miércoles, 26 de marzo de 2014

Los Colores de la Montaña y Juanes

It is always a challenge to find good, appropriate movies for Spanish class. So when I saw the movie Los Colores de la Montaña, I decided I was going to use it in class. Although the topic of Colombia during the 80s and 90s is not current, the conflict is, unfortunately, somewhat similar to what is happening in Mexico now. So, when we get to our Narcoviolencia unit, students will see a lot of parallels. Also, this unit works as an excellent pre-AP unit. It includes the major temas of Los desafíos mundiales and Las familias and las comunidades. It includes some of these sub-temas: los temas económicos, la población y la demografía, el bienestar social, la conciencia social,  la geografía humana, la estructura de la familia, las comunidades educativas, y las tradiciones y los valores.

Here is a sinopsis of the movie:


Una representación de la vida cotidiana en el campo montañoso de Colombia, que cuenta la amistad entre Manuel y Julián. Un día, mientras juegan al fútbol, tiran el balón a un campo de minas. Acompañados por Poca Luz hacen todo lo posible para recuperar su preciado bien, una parte imprescindible de sus vidas y sueños cotidianos.  (Fuente: Press Book de la película)



Also, although I don't use a lot his songs in class, I realize that students love Juanes. With the use of some resources from Sharon Birch (and here) and Zachary Jones, I was able to put this unit together. The three main components are the two Juanes songs and the movie Los Colores de la Montaña. These are the essential questions for the unit (unit packet here):
  • ¿Qué pasaba en Colombia durante los 80 y 90?
  • ¿Ha cambiado la situación en Colombia? ¿Cómo? Explica.
  • ¿Cuál es el mensaje y/o el propósito de la canciones Minas Piedras y Sueños por Juanes?
  • ¿Cómo se manifiestan las realidades de Colombia durante los 80 y 90 en las canciones Minas Piedras y Sueños y en la película “Los Colores de la Montaña“? 
  • ¿La música y el cine pueden ser promovedores de la paz? ¿Cómo?

And these are the assessments for the unit:

    • PRESENTATIONAL ASSESSMENT: Explica la situación en Colombia durante los años 80 y 90. Puedes usar fotos y/o dibujos para ayudarte con la presentación.
o
Crea una presentación multimedia que describe la situación en Colombia
durante  los años 80 y 90. Usa fotos, audio, y texto. Cita tus recursos.
    • INTERPRETIVE ASSESSMENT: Compara y contrasta la canción y la película y describe ciertas líneas y/o escenas que muestran las realidades de Colombia durante los años 80 y 90.
    • INTERPERSONAL ASSESSMENT (possibly next time): Escribe una carta a un niño de la película describéndole tu niñez y cómo era similar y diferente de la suya.

Before we started the movie, I wanted students to be able to answer the first and second Essential Questions. Without background knowledge about Colombia, the movie would not be meaningful. This is not the type of movie you use for a sub day ;)


The first day of the unit, I gave students notes about what was happening in Colombia during the 80s and 90s. I explained the four groups that were fighting: FARC, ELN, AUC, and the Colombian Army.


In order to get the students more familiar with Colombia, and to have some concept of what the country and its people look like, we watched (most of) Anthony Bourdain's show "Parts Unknown: Colombia" (available on Amazon). The show is in English, but as we watched it, I paused it and gave students notes in Spanish. This video addresses the first and second Essential Questions. 

And here is an article about the game that they play (thanks Bethanie) in the episode (beware Anthony makes a vulgar joke when they are playing the game, definitely want to skip that!).

For homework, students watched this UNICEF video (in English) about las minas antipersonales. Students wrote about what they saw in Spanish and we reviewed it the next day. I think the next time, I might this video instead.










They also watched this video, did a cloze activity and answered some questions about it. The idea that land mines remain active and are not removed after a conflict is a particularly foreign idea to students in the US. And, again, in order to understand the movie, they have to know that this is still a problem, and not just in Colombia.








Next, students explored the website for Juanes' Fundación Mi Sangre. As they looked at the sight, they answered some questions about the Fundación and what it does. Although all of the information on the site might be a little advanced, the questions (on page 6-7 in the unit packet) are basic and guided so they are able to "interpret" the authentic resource.


As we talked about these videos and the Fundación Mi Sangre, and focused on answering the 1st and 5th essential question, we started with some music. Students did a cloze activity for Minas Piedras, translated the song, and answered some comprehension and discussion questions. They did not particularly like this song, but it is quite powerful and it will help them to answer this Essential Question: ¿La música y el cine pueden ser promovedores de la paz? ¿Cómo?


Minas Piedras por Juanes
 Students also created infografías to illustrate the answers to the first and second inforgrafías. I got this idea from Carrie Toth (@senoraCMT). It was a good way for students to organize their thoughts and review all of the information that they learned during the first four days of the unit. I will get some examples here soon.

After four days, we finally started the movie. I found a fantastic and very comprehensive film guide for the movie, so I incorporated that in to my unit packet. We read the sinopsis and talked about the main characters. I warned students that we would be watching short segments of the movie and that we would be talking about those segments... in other words, we are going to take our time watching the movie. The movie is excellent and very easy to talk about. We did watch the movie with subtitles in English, as the Spanish would be rather difficult for my students to understand.

As we watched the movie and did the assessments, we started with the second song, Sueños by Juanes. Students liked this song much better!

Sueños por Juanes
There were two evaluaciones for the unit:
  • The first was a spoken assessment. Students had to answer the first and second essential questions. This assessment was done after about five days of the unit.
  • The second was a written assessment (click here to see it). This assessment focused on the other essential questions. (There was also a small spoken part on this one)
A few other things we did during the unit:
  • We sang almost every day in class.
  • Lots of talking in partners and repeating information.
  • When students were answering movie questions, they worked with a partner and spoke as they wrote.
  • Lots of summarizing what we saw in the movie, together as a class and then in partners.
The next time I do this unit, I will use this song as well. It is played throughout the movie - Los caminos de la vida (wksht from Zachary Jones):



13 comentarios:

  1. Kara, thanks for mentioning me! I have recently started my "Music and Social Awareness" unit. It's my 10th year using the songs of Juan Luis