Starting the novel, Frida

This week my Spanish IV classes are starting the novel, Frida by Kristy Placido. I’m posting very quickly (and probably with some errors! :)) how I am beginning it for the second time.cover I decided that one of the first activities that we would do would be to work with the song, Soy Yo by Bomba Estéreo.  Kara Jacobs has a great unit on her blog for Level I Spanish students with additional materials available on TPT (Sherry Nesbitt also has some materials here.). I took her basic google presentation or powerpoint and revamped it for Spanish IV.  It is available for download (free) below.

Bomba Estereo – Soy yo – revised for blog

Here is my three day plan:

Day 1

  1.  I used Kara’s original story and rewrote it for an upper level class. I am not sharing it because it is part of her unit that is available on TPT. Students read it aloud with a partner, answered questions, identified vocabulary. (I had previously assigned them a quizlet with key words from the song).
  2. We watched the video.
  3. We brainstormed what “belleza” meant.  In groups of three, they had 10 minutes to prepare a powerpoint (as a group) of things/people that are beautiful.  We did a quick gallery walk to view the finished products.  Each group then wrote a definition of beauty.  It is my hope to return to these powerpoints later and see if they would change anything.

Day 2

  1.  I used the powerpoint for Soy yo by Bomba Estéreo (Bomba Estereo – Soy yo – revised for blog).  We took the time to discuss the slides throughly.  When we got to slide 6, with the message from the group about the song, “No hay nada mejor que ser tú” I began to tie it into Frida. I referenced a poster of her in my room, and we talked in general terms about when she was born, what was happening in the world during her lifetime, the “unibrow” and facial hair, why she might want to look like that (in historical terms) and what people might say about her.  Slides 9 – 11 were crucial in continuing the discussion.
  2. Next, I gave each group of 2 students a set of cut up lyrics (printed on card stock and cut out) soy yo lyric arrange strips  For my own sanity, each set was printed on a different color in case any strips were dropped on the floor (!) they would be easily identified as to what group was missing the strip.  Within the first 10 seconds of the music, students identified how very difficult it was going to be to put the strips in order….but that was a great challenge that they really enjoyed.  I had to play the beginning three times before they got the order correct for the first 4 – 6 strips.  As we did it in sections, we also talked about what the lyrics were saying (quizlet came in handy!). Finally we had the entire first verse and chorus done.  I had them “make meaning” with their partner of the lyrics, and we checked our thoughts.  Then……we tried to “rap” it!  Such a blast!!! We did it several times.
  3. We worked with the first part of the Zamba: Excursión al Museo de Bellas Artes, Frida Kahlo. We watched it and shared what we saw and heard. There were MANY questions about it; I encouraged the questions but didn’t give answers yet.
  4. Finally, we played quizlet live with our Soy yo lyrics.

Day 3

  1.  I plan to open with a cloze of Soy Yo. Soy yo cloze day 2  The document also contains a space to write a 25 word summary of the message of the song. I’m pretty sure we will have to sing again!
  2.  We will work with the Zamba video again. Kara Jacobs has a great activity for this.  Arianne Dowd also has a terrific unit on TPT for Frida and the Zamba video!
  3. We will read chapter 1 of Frida

Looking ahead, we will begin working with Caótica Belleza on days 4/5.  See my blog post from last year here. Additionally, I hope to add this song in later chapters: Yo Soy Así by Redimi2 and Funky. I’ve already had it playing in the background and they are very “into” it.  When I get it done, I’ll post it here or on my wikipage.  A sampling of the lyrics:

Acéptame, recházame
pero no quieras cambiarme
Sé que mi estilo de vida
no se parece a tu vida pero
que le puedo hacer
Yo soy así

Yo no voy a hacer
lo que todos hacen
seré diferente
aunque me rechacen
conmigo mis amigos
no se complacen
quieren destruirme
pero no la hacen

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Adding MIENTES to La Llorona de Mazatlán

