Argentina

My colleague Megan Matthews and I have had such great success with the TPRS Publishing  novels the past two school years, and we would love to be able to use more of them.  Unfortunately, in our school district we are plagued by financial issues and there simply isn’t enough money for us to purchase more at this time. We have, for the past 10 years, taught a unit on Argentina that is derived from chapter 10 in the textbook (that we do not use, but we are obligated to follow the curriculum).  While we have tried to incorporate some of the vocabulary from that chapter, some of the grammar (the ongoing past tense development, the introduction of the present subjunctive and the present perfect), and some of the cultural differences between Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C., we were missing the structure, the fun, and the wonderful support of a novel.  Over the years I had developed activities for that chapter that I liked, that the students enjoyed, and that served a definite cultural purpose, I was missing that reading and comprehensible input component. So, what happened?  I got pneumonia! And I missed a lot of school! And I was bored! So, what did I do? I started to write a novela about Argentina! I wrote the first two chapters and sent them to Megan, she wrote chapter three, I then wrote chapters four and five, she wrote chapter six, I wrote chapters seven and eight, we collaborated on nine, and I finished the book with chapters ten and eleven.  What excitement!! So what I’m going to do now is share the beginning of this with you! Please keep in mind that I am no expert in the culture of Argentina, nor am I a native speaker. I began to write this novela “Amigos, Abrazos, Aventura, ARGENTINA!” to fit a definite need and purpose for my Spanish III students.  The grammatical focus was specifically a continuation of the past tense, an introduction to the present subjunctive and an exposure to some present perfect.  The cultural emphasis was on similarities/differences between Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C.(which is just a little over 2 hours from us), the geography of Argentina, the food of Argentina ( we tasted a lot of it!), and specific areas (Iguazu, Ushuaia, las Pampas), el tango (we learned the basic steps to the dance and they LOVED it!) and a bit of soccer (although we ran out of time for this). The novela has a lot of dialogue (good for acting out the story), a bit of romance, a lot of mystery and an ending open to interpretation. I was able to include bits and pieces of my students’ favorite themes from throughout the school year, and the students came up with their own decisions as to what actually happened at the end….or maybe I left it open for a sequel!

These were the “I can” statements for this unit:

1. Puedo identificar los países de Las Américas.
2. Puedo identificar ciudades, lugares geográficos, y fronteras de Argentina
3. Puedo hacer comparaciones entre Buenos Aires y Washington, D.C.
4. Puedo hablar sobre varios lugares en Argentina:
· Buenos Aires
· Las Cataratas de Iguazú
· Ushuaia
· Las Pampas
5. Puedo hablar sobre unos aspectos culturales de Argentina
· El tango
· El fútbol
· La comida
6. Puedo escribir sobre viajes.
7. Puedo hablar y escribir en el pasado
8. Puedo reconocer y entender frases con “quiero que, es importante que, espero que, recomiendo que, aconsejo que, sugiero que” 

As always, we began the unit with some pre knowledge activities, some conversation, and some map and geography exploration. With a partner, we discussed:
1. ¿Qué te gusta hacer o ver en la ciudad o el lugar en que vives? ¿Por qué?
2. ¿Qué te gusta ver cuando visitas una ciudad nueva? ¿Por qué?
3. ¿Qué te gusta hacer cuando visitas una ciudad nueva? ¿Por qué?
4. ¿Qué es una ciudad que visitaste en el pasado? ¿Qué hiciste en la ciudad?
We followed that with Qué sabes de opening activity 2015 To complete this activity (with a partner), I also gave them the answers to the questions on a SMARTboard slide. que sabes answers
We worked with our maps. La Argentina primer trabajo del mapa 2015 Finally, we were ready to begin the first chapter of the novela. After reading the first chapter, we used a series of images to share information with our partner and to retell parts of the first chapter. chap 1 retellchap 1 retell 2   chap 1 retell 3We also answered some questions and worked with the verbs. Ch 1 preguntas and repaso verbos, intro verbos
Below, I am including the first chapter of this novel, which doesn’t include a lot of dialogue, but the dialogue really develops after the first chapter.  I would really appreciate your feedback on it.  Specifically, I welcome your criticism! I am thinking of perhaps pursuing having it published, even if I do it through something like TpT.  I know that I would have to replace all of the pictures, but that is not too much of a problem because I did have my students draw pictures for specific chapters.  If you find this interesting or worth pursuing, I would love to know.  Thank you in advance for your feedback and time.
chap 1-1 chap 1-2 chap 1-3

