Cabaret, a celebration of cultures, languages and arts!

cabaretNine years ago, in 2008, I attended a world language conference in Maryland. It was in a session there that an idea was planted in my head. I wish that I could remember who the speaker was, but I don’t. She shared with us the idea of a type of talent show that featured talent in many languages.  The next year, in 2009, the first Cabaret at James M. Bennett High School took place. Indeed, it was a celebration of talent: singing, dancing, skits, poetry recitation and instrumental selections that came from a variety of languages and cultures.  Since then, we have held a Cabaret about every two years.  I feel very strongly that one of my major responsibilities as a world language teacher is to open a window on the world for my students of rural Delmarva (rural, but with a quite high immigrant population) and to build bridges leading to acceptance and understanding of other cultures. Last night, we held a Cabaret that achieved that, and I will always remember it.  It was so very special that I will cherish the warmth, the love and the good feelings for a very long time.

This year, for the first time, my committee for the Cabaret was not just world language teachers.  Instead, it was made up of me, a Latin teacher, an English teacher, two science teachers, a history teacher, a media assistant and an ELL teacher.  We began our planning the first part of January, meeting so that I could explain what was involved and then dividing the work load.  The English teacher was responsible for decorations and theme (cinco de mayo, since it was held on May 5th), the science teachers were responsible for the international desserts, the history teacher was responsible for the beverages, the ELL teacher was responsible for tickets and finances, the media assistant was responsible for publicity and the Latin teacher and I covered auditions, program, power points, school promotion (morning announcements and videos), technical needs, and stage crew. We made a phenomenal team.

We charged $4.00 a ticket, which included a beverage and their choice of an international dessert.  Additional desserts were available for $1.00.  Since our principal assisted us with some discretionary funds, we were able to make almost $600. We decided at a planning meeting in early April that the profit would be used to begin a scholarship in memory of our guidance secretary who passed away suddenly in March.

We chose two outgoing senior students to be our emcees for the evening, and they were wonderfully high energy, involving the audience from the opening minute of the show. They introduced each act with information about each performer.  There were more than 62 performers in the show, and another 25 involved in decorating, baking, serving and stage crew. The event was well attended by our students, who were polite, receptive and enthusiastic in their support of each other.  We began promptly at 7:00 and finished at 9:20, including a 20 minute intermission break for more dessert and dance (described below).  I prepared two enormous power points, one that played for 20 minutes prior to 7:00 that featured music, pictures and quotes for all languages encompassed in our show and a second power point that had a slide or two for each act, featuring lyrics or trivia about each act and performer.  We used our Clipper Galley (the cafeteria) as the venue because we would be able to eat as students performed.  The very nature of a Cabaret is an intimate gathering with food and entertainment.  By removing many tables and chairs, leaving only 24 tables with 10 chairs at each, we were able to create a very welcoming environment. We did have to add more chairs due to a higher than expected attendance.

All of this years’ acts were by student performers.  In the past, we had several faculty participants, but none this year.  Here is the First Act:

  • Song, Wilkommen from Cabaret, in German, French and English
  • Song, Dana Dana, in Arabic
  • Instrumental (flute, violin, trumpet), Santa Lucia, Italian folk song
  • Dance, BBoy, American
  • Song, Fate, Korean
  • Song, Bulleya, Hindi
  • Instrumental (clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba, saxophone) Serenata, Spanish American
  • Song, La Fleur que tu m’avais jetee from Carmen, French
  • Poem recitation, Fakat al tanfus, Arabic then translated to English
  • Song, Konfie m nan De, Creole
  • Instrumental, Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Saint-Saens, French
  • Song and guitar, Malagueña, Spanish
  • Dance, Garba meets Bollywood, Hindi

Intermission featured the most popular Just Dance videos from my Spanish III Baila Viernes (Bailando, Limbo, Bailar, La Bicicleta) as well as an additional Bollywood and Korean Just Dance and a special tag team Free style by our break dancers. Intermission was an overwhelming success, with at least 50 students up dancing together in front of our giant screen.

