Jara and his compelling story caught my attention, and led me to a topic called the Chilean New Song Movement. Maybe someday I can get lessons together, but if the topic interests you, the yale.edu site I mentioned above has a lesson plan, and Smithsonian Folkways has a lesson at http://www.folkways.si.edu/latin-american-protest-songs-new-song-of-chile-and-cuba/tools-for-teaching/smithsonian






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“Diarios de motocicleta”

This year I showed the film “Diarios de motocicleta” for my AP Spanish Language classes. I had not shown it for a few years because when I changed schools, I found out that my students had already seen it in their previous Spanish classes. This year I was certain that my students had not seen it in any classes so I showed it, partly because it is a compelling movie, and partly because I was exhausted and needed a bit of a break.

I was disappointed with myself about how little we did with the movie other than watch it, so I have been outlining some pre-, during, and post-viewing activities. I wrote in my blog about my ideas for using the poems “A Roosevelt” and “La United Fruit Co.” before the movie and plan to use readings, songs, and poems about Che Guevara after the film. This post is about resources available for the film itself. I like to pick and choose what I consider to be the best portions of each resource.

diarios infographic

At my previous school, I limited myself to using the the FilmArobics film and lesson plans that I purchased. The cultural notes and comprehension questions are good resources.

Here are some lesson plans compiled by other teachers for the film:



http://lrc.cornell.edu/spanish/semester3/instructor/CapTulo8/Section4/uploads/File1382114994637/CL36_Diarios_Amigo_1230S13.doc What I particularly like about this resource is an activity using the song “McGuevara o CheDonalds” by Kevin Johansen.




http://www.sparkenthusiasm.com/motorcycle_diaries.html There are free things and materials for purchase on this site.

http://goblues.org/faculty/flemingc/espanol-ivivh/ (You’ll have to scroll down to find links to resources for teaching about Che Guevara and the film.)



http://teacherweb.com/NY/AlbertusMagnusHighSchool/WeeksK/Diario-de-Motocicleta—packet.doc This is mostly in English, but there are good cultural notes.

http://ouray.k12.co.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_179347/File/Staff%20Directory/Ms.%20Chase/Espanol%20I/Diarios.pdf This is from the textbook Cinema for Spanish Conversation by Hackett Publishing Company.

There are several lessons about Che Guevara and the film “Diarios de motocicleta” at http://pier.macmillan.yale.edu/lesson-plans-5

This a tool from TES Connect called “Blendspace” where teachers can organize links to resources about a topic: https://www.tes.com/lessons/Ll86zMwUdqN3mw/diarios-de-motocicleta?redirect-bs=1

If you want a copy of the book off of which the film is based, there is a pdf available at https://zoonpolitikonmx.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/guevara_ernesto_che_-_diarios_de_motocicleta.pdf

One thing that I did at my previous school was to assign a South America project so that the students could learn about some of the places and cultural references from the film. The students’ presentations had to be interactive, and some got quite creative. One student taught us to dance the Cumbia and another made  jigsaw puzzles out of works of art by South American painters. Here is the handout I gave; I warn you, it is very basic!


I think that another topic that could be added to accompany this film is the effects of mining on the South American people. Máxima Acuña would be a good person to incorporate here. http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/maxima-acuna/


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“La United Fruit Co.” por Pablo Neruda

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am planning to use the poem “La United Fruit Co.” published by Pablo Neruda in 1950 in a series of pre-viewing lessons for the film “Diarios de motocicleta.”


A text called Graded Spanish Reader: Primera Etapa by Cengage Learning has pre- and post-reading activities for the poem. It also has other good readings for upper level Spanish classes.

The textbook Pasajes: Literatura also has good pre- and post-reading activities. What I particularly like about this book is that it has a very nice black-and-white drawing of the poem that students can use to interpret the poem.

As with the poem “A Roosevelt” there are references to historical figures that the students will not recognize. Again, I’d like to mention Momentos cumbres de las literaturas hispanicas published by Pearson as a resource. What is particularly useful in this text is that it has “códigos” before each reading to help students to understand background information for the literary work, such as social, political, historical and geographical contexts. Someone has so kindly placed the contexts and some of the questions for “La United Fruit Co.” into a Word document.