Thank you

Two weeks off from school, five weeks out from the discovery of my work being claimed by other people, and I have recovered my perspective.  I want to thank all of you readers who responded to my previous post with comments on that post, or direct emails to my school address and tweets on Twitter.  Your support and encouragement were wonderful, and definitely meant the world to me. I will continue to put my work out there in the hopes that some of it will continue to be useful to other teachers. I benefit from the work and labor of so many other incredible teaching professionals, I hope that I might be able to reciprocate a little, too.

What to do on this roller coaster……..?

Hello blog world! School is finally over for the year here in Maryland.  I believe it is the latest we have been in session in as long as I can remember.  The end of the year was a roller coaster ride, too.  There was an incredible low that I still am trying to wrap my head around.  I have shared my materials freely for years and years and years.  I enjoy sharing and thinking that someone else may benefit from what I’ve created.  I also borrow freely from some wonderfully generous, gifted people.  Kara Jacobs, Martina Bex, Elizabeth Dentlinger, Bethanie Drew, Carrie Toth, Cynthia Hitz, Mike Peto, Dustin Williamson, Crystal Barragan, Allison Weinhold, Laura Sexton  all come quickly to mind.  There are many more! While there have been incidences in the past few years where I have found my work on other people’s sites without crediting me, there was never enough to make me consider stopping.  Until three weeks ago.  That is when I discovered whole units of my work had been taken by more than one person and transformed into “their work”.  Not just one unit, not just two, not just three, but at least ten entire units.  I could not believe the audacity. My immediate reaction was to make my current Spanish III and Spanish IV units private on my wiki. But, after making the pages private, I got multiple requests for access to materials from people who were going to use them properly.  I still don’t know what to do. Some people, via Twitter, have told me that imitation is flattery, but I don’t consider this imitation.I would appreciate any thoughts that you might have.

The high point of the last weeks of school came from the fact that I finally did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  Throughout the year, I wrote stories for Spanish III, IV and my college students.  They were, overall, whopping successes.  The kids loved them and they accomplished my goals while maintaining comprehensible input.  I followed all kinds of models from many of the people I listed in the first paragraph, especially Martina Bex. In both Spanish III and IV, we had read two novels this past school year (Esperanza and Robo en la Noche; La Llorona de Mazatlan and Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha).  I wanted more, my students wanted more, but there was no funding for them. Finally, I got sidelined for days when I developed pneumonia, and, out of boredom, I made an impulse decision to start writing my own novel.  My fellow colleague Megan Matthews and I still had to cover Argentina, travel vocabulary and the present subjunctive (according to our county curriculum).  So, I started writing and before I knew it, three chapters were done! Megan wrote chapter 4 after reading what I had done, I wrote chapter 5, she wrote chapter 6, I followed them with 7 and 8, she wrote 9, and I finished it up with chapters 10 and 11!  It was so easy, and it was done in a matter of a few days.  I added in a multitude of images and mapped out all of the cultural elements that I wanted to include (all of the videos, websites, etc.). The beauty of writing this for our students was that we got to include references to things that we had read and done throughout the year.  I decided to bring back, in a cameo appearance, (at the very end of the ‘novel’), Cecilio Mendez from Robo en la Noche.  From my music and social awareness unit in Colombia, there were references to Escobar and things about Colombia that were left to individual interpretation.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I am thinking about replacing the images that I used, with the drawings that they created, and seeing if it might be able to be published somehow. I called it “Amigos, Abrazos, Aventura:  Argentina”.  It is the story of a local university student who won a trip to Argentina, along with several other students in the U.S., and toured Buenos Aires, Iguazu, the Pampas, and Ushuaia.  Along the way, he took tango lessons, found a romantic interest, mystery and unsolved disappearances.  I would appreciate your thoughts about this, too! un viaje a Argentina cover