Act II

  • Fashion show with narration and music with 17 models featuring attire from Ghana, Morocco and Algeria (all of the clothes belonged to students from Northern Africa)
  • Song, Como la flor, Spanish
  • Song, The Sound of Silence, English
  • Dance, original dance choreographed to Caótica Belleza, Spanish
  • Poem recitation, Y si el hombre, Spanish
  • Skit, Latin
  • Dance, popping animation, American
  • Song, Fotografía, Spanish
  • Dance, Bangra Bollywood, Punjabi
  • Song, O cessate di piagrarmi, Italian
  • Song, A Million Reasons, English
  • Dance, JMB Dance Team, street dance, American
  • Song with saxophone solo, At last, English

Conclusion of the Cabaret featured another 20 minutes of Just Dance videos as students were reluctant to leave and just kept asking for more! I lost track of the number of student participants (and parents) who thanked me profusely for allowing them to share their language and culture and the student audience members who said that they couldn’t wait to be participants in the next show!

The idea to embrace and celebrate our very diverse population at JMB is one that is of tremendous importance. It was more than just beautiful to watch the multitude of culture, language and art converge in our Clipper Galley, it was inspiring, and hopeful, and oh so very necessary. To present those cultures, languages and arts through song, dance, poetry and drama was more than entertaining, it was good for our hearts. I am so very, very proud of the representation of languages and cultures: Spanish, Creole, Hindi, Latin, Punjabi, Korean, Arabic, Italian, German, French, and English. Additionally, we embraced students whose cultural identity includes: the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Ghana, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, India, Pakistan, Italy, Germany, France, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the United States. It absolutely was one of the best nights ever of my long teaching career. Watching these diverse students support each other, cheer for each other and come together at intermission to fill the “dance floor” as they danced through at least 7 Just Dance multicultural videos (and to do the same AFTER the show was over) was something that I know had to impact those in attendance. If you don’t already have such an event at your school, I would encourage you to consider doing something similar. It is so very worth it.  I will leave you with the following message that a student emailed me last night:

“Everyone was so supportive and kind and light and friendly that everyone else just couldn’t help but let their guard down and relax with them. I 100% believe that without this, without multiculturalism among the Stars and Stripes of our American flag, we would not enjoy life to the fullest extent. Whatever help you need in planning future Cabarets, I’m on board. Here’s my email. My phone number is (443) *** ****. I would hate to see people of future generations miss out on an opportunity for something as amazing as what we all witnessed tonight. ESPECIALLY considering the giant thumb known as Donald Trump, is constricting every piece of diverse culture America contains into boxes marked “over the wall, you go.” You have provided me with a window into these lives, a door into different cultures, and a way to immerse myself in all of their beauty. Thank you so much for that. Your hard work and effort really glimmered tonight, my family and I send our thanks and appreciation to you and the rest of the participants/teachers/staff.”

cabaret2

audience

fashion show

Taking Robo en la Noche out of the classroom

This is the fourth year that my Spanish III classes have read Robo en la Noche by @Kristy Placido.  (It will also be my last time teaching it since we are moving it to Spanish II next year, but then I get to teach Noche de Oro in Spanish III!) I finally feel that we “almost” got it right, this, the fourth time!

I live in a relatively small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My students are not, for the most part, world travelers. Many of them have rarely ventured off of our peninsula.  The concept of a rain forest is a foreign concept (pun intended). How to make a rain forest “real” for them? I love the idea of creating a rain forest in the classroom…I’ve seen that in several posts by great teachers. However, our classrooms are shared, and used every period of the school day. Therefore, that wasn’t really a viable option. In the second year with the novel, I got the idea, almost at the end of the novel, to visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  It has a rain forest, parrots, monkeys, etc. By the time we visited, we had been out of the novel for weeks and the possible power of the moment was lost. The third year in the novel, I revisited the idea of the Aquarium, got the timing almost right and was almost satisfied with the visit. This time, the fourth time with the book, we visited the Aquarium in conjunction with Makenna, Inés, and Dr. Parker traveling to Curú. That was, in my opinion, the time to go!

