My tentative plan for 2016 – 2017

rtss-475x267WOW!!! This is year 38 for me…….and it still feels brand new! This will be my eighth full year without a specific textbook, and my fifth “full on” CI intentional year (I was transitioning for several years from the grammar based, vocabulary list laden curriculum). Like so many other bloggers, (here are a few of them Allison Weinhold, Dustin Williamson, Kristy Placido,), I thought I would also share what I plan on teaching this year. Our school year is divided into 4 marking terms, with each class between 45 – 50 minutes in length.

Spanish IV

Term 1

  1.  I will kick the year off with some great plans from Carrie Toth, using Atrévete . We will take about 4 days to go through this material, break for Labor Day and come back ready to plunge into the school year.
  2. La Llorona de Mazatlán by Katie Baker. This will be my 4th time teaching it; it has always been a popular novel and I have blogged about it extensively. My students become entranced by the legend, the music and all of the additional cultural aspects. They also really enjoy the “teenage love interest” in the story, although the ending always makes them mad.
  3. Día de los Muertos with some of the elements from this unit a few years ago.
  4. El Arte de Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and, to a lesser extent, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. I’ve done some considerable blogging about this unit in the past. This will be the 7th time in this unit that has undergone a lot of change since it’s inception. It is now heavier on Frida/Diego and Mexican history, with less time for Picasso and Dali. This year I am excited to be adding the novel Frida by Kristy Placido for the first time.

Term 2

  1.  The novel Frida will carryover into Term 2.
  2. La Comida de México y Perú (and Argentina if there is time) I’ve been teaching this unit for 5 years and it is always a favorite. The original inspiration for this unit came from Kara Jacobs.  Great music such as Mole by Lila Downs, the Cuy ads and songs from Peru as well as the Ñam Ñam Boys and the Anita/Beto ads for Inca Kola.
  3. Las Metas y los Sueños, an important “pre” unit prior to diving into the heaviest, most intense unit. I love this unit as my students explore their own goals and dreams and compare and contrast them with the stories of others (both famous and ordinary). I find that this unit is an exceptionally creative unit for them. Here is an example of what it looked like this past year. It does change from year to year, depending on the current fame of some individuals. The music for this unit is great, with past favorites including Vivir mi vida, No me doy por vencido, Creo en mi, La lista, No creo en el jamas and Celebra la vida.

Term 3

  1.  Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13 (anonymous) This will be the third time with this novel and it has been a compelling read the past two years.  Along with a background unit on the Civil War in El Salvador, the movie Voces Inocentes and parts of Romero, this is an eye opening, thought provoking novel that my students invest in heavily. It helps that they have just finished exploring their own hopes, goals and dreams as they look at the lives of the characters in the novel. The music in this unit includes Casas de Cartón, Gangsta, part of Razones (Bebe), Tu cárcel, Adentro, Nada Valgo sin tu amor and Así crecí.
  2. Immigration is always a “hot topic” unit where students are challenged by what they think they know and believe.  We start with the Statue of Liberty, it’s history, poem and music and go from there. The music in this unit includes Welcome to America, American Oxygen, Wake Me Up, This Land is Your Land (bilingual version), Bandera, ICE, Pa’l Norte, La Bamba, and La Bamba Rebelde, Movies include 30 Days and Which Way Home.

Term 4

  1. Immigration will carry over into Term 4.
  2. Narcoviolencia, which I’ve been teaching for 5 years (with original inspiration from Kara Jacobs and Cristina Zimmerman), is an ever evolving unit based on what is happening in Mexico with the violence, cartels, drug warfare, kidnappings and repression, etc. I always base the length of this unit on how much more “heavy” topics my students can continue to benefit from and grow. This past year we were only in it about two and a half weeks because we had spent so much time with Vida y Muerte and Immigration. The music in this unit, however, really draws them in: Lágrimas, La Patria Madrina, Have You Heard, México (Instituto Mexicano del Sonido) and La Llorona (43 Lágrimas) which brings us full circle back to the beginning of the year.
  3. If I have funding, I would like to purchase La Guerra Sucia or Felipe Alou.  If not, I will probably do the novel that I wrote 2 years ago called Amigos, Abrazos y Aventura: Argentina.