Here is a gem that a teacher created to accompany the movie “Diarios de motocicleta.” The lessons are found at http://pier.macmillan.yale.edu/lesson-plans-5 and include “La United Fruit Co.” Just scroll down to  “Diarios de motocicleta: La evolución del Che” to access the documents. One item that the teacher incorporates that I find particularly interesting is a mural by Diego Rivera that I had not previously seen called “Gloriosa Victoria.”


Here are resources about the mural that are in English. One interesting fact about the painting is that it disappeared in 1956 and did not re-appear until 2006  It is also interesting to note that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was in Guatemala during the CIA-backed coup in 1954 and witnessed what was happening.



Another resource that not only works with the poem but also the socio-political context for the poem is the site http://atlas-caraibe.certic.unicaen.fr/es/page-243.html

If you are interested in teaching more about the United Fruit Company, now called Chiquita, the Zinn Education Project has a video clip and reading excerpt in English at http://zinnedproject.org/materials/the-united-fruit-company/.

I think the following illustration would be useful to show the reach of the United Fruit Company in Latin America:


An historical event that relates to the poem is la masacre de las bananeras in Ciénaga, Colombia in 1928, which was a confrontation between the United Fruit Company and the workers. Gabriel García Márquez included this event in his novel Cien años de soledad.

Here is a good text about the massacre: http://cut.org.co/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/MASACRE-DE-LAS-BANANERAS.pdf

Here is a political cartoon that relates to the text about the massacre:


Here is a short, animated video that briefly describes the conflict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=505Q-Um1KHw

In looking at the resources I have gathered, I believe the best way to organize the lessons would be to start with a brief history of Banana Republics and the United Fruit Company, incorporated the Colombian banana massacre and the Guatemalan coup as illustrated in the mural “Gloriosa Victoria.”

The next step would be pre-reading work with the vocabulary and concepts from the poem “La United Fruit Co.” Finally we will read and analyze the poem. Since I plan for the students to read “A Roosevelt” before this poem, we can then see how Neruda’s portrayal of the United States compares with that of Darío.

At this point the students are ready to watch the film “Diarios de motocicleta.” I believe the scene where the students can most strongly connect the poems to events in the film is the one at the Chuquicamata mine, owned by the U.S. Anaconda Mining Company.

After the film, my plan is to have students explore the life of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the development of his revolutionary beliefs that motivated his later actions, leading to a student debate about his place in history.

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“A Roosevelt” por Rubén Darío

This summer I am hoping to put together lessons for “A Roosevelt” and “La United Fruit Co.” as pre-viewing activities for the film “Diarios de motocicleta.” I think these two poems illustrate sentiments or ideas that a young Ernesto “Che” Guevara may have been exposed to, thus giving further insight into the transformation that Guevara went through during the course of his journey across South America. I’m using my blog as a thinking space; I’m hoping the lessons will come together as I write.

It is not difficult to find resources for these poems, as “A Roosevelt” is currently on the AP Spanish Literature reading list, and “La United Fruit Co.” was formerly on the list.

“A Roosevelt”


This great illustration is just one of fourteen images of the poem that I found at https://marekbennett.com/2013/12/30/dario-1904-aroosevelt-01/.

To me, the toughest thing about “A Roosevelt” is the many references to people and things that the students may not know. I taught this poem a number of years ago, and put together a “cheat-sheet” in English for the references that I did not believe the students would recognize. In thinking of teaching the poem again, I decided to make a glossed text with the definitions at the bottom of each page in hopes that the students will be more likely to use them. Here is my version of the poem:

A ROOSEVELT poem with definitions

I used the following activity the first time that I taught the poem, and plan to use it again. In this activity, students determine whether certain words refer to the United States or to Latin America. Then they use the list to determine how Rubén Darío is portraying each one.

a roosevelt sorting activity

An activity that I have not yet tried is one that I saw on a fabulous blog by Rebecca M. Bender, PhD. In her blog entry about Picasso, she gave students an image of “Guernica” and had them write phrases from a poem near parts of the painting which, in their opinion, showed similarities and differences between the two. The painting I have chosen to use with “A Roosevelt” is Frida Kahlo’s “Autorretrato en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México.”


Finally, I would like to add comprehension questions about the poem to help the students analyze it more closely. There are a few resources that I plan to incorporate for compiling the questions:

One of my go-to resources for teaching literary works is the text Momentos cumbres de las literaturas hispanicas published by Pearson. There are pre- and post-reading exercises for each work.