Having visited the Aquarium myself many times, and using the detailed website, I was able to create a scavenger hunt for my students. This has been part of the visit each time. Last year, in addition to the pictures that students had to take as part of the hunt, I added a video component. However, it was difficult for the students to send me their videos due to board of education restrictions, phones, and length of videos.  This year, they did about 30 seconds of character interpretation or a quick scene in the “selva”. They had a blast, for the most part, doing them and I was pleased with the results.

Here are the parts of the scavenger hunt. They were working in small groups of their own choosing ( 3- 6 students in a group).

I.  Animals: We have been adding animals to our active vocabulary as we have progressed through the novel.  I have used songs such as What Does the Fox Say? in Spanish, El Pollito Pio (with an inventive paper from Zachary Jones/Zambombazo from several years ago), Save the Americans, Costan Rican Animals for the Overworked, some previous things that I had created to go with an old “Animal” unit, and Lion King materials from years ago. We have had many conversations about animals, pets, exotic animals, etc. Therefore, I had them create a list of animals that they saw in the Aquarium that they knew how to say in Spanish.

II.  The Rain Forest: I had them list what they could see and hear as they visited this wonderful part of the Aquarium.

rana-azul

mimi

ibis-escarlata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. FOTOS! Who doesn’t like selfies and group photos???

 Las fotos que necesitan (efectos especiales son buenos!)
1. la rana venenosa azul o verde del árbol
2. Su grupo con una vista (view) del Inner Harbor
3. Con un loro amarillo y verde del Amazonas
4. Su grupo con su animal favorito del acuario                                                                          5. De un pez sierra                                                                                                                     6. De un boa esmeralda
7. Una persona del grupo tocando una medusa de luna O un cangrejo herradura O una estrella del mar en el lugar “Living Seashore”. ¡Si tienes más de un animal, puedes substituir para otra foto! This last part, new this year, was a huge hit! They loved taking their pictures touching these.

tocando

 

 

 

tocando-3

 

tocando-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IV. Random Information:
1. ¿Qué esqueleto está cerca del techo en el acuario?
A. dinosaurio B. ballena C. tiburón
2. ¿Cómo se llaman dos “rayas” que están en Blacktip Reef?
3. ¿Qué animal es “la mascota” del acuario?
4. ¿Qué animal tiene electricidad en el acuario?
5. ¿Qué tipo de animal es Feliz?
6. En la selva tropical, busca información sobre el papagayo/loro: ¿Dónde puede vivir? ¿Quién es el “predator” de estos pájaros/aves?
7. ¿Cómo se llama el réptil que está en la exhibición de Tidal Marsh ? (Es el réptil oficial del estado de Maryland, y de la universidad de Maryland)
V. The Video en la selva!!! We made a breakfast stop when we were about an hour and a half away from the aquarium. After we got back on the bus, I gave them the scavenger hunt paper which included the directions for the video. They had the time, if they chose to use it, to begin thinking and talking about the video that they would create. If I were going next year, I would not give the option of a “scene” from the book in the rain forest. I would make all of the videos character representations in the selva. However, here were the directions for this year:
• Una persona es Inés, una persona es Makenna, una persona es Dr. David Parker, y otras personas como Cecilio o Juan Carlos.
• Tienen que imaginar que Uds. están en Curú (la selva tropical).
• Tienen que usar muchas de estas palabras:
1. Aves                                                                                                                                     2. Soga
3. Loro o papagayo                                                                                                                   4. Huevos
5. Selva                                                                                                                                     6. Árbol
7. Volar                                                                                                                                   8. Plumas
9. Soltar                                                                                                                                10. Patas o alas
11. Cuidar                                                                                                                               12. Pierna rota
• Cada persona tiene que hablar. El video debe durar 30 – 45 segundos, NO MÁS!!!!
Since I can’t upload any videos on this free wordpress site, I am posting some action shots from their videos below!