Spanish III

Term 1

  1.  The year begins with a short 4 day unit from Carrie Toth, actually from a colleague named Paige,  about the Cactus and the Bank. I also plan on using La Persona Especial (as developed by Bryce Hedstrom) with these students, who are all new to me and I’m new to them. I will adjust the questions to a Spanish III level.
  2. Esperanza by Carol Gaab, one of my favorites! Such a rich story with so many cultural components. For me, I think it is the perfect way to ease my Spanish III students  into my style of teaching without any pressure. The story is written essentially in present tense, but lends itself beautifully to past tense retelling. It will also be their first experience with my pretty intense focus on and inclusion of music to not just enhance what we are doing, but to highlight, illustrate and teach. Ave que emigra is the first focus song of the year.
  3. A brief, 2 week Puerto Rico and food unit with stories written by me and my colleague, Megan Matthews. This is a good, light hearted unit and serves as a nice break from the seriousness of Esperanza.

Term 2

  1.  Día de los Muertos with the possible inclusion of Tumba by Mira Canion, dependent on funding.
  2. A short unit on clothing with stories written by me and my colleague, Megan Matthews.
  3. A longer 3 week unit on geography, animals and weather with stories written by me. This unit takes us to the Baltimore Aquarium for a field trip! We skipped this unit last year, and I really missed it.  It will be interesting to see what changes are made to it this time around.
  4. Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido begins as we return from Christmas. Teaching it for the fourth time, this is a great book with so many additional elements with geography, environment, and just fabulous Costa Rica. A favorite song for many students is Pura Vida by Percance.

Term 3

  1.  Robo en la noche continues into Term 3.
  2. Jai-Alai, flamenco, music and sports from Spain come next, preceding the next novel Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos. Two favorite songs from this unit are Buleria (David Bisbal) and Dame Vida (Huecco).

Term 4

  1. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos by Carrie Toth  I am looking forward to teaching this again and not feeling the pressure of the end of the year creeping up. I plan to use the Ferdinand movie again as well as Blood Brothers. I love the fact that Carrie got the present subjunctive into this book so naturally. Last year the students really enjoyed the bullfighting elements that easily flow from the novel.  They also LOVED Reader’s Theater with this novel, so much that I worried about using it too much!
  2. Colombia and Juanes is a unit that I have been teaching in some form since 2005, and it has really undergone quite the transformation over the years. In its’ early years it also included the Dominican Republic (Juan Luis Guerra) and Venezuela (Carlos Baute) and was called my Social Awareness Unit. As the unit grew, it just became too large, so it got trimmed to just Colombia and Juanes. It is possibly my favorite subject material of all time to teach and was definitely the first unit that initiated my gradual conversion to CI.  I love just about all of Juanes’ music, but the music with social messages is just phenomenal.  In this unit we study the Civil War in Colombia, which just might be over (finally), the impact of drugs, Pablo Escobar, landmines and Juanes’ quest for peace, not just for Colombia, but for the world. I use the movie Los Colores de las Montañas, a beautiful movie. I love the stories that I’ve written for this unit and I love the impact that the unit has on students. On the end of the year evaluation/assessment of the course most students list this unit as their favorite, year after year. I have never taught it as the last unit of the year before, but I want to be able to give Bianca Nieves the chance to not be rushed this year.

So, these are the plans. But, as all plans go, they are subject to change and evolution.  Time will tell!

The songs that anchor my units

ship-anchor-red-clipart-1  I have written so many times about music and my teaching.  I literally have been using music in my classes for the past 37 years!  Yes, I know, I’m ancient. What doesn’t ever get ancient is the music.  This post is going to be a bit different.  I’m trying to consolidate; instead of writing a post about a specific unit I am going to simply list all of my units and the music that anchors each of them.  There is NOT ONE unit that doesn’t begin with music, not one. Music is always part of my “hook”.  It may not be the only hook, but it always is one of the hooks and the music “plays” on throughout the entire unit.

