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.

 

Adding (more) Music to La Llorona de Mazatlán

cover la lloronaThere are so many wise and wonderful blogs out there adding activities to the ever growing selection of TPRS/CI novels, and I benefit from each and every one of them.  I so appreciate the tremendous sharing that goes on in our PLC!  I hope that what I will post here will be beneficial to those who may be working with the same novel.

This is my second year teaching La Llorona de Mazatlán ,  and as opposed to going faster since I am more familiar with it, it is very definite that I am going much, much slower! Some of that pacing is coming from the plethora of activities that are possible with each and every chapter and some of it is coming from the music that I have added (on top of what I added the first time around!). As I have stated many times before, when I am planning a unit, I always consider the music (my hook) from the very beginning of the planning stages. Each one of us has a passion to add to this TPRS/CI landscape, and mine is music.  Music has been a constant addition to my teaching for all of my 38 years!

Last year I shared activities for La Llorona with the great song Me equivoqué by CD9. The song was a favorite for my students last year, and it was no different this year.  It just resonates with so many of them. Many of them know the lyrics by heart and have downloaded it into their various music sources. Having previously posted about it, I won’t repeat.  This year I added several more songs, and each of them has been a hit with most of the students. I’ve written about Vasquez Sounds before, but this year I purposely inserted two of their songs into different chapters of La Llorona.  In Chapter 3, Laney leaves for Mexico and in Chapter 4 she has arrived.  I used the song Me Voy for two specific reasons: the past tense verbs and the act of leaving with the accompanying reasons/emotions of Laney.  She thinks that Norman, Oklahoma is dull and boring.  Using the lyrics to the song, I hope to support and help to reflect similar emotions

“Se pinta el cielo gris aquí “;                                                                                               “Me voy como un cowboy “;                                                                                             “Me iré por lo que quiero
Aunque hagan agujeros
En mi sombrero soñador “;                                                                                                 “Me voy con mis botas marrón ” and                                                                                    “Y cruzare el desierto
Veré estrellas sobre mi
Y así más días de color”

I feel that these lyrics accurately reflect some of Laney’s thoughts and feelings, and we were able to make those comparisons.  Additionally, the song lyrics include the idea of a love duel/dispute/figth which is an indicator for what will happen, more of less, in the story. Also, the lead singer (Angie) in Vazquez Sounds is right around the age of Laney! Here is the cloze activity with some verb work that I used  Me voy por Vásquez Sounds but the discussion and comparison was done orally. Here is the video for the song; you will need to skip the first 30 seconds of commercial that they inserted into the song.

My students enjoyed that song (and others from Vazquez Sounds) so much, that I decided to use Buenos días, Señor Sol at the end of chapter 4 (Laney has seen Luis)/beginning of chapter 5 (the sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day for the auditions, she’s feeling on top of the world in beautiful Mazatlan).  Again, there were several reasons for choosing the song: we’ve been “noticing” future tense verbs (there are several in the song), we’ve been focusing on two verbs (seguir/tratar) which are in the lyrics, and the song accurately reflects Laney’s emotions at this stage of the book.                                     Hoy como otros días seguiré tratando ser mejor
Y sonriendo haré
Las cosas con amor
Buenos días alegría
Buenos días al amor
Buenos días a la vida
Buenos días señor sol
Yo seguiré tratando ser mejor
I used this Chap 5 Buenos dias Vazquez Sounds to work with the song and discuss similarities. There are several videos for the song, my students enjoyed these two:

At this stage of the book, Laney has auditioned and the focus of the music switches to soccer.  I used several of the songs and activities that I have posted about previously for the World Cup unit. The songs included, but aren’t limited to, Waka Waka, Lalala, La Copa de Todos, Waving Flag, De Zurda, and La Vida es Tombola. In addition to this music, I try to find music most days that reflects what is happening in the book at that point in time, or that matches the emotions of the characters.

I am in the middle of one of my largest additions, musically, to the book this year. I have always loved the music of Gaby Moreno, and I have used her beautiful Ave Que Emigra to begin Esperanza. I decided that I wanted to do more with the actual legend of La Llorona and I wanted to include other legends, too.  There is a beautiful song, El Sombrerón, that Gaby sings and it is based, I believe, on the Guatemalan legend of the same name.  I feel that it is complementary to the La Llorona legend.  The two share some common elements: night, moon, shrouded faces/eyes, spirits that capture souls, etc. Additionally, it gives a legend with a male character to balance the female La Llorona, and this is a male character who is responsible for creating some misery for the female (some information even states that El Sombrerón comes from Mexico).  This may tie into the male figure that deserts or abandons La Llorona, prompting her actions. I’ve been proceeding slowly with the song, working with just bits and pieces for a few days as we are building up to the books’ version of La Llorona in Chapter 13.  At the same time, we are reading versions of La Llorona that are different from the version that they will get in Chapter 13 (thank you Bryce Hedstrom and Martina Bex ). This is the document that I have used, slowly, over the course of three days: El Sombrerón.  We have spent some interesting, productive time describing our illustrations to partners and creating/sharing sentences based on those drawings.  I have a SMARTboard presentation that goes with this worksheet, and we have only worked through the first two slides, meaning that we will get to the actual legend this coming week (the remaining files). Here are some of them:

Sombreron 1 Sombreron 2 Sombreron 3

Of course, once we read Chapter 13, we will also work with the various versions of the song La Llorona.

As always, if you find errors in my Spanish (I’m definitely not a native speaker), please let me know!! I hope that some of you who are using this great TPRS novel may find some of this interesting and useful.