We finished our visit through the Aquarium with the “delfines” which was enjoyable for all and then made our way to The Cheesecake Factory for a late lunch….that, too, was definitely a hit! Since we could not go to Costa Rica, this field trip was a good way to bring the rain forest and the environment of Robo en la Noche to them. Even though we live in an area where the humidity is pretty bad in the summer, most of them really complained about how warm and humid it was in the rain forest area of the Aquarium.
I’m not sure how many readers might have access to a zoo or an aquarium in their regions, but it certainly is worth looking into. It is a way to make the action and the setting much more relevant and believable for the students.

miaalastair-owenbrimanal

 

 

An outlet for art

art I have written extensively about using music in my classroom, especially the past two years. More infrequently I may write a post about student projects or PBT’s. However, today, day 5 of summer break, I started thinking about the past school year and what I did to help my students remember the year and to be able to appreciate what we had covered. The last week of school, I created a “year in review” presentation for both my Spanish III and Spanish IV classes. While I was not surprised by the amount of music that we had incorporated into our units and into our opening routine each day, I was surprised by the amount and variety of their expressions in art.  In my individual “end of the year” evaluation of the course, just about every single one of those 110 evaluations indicated music as a major way that they had learned Spanish and enjoyed class.  Most of them now have Spanish music in their personal playlists. Also mentioned in those evaluations was the additional learning, exploring and enjoyment that was derived from other artistic endeavors.  From Martina Bex’s “freeze frame” to Allison Weinhold’s “Baila viernes” to the creation of original songs and artwork to showcase and express what we were studying, art was everywhere.

Since I have posted many student created PBT’s from the novels that we have read (Esperanza, Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha, Robo en la noche, and La Llorona), I am going to focus on other works from this past year.

Esperanza:  Freeze Frame and the results the next day here:  Ch 4 retell period 2 Ch 4 retell period 3

 

Colombia/Juanes :Interpret a song

Bandera de Manos b1

Minas Piedras

Vida y muerte tattoos: What did the tattoo look like that Anonymous received after his first mission?

Frida: Using one of the “color me” pages available online, show me what you have learned about the life and art of Frida

Metas: Take one or more of the songs we have studied in our goals and dreams unit and interpret it for your life.  Songs were:  Vivir mi vida, Creo en mi, La lista, No me doy por vencido, and No creo en el jamas.

Narcoviolencia:  Show me, in a visual fashion, what you know about las pandillas principales in Mexico.  They used their visuals to then complete an oral assessment.  The idea was to have minimal writing on the visual, but that the visuals would help them remember items to talk about, representing what they had learned.

thumbnail_IMG_1062Cho

Robo en la noche: Choose the six most important scenes of the chapter.  In this case, they had a choice of chapters 11, 12, or 13.

Immigration: Choose two of the three principal songs in the unit to illustrate key phrases, statements, commentaries, opinions,etc. about immigration.

thumbnail_IMG_1175thumbnail_IMG_1176thumbnail_IMG_1177

Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos:

Poems:

b7

Freeze Frame

Just like I did at the end of the school year, I found myself wishing that I had taken more pictures of what they created.  It’s on my list of “things I need to do better” for next year.  I would love to learn about the “art”creations that your students have done.

Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha….. Chapter 6 in a song

Teaching Vida y Muerte for the second time has given me more time to develop additional resources to accompany the already tremendously helpful teachers guide. I have used several songs with this book already:  Casas de Cartón (Los Guaraguao), Gangsta (Kat Dahlia), Soy Raka (Los Rakas) and Tu Cárcel (Enanitos Verdes). I used Así Crecí (Farruko y Los Menores) last year, but I have expanded it quite a bit this year.  In addition to a traditional cloze ( Asi creci Farruko cloze), we have also used an activity where the students match English lyrics that I decided were the most important to the Spanish. asi creci sentence strips in english asi

This is not the easiest of songs and I do not claim to understand all of the slang in it, but I do feel that it may accurately enhance what the narrator has gone through in his life as portrayed in the novel.  Since the narrator is nine years old in Chapter 5 and then 16 in Chapter 6, it may help to provide a background context for how he has grown up. It also serves to foreshadow the upcoming action in the novel. The next step with the song was to use a word cloud that I created with words/phrases that I had specifically selected as important for my purpose.  asi wordle picasi creci wordle

I had students work with a partner to identify all of the words/phrases in the wordle, and to briefly tell the story of the song with those words.  I then grouped them in 3-4 and gave them about 15 minutes to create a poem or rap based on those lyrics, adding anything else that we have talked about or heard in the novel.  For me, the results were pretty amazing.  I had the groups present their creations the next day, and I was very pleased with what they had done together.  Some groups wanted a “beat” playing in the background, some used jazz music with their poems, others performed without any music. One of the great things about their presentations was how engaged they were listening to the other groups….and how much they understood as the groups performed.  I absolutely know that they have added “That’s how I grew up, don’t blame me, survive, and the streets taught me to their active vocabulary. Here is an sample of their creations.  Please note that I have not done any correcting of anything.  These are their original works.

