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.

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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.

 

Q & A with a videoclip

A few weeks ago I wrote about a question and answer activity with a song.  This time, I’m using the same technique with a short video clip.  My Spanish III classes are studying Spain and sports, as well as reviewing preterite and imperfect and beginning to work with the present perfect.  This week we are going to focus on Madrid and Barcelona.  I’m introducing Madrid with this short clip done by Real Madrid players.

I’ll have my students watch the clip first, do a short share with partners about what they saw and can remember, and then we’ll watch it again, using this: Madrid video clip, soccer players Real Madrid Slide1After briefly reviewing their answers with their partner, I’ll have the students combine to make groups of four, and ask them to retell the information in the video.  They will fold their papers so that they are only able to see the answers (pictured above, with two foils).  They will not see the question prompts.

Hopefully, this brief introductory information will stimulate some natural curiosity, and will lead us to a deeper investigation into tapas, flamenco, and famous sites.

Madrid video clip additional script material.

Fútbol y…….Wavin’ Flag

Having started the “sports/Spain” chapter with Spanish III, and having added lots of material related to jai-alai, la corrida de toros y la geografía de España in the last two years, I decided to expand the part on fútbol this year.  Actually, I was inspired by  Kara Jacobs and her mini unit on El Fútbol y la Copa Mundial.  In 2010, 2011 and 2012, I spent some time at the beginning of the school year with the songs Wavin’ Flag, Waka Waka and Grito Mundial.  I didn’t do that this year, so it seems logical to pick up something in the sports unit related to fútbol.  Today we spent just a bit of time with the song No hay dos sin tres (David Bisbal/Cali y el Dandee) and we talked a bit about the success of Spain in the recent years with fútbol.

The Plan:

Waka Waka will be playing as the students walk into class (it is routine that there is music playing as they walk in), and I may spend a minute or two talking about what they see/understand.  However, the lesson is going to be wrapped around Wavin’ Flag (David Bisbal and K’Naan).  Working with a partner, students will be given the Spanish lyrics to the song (without identifying what the song is).  Each group of two students will have two different colored highlighters to highlight first the nouns, then the verbs.  After a brief check to verify responses, the second step of this activity will be to place the nouns in three categories (people, places, things) and to place the verbs in a fourth column.  Hopefully, this will help them to give more context to the lyrics of the song.  I will spend just a few minutes with the verbs, asking them to look at tenses.  They have not worked with the future tense, so it will be interesting to see what they do with the verb seremos.  It will just be a glancing look….oh….future…do you recognize the infinitive….how do you think the future tense may be formed?

Next, I will give them two sets of sentence strips.  I’m going to use two different colors to separate the first two verses from the final two verses so that they are not overwhelmed by 15 strips of paper.  With their partner, as they listen to the song, they are going to attempt to put the lyrics in order.  However, the lyric strips that I will have given them are not in Spanish: they are loose translations in English.  I will have them attempt to do this without looking at the Spanish lyrics; they will be able to check their order with the Spanish lyrics after listening.

Embedded in this activity will be some vocabulary review, coming from recent units: fé, verdad, países, unir, fuertes, pueblo (as a people), vida, fuego as well as new vocabulary: campeones, comenzar, intentar.Of course, the last step to this activity is going to be to sing the song! Materials can be found here: Wavin Flag activity.
Here is what the lyric strips look like: wavin

Jai-Alai

Every year, after I finish the big music/social awareness unit with Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Baute, my students fear that the most compelling part of the curriculum has been covered.  Fortunately, we go right into a unit about Spain that has several really interesting components.  Yes, it contains grammar (preterite/imperfect yet again and the present perfect), but it also has a great deal about sports and culture of Spain.  I get to introduce them to David Bisbal and his ever popular Bulería, Macaco, Jarabe de Palo, and Pablo Alborán, among others.  We get to discover El País Vasco, Andalucia, Galicia, Cataluña, Castilla La Mancha, Madrid, etc.  AND, we also get to talk about jai-alai and la corrida de toros.

They are always interested in jai-alai, so I’ve tried to expand that part of the unit over the past several years. We will start by taking a look at
El País Vasco with this video:

and probably a bit from the Aventuras Vascas series:

For background information on jai-alai, I use these videos:

The Fastest Game in the World

For sheer silliness, I will include the infamous Steve O and Johnny Knoxville adventure into jai-alai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwZLlwHp2zI   and also a brief Simpsons clip:

I created a powerpoint on jai-alai Jai- Alai-1-2 and I can share my own personal stories and pictures from games that I have attended. Somewhere along the years, I also was given an actual cesta, pelota and sash.  We leave the classroom, and I always let several students in each class attempt to throw  a ball (a koosh ball, not the actual pelota), with the cesta.  It’s usually something that they enjoy trying.

If you have other jai-alai resources, I would love to know about them.  Or, if you have other favorite activities from teaching about culture in Spain, please share.

Using a news clip

I firmly believe in exposing my students to geography and current events on a very regular basis.  We work with maps, geography and recurring stories a lot.  I used to love the BBC Mundo Freaky news stories, but they no longer are creating them. As I’ve mentioned previously, I also use the BBC Mundo Noticias en 60 Segundos.

Zachary Jones/Zambombazo had a great find and activity posted about two weeks ago.  He found a news source that uses positive news!!! To quote Zachary Jones, Horizonte Latinoamericano

1. Es positivo.
2. Tiene un enfoque cultural.
3. Tiene un enfoque latinoamericano.

I really liked it, but I didn’t want to spend as much time with the activity that it would have taken.  Also, I wanted an opportunity for them to talk with a partner.  So, I decided to use part of the video about Fútbol en Haití (the first two minutes),

I created this activity (based on part of the Zambombazo crossword puzzle).

Fútbol en Haití

deportiva                     Violette                sueño                  Real Madrid
latas de refresco                 juntarnos(X2)                 fútbol
  1. “En Haití el ______________________ es un estilo de vida.” (Bisogno Jacques)
  2. El cantante y representante de cultura de Haití en México, Evans Cadet, nos platica de la pasión _____________________ en la isla.
  3. Evans Cadet dice que jugaba al fútbol con __________________ y con las mallas de su mama con papel adentro.
  4. “Somos un pueblo bien amigable.  Nos gusta _________________, tener un motivo para __________________ y el fútbol es un motivo.” (Cadet)
  5. Evans Cadet compara la rivalidad entre América y Chivas en México con la rivalidad entre RC Haitien y _________________.
  6. “Había muchos aficionados de Napoli con Maradona y más tarde de Fiorentina por Batistuta, pero ahora creo que la moda es le fútbol español, entonces obviamente __________________________ tiene muchos fans en Haití, Barcelona también”.  (Cadet)
  7. “El gran _______________ del ser haitiano es ver a Haití en el próximo Mundial”. (Cadet)

Con tu compañero, hablen………

  • ¿Por qué están los verbos en #3 y #6 en el imperfecto?
  • By context, ¿qué quiere decir “platica” en #2?
  • Busca 7 cognates
  • Según Cadet, ¿cómo se dice “next World Cup/games”?

Horizonte Latinoamericano 42 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NYZSS7xK8FU#!