And the curriculum guide says………

para alcanzar tus suenosOur curriculum for Spanish IV says that we are in a chapter that focuses on aspirations (tough vocabulary, abstract ideas) and,…..tons of grammar (preterite of stative verbs, grammatical reflexives, preterite versus imperfect, subjunctive with adverbial conjunctions). So, am I tied to this textbook that we have been given? No!  With this post I hope to encourage those of you who have a textbook that may not be the most relevant….meaning that it simply doesn’t have the authentic resources that will tie it to comprehensible input……to take part/some of what the curriculum dictates and create something that does use authentic resources.

For the past three years I have been modifying this chapter, trying to add interest, trying to make it relevant and not so overwhelmingly dry and so heavy, grammatically. Even so, I have not looked forward to tackling this chapter again this year. To some extent, I have had success, but not enough for me to be content with what we’ve done.  Therefore, I decided to undertake a complete overhaul of this unit.  I’ve created a master plan (backwards design) and have modeled the “look” of the plan on one that I started using after admiring/implementing the work of Kara Jacobs. The name of the unit is now Las metas y los sueños, and it does include many of the elements of the original chapter. Here is the ” BIG PICTURE.”

Preguntas Esenciales

1. ¿Qué es tu rutina diaria? ¿Cómo te escapas la rutina?                                                    2. ¿Cuáles son tus metas, tus sueños? ¿A qué quieres dedicarte? ¿Cómo han cambiado tus metas /sueños desde tu niñez? ¿Cómo vas a lograr tus sueños? ¿Cómo te enfrentas a los retos, los obstáculos?                                                                                                   3. ¿Quién es una persona que ha superado mucho? ¿Cuáles son las características y/o las acciones de la persona que ha superado mucho?  ¿Quién es una persona que admiras?¿Porqué?                                                                                                                                        4. ¿Cómo presentan los sueños y las metas las canciones y/o las películas populares?                                                                                                                                5. ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de tu infancia? ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de sus años de escuela secundaria? ¿Qué crees que va a ser la banda sonora de tu futuro?


1. Examen Oral (25 puntos): describe tus metas y tus sueños y cómo han cambiado (6 febrero)                                                                                                                                   2. Examen escrito (25 puntos): describe a una persona que admiras (11 febrero)                                                                                                                                   3. Examencito oral (20 puntos): Contesta preguntas sobre tu rutina diaria (14 febrero)                                                                                                                                    4. Presentación (con compañero, 30 puntos) : Escoge una de las canciones/películas y haz un video/ppt, etc. que refleja el significado (26 febrero)                                                  5. Presentación: La Banda Sonora de tu vida con audio/explicación escrita (25 puntos) y presentación oral de 2 minutos SIN APUNTES (20 puntos) (5 marzo)

I am going to try to post the various materials being used as I use them.  As with so many of my Twitter colleagues (so many, but to name a few: Kara Jacobs, Sarah E Cottrell, Cristina Zimmerman, Kristy Placido, Mike Peto, Bethanie Drew, Cynthia Hitz, Carrie Toth, Amy Lenord) the emphasis for providing comprehensible input will come from authentic resources. However, I will say that with the constant weather interruptions, it has been impossible to gather momentum yet!

I introduced the unit with an unusual video:  Elvis Presley, singing If I Can Dream in English, with Spanish subtitles.

This was followed by some discussion of his dream and dreams in general.  I had pre-targeted some vocabulary, which was on the word wall in Spanish only: metas, intentar, realizar, soñar con, retos/desafíos, and I kept trying to insert the words into our conversation as I pointed to them on the wall.  Next I had them work with a partner with a “Twitter” page (modeled after Twiccionario by Zachary Jones).  To create your own Twitter page is relatively simple by using the #hashtag with the word(s) desired.  In this case I wanted authentic tweets about #metas.  Metas day 1 beginning

Day 2 began with several posters from the site desmotivaciones that focused on dreams, goals, challenges, etc. Working with different partners, they worked their way through the 8 posters, trying to derive meaning while adding to their vocabulary.  After about 7 minutes, I had them choose two that they either understood well, spoke to them, or were giving them trouble.  They then shared with the class. Here are the Metas carteles, and here is a link to them on my wiki (so they could see them in color). Following this, students worked in small groups (3-4) creating definitions for los sueños y las metas and discussing whether a dream is the same thing as a goal.  After that, they worked individually to focus on their own dreams and goals in three categories: education, family/love, and profession/future plans. They also began to write briefly about how they would reach these goals/dreams and the challenges they might face. Metas personales

Both days I have had Celebra tu vida by Axel playing as they come to class.  I intend to use it extensively this coming week. The plan for Monday is based on a lesson that has gone well for the past 5 years, and one that came from Zachary Jones‘ older site, Actualidades.  It includes a lectura, video, and a free write about Kseniya Simonova, an artist from the Ukraine who won the Ukrainian version of America’s Got Talent in 2009. Metas Kseniya Simonova If you have not heard of her, or seen the video, it really is worth watching.  Each year my students have been amazed, and very moved.  It has led to some rich discussion and some interesting free writes.