Spanish III

  1. Esperanza, the novel, written by Carol Gaab

2. La comida (Puerto Rico), story and unit developed by Sharon Birch

3. La ropa, story and unit developed by Sharon Birch and Megan Matthews

4. Robo en la noche, the novel, written by Kristy Placido

5. Colombia, Juanes y Los Colores de la Montaña, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch

  • A Dios le pido, Juanes
  • La Historia de Juan, Juanes
  • Segovia, Juanes
  • Minas Piedras, Juanes
  • Sueño Libertad, Juanes
  • Bandera de Manos, Juanes
  • Odio por amor, Juanes
  • La Tierra, Juanes
  • No queremos minas, Yerson y Stuard
  • Los Caminos de la vida, Los Diabolitos

6. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos, the novel, written by Carrie Toth

Spanish IV

  1. La Llorona, the novel, written by Katie Baker

2. El Arte (Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Picasso,Dalí), stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch     I hope to add the novel, Frida, written by Kristy Placido

3. La Comida de México y Perú, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs  and Cristina Zimmerman

4. Las Metas y los Sueños, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch

5. La Guerra Civil en El Salvador y Voces Inocentes, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs

6. Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13, the novel, anonymous

7. La Inmigración, unit developed by Sharon Birch

8. La Narcoviolencia, unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs, Cristina Zimmerman and Zachary Jones

9. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos, the novel, written by Carrie Toth     I taught this in Spanish III and IV this year due to some extenuating circumstances (having to pick up a 6th class in March, no more funding for a new book, etc.)  Next year I hope to have the novel Felipe Alou, Carol Gaab, here.

 

Metas y Sueños, some final thoughts

Like all things in the teaching world (and in life, in general), things don’t always go as you have planned…even when you have spent a long time planning!  This new unit that I began creating in the “snow days” of January has been much of what I planned, but has certainly evolved into things that I simply could not anticipate.  What began like this:

Preguntas Esenciales

1. ¿Qué es tu rutina diaria? ¿Cómo te escapas la rutina?

2. ¿Cuáles son tus metas, tus sueños? ¿A qué quieres dedicarte? ¿Cómo han cambiado tus metas /sueños desde tu niñez? ¿Cómo vas a lograr tus sueños? ¿Cómo te enfrentas a los retos, los obstáculos?

3. ¿Quién es una persona que ha superado mucho? ¿Cuáles son las características y/o las acciones de la persona que ha superado mucho? ¿Quién es una persona que admiras? ¿Porqué?

4. ¿Cómo presentan los sueños y las metas las canciones populares?

5. ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de tu infancia? ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de sus años de escuela secundaria? ¿Qué crees que va a ser la banda sonora de tu futuro?

changed to eliminate question #5, added significantly to #3 and included several days on the goals and dreams of the people of Venezuela.  With the elimination of essential question #5, I also had to eliminate a final evaluation (the sound track of their lives, and a review of preterite/imperfect). But, with the addition of the Venezuela component, I believe that the unit became even more authentic.  To question #3, about people who have overcome obstacles to achieve goals and dreams, I had planned on using Martin Luther King, Jr.,Kseniya Simonova, and Charlotte and Jonathon from Britain’s Got Talent.  The section on Charlotte and Jonathon I got from tweets from Axel (from Argentina), as I looked for more information to include in the study of his song “Celebra la vida“.  Metas celebra tu vida We spent quite a bit of time with the song, with various activities, including drawing the lyrics and acting the lyrics.  Our discussion of the tweets and then the follow up with the Charlotte and Jonathon story, including updates through December 2013, was certainly very worthwhile.  I decided, after the reaction of my students, to add another person to our study of overcoming obstacles: Malala Yousafzai Metas Malala  and with the BBC video, Metas Malala BBC Mundo video.  I was amazed that so few of my students knew who she is.  We spent several days with the reading taken from BBC, talking in small groups, working with the Spanish captions in the video, and talking about and contrasting their views of education with hers.  We also watched a Diane Sawyer interview with her (in English) as well as her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

