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