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
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20 thoughts on “Argentina

  1. I would love for you to publish this. The activities are great and just based on the 1st chapter, I think students would learn a lot about Argentina. I would definitely try to make time for soccer during a unit on Argentina. A lot of my students know and love Messi.

    • Thanks for the feedback! I did a Copa Mundial unit in 2014, and I incorporated a lot of soccer in La Llorona de Mazatlan, but you are right….kids know and love Messi! I need to incorporate soccer in this unit, too!

  2. This is what sets foreign language teachers apart: When we don’t have a good, usable resource, we create our own! Although I have been teaching for 17 years, I am just now beginning to use TPRS, so I can’t offer input as to how well your chapter would fit into a lesson of that sort, but I love the content and the potential! I can definitely see all the “teachable moments” interspersed throughout the chapter and it makes me want to read more! ¡Bien hecho!

  3. I love the first chapter of the book about Chris and his trip to Argentina…..I already want to know what adventures he’ll have! Will he find the love of his life?? Will he be involved in a mystery?? Will he find out about “la guerra sucia” and all the terrible things that happened during that sad time in Argentina’s history?
    A proposito, yo estoy en Laurel, MD, en St. Vincent Pallotti High School….me encantan todos los materiales que has puesto en “elmundodebirch.”

    • Sandy, thank so much for commenting! Laurel, MD….you are so close! We should get together! La Guerra Sucia is already a book by Nathaniel Kirby, and a great one at that, so, no, in this novel I don’t even mention that. However, it is my hope to use that novel with my Spanish IV classes this year. I’m waiting to hear how much funding we might have gotten in Wicomico County….it’s looking bleak!

      • I have the book “La Guerra Sucia” but I haven’t read it yet. I think it will fit in well with the film “La historia oficial” which I have used in the past.

    • Interesting! I had not seen this, nor do I know the site at all, but I will explore it. Thank you for sharing. Since the book is already written, and I’ve used it with my students, I don’t think it will fit into this one! But, maybe there will be another one! Thanks again.

  4. Como todo su trabajo, me parece que este también es fenomenal. Estoy de acuerdo con todos los que creen que debería publicar la novela. ¡Gracias por compartir! =)

  5. This is something I would definitely be interested in to use with my Spanish 4 students! You should publish!!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Amanda. I have loved reading the encouragement to publish it, and I’ve written another one based on a family that moves to Colombia. However, the process of publishing is just daunting!

    • Thanks, Kara. I would love to publish it, but it just seems so overwhelming right now. I’ve written another one about Colombia, but I just can’t seem to push myself to do anything to move them along.

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