We also will be looking at parts of the famous speech by Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream, using the Spanish text. (This idea came from something that Zachary Jones posted on MLK Day, what an incredible resource he is for Spanish teachers!!!!) We will watch small parts of this video 

  We will use this lectura based on the speech.   Metas MLK

Both the work with Kseniya and Martin Luther King are activities designed to support the oral assessment of dreams and goals as well as the written assessment on a person that they admire.  Since this is a work in progress, I would really appreciate any ideas, suggestions, comments that you might have.

10 thoughts on “And the curriculum guide says………

  1. Hi Sharon! I love this uint! I really like the Essential Questions and the evaluations. It is so great to teach a unit that way. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly referring back to the EQs to give myself (and the students) a focus. I also love the incorporation of all the authentic resources. The posters and twiccionario are engaging hooks to start.

    One EQ that might be good is: ¿Cuáles son las características y/o las acciones de la persona que ha superado mucho? That way students could reflect on what it takes to lograr los sueños.

    Thanks so much for sharing and keep sharing!

  2. Thanks, Kara!! I have many more resources to add to this chapter (additional posts) that are listed in the “master plan”, I love the additional EQ, and will have inserted it! Thanks for that!!! I’m thinking that I’m going to end this unit with the movie Which Way Home…. looking at the hopes and dreams of those children traveling to the U.S. in ways that are incomprehensible (as well as unknown) to my students……..which will lead to my next unit(s) on immigration and narcoviolencia.

  3. Sharon, I love your idea of ending the unit with that movie!!! Great segue. I also love using EQs to start from and to assess with. I still struggle with finding “traditional” ways of incorporating the grammar that I’m “supposed” to teach and have found myself moving farther and farther from traditional grammar instruction and just using the resources to point out patterns of grammar. Do you think you will still teach grammar in this unit? That’s a lot of tough stuff to hit in one unit, especially past tenses with adverbial clauses! Makes better sense to do future tense, no? Especially with talk of what they will do in their dreams? (Textbook writers sometimes don’t get it!) Thanks so much for sharing! I appreciate your resources.

    • Thanks, Cristina! I have been struggling BIG TIME with any type of direct grammar instruction for several years now. It makes it difficult when most of my department is completely grammar driven….my kids DO have to go on to other teachers. However, I don’t do much with direct instruction in Spanish IV. I really like just having it pop up at opportune times….sort of like, seize the moment! So far this year, with Span IV, I’ve only directly taught the present subjunctive. I probably will have to do a lesson with reflexives in this chapter, because they will have forgotten how to work with them, plus I have to add the grammatical reflexives. And you are right….future would make so much more sense here. It has been popping up in some of our song lyrics and some of our works with tweets, and it has been very natural…..several of them are already getting it!

      I can’t wait to get to that movie…..I’m glad you also think that it will provide a natural transition into those tough units on immigration and narcoviolencia.

  4. Hi! I have visited your site from time to time over the past several years when I was assigned to teach Spanish 4. Your lesson plans and resources for teaching the upper levels of Spanish are superb, and make wonderful connections between the students and the content. Like you, I have a grammar syllabus to which I must adhere, but, I am also fortunate to have a fair amount of latitude beyond that.

    Currently, I am in the last five weeks with my Spanish 4 students. I spent several days, thinking of a compelling unit of study focused on a meaningful topic, while also integrating the grammar I am required to introduce to them. I finally settled upon your, “Las Metas y Los Sueños” unit. In fact, today was the first day, and the students are thoroughly enjoying it. We meet for 70-80 minute blocks, 2-3 times per week.They are already excited about the projects.

    I will be working on creating units this summer for Spanish 4. Next year, I will teach 2 sections. I hope to be able to create units as compelling and as enjoyable as the ones you have created here.
    ¡Mil gracias!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment! I really appreciate your feedback. I hope that you let me know how the unit unfolds for you and what you might be adding to it!

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 )

Connecting to %s