Mini Assessments for Robo en la Noche

Time is simply flying by this school year!  We have dealt with some pretty unusual circumstances….9 snow days during the reading of the novel, 16 days of PARCC testing (do not even ask me how I feel about this!), and I have missed some time due to surgeries that I had hoped could wait til summer (wasn’t possible).  Therefore, finishing the novel Robo en la Noche  by Kristy Placido. was a bit chaotic. I opted for 2 mini assessments at the end of the book, both of which were completed by students when I was not in school.  That makes the results, for me, even more amazing.

The first mini assessment was called Análisis de Carácter.  Students had to choose a character from the book and an adjective/noun/emotion that depicted how that character acted or felt: enojado, asustado, tonto, bruto, triste or feliz,. Their task was to find ten supporting sentences or phrases (dialogue or action)  that supported that character and adjective choice.  They had one 45 minute class period to do this.  Here are some examples:

13j 3 adj 1 adj 2 adj 4 adj 5

The second mini assessment that started in class on a Friday, and it was due when I returned on Tuesday.  There were four options for them, and they can be found in this document mini pbt choices revised. Here are some examples of the work that I received, from obviously artistic students as well as others for whom stick figures rock! photo 1 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 photo 10 photo 11 photo 12 photo 13 photo 149

I can not emphasize enough how fulfilling it is to use these novels.  The students enjoy them, they feel good about what they are able to do, they feel successful, and their growth is obvious.  Comprehensible input is definitely, for me, an excellent methodology.  I am going to order the sequel to Robo en la Noche, Noche de Oro, because so many of them want to know what happens to the characters….who DID say Pura Vida at the end of the novel, what happens to Dr. Parker and Ines, what does Makenna do….?.  Because I will have many of them in Spanish IV next year, their opportunity to read the novel as part of our curriculum is not available (we read La Llorona de Mazatlan, Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha, and hopefully La Hija del Sastre in level 4)….but free reading choice is!!! Our thoughts for Level 3 next year include repeating Esperanza and Robo en la Noche as well as adding Blanca nieves y los siete toritos.

Music without the cloze……..

Yesterday, one of my Twitter colleagues remarked how much she enjoys using music in her Spanish classroom.  She continued by asking what else could she do with a song other than have students complete a cloze activity.  It’s very hard to give an answer to that question within the 140 character limit. Therefore I am going to share some of the ways that I have used a song recently. My Spanish III classes have just begun a Colombia/Juanes/Social Awareness unit and my Spanish IV classes have just finished the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.

An oldie, but a goodie…..La Historia de Juan (Juanes).  Everyone has heard this song and knows that it is filled with preterite verbs.  There are several activities that I do with this song, but one of the newest is this document La Historia de Juan que representan las fotos (see the pictures below).  After we have worked with the songLa Historia de Juan retell, I will have the students first identify what the pictures mean in relationship to the song; next I will have them attempt to recreate a line from the song; finally, they will have to attempt to put the pictures in some order, with lyrics, that will make sense.  It may not necessarily be the same order as the song.

For another old song, A Dios le Pido, BEFORE my students had any exposure to it, I gave them 12 strips for the first part of the song.  Working with a partner, they read through the lyrics, in whatever order they got them, and tried to understand as much as possible.  We shared this in class and then made guesses as to what the song might be about. A Dios 1 A Dios 2