I’ve already posted about our work with Venezuela, and I’ve also posted a few of the final evaluations.  However, there was one student who did not have her project ready in class yesterday.  She told me she was having some difficulty with the final editing and uploading of her project, and promised that I would have it by last night.  Well, she carried through with her promise, and, in my opinion, it demonstrates her total comprehension of this unit, interpreted through the words of Juanes in his inspirational song, No creo en el jamás.  I wish that @Juanes could view it.  Please watch her video here.

Our work with the song began with Metas No creo en el jamas Juanes revised. The five songs that I selected to use with the unit were mostly successful.  There were three that my students really enjoyed:  Celebra tu vida (Axel), No creo en el jamás (Juanes) and No me doy por vencido (Luis Fonsi).  ( By enjoy, I mean that by the end, they were singing the songs at the top of their lungs!) The songs No hago na’ ma’ (El Gran Combo) and the new version Echar Pa’lante were received with a mediocre reaction, and Bonito (Jarabe de Palo) was a song with which they were already familiar. I also used, to lesser degrees, Vivir mi vida (Marc Anthony), Solo soy (Doctor Krapula) and So What (Sie7e).

The entire scope of this unit, how it went day by day, with additional materials can be viewed here. Next week, we move on to the Immigration unit with materials from the amazing Kara Jacobs (@karacjacobs) and Cristina Zimmerman (@CristinaZimmer4), as well as my additions.  To start the unit, we are going to use the documentary Which Way Home, making the transition from dreams and goals to immigration via the dreams and goals of the dreaming children in the video.

 

Metas y Sueños…..culminating student projects updated 2/28

Spanish IV has spent almost 5 weeks in this unit.  This week, in addition to the activities for #SOS Venezuela, students have been working on their PBT (performance based task).  The task was to choose one of the five songs that we studied in detail and “reinterpret” it.  They were free to use any visual means to do this.  Many of them chose Powerpoints and PhotoStories because that is what they are most familiar with, but several branched out into different territories.  The actual presentations of the projects will be tomorrow and I will be posting several examples of them, but one was submitted today, and it just blew me away.

These two young men chose to interpret the Juanes song, No creo en el jamás, using iMovie.  While the parameters of the assignment are listed below this post, briefly they were:

  • show me your understanding of the lyrics of this song, in terms of goals, dreams, obstacles, using a visual format
  • do NOT put the actual lyrics in your presentation, instead use our active vocabulary to create your own statements

Here is the link to their presentation.  I would love to hear your feedback (please ignore the error with the verb encontrar in their presentation…grammar is not the focus), and as I said, I will update this post this weekend.

Metas Presentacion de las canciones sobre metas y suenos-1

Here are a few more of their projects. The music probably won’t play in them because of the formatting, but you will get the idea (hopefully). I wish I could share the Powtoon and the Scratch videos that were made, but they are user/password protected. And, as always, gentle with the grammar errors….for me, the content is more important!

Metas Celebra D & J

Metas Celebra S & N    this one doesn’t have transitions in it, you will have to click through it

Metas No me doy E & M     no transitions, click through it

Metas Bonito H & W  no transitions. click through it

Updated music database

Music Artists WordleI began my formal music database (meaning in Excel format), three years ago. I created the formal document when I could no longer keep all the music that I was using in my head!  That first document had about 300 songs, organized by artist, title, grammatical point, vocabulary, culture, country and youtube link.  I’ve updated it regularly over the last three years, usually every month or so.  The latest update brings the total number of songs to over 1,080.  I’ve been contacted by several people who say that they can’t find the database.  Hence the reason for this post.  The latest document is available on this page on my wikispace: Spanish Music Database

Also available on that page are links to the workshop that I did for both MFLA and  NECTFL.  Those links have specific activities for using the songs for vocabulary, grammar and culture.  I’ve been teaching a long time, and I have picked up activities from countless people along the way.  I owe them all…..many times anonymously!