Group #1

No me culpe por mi vida
Así crecí
Caminando en la calle
Eso lo aprendí
Vio por la ventana
Escucha los disparos
Y como se mataban, estaban más que locos
Vio por la ventana
No amigos o brothers
Vio en la refri
No hay nada para comer

Group #2

No me culpe para mi destino
La calle me enseñó como sobrevivir
Los federales están locos
Así crecí
Caminando en la calle
Entre los disparos
Mirando por la ventana
Vendían drogas, armas, almas
Tengo mi pistola y diente de oro
Es el fin de nuestro canción

Grupo #3

Así crecí, así crecí
No me culpe…así crecí
Sobrevivo en las calles
Escondiendo de federales
Eso que lo aprendí
Que están locos, no mí
No me culpe….no tengo comodidades
NO es mi destino, estar con federales
Viendo de ventana
Eso que lo aprendí
Yo sobreviviré
La calle me enseño

Grupo #4

En la calle aprendí sobrevivir y si salgo vivo….
Que tú eres responsible por tu destino
Y si las personas no me creen, están locos
Las personas no me crian, agarran disparos
Y los sueños de los niños, los vendían
No me culpe por las circunstancias
Los federales me buscan pero no se enfrentan
En la calle aprendí, y salgo vivo

Grupo #5

Imaginar un mundo
Donde los federales no están locos
Donde personas están caminando
Sin miedo
Donde todos tenían bien comodidades y circunstancias
Donde puedes mirar por la ventana, no se ve muertes
Donde los niños no tenían que vender para sobrevive
Imaginar un mundo
Donde decide su propio destino
Donde no tienes que decir “Así crecí”
Imaginar un mundo
Que no es responsable para el mismo error como este mundo
Imaginar un mundo con paz

While it may sound crazy, I’m also adding Mi Princesa (Victor Munoz) for chapter 7, when Analía becomes the girlfriend.  I will use the subjunctive in the song as pop up grammar and have students create sentences that they would want in a boyfriend/girlfriend (Quiero que mi novio/novia), and also for what the narrator and Analía want.

Mini Assessments for Robo en la Noche

Time is simply flying by this school year!  We have dealt with some pretty unusual circumstances….9 snow days during the reading of the novel, 16 days of PARCC testing (do not even ask me how I feel about this!), and I have missed some time due to surgeries that I had hoped could wait til summer (wasn’t possible).  Therefore, finishing the novel Robo en la Noche  by Kristy Placido. was a bit chaotic. I opted for 2 mini assessments at the end of the book, both of which were completed by students when I was not in school.  That makes the results, for me, even more amazing.

The first mini assessment was called Análisis de Carácter.  Students had to choose a character from the book and an adjective/noun/emotion that depicted how that character acted or felt: enojado, asustado, tonto, bruto, triste or feliz,. Their task was to find ten supporting sentences or phrases (dialogue or action)  that supported that character and adjective choice.  They had one 45 minute class period to do this.  Here are some examples:

13j 3 adj 1 adj 2 adj 4 adj 5

The second mini assessment that started in class on a Friday, and it was due when I returned on Tuesday.  There were four options for them, and they can be found in this document mini pbt choices revised. Here are some examples of the work that I received, from obviously artistic students as well as others for whom stick figures rock! photo 1 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 photo 10 photo 11 photo 12 photo 13 photo 149

I can not emphasize enough how fulfilling it is to use these novels.  The students enjoy them, they feel good about what they are able to do, they feel successful, and their growth is obvious.  Comprehensible input is definitely, for me, an excellent methodology.  I am going to order the sequel to Robo en la Noche, Noche de Oro, because so many of them want to know what happens to the characters….who DID say Pura Vida at the end of the novel, what happens to Dr. Parker and Ines, what does Makenna do….?.  Because I will have many of them in Spanish IV next year, their opportunity to read the novel as part of our curriculum is not available (we read La Llorona de Mazatlan, Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha, and hopefully La Hija del Sastre in level 4)….but free reading choice is!!! Our thoughts for Level 3 next year include repeating Esperanza and Robo en la Noche as well as adding Blanca nieves y los siete toritos.