Their guesses ran basically along these lines:  someone is in love, someone is sick, someone has Alzheimers, etc.  Without watching the video while we listenend, they next tried to put the 12 strips in order.  I recommend having the students derive some meaning before ordering, otherwise trying to order an unfamiliar song can be a bit daunting.  It took two times listening, and they had the order.  Then we watched that part of the video.  It didn’t take much discussion to determine that the song was about more than they had originally thought.  The second day with the song I did a type of go/stop activity (similar to MovieTalk) with the video as we identified what it was that we were seeing.  We then listened again, identifying, by circling, which word was in the song (despertar, despiertan, despierten; recuerde, recuerda, recordar) A Dios part 2. A Dios le pido day 2 Next, I had them,without looking, attempt to write down 5 things that Juanes had asked for in the song.  They shared with a partner, and together, as a class, we listed as many as we could.  We looked at the lyrics again and I asked them if they noticed anything different about the verbs that we had circled (brief foray into the world of present subjunctive, and I do mean brief: they have “opposite endings” and there is a “que” before them). Finally, the students determined what three things they might ask for.

Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam released the official video for “El Perdon” last Wednesday.  It was a song that had been on my radar for about a month, as I waited to see what the video would be like to determine if I was going to use it.  The video is mostly decent, there are a few things that might be inappropriate depending on your school situation and level. I played it for my students as the opening music last Thursday, and predictably, they really liked it.  Sara Elizabeth Cottrell posted some wonderful ideas for this song on her blog Musicuentos and I strongly encourage you to explore her blog!  I did something else with the song. First, we identified every word that they knew after only listening once.  We listened again, and added to the list. It was great because we have certainly been working with “estaba buscando, gritando, matando, tomando etc.”  They really felt good about what they understood after just those two times. Then, I had them listen to the way Enrique and Nicky pronounced words, asking if they were the same.  Of course, they are not.  This led to a good discussion about the difference in Spanish from Spain and Spanish from the United States (Nicky Jam was born in Boston) when your parents are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Their listening was intense as the picked up on the “decir” of Enrique Iglesias; the e’taba bu’cando of Nicky Jam, etc.

Finally, one of the songs that I used with the book Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha (from TPRSPublishing, was Tu Carcel. I had read about the song in another blog, and I’m really sorry that I can’t remember where (if you know, please tell me and I will credit that source).  In the book, the anonymous author will eventually go to jail, but even before that happens, he is imprisoned in a jail that is of his own making/or of the gang.  While the song is technically a love song, it was really easy to reinterpret the lyrics so that they applied to the narrator, the disappearance of his father, the death of his mother, etc.  And that is exactly what we did with those lyrics.

So, there you have it, 4 different activities that are not cloze activities, that I have used in the past 2-3 weeks.

Whoops…updating…..

Spanish IV started the Immigration unit three days ago.  I introduced it with the very popular song, Wake Me Up, from last year.  It was done originally by Aloe Blacc and Avicci.  Aloe Blacc (whose parents are from Panama), made an acoustic version of the song with Immigration as the video context.  It was an immediate hook for my students because it was a song in ENGLISH that they already knew quite well…..but, they had never seen it from the perspective of immigration.  The lyrics are the same as the original version, but they take on a completely different meaning in the context of the song.

We also work very early in the unit with the Statue of Liberty. I adapted an English article to Spanish Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad 2015, added the poem by Emma Lazarus, and finished our brief survey with this music:

The novel: Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13

Oh my!! Can I just say again how much I absolutely LOVE the novels from tprstorytelling? In Spanish IV, we are now finishing Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.  . For additional resources, I have been using the teachers guide (great activities) and also the incredible Carrie Toth’s (@senoraCMT) blog, Somewhere to Share. This is my first time teaching this novel, and the conversations it has prompted in class have been beyond my expectations.  I’ve been using a variety of picture prompts to encourage individual response, partner responses, and small group responses.  Sometimes I have listened to each group, sometimes they have recorded their sessions, and sometimes we have talked as a class.  I’m posting 4 different examples here.

chapters 8 - 10 vocabulary Chapters 8 – 10 pictures and words   chapters 8 - 10These are pictures that I laminated, cut out and put in a baggie for each group.  The words were also laminated and cut out, but in a separate baggie. In groups of two, the students first looked at the pictures, identifying what the pictures represented for the chapters. Next they matched the words with the pictures (multiple correct ways to do it), and retold the story of those chapters. Then, they removed the words and placed the pictures in order, identifying why they were arranging them in the order they chose.

chap 11

 

 

 

 

 

chap 11 repaso fotos  This was done with a partner, retelling chapter 11 using only the pictures.