This next resource is a teaching guide. One thing that I find particularly interesting in this document is a list of songs that could tie to the poem, like “Si el norte fuera el sur” by Ricardo Arjona. This would be another great activity for working with the poem.


Other sources that I have found to accompany to poem are PDF documents with questions, found at :



Here are some more questions from which to choose: http://l.exam-10.com/other/21142/index.html

One last idea is to tie the poem to political cartoons of the time, which is a favorite activity of mine. Here are a couple of cartoons that could work for the poem:


In my next blog post I’ll share activities and resources for “La United Fruit Co.” by Pablo Neruda.






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Frida Kahlo y “Autorretrato en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos”

Después de aprender sobre la artista María Izquierdo, los estudiantes aprenden un poco sobre Frida Kahlo y exploran su obra “Autorretrato en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos.”

Esta es la biografía que los estudiantes usan para contestar preguntas de comprensión sobre la vida de Kahlo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uHSEWOATGg

  • Palabras útiles:
    • Trastorno—enfermedad o alteración de la salud
    • Convaleciente – en recuperación de una enfermedad o accidente
  1. ¿Por qué comenzó a pintar Frida Kahlo?
  2. ¿Qué inspiraba las obras de Frida?
  3. ¿Aproximadamente qué porcentaje de las obras de Frida son autorretratos:1/2, 1/3 , 3/4?
  4. ¿Qué causó su depresión en 1953?

La actividad siguiente es una observación de la obra “Autorretrato en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos.” Les pregunto a los estudiantes lo siguiente:

Esta es una obra pintada por Frida Kahlo en 1932 que se llama «Autorretrato en la frontera entre México y los Estados Unidos.»  Escribe lo que observas y tu interpretación de esta obra en por lo menos 3 oraciones.


Los estudiantes comparten sus ideas luego leen sobre esta obra en una descripción en español del sitio http://www.fridakahlofans.com/c0110.html. Contestan estas preguntas sobre la lectura:

Screenshot 2016-05-20 09.35.02

Otra buena fuente para interpretar esta pintura es http://www.pbs.org/weta/fridakahlo/worksofart/borderline_esp.html.

La actividad final es una lectura sobre Kahlo y Diego Rivera llamada “Una pareja famosa”  que encontré en un libro de texto, Punto y Aparte 4a edición p. 90. (Me gusta comprar copias de libros de textos usados de Amazon.com para tener una variedad de recursos.) Las preguntas que les hago son:

Screenshot 2016-05-20 09.41.29

Para enseñar más sobre la relación entre Frida y Diego, la obra “Diego y yo” es una buena opción. Aquí les comparto dos recursos para esa obra.



Para más sobre Frida Kahlo, tengo una entrada de blog sobre “Las dos Fridas.”

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Artista mexicana María Izquierdo

Mientras casi todos saben de la artista mexicana Frida Kahlo, una contemporánea de ella, María Izquierdo, quizás no sea tan reconocida. Izquierdo alcanzó su fama durante su vida, mientras la popularidad del arte de Kahlo ha experimentado su auge después de la muerte de ella.

En mi clase de pre-AP Lengua Española, los estudiantes aprenden sobre María Izquierdo y Frida Kahlo en la misma serie de lecciones.

Comienzo la lección con una actividad divertida que encontré en http://www.lapaleta.com.mx/juegos/jue-diferenizq.html. Los estudiantes tienen que encontrar las siete diferencias entre una pintura de María Izquierdo y otra que ha sido modificada. Es una manera entretenida de presentar el arte de María Izquierdo.

Luego los estudiantes leen una biografía breve de esa misma página y completan una actividad sencilla como calentamiento. Mis preguntas sobre la biografía son:

Respalda cada afirmación con evidencias del texto.

  1. María Izquierdo era zurda.
  2. María fue una pionera en el campo del arte mexicano.
  3. Explica cómo la obra a continuación es representante del arte de María Izquierdo. (OJO: selecciona solamente las pruebas relevantes del texto.)


Les enseño este video biográfico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQbjU1Jd41g

Este video muestra imágenes del arte de Izquierdo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwxE-tqP6hw

Luego los estudiantes observan las semejanzas y diferencias entre el estilo y la temática de María Izquierdo y Frida Kahlo.