This is now my fourth time using La Llorona de Mazatlán by Katie Baker with my Spanish IV classes.  While there are standard activities and creations that I use with all of our novels each year, I never do anything the same way twice. This year has been made a bit more complicated since I decided that we would start the year with both FVR and El Internado once a week (as opposed to just second semester), effectively eliminating one day of the week.  However, I still want to cover the same amount of material and novels as last year, so I have to really consider how much more I add to each novel! It actually has worked out well, as I have had the students read about half of the novel on their own, and half with the whole class and therefore still been able to add in all the little “extras”.  This past week we finished chapters 9 and 10 (the fracturing of the friendship of Laney and Desi and the gift of la pulsera from Luis to Laney). We also have begun our readings of other legends (El Sombrerón, El Cucuy, El Chupacabras) as well as the first versions of La Llorona (thanks to Bryce Hedstrom!).  The first part of Chapter 11 is the huge argument between Laney and Desi, when Laney lies about the giver of the gift. My students certainly know the nouns “mentiroso/a” and “mentira” but I did not feel that they were as familiar with the verb “mentir.” With oral assesments coming up, I really want them to be comfortable when talking about the people who lied: Laney and Luis. In addition to that, the lyrics tie in beautifully with the book and the legend of La Llorona: You came into my life to teach me; with eyes closed I followed you; you’re not the person that I thought you were; you hurt me; I’m better off without you. Last year, AFTER the chapter, I used the terrific song Mientes by Camila, and they really enjoyed it. However, I made a note to use it BEFORE the chapter this year, and it worked really well.  Note: I did not use the video at any point in time; it is not appropriate and absolutely not needed. Here is the order of what I did.

  1.  Quickly went over present and past tense of mentir, with some PQA 1
  2. Shared some memes and images 2.PNG
  3. Had some discussion about famous liars (I gave them a few, they added more). 3.PNG
  4. Had some discussion about our own lies, and why we lie 5.PNG
  5. Talked about consequences of lying; this was deliberate to incorporate some unfamiliar words in the song Mientes:  hace daño, conseguiste, quedan ganas6.PNG
  6. First listen to the song and work with a traditional cloze chap 11 MIENTES Camila
  7. After listening to it twice, checking the words that they filled in, and making sure that meaning had been established, most of them were begging to sing it. One of my classes had to sing it three times and we have decided that this week they will come up with gestures for the song.
  8. Read the first two pages of Chapter 11 (the fight) and was delighted when so many of them started yelling:  Mientes, Laney, mientes!

This upcoming week

  1.  Review the song again, singing with all classes, adding gestures with at least one of those classes
  2. Pull out specific lines to emphasize 7.PNG
  3. Use Pictograms Chap 11 Mientes picto  8
  4. And/or use Pictograms as a game (projected on SMART)
  5. Act out the fight scene between Laney and Desi, using the actual script in the book first, then creating their own script

If you are interested in seeing the rest of what I have done with La Llorona de Mazatlán this year, use this link.  The page is in chronological order so that the most current plans are at the top.

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

Locura de mayo 2017

music

And back, by popular demand from my Spanish IV students, is their third round of musical mania. And this is a TOUGH one!!! I had a very, very, very hard time getting down to 26 titles. Latin music has just exploded the last few months with songs and styles that have  captured the attention of my students.  All of the songs in my playlist are songs that I have already played at least once as our “starter” music each day (the music that is playing when they enter class) so nothing is brand new to them. The only clear cut favorite that I can select right now is the Justin Bieber version of Despacito with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. (And I am hoping it is just because it IS so new.)  Another that has really stood out for them is Desencuentro by Residente (Calle 13) which I first introduced at the end of Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.  Did I hear you say “What??????”  For those of you familiar with that novel, the narrator and Analía encounter a crisis with critical action. The lyrics from Desencuentro include:

Dentro de los accidentes, imprevistos y las posibilidades
Eventualidades, choques estelares                                                                                                 La casualidad de poder vernos se escapa
Somos diferentes cielos en un mismo mapa
Y tú aquí y yo allá. Y yo aquí y tú allá

When I introduced it, there was no official music video. Now there is…..and it is NOT at all what we expected…..but they LOVE IT!

CNCO is also a huge pleaser, and I have used both Reggaeton Lento (from last year) and the just released Hey DJ!

Nicky Jam has been prolific in releasing videos for his new album, Fénix.  I have included El Ganador (which we also used in Vida y Muerte) which appeals to many of my “trap loving music” students and El Amante.

Juanes is tremendously active right now, too (Mis Planes Son Amarte). I must say that I have not been entranced with his new music, but they have been interested in Hermosa Ingrata and on Friday immediately responded to the just released El Ratico. I also added the very unusual  Amárrame with Mon Laferte which has puzzled them.