As always, I encourage you to add artists!  I would really like to know who your favorites are….who your students enjoy….and how you use their music!

10 years of teaching social awareness through music….

I finished my 10th year of teaching social awareness through music with my Spanish III classes this week.  And, as has happened every year since I created this unit, it got longer and more involved, and the kids were terrific!  When I started 10 years ago, I used 3 songs (two from Juanes and one from Juan Luis Guerra).  This year, I used 15 songs (Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Carlos Baute and Yerson and Stuard).  I spent about 6 weeks in the unit full time, but I actually started the music as we were finishing a unit about travel.  Within the teaching of this unit, I also incorporated preterite and imperfect, present subjunctive, geography of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and South America in general, history of the three focal countries and background information with authentic readings of all of the artists except for Yerson and Stuard.  I plan to post the entire unit here this summer, when school is done; however, you can see the bulk of the work here.

This year, as I have done for the past 6 years, the students all chose one song as their focus, and created their own interpretation of it.  This was the assignment: PBT La Música 2013.

With this unit, I give the only “test” of the year, which is essentially identifying the geographical and historical points for the 3 countries studied in depth, identifying positive and negative vocabulary, choosing their own vocabulary to show me what they have learned, writing what they know about Juanes, and using the lyrics of the songs to support the themes of the unit.  The last part of the “test” is to let me know what they may have gotten from this unit.  Here are some of their responses.

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Additionally, I had some students create extra things, and I had one class, my smallest, ask to create their own Bandera de Manos.  I’m posting some of the projects below as well as pictures of the Bandera de Manos and some shirts that students created.

Minas Piedras 2

Bandera 2Bandera 3bandera 4bandera 5bandera 6 groupbandera 7Bandera de Manossuenos

Q & A with song lyrics

I was wrapping up the very large Juanes section of my music/social unit with my Spanish III classes this week when I decided to include one more song, one that I had not used in previous years: Segovia.  I have used a different tactic with each song in the unit, so I wanted something new for this one, too.  The lyrics of the song include some words that were very new, but important to the song, as well as words that we had been including in our unit but may not have been fully grasped by everyone.  I’ve bolded the words we have been including in our study below, and I have italicized the words that were brand new.

Un once de noviembre a las siete de la noche
Hombres armados dispararon sin reproches
Contra la gente del municipio de Segovia
Llovía cántaros, la plaza estaba llena
Varias granadas estallaron en cadena
El nordeste antioque
ño todo rojo se tornó
Es una canción por los que se murieron allá en Segovia
Y por todas las familias que fueron víctimas en Segovia
No van a desaparecer
Nunca jamás de la memoria
No van a desaparecer
Aunque los quieran desaparecer

Since the song very specifically tells the story of what happened in Segovia on the 11th of November, and one of our goals in Spanish III is to be able to narrate a story, I decided to pull the details of the story out of the song that would then become the answers to a series of questions.  I first had my students watch the video with the lyrics.  When it was done I asked them what they knew.  They quite accurately were able to tell me people died in November (they mixed up Nov. 11 and 7:00 at night), that there were victims, that it was raining, and that armed men shot. A few in each class were able to guess that grenades were involved and that they didn’t want memories to disappear.  Segovia por Juanes

Next I gave them the paper on which all of the key information had been placed randomly.  Slide1They listened to the song again (just the first minute and a half) without seeing the lyric video, and I asked them to put a check by every phrase that they heard.  After that, I had them count how many they had heard.  While some had only heard 5 – 7 of the phrases, most had heard 10 -13 (there are 13 phrases in total).  We then went through the phrases and they told each other what they meant, checking with me when they were unsure.  I then finished playing the song while they answered the questions at the bottom.  After having done that, they were very capable of narrating the story of what had happened in Segovia.

I liked this activity, and the students were actively engaged in it.  I have decided to apply the same type of exercise to a listening activity that my Spanish IV students will be doing on Monday, using a news video from BBC Mundo.  Música para alejarse de la violencia

Slide2