Beyond the basic clothing unit….with 3 CI stories

Spanish III this year has read Esperanza and studied Guatemala.  This was followed by an extensive food unit that I hope to blog about soon. According to the county curriculum, the food unit is followed by a clothing unit with a preterite/imperfect focus which has only been referred to as past tense….never separated.  There were three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks….perfect to do the clothing unit.  This is NOT the basic, introductory unit that most students are exposed to in Spanish I or II.  It is greatly expanded, and for the past several years, I have let the students dictate where the bulk of our vocabulary is going to come from, based on their interests and questions.  Additionally this year, I decided that I was going to continue with the comprehensible input stories, and so I had to create stories to go with the unit.  (I also did this for the extensive food unit).  The inspiration for the stories came from the current popularity of Selena Gomez and Enrique Iglesias, a song by Selena Gomez (The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants) that was covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band, and the natural affinity of teenagers for shopping (or not) and the “love interest of the week.” When I wrote the first two stories (for the first two weeks of the unit), it was my intention that the students were going to create the conclusion…but they practically begged me to finish the story (hence story number 3).

Slide1

While I used many activities and creations from the past few years of this unit, such as the great song ¿Qué me pongo? by Mango Punch Qué me pongo Mango Punch 2014, a fun group creation activity with La Camisa Negra, lots of partner activities, etc. (as can been seen here), the primary focus was the stories, the repetitions, and a myriad of activities that went with the stories.

The story began: Había una chica que se llamaba Sofía. Sofía tenía 16 años y le gustaba ir de compras. Le gustaba ir de compras muchísimo!!! También había un chico, un chico de 16 años que se llamaba Enrique. A Enrique, no le importaba mucho la ropa….pero necesitaba la ropa confortable.   I introduced the story for the first week with this powerpoint version Ropa part 1 The student copy for the rest of the week is Ropa part 1 We read it multiple times, using various methods and ended the week with a “practice” free write that was completed with a partner then exchanged with another group who read it, underlined the words used and gave it a score. Practice Free Write

Week Two featured the second part of the story. Ropa part 2 and another version with many images replacing the vocabulary Ropa part 2 with multiple images.  We also used these story cards Sofia 2nd part story cards to retell the story (run off, cut and laminated) with a partner. The cards also lend themselves to a multitude of activities: vocabulary identification/description, sequencing, teacher read description with student “grabbing” of the correct card, etc. Part of the fun this week was the designing of the outfits that the students thought that Sofia and Enrique had worn to the dance.

Dibuja las prendas de ropa que llevaban Enrique y Sofía. Cada persona necesita tener 4 prendas de ropa y 2 accesorios. ¡Incluye los colores! ropa maleropa female

This was a multiple day activity…the creation of the outfits, the description of the outfits to a partner, and then an inner/outer circle activity where they received and exchanged and described multiple creations that were not theirs. There was also an assessed free write for this part of the story Sofia second part free write

 

Week Three brought the conclusion of the story. Ropa part 3, Sofía queria ir verb completion activity an acting competition, playing Kahoot with the story and also Triple Trouble Triple Trouble game.  Triple Trouble is played with groups of 2/3 students (each with their own color marker).  The teacher asks a question, and the first student has 10 seconds to tell/write the answer for his/her partner.  If correct, he/she colors in one circle, with the goal of getting three in a row as many times as possible.  Naturally, we also had to work with the song What A Heart Wants as covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band.

We ended the week with an Educreations project  Educreations 2014 for blog which really showed how much vocabulary they were using as well as a pretty natural use of the past tense.