Shakira is all over the charts, so I’ve included the older (last summer) La Bicicleta (with Carlos Vives), the newer Deja vu with Prince Royce, and the just released Me enamoré. I could NOT bring myself to include El Chantaje.

It will be interesting to see how less famous groups fare. Most students love the voices of La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia and Jesse y Joy, so I’ve included two selections from them.

And of course, there are the eternally popular artists like Enrique Iglesias (Súbeme la radio) and Gente de Zona (Si no vuelves) and Nacho, from Chino y Nacho (Báilame).

There is music that my students really like that I will not use because of the lyrics or because of the videos. I have REALLY struggled with including the Despacito video because of the nature of some of the dancing. I also struggled with the lyrics to Súbeme la radio (Traiga el alcohol), among others.  Many times I will only “selectively” play sections of these videos, but in the case of Súbeme la radio, the alcohol line is part of the chorus, repeated and repeated.  It’s a fine line, for sure.

Here is the link to my playlist for Locura de mayo 2017. Round one of the contest will feature 2 minutes of 2 videos followed by a vote.  Round two will feature the winners from round one, but using the lyric videos, followed by a vote. Round three will feature the winners from round two with both the lyric and music videos, followed by a vote.

Predictions? Either Enrique Iglesias, CNCO, Nicky Jam or Despacito……..  LOL!

Setting the Stage for Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos (Carrie Toth)

We are beginning Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos by Carrie Toth very soon. It will be my second time using it and there are AWESOME resources out there for it. Check out Kara Jacobs, Carrie Toth, Cindy Hitz, Allison Weinhold, Kristy Placido and Dustin Williamson. There are also some great bullfighting resources from Elizabeth Dentlinger. I will use ideas and resources from all of these wonderfully creative people, but I’ve also created some of my own that I will share. Of course, there is also the great teacher’s guide!!!

This year, my Spanish III students have been immersed in Guatemala via Esperanza, Costa Rica via Robo en la noche and Colombia, which is my own unit which I hope to put on Teachers Pay Teachers this summer.  Since my Spanish III students have had very little exposure to Spain, I knew that I wanted to begin with a “look at Spain.” The very first thing that we did was a game about Spanish culture.  I put the students in groups of 4, gave each team a whiteboard/markers/eraser and projected questions in 4 categories.  There were 8 questions in each category and they wrote their answers to all 8 questions before we exchanged boards and checked the responses.  Each team scored a point for each correct response.  The first category is just general knowledge, the second is famous people from Spain (with their faces distorted), the third category is multiple choice cultural trivia and the fourth category was preliminary knowledge of bullfighting (they know nothing!). The power point is something that I discovered somewhere many years ago and I unfortunately no longer know where it came from. I have modified and changed it significantly, but I would still like to credit the original.  If you know, let me know! The students really enjoyed this opening activity and it was successful in triggering interest in Spain.Intro a Espana Spanish game teams 2017 short version

We next worked with a preliminary map of Spain Spain first look map 2017 and some general knowledge of Spain.  To do this, I used a lot of pictures in a SMART notebook presentation, lots of videos, and had students work with a partner in a timed activity to discover specific items (such as churros y chocolate, paella, currency, pipas, the Osbourne bull, etc.). This turned out to be a wild activity that led to enormous interest and questions from the students.  We got sidetracked quite a bit but I did not mind at all since their interest was so high. Qué sabes de España 2017 If you have access to SMART and would like to see the notebook, just email me and I will send it to you. Opening.JPG

I also introduced flamenco to them using a lectura that Kara Jacobs originally created but that I modified and added to. We looked at flamenco from a Spanish, Arabic and Hindi perspective with several videos (here are a few of the links, but not all: flamenco India ComparingComparing 2) Most of the students were very interested. Flamenco lectura 2017flamencoThis led to David Bisbal and the famous Bulería.  I created this powerpoint, David Bisbal, to introduce him. The next day we reviewed what we knew and began to work with the lyrics in a brief cloze, which of course led us to singing! Bulería David Bisbal first cloze We will continue to work with this song periodically eventually discussing the bullfight/fight imagery.

