Un millón como tú ….and Vida y Muerte

I first heard the song Un millón como tú by Lasso (Venezuela) and Cami (Chile, Camila Gallardo) on February, 2.  I immediately sent a message to Arianne Dowd, a fellow creator/collaborator who also likes Lasso.  She responded immediately suggesting that she might use it with the novel Vida y Muerte en la MS 13. Brilliant idea! And…..oh no!! I’m going to add MORE music to this novel!  (see these posts! and this one, too).  I can’t help myself! The novel has been a favorite with my Spanish IV for the past 5 years, consistently being cited on end of the year evaluations as one they will remember, one that impacted them, and one in which the music was loved. And now, there is this absolutely perfect song for expressing how Analía’s family and Los Salvatruchas felt about their relationship (with a little imagination).  The song has been an absolute HIT with my students, many of them singing it by heart! Combined with No hay nadie más by Sebastián Yatra, they create the perfect background for chapters  6 – 8 in the novel.

Step 1

I felt like my students needed to make some vocabulary/phrase connections. So, I targeted specific lyrics, found images to represent them and had students match the lyrics to the images as they read through the lyrics. un millon images

Step 2

A. Find lyrics from the song that will support these lines from the novel:

A veces era un poco difícil estar juntos porque teníamos que salir a escondidas.  Nadie estaba de acuerdo con nuestra relación, ni la familia de ella ni la mía, los Salvatruchas.

Sample answers: Y mis amigos me dicen que buena noticia que ya tú no estás
Dicen que ya no te llame; Todos opinan igual , Serás fácil de olvidar; y mis amigas
celebran felices que ya tú no estás

B. Find text from the novel to support this lyric from the song:

Debe ser que tú al final, si eras muy especial

(Additionally, the above text/lyric support activities actually complement English Language Arts standards for writing in grades 11 – 12!)

Step 3

Listen to the song and complete traditional cloze Un millon cloze

Read through the lyrics in English, then sing this much of the song.  We then read through the remainder of the lyrics, where, after questioning why he/she can’t sleep, eat, etc. the opposite is declared: Tú al final eras muy especial and Tú al final eras el más especial.  My angst driven teens just loved it! What a connection was made when they realized the twist in this love song AND when they began to realize, or question, that something is going to happen in the next chapters just as tumultuous with our narrator and Analía.

Step 4

Create a conversation:

Elige una:

  • Toma el papel (role) del narrador y escribe una conversación entre sus compañeros o Pedro. Usa letras espécificas de la canción. Usa también tu imaginación y otras palabras.
  • Toma el papel (role) de Analía y escribe una conversación entre sus compañeras o abuela. Usa letras espécificas de la canción.  Usa también tu imaginación y otras palabras.

Usa tu propia papel. Por lo menos 8 líneas.

Of course, this song would be appropriate in many different situations, not just in this novel.  The video is completely appropriate, the lyrics are comprehensible, the melody is memorable, and the song is absolutely “singable”.

Today I read how Andrés Vicente Lazo Uslar, known as Lasso, did, in reality, break up with his girlfriend, of 7 years, Sheryl Rubio, in September 2018.  There has been great drama, with much of it played out on Twitter. See this article, and this one, and finally, this one. This could add another dimension to the song!

I’d love to hear from you if you use the song or create additional activities!

 

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Felipe Alou, adding, round 2

Last year I used the book Felipe Alou: Desde los valles a las montañas by Carol Gaab for the first time. I blogged about it here. However, I only covered the first 7 chapters in that post, and since I am now working with the book for the second year, I thought I would add a bit more to it.

Updates from the second year:

Chapter 5

I like to use the audio CD for variety.  For this activity, the students do NOT have their books as they listen to the audio.  They have this: Capítulo 5 Obstáculos to complete during listening. This takes them to page 24, stopping where “Felipe esperó y esperó. ” Once they had listened, they had 2 minutes with their books to go back through and read to verify their answers. The map can be used through the end of the chapter and into chapter 6.