 

chapters 11 - 14Chap 11 – 14 in pictures  This they recorded with a partner on Google Voice as they talked about what each picture represented over the span of these three chapters.

 

end 1

 

 

 

 

end 2remordimiento y perdon This culminating activity will take place tomorrow after we read the final chapter.  I already know from previous discussions that there will be several students in each class who will not believe that the grandmother is able to forgive the narrator.  I hope that these pictures will guide our thinking and discussion.

 

 

And finally, Carrie Toth and Kara Jacobs (@karacjacobs) had already identified several songs to use with this unit about El Salvador/Voces Inocentes and the novel Vida y Muerte. I added one more to their list:  Así crecí by Farruko.  I had the students look at the Spanish lyrics first without using the video, (although they had heard the song playing in the background as they worked several times).  I put the Spanish lyrics on cardstock, and I made strips in English that they tried to match up with some of the Spanish lyrics.  I only selected lines that focused on things that we had discussed in the unit or vocabulary that we had targeted.  When they had finished matching, I had them read the English strips out loud.  That gave them a real sense of the meaning of the song, and was actually quite powerful.  Next, they listened to the song as they looked at their lyrics.  There also is cloze that I created but only had time to use with one class. I will apologize for errors in advance, the song is filled with slang and I did the best I could do at the time!!!    Asi creci Farruko cloze    Asi creci Farruko       asi creci sentence strips in english  Corrections and suggestions will be welcomed!!!

Music Through Social Awareness….2015

Later this week I will begin my social awareness music unit again, but much altered from years past.  I have to shorten the unit due to 2 weeks of snow days and the 16 days of PARCC testing.  Therefore, I am only focusing on Colombia and the music of Juanes. Each year I have always struggled with a biography for Juanes….they were all either too long, too advanced, or too something for my kids.  So, this year, I wrote my own, with comprehensible input, and I intend to begin the unit with it! Juan Esteban…. It’s created, but I don’t have the followup activities for it yet.

I’ve also written a story that I will use prior to the song Segovia. I wanted to preteach some of the vocabulary in the song and the actual historical event,  as well as reinforce vocabulary that we will have done in the first two songs in the unit ( A Dios le Pido and La Historia de Juan).  I took the actual events, an actual survivor, and the record of those killed in the attack and created a story.  I added details to flesh out the story, creating a homelife, a job, feelings and background information. I have not used it yet, so there may be errors/typos, etc. and I will develop other activities to go with it.  I welcome any suggestions or activities.  Cuento de Segovia rev     and a ppt to preface it and use with it. Segovia    Here is an activity with the song SEGOVIA

My Essential Questions are based on those that @Karacjacobs created (thanks, Kara!)

PREGUNTAS ESENCIALES
1. ¿Qué pasaba en Colombia entre 1960 – 2014?
2. ¿Ha cambiado la situación en Colombia? ¿Cómo? Explica.
3. ¿Cuál es el mensaje y/o el propósito de las canciones de Juanes?
4. ¿Cómo se manifiestan las realidades de Colombia durante los 80 y 90 especialmente en las canciones Segovia, Minas Piedras y Sueños y en la película “Los Colores de la Montaña“?
5. ¿La música y el cine pueden ser promovedores de la paz? ¿Cómo?

Additionally, I have some new resources to add to the part of this unit when we study the landmine situation in Colombia (and the world), working with the song Minas Piedras. There is a website in Spanish, Suelos de Paz,  with current updates and statistics for Colombia. There is a new video, Ya Olvidamos, published in February 2015 and a great video with subtitles:  Qué es y cómo se hace el Desminado Humanitario

.

If you are interested in following what we are doing, here is my wikipage that I use for daily lesson plans.