To review all of the work we had done, I made this Salad Bowl game. For directions on how to play, check Carrie’s post.  Here is a quick Assessment que sabes of what we were exploring.

This next week, a week that is destroyed by PARCC testing, we will be working with Ferdinando via Kara. I can’t start the actual novel yet because of all of the disruptions due to testing, but I can continue the front loading of information with Ferdinando and extension activities! One significant difference from last year will be that I will reserve actual discussion of the parts of the bullfight, additional readings and activities until we are at least through chapter 5 of the novel.  I’m doing this because the pre discussion of that material led my students last year to believing that we were going to immediately be immersed in bullfighting when we started the novel. Of course, that wasn’t true. This year I will spend much more time on activities from the teachers guide, particularly the Picasso plates and the fan activity as well as our own creations.

Some early chapter 1 material:

Quizzz created by Dustin Williamson

Kahoot

Opening Quizlet

Preguntas preguntas 2.JPGchapter 1

Take 3….Vida y Muerte en la MS 13

One of my favorite things about the Fluency Matters novels is the variety available. Spanish IV has read La Llorona de Mazatlán by Katie Baker and Frida by Kristy Placido this year, bringing the total of novels that they have read in Spanish to six. They have been exposed to the culture of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Spain, and they have read, among many topics, about immigration, Civil Wars, environmental issues, cultural traditions, bullfighting, polemic issues, legends, soccer, and art. They have read lighthearted topics and serious topics, but with everything that they have read, they have been exposed to compelling comprehensible input that I can mold according to the needs and interests of each class.  Additionally, with our FVR on Fridays, they are being exposed to more of these novels that THEY choose to read.

A few weeks ago, we started Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13 for my third time. As with every time that I begin a novel, the one constant is that nothing stays the same and I always am revising, adding and crafting new materials, trying to get that “just right” level. I always feel that I am under some pressure to get through material in a timely manner in my 50 minute classes, and it is always in the back of my mind, as Carol Gaab has said so many times, “slow down, slow down, slow down.” Such a battle!!! However, slower has definitely been better this time around.

For four weeks prior to beginning this unit, we were in a unit about their dreams and goals. Their final visual assessments are all over the wall fo the room, as I wanted that visual representation of their hopes to be a constant reminder as we began to explore the hopes and dreams of the youth of El Salvador during the Civil War. We started with a terrific reading from Martina Bex about La Masacre de El Mozote. This was the first year using this reading, and it definitely helped to prep the students for what we were plunging into. I also took Martina’s reading and created a powerpoint with many additional pictures (25 slides ) and followup explanations and materials for El Mozote. After two days using some of the materials that Kara Jacobs created for the “pre work” about El Salvador and the Civil War, we moved into the movie Voces Inocentes, the true story of a young boy growing up in the midst of the Civil War. I was very careful this year to make sure that we continued to contrast their hopes/dreams with youth in entirely different circumstances. In previous years, I pushed to get through the movie in three days, always wanting to spend more time discussing what we watched (but not doing so), but also feeling pressure to get to the novel.  I can not tell you how much better it was to spend SIX days (double the time) on this movie this year. We watched about 20 – 25 minutes each day and spent the first part of class talking about, discussing and refining what we had watched the day before. One day we did this with a partner, another day in a group of four, another day as a whole class, etc. I used some of the questions from Kara’s guide to the movie, some from a guide put together by Carmen Herrero and Ana Valbuena, and combined these with some of my own material: voces-inocentes-post-viewing-day-1-2017, voces-inocentes-post-viewing-from-day-2-2017, voces-inocentes-post-viewing-day-3-2017, voces-inocentens-post-viewing-day-4. The day after day 5, when we finished the movie, each class spent a considerable amount of time working through their reactions and questions concerning some of these (varied by class):

Marcos, simbolismo de la galleta
La reacción de Kella y Abuelita al ver que Chava no está
¿Por qué Ancha?
Cuando Chava recogió el rifle, empezó a disparar y paró….por qué
Simbolismo del arma que dejó caer Chava
El grito de “NO” al ver el fuego en la casa
El regreso de Kella, buscando a Chava (el amor que no cesa)
Cuando Chava tomó la cara de Kella en sus manos…(ahora, sí, es el hombre de la casa)…agarra su mano y dijo “Vámonos de aquí)
Vendió la máquina de coser para el viaje de Chava a los EE.UU
La reacción de Kella cuando Ricardito dijo “Ahora soy el hombre de la casa.”
Chava, no quiere ir a los EE.UU…dijo: “Pero si me quedo me van a acabar matando.”
La escena al final cuando Chava está manejando por los techos
Why was the story left up to Chava to tell? “Pero me tocó a mí”      