Esperanza….the final assessment(s)

It has been a whirlwind of a fall!  It is difficult, on one hand, to believe that I have not been able to blog since August.  On the other hand, it seems like August was just last week!  I continue to teach Spanish III and IV this year, but, as always, changes abound.  Since I do not use a text book (and haven’t now for years), I find myself creating material each year to match my students, their interests, and also, to match where I am going professionally.  I can say one thing unequivocally…enhancing CI with novels written specifically for that purpose is probably the best thing that I have ever done in my teaching career (with the exception of leaving the textbook behind, and always incorporating music).

I began this school year using Esperanza by Carol Gaab with Spanish III, and La Llorona de Mazatlán  by Katie Baker with Spanish IV.  My intentions/goals for those two books were my last posts in August….prior to the beginning of school!! With this post, I am only going to address Esperanza.  Two important observations:  my students thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it took much longer to finish that I expected!  However, it took longer because they enjoyed it so much!! There was just so much to do with the story and all of the possibilities that emerged as we went along!  You can see my entire 7 weeks of lesson plans here. I owe so much to the phenomenal Martina Bex, as it was her lessons that initially guided my planning, and I continued to refer to her during the entire journey.

We concluded this opening unit of Spanish III with this PBT Esperanza:

PBT Esperanza
Choose one of the following options to complete as your formal assessment. Pay close attention to the description, many of them contain multiple parts.
Guidelines:
• Work days are Wednesday and Thursday IN CLASS, that work is part of the grade.
• All PBT’s are due on Friday. (Work turned in late will be accepted, but for reduced credit).
• The PBT is worth 45 points.
1. Choose two characters from the book. With another person, role play a scene from the book featuring these two characters. You must create your own script. You cannot use the dialogue in the book. The script must contain at least 10 lines per character. The dialogue will be performed in class, and a copy of the script will be turned in. ***This is the only option with a partner. ***
2. Retell a part of the book from the point of view of Ricardito, Beto or Lucy. You must use at least 20 sentences.
3. Draw at least 3 full size comic strips that highlight three important events in the book. Make sure the dialogue is realistic for the characters and does NOT come from the book.
4. Create a graffiti drawing or mural about the book. The drawing should illustrate the MAIN events in the book. Graffiti/murals contain sentences and words, make sure you have at least 5 sentences in the picture.
5. Design a poster advertising the book, include at least 5 interesting details about the book that would make others want to read it.
6. Create song lyrics and music to tell the story of the book. Use the book title as the song title. Perform for the class, live, or record your song and bring it in. Alternately, you could adapt a song that already exists.
7. Draw relevant pictures for either Esperanza OR Alberto and write at least 10 facts that the reader learns about him or her.
8. Imagine that you are a character in the book and create a diary or a blog. Describe at least 5 events that happened in the story and YOUR reaction to them. Each entry must have at least 5 sentences.
9. Put together a collage for the book using at least 10 magazine pictures or color images from the computer. On a separate paper describe how at least 5 of the pictures relate to the story.
10. Make a timeline sequencing 10 important events that happened in the book. Each event must have a picture and a description.
11. Write a poem about one of the characters in the book. The poem should include at least 20 lines that illustrate the role of the character in the book.
12. Create the documents that Esperanza would have found to be the necessary evidence for political asylum. Include a letter stating why she qualifies for asylum. Include a newspaper clipping with picture that discusses violence in Guatemala.

Rubric checklist
_______ Meets the criteria of the description (5 points X 2)
_______ Demonstrates comprehension of the book (5 points X 3)
_______ Class Time used effectively and wisely (5 points X 2)
_______ Evidence of effort and creative work (5 points X 2)

I have 44 students in Spanish III this year, and every option available in the “lo tech” PBT was used by someone. The results were amazing as far as what the students took with them from the book and our activities.  Additionally, it should be readily apparent that there is a very wide span of proficiency with these assessments. NONE of these students came to be with a CI background, and 1/3 of them arrived in Spanish III from a miserable Spanish II experience with a person who is no longer in the profession. I will let the images below speak for themselves.  I can hardly wait to start our next book……here comes the end of January!!

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