Based on Carrie Toth’s explanation of Quiplash from Wooly Week, I made a similar activity for chapter 4 and halfway through chapter 5 (chapter 5 is a very long chapter and I divided it into two parts).  In my adapted version, the sentences being used may be actual quotes from the characters, quotes that they could have said, or just descriptive sentences.  I chose Felipe, los entrenadores, las personas negras, las personas blancas, José/padre and el taxista as my characters.  I ran 6 sets on card stock and divided my classes into groups of 4 – 6 students.  Each student had at least one character.  As I read the sentence or quote, they had to determine the character and rush to stand on their spot with the appropriate answer. Quiplash after 4 and halfway through 5

Last year I wrote about a timeline activity to set the stage for what was happening in the United States when Felipe arrived in 1956.  It included events prior to 1950, during the decade of the 50’s and after 1960.  Based on the work last year, I knew that it was really important to spend more time this year so that students have a better understanding of what Felipe encountered when he arrived.  But, even more importantly, their own knowledge of our history is very minimal.  This is definitely a cross curricular activity as my students struggled to identify even when Martin Luther King gave his most famous speech, or was assassinated, when desegregation happened and how slowly it happened, and even, most appallingly, when the Second World War occurred as opposed to the Korean War or Vietnam!

Chapter 6

Based on the original idea from Carrie Toth, I adapted “La Idea Central” (from Vida y Muerte en la MS 13) for Felipe Alou.  Chap 6 La Idea CentralIdea Central

Chapter 7

Quizz Quizz Change:  The activity where each student has a question card with the answer on the back.  All students are up, find a partner, ask the question, listen to the answer (or help with the answer) and exchange cards with the partner before moving to another partner.  This can be done with students wandering around (in a class that can handle that) or with inner/outer circle (for classes that need more structure).  I ran the question/answers on cardstock, folded them in half and taped them.  Quizz Quizz Change

Chapter 8

My partner in planning (Megan Matthews) adapted the Picasso Plates idea which was originally described by Kristy Placido or Cynthia Hitz (HELP!?).  We ran off the restaurant scene from this chapter. Each student received a paper to place on his/her head (or do with eyes closed).  The directions, script and restaurant scene are: escena del restauranterestaurant scene directions and script

Adapting again from Cynthia Hitz, here is the marker game PLUS for chapter 8. Marker Game Plus for chap 8

Sometimes, some repetitive practice combined with a familiar game is a good idea.  Here is a link to a classtools.net database for chapter 8.  I had the students play PacMan with this, although Wordshoot is also a good option.

Chapter 9

Word Sort: Use these words to have students begin to think about chapter 9. Student in groups of 2- 3, each group has a baggie with the words.  Each group sorts the words into X number of categories. Students can make predictions for what they think will happen.  Word Sort to open chap 9

Dustin Williamson shared a sound effects activity for this chapter that my students really enjoyed. I added one sound effect for jonron. sound effects

Years ago, and I do mean years ago, I saved a powerpoint game template called CARAMBA! from someone, somewhere.  I regret that I do not know to whom to attribute it, but it has been a well played game for many years! It is a game of both knowledge and chance…..and it always delights some students and makes others upset! I can’t upload the file here, but I am willing to share.

Chapter 10

Conversation Circles end of book is another idea from Carrie Toth that I again adapted from Vida y Muerte en la MS 13.  Conversation Circles

Need to focus on numbers? Here is a good review of numbers and info/stats from chapters 9 and 10. іNúmeros! chap 9 and 10

Slam It! Students are in groups of two (or three, if necessary).  Read or project a statement/question.  Each student writes the answer as quickly as possible and SLAMS his paper down on his desk (key to the fun!). If the student is correct when the answer is uncovered or stated, he scores a point.  If incorrect, the partner scores the point.  Slam It! chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 is a longer chapter. I wanted to divide it into sections and keep the students actively involved while we were reading it (example below).  So I created 3 sections with three different games.  Capítulo 11 during reading   chap 11 games following reading of each section

A culminating activity to summarize the “highs” (montañas) and the “lows” (valles) de Felipe. Sorpresas Summing up the highs and lows of Felipe

I hope there is something that you may find useful.  I also would love to see what you are using/creating.  Felipe Alou is one of my favorite books to teach!

Disclaiming again:  I’m not a native speaker.  I’m sure there are errors. Please correct as necessary.