Finally, on day 6, we played a “game” that I have always called Levántate y Cambia, but I saw recently somewhere (I can’t remember, where!!  I’m sorry! Help!) with the name Quiz, Quiz, Change. voces-inocentes-levantate-y-cambia I took questions and vocabulary from the movie,  ran them off on cardstock and gave a card to each student.  They got up, asked a partner their question, the partner answered it, then asked his/her question, was answered, they switched cards and moved to someone else.  We then immediately went into an untimed free write, where they were free to write about their choices of symbolism in the movie, character growth/development in the movie, the effects of the Civil War, the most powerful scene, etc.  Many of their free writes were in depth and quite moving.

Another thing that I did differently with the movie this year was to preteach two of the powerful songs from Voces Inocentes:  Casas de  Cartón and Razones. Mike Peto had blogged about the impact that Casas could have if the students know it prior to the first of three times that it is used within the movie, and, boy, was he correct! My students in the past always grew to like the song AFTER the fact; it was entirely different when they understood the lyrics from the first time it occurs in the movie.  By the third time it plays in the movie, several of my students were in tears. It was equally successful to preteach Razones by Bebe (just using 1:32 of the song); the rawness of her voice, the lyrics and the moment that it plays in the movie all converged to make a very powerful moment.

Yet something else that I added this year, still prior to beginning the novel, was a study of Oscar Romero.  Since we had been exposed to the activity of priests in the movie, and we had read a bit about Oscar Romero in our prework for the Civil War, I added a reading that I wrote (oscar-romero, with a reminder that I am not a native speaker and there most likely are errors) and a study of his last address/sermon. We also watched a few clips from the movie, Romero, and one for the last sermon.

This time around, as we begin to get engrossed in the compelling biography of the narrator in Vida y Muerte, I didn’t want them to forget the Civil War in El Salvador, why so many came to the U.S. and how these teenagers (parents of the narrator) had hopes and dreams just like they have. Since The novel begins with the initiation of the narrator into the gang life, one of the first pieces of music that I have used in the past is “Gangsta” by Kat Dahlia.  It’s always a song that the students really respond to, but I wanted to push it further this year. So, before we began, we had some small group discussion, followed by a class discussion about “Gangstas.”  Side note: my students find it really, really humorous to hear me (the older teacher) say “gangsta”!  I created this document to guide their discussion: gangsta

The final step, prior to beginning the novel was the work with the song. First exposure was with lyric strips (the first 12 lines) that two students had to order as they listened. Printing the lyrics out on colorful cardstock, cutting them out and putting them in a baggie, makes it possible for this activity to be done multiple times, multiple years. dices-ser-un-gangsta-first-part-strips-for-ordering  Once they had determined the correct order, they attempted to apply meaning to the lyrics with their partner. We read the lyrics in English and Spanish, we sang them multiple times, and they were hooked. We followed that activity with a traditional cloze. This week I will use the song yet again with a second part of lyric strips from later in the song. gangsta-second-part-sentence-strips

We are now, four weeks into the start, on chapter 5 of the novel.  We’ve watched clips of movies, played Kahoot and Quizlet, worked with SMART presentations that I’ve created for Los Angeles and specific chapters, done multiple partner activities, class discussions, and Smash Doodles.It’s going to be a long time to the finish.  Last year, I went through the novel and immediately went into an Immigration unit.  HEAVY MATERIAL! This year I am breaking up the intensity/seriousness of the material by doing 4 days with the novel (Monday through Thursday) and having Friday devoted to FVR and El Internado.  So far, it is going well.  This week will bring activities with another song that has been successful with students and this novel, Así Crecí by Farruko (entire post about that song from last year here) and the creation of our own tatuajes (to go with the narrator getting his first one).

The going is slow, but it is definitely rewarding.

My YouTube playlist for Vida y Muerte.

My Pinterest page for Vida y Muerte.

My wikispace page for daily plans for Vida y Muerte, a work in progress.

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