So many people have been acknowledging the tremendous benefits and relevance of teaching with novels and CI, that there is no need for me to say more….other than I am 100% convinced that, for me, this is the way to teach. I can not emphasize enough the phenomenal value of the TPRS novels and the novels being selfpublished (Mike Peto) as well as the original stories by people like Martina Bex.
This is my second year teaching with the novel Esperanza (written by the fabulous Carol Gaab) in my Spanish III classes. Last year, both the majority of my students and I loved this book and I wrote two posts about some of the things that we did: Esperanza y Gaby Moreno and Esperanza….the final assessments. However, this year I am even more pleased with what we have done so far…..and I am a little more than 2 weeks slower than I was last year!! Yes, it has taken me twice as long to cover the same material this year that I had covered last year at this point in time. When all of those wise TPRS teachers and leaders say that “slower is better” and “make it personal”, they are oh, so right! I know now that I did not do justice to the novel last year, nor to the great ideas in the teachers guide.
I am fortunate to be teaching Spanish III with a terrific colleague, Megan Matthews. We make a pretty good team, if I do say so! Between the two of us, we have 137 students in 5 sections of Spanish III, and we really try to plan and create together. This year, we took many days to explore Guatemala: music, geography, history, etc. We decided to really focus on La Guerra Civil before we began the actual book. So far, it has really paid off. We have read, viewed, talked and used manipulatives to really understand the background of the book. Here are some of the things that we have used:
A brief “lectura”
Matarom a más de 200.000 personas.
Empezó en 1960. Duró por 36 años.
83% de las personas matadas fueron personas indígenas (mayas)
Los EE.UU. tenían intereses en Guatemala…..tierras de frutas, café, etc.
Los EE.UU. querían controlar la tierra. No querían a una persona comunista como presidente.
En 1960, los sindicatos empezaron a luchar por una vida mejor y los derechos de los mayas y los trabajadores.
General Efrain Rios Montt empezó los años más violentos. Mató a muchas personas en las montañas de Guatemala.
La Guerra Civil terminó en 1996 pero la lucha y la violencia siguen (continue).
A Kahoot game
More information on General Efraín Ríos Montt, including a SMART presentation and more work with the vocabulary from the lectura (wordpress does not allow uploading this type of file). Some of the things in the file are:
Another game, called Game Gritalo facts about civil war, where the class is divided into 2 teams. Each team receives an identical set of cards (answers to the questions I will ask). Each person receives at least one card. I read the question or fact, and they had to recognize the answer, stand up and shout it! Noisy but a lot of fun.
Additionally, we have spent significant time talking about public transport, bus drivers and strikes. All of this because Alberto, in the book, is a bus driver and we wanted our students to understand the significance of this, why it would be dangerous to be a bus driver (and why it continues to be dangerous) and why Esperanza and her mother have the feelings that they do about him/the job. Martina Bex has a useful product for the chicken bus in Guatemala and we used one of the readings from it. We also prefaced the entire situation with many personal questions about our students’ experiences with busses, whether they could identify the bus in Guatemala as the same school bus that they ride to school, etc. It was a very rich discussion in Spanish. We referenced articles that are relatively current that deal with continuing bus issues in Guatemala, such as this one. We used several videos: Just a bit of this one:
And finally, we have talked extensively about the crying of the baby due to hunger, the whining of Ricardito due to hunger, and their vomiting. We have discussed hunger (and vomiting due to crying and hunger) quite a bit. I realize that I am taking liberties with the text, but I don’t feel that it is out of line. We have talked about tortillas, bread and the staples of life for different cultures. We have wondered and guessed why Esperanza was going to a tortillería in Chapter 2. Would they eat just plain tortillas? What does a plain tortilla taste like? Would they add salt to it, such as in the documentary “Living on One“? On Monday, we are going to eat plain tortillas, salted tortillas, etc…..and they won’t be the American version “white flour tortillas.”
I hope these ideas may be beneficial to those of you who are also teaching with Esperanza. I’d love to hear more about what you are doing.