 

La Casa de la Dentista: New Graphic Novel

Typically, I am a patient person. But I have a confession to make: I watched as one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and EIGHT reviews were published, reviews for Señor Wooly and his new graphic novel, La Casa de la Dentista and I became more impatient with each one! Why? Señor Wooly had contacted me, as he had several other people, to ask if I would like to review his soon to be released graphic novel. What a question?!?!? Who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity? I have been a follower of his website for years and have seen the evolution of his work and phenomenal creativity.  So why did I become impatient? Because I live in a rural area and my mail is always slow…but this time, it also landed in a neighbor’s mailbox who didn’t bring it to me until the next day! So, I watched as Allison Weinhold, Cynthia Hitz, Maris Hawkins, Arianne Dowd, Martina Bex, Kelly Ferguson,  Kara Jacobs, and Dustin Williamson ALL posted their reviews. And I tried not to read them, just skimmed the opening paragraphs!!! I wanted to read the graphic novel without too much prior knowledge or opinion. And the suspense was KILLING me!

When I was teaching Spanish II many years ago (at least back in 2010 or 2011 ) my students enjoyed many of his early creations (I am almost ashamed to say that we must have chanted, in that sly voice, fui, fuiste, an infinite number of times) but most of all, they loved Billy la Bufanda. I have continued using the site, finally getting a pro subscription last year, and my students have continued to reap the benefits of his sense of humor, compelling lyrics and oh, so sneaky repetitions! Last year the favorites were PAN! and ¡Qué Asco! So, while Jim was emphatic in requesting an honest review of La Casa de la Dentista, favorable or not, I was pretty certain that his memorable brand of humor,  his finely tuned sense of what appeals to students and his novel approaches to offering comprehensible input would be immediately evident in his latest creation. I am not surprised at all to say that I was correct!

Now that I have read La Casa de la Dentista, I have also read the reviews, in totality, from the people previously listed. It appears that we are unanimous in our overwhelming approval and recommendation of this new graphic novel.  All of the previous reviewers have shared a multitude of ideas about how to use the novel as well as the links to the helpful tutoring session by Jim and Carrie (Toth) on how to teach with a graphic novel. Therefore, what might I add to what has already been said??

I will say that the very first opinion that I formed when I opened my copy for the first time was, “WOW! This book is beautiful!” Visually, it is stunning! The manner in which the story has been illustrated, the shaping of the characters, the vivid use of colors to portray emotions and moods and the layout of the frames on the page are immediately impressive. Even the size and weight of the book and, I know this is weird, the smell of the pages when you open it, take me back to my own childhood and teen years when I could not wait to dive into a particularly inviting book.  And this book IS inviting….it is literally begging to be opened. I believe that even a reluctant reader is going to open this book without prompting.  Just the cover of the book is eye-catching, with the beam of light from the flashlight, the aura of light from the match and the play of light on the faces practically insisting that the book must be opened. dentista-graphic-novel-hardcover-reducedOnce inside, the illustrations aid in stimulating the imagination, heightening the readers’ emotional response and perceptions, and definitely holding the attention of the reader while helping the reader move through the narrative. These illustrations are actively involved in assisting the reader comprehend the input that is repeatedly, creatively and uniquely expressed in the written words.  Jim’s inspired, gifted narrative is marvelously enhanced by the illustrations of Juan Carlos Pinilla (Colombia), colorization by Davi Comodo (Brazil) and lettering by Lucas Gattoni (Argentina).

Dentista-page2-3-reduced

As many have noted in their reviews, this book is not written with the elementary student in mind. I would use it with middle and high school students. Many “horror or terror” movies or shows are rated PG13 because teens are usually the targeted demographic of that type of media. I think that statement may hold true for La Casa de la Dentista, too. I typically am not a fan of scary movies….I do not like to be scared! However, while the twists are many and the “fear factor” rich, it is a fascinating, coercive read. I fell into the rhythm of the dialogue and could not pull myself out. (Images from the preview of the first 18 pages)

Capture2       Capture

Last year I purchased a classroom set (30 copies) of Billy y las Botas for use as a whole classroom novel. For me, I think that I will prefer to use La Casa de la Dentista in our FVR parts of each week. I did not want to be interrupted as I read this graphic novel….I wanted to be free to pause, to savor, to re-read, to ponder, to imagine, as I wanted to. I think that I will want students to run their eyes over all of the great reading material that I have accumulated for them, scanning the covers and coming to a halt as their eyes encompass the cover of this one. This is just my personal opinion and wish; I am positive that others will be highly successful using this as a whole class novel.

I know with certainty that when I add my beautiful hardcover copy of La Casa de la Dentista to the shelves of our classroom library, there will be some jockeying to be the first one in each class to read it. That will be my problem! My MOI (materials of instruction) funds are gone for the year, and I feel that several students in each class will want the book at the same time!