Unidad 4 Semana 2 preAP 2014-15

Unidad 4 Semana 2 preAP 22014-15

Unidad 4 Semana 2 preAP 3.jpg

Unidad 4 Semana 2 preAP 4

Después aprendemos sobre Frida Kahlo y comparamos su vida con la de María Izquierdo.

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la Malinche

La Malinche es una figura histórica que me intriga. Les quisiera compartir los recurscos que utilicé para crear una serie de lecciones sobre ella para mis clase de AP Spanish Language and Culture.

Mis dos patrias” de los Tigres del Norte

Comienzo con la letra de esta canción porque la primera línea de la canción dice, “Para quien dice que yo soy  un malinchista…” Mis estudiantes son mayormente mexicanos o mexicano-americanos, así que algunos de ellos saben qué significa “malinchista.” Les pregunto porque lo llaman malinchista y comenzamos a hablar de la historia de la Malinche.

“¿Quién fue la Malinche?”

Luego vemos este video breve que me gusta mucho.

“Women in World History” http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/modules/lesson6/lesson6.php?menu=1&s=0&c=

En esta página de web hay recursos excelentes en inglés y algunos de ellos están disponibles en español sobre la Malinche.  En esta página uso la pintura “El sueño de la Malinche” como parte de mi lección http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/modules/lesson6/lesson6.php?menu=1&s=7

Luego leemos una historia de la Malinche que encontré en Internet y contestamos preguntas de comprensión y análisis. Desafortunadamente, el enlace ya no sirve, pero hay varias biografías de la Malinche disponibles en Internet.

“Cortés y la Malinche” por José Clemente Orozco

La última actividad, y de hecho, mi favorita, es algo que encontré en este documento de Internet: http://enespanol.loescher.it/files/1901 Este documento contiene dos lecturas sobre la Malinche que no he usado, pero parecen ser buenas. Yo utilizo la actividad sobre el mural “Cortés y la Malinche” pintado por José Clemente Orozco. Uso las preguntas A y C que tienen en el documento y otras preguntas que yo escribí. Aquí están mis preguntas sobre el mural:

Observa el mural y responde.

2. Elige un adjetivo (o más) para cada persona y justifica tu respuesta con (1) evidencias de la pintura y (2) evidencias del artículo “¿La Malinche – traidora o heroína?” que leímos en clase. (Adjetivos: Agresiva, Autoritaria, Cariñosa, Dominante, Pasiva, Protectora, Rebelde, Resignada, Sumisa)

Cortés tiene una postura …

Pruebas del mural:

Pruebas del texto que leímos en clase:

La Malinche tiene una postura …

Pruebas del mural:

Pruebas del texto que leímos en clase:

3. Parece que la Malinche tiene los ojos cerrados. ¿Qué podría significar eso?

5. ¿Crees que Orozco tiene una opinión positiva o negativa sobre la Malinche como personaje histórico? Justifica tu respuesta con pruebas del mural.



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Pelos y Rizos

I  have been attending the AATSP conference in Denver this weekend, and what I like most about conferences is how something small that is mentioned in a session gives me inspiration. Conferences also free my mind for more creative pursuits that the structure of school does not allow.

I attended a session about Radio Ambulante and how it can be used in upper level classes, and as I scanned the different podcasts on their site, I came across one called “Miss Rizos.” I had been thinking about my first lessons in pre-AP and AP, which are about identity, and how hair can be reflected in that. The podcast is 15 minutes long, which is longer than I usually like to use, but what she says is very interesting. She talks about how, in the Dominican Republic, it is widely accepted to straighten hair and how Miss Rizos decided to eschew that custom and leave her hair natural.

That podcast made me think of the brief chapter in La Casa en Mango Street called “Pelos” where Esperanza describes the hair of the people in her family.

It also made me think of a film from Venezuela that I had heard about called “Pelo malo.” A boy wants to straighten his hair for picture day at school.  From what I read on IMDb, the film is not really appropriate for class. The trailer is more appropriate, but I would say only the first part of it.  http://www.pelomalofilm.com/

I think the Miss Rizos and Pelo malo resources would fit into a series of lessons about the afro-latino identity. I believe they would also fit with the AP theme “Belleza y estética.”

Here is an article from Univisión: http://www.univision.com/estilo-de-vida/cabello/pelo-malo-la-relacion-de-amor-odio-de-las-dominicanas-con-su-cabello


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