sábado, 14 de enero de 2017

Sharing back a resource... Chau for past tense

I love the "story" in this music video! I used it for the "school unit" in Spanish 1 and blogged about it here and here. And Elena López added to the unit and improved it here.

And now, another teacher, Catherine Laflin, recently sent me a message and shared two adaptations of the slideshow and unit packet. She changed everything to be in the past tense and used it with her Spanish 2 class. She has done a ton of work doing this, including creating online activities to use with the story. She has given me permission to share her two resources here in case anyone else wants to use them. Thanks so much Catherine!!

Here is her adapted slideshow (click here to make a copy and make changes):
And here is the link to her unit packet

I love it when teachers share back new, improved, and/or different takes on things that I share! So, if anyone else has done the same, let's keep helping each other and making our classrooms better places for students... share back and let me know if I can share it here!





lunes, 2 de enero de 2017

Puerto Rico: Echar Pa'lante

Image result for echar pa'lante puerto ricoI am currently taking a one credit course about Puerto Rico and I am learning a ton! Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but I only really mention Puerto Rico once in a while. I don't have a unit about it in any level, but I will now because as part of the course, I have to create a "lesson plan" to teach about one of the themes of the course. I decided to focus on the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico. If you want to become familiar with it, I recommend doing one (or all) of the following:


The slideshow below (click here if you want to make a copy and adapt) will help guide me through the unit. And this unit packet explains the objectives of the unit (in a format that I have to do for the course that I am taking) and has a variety of activities that students will be doing.


One of the essential parts of the unit is the song and video "Echar Pa'lante" (which is actually a remake of the song "No hago más na'"). Below the video is a screenshot of the embedded reading that I made so that students can understand the song. I also created some activities for students to do with those readings (see pages 9-15 of unit packet).

There are a variety of other activities in the unit packet, including: essential questions, possible evaluations, prefabricated notes for students to fill in as I explain things to them, two quizlet live links to review and learn about Puerto Rico, a list of professions shown in the video, four embedded reading activities, a cierto/falso activity about one of the embedded reading, questions related to the song and students' own daily lives and beliefs, and a rubric for the evaluación escrita at the end of the unit.










lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2016

Casa Dividida... perspectivas diferentes de Cuba

Image result for Casa dividida chris mercerI have always wanted to do a unit on Cuba in my Cultura y Civilización (Spanish 4/5) course, but never have because I have never been able to focus the unit. There is so much to explore: the history of Cuba, the indigenous population, the African influence on culture, the Spanish influence on culture, Batista, poverty, freedom of speech, education, health care, exile, music, poetry, Che, Fidel, Miami, US intervention, the embargo, sugar... and so many varied perspectives (see here for an extremely short video that shows some perspectives). But, I have finally found an excellent resource that can help me pull it all together, the book Casa Dividida by Chris Mercer.

This book tells the compelling story of two families, both of whom are impacted by Fidel Castro's government. Here is the description from the TPRS Books website: 


Appropriate for level 3 and 4 classes, José, the son of one of Cuba’s wealthiest tobacco tycoons, and Luisa, a peasant sugar cane cutter, see their country turned upside-down by the Cuban Revolution. They are then faced with a choice. Stay and defend the Revolution? Or flee and fight for its end?
Based on true events, this novel chips away at  political propaganda with a gripping tale of battlefield heroism, international espionage, economic collapse, and human compassion. You will be left wondering who the true rebels are and what it will take to reunite a house divided.
There isn't a Teacher's Guide available yet, so I came up with an alternative unit plan so that students can show their learning, explore other cultural and historical points, reflect, personalize, compare and contrast, and show their understanding of the novel. I am still thinking about the "Essential Questions" for the unit, but as of right now, this is what I have:

  • ¿Cómo afecta el gobierno la vida del individuo y la de una sociedad?
  • ¿Quiénes son algunos héroes nacionales polémicos de Cuba y de los Estados Unidos? ¿Por qué es importante tratar de entender todas las perspectivas de sus seguidores?

They (and I) can get a bit tired of the "preguntas de comprensión" after each chapter, so instead, students are going to do: an "Álbum de Recortes." I got the idea from Elizabeth Dentlinger's post about Smash Doddles (inspired by Martina Bex). I really like Elizabeth's student handout, particularly because it could be used for any book and I will probably use that in the future with another book.

Here is a link to the "Álbum de Recortes" handout for students and here is the rubric that I will use to guide them and assess them. The rubric contains some "School Wide" strands that I have to use throughout the semester. 

have tried to vary the things that students have to do for each chapter and give them some choice as well. Chris Mercer is obviously very knowledgeable about Cuba because this book is deep with cultural and historical connections (example: is Rolando based on Silvio Rodríguez?), so students will have the option of exploring a wide variety of culture and history, including the following: los taínos, la zafra (and three related songs), Babalú-Aye, José Martí, Silvio Rodríguez, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, communism, nationalization, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Contras, freedom of speech, CIA intervention, la Bahía de Cochinos, the song "Casas de Cartón," executions, political prisoners, Perestroika and Glasnost, las Damas de Blanco, the importance of education, and a nationalized health care system... among many other things!

Here are some of the things that students will do for different chapters:


Capítulo 1: Luisa y José - Cuba 1957

Capítulo 4: A la guerra
  • Describe este capítulo con una oración.
  • Haz lo que quieras para explicar, resumir, reflejar, opinar, personalizar, hacer conexiones con la historia de nuestro país, y/o analizar este capítulo.


Capítulo 9: La educación de Luisa
  • Describe este capítulo con una oración.
  • Escribe dos citas de Che Guevara y escribe tu opinión sobre cada una.
  • Haz una lista de las cosas importantes en la vida de Luisa.
  • El Ministerio de Cultura censuró la música de Rolando, ¿por qué? En tu opinión, ¿hay situaciones en que la música debe ser censurada? ¿Cuándo? ¿Dónde? ¿Por qué?

Capítulo 14: Una nueva vida para José

  • Describe este capítulo con cinco oraciones.
  • Al final del capítulo, Julie dice, "Yo entiendo que estés enojado, José, pero la familia es más importante que la política. Espero que un día puedas volver y hacer la paz con tu familia." ¿Piensas tú que él volverá? Haz una predicción.
  • ¿Cómo te sentirías si tuvieras que salir de tu país y de tu familiar y no pudieras volver? ¿Qué harías en esa situación?


Capítulo 17: Rebelión

  • Describe este capítulo con una oración.
  • ¿Nuestro gobierno permite que lo critiquemos? ¿Qué pasaría si no pudiéramos criticarlo?
  • Haz una de estas cosas:


Has anyone else used this book? I look forward to spending the three weeks after break delving into Cuba! I will share examples of the "Álbum de Recortes" as we progress. 

A big thanks to Chris Mercer for writing such an amazing book!