My Spanish IV students have been working in the Immigration unit for the past four weeks. As I wrote in that earlier post, the basic framework of the unit is based on the great work of Kara Jacobs and Pilar Munday, with additional songs, readings and materials from me. It is taking a bit longer than I expected due to four snow days that have really interrupted the flow of the lessons, and also a few twists in the unit that I didn’t expect. We spent quite a bit of time with the movie Which Way Home, much discussion, a wonderful Free Write, and a great search to see where the featured children from the movie are today (we found most of them!). We also spent some time talking about the American Dream: what it means to Americans, to them as students, what it means to different nationalities, how it has changed, etc. They wrote definitions of the American Dream, illustrating them and posting them in the classroom, and then modified them after watching these videos:
We talked quite a bit about the Statue of Liberty and what it represents. Because they really didn’t know much about the Statue of Liberty, and I felt that the symbolism was important to the overall unit, I used a modified reading Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad. I discovered that we really had to work through the Emma Lazarus poem as the English language was difficult for them! We watched this video and we also practiced reading the poem dramatically, which I believed really helped them to understand the significance of the Statue of Liberty.
We’ve explored Green Cards, Visas, the Dream Act, and related topics as I expected to do. We have used a lot of music, which brings me to the next unexpected addition. One of the songs that we were scheduled to study indepth is Bandera by Aterciopelados. We began by talking about what flags represent in general. Since there are 10 flags hanging around my room, we had a lot with which to work. Again I was surprised about how little they knew about their own U.S. flag. Since they had done some preliminary work with a partner about the symbol on the Mexican flag as well as the Virgen de Guadalupe, I almost felt like they knew more about that flag! We watched the video several times, over the span of 4 days, working with different aspects of it. We talked about what they saw in the video, what they heard in the video, and how they felt. They completed a cloze activity as well as activities with specific lyrics, translating, ordering, etc. They read about the band and why they made the video Aterciopelados reading. And of course we sang it! Next, I used information from The World Factbook to give them more background material on the symbolism of individual flags. After reading about the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States, they had small group discussions about what flags have in common, what information is available about a country based on its’ flag, and when flags may change and why. I then asked them to create their own flags (keeping in mind the lyrics to Bandera) with the condition that the flag could not represent one country and they had to write a description of the significance of the colors and symbols of the flag created. I gave them 20 minutes. To me, the results were quite impressive. Here are some examples of that work, unedited….so the descriptions are as they wrote and printed them.
We have moved on, completing a few days with ICE by La Santa Cecilia, among several other songs. We have watched 30 Days, done another Free Write, and have had two oral evaluations. I believe that my students have remained engaged most of the time. This coming week I plan to work with Pa’l Norte by Calle 13 and Pobre Juan by Mana as well as have them create infographics about the Dream Act/the Dreamers. I anticipate being in this unit 7 – 8 more days. Here is the unit plan, and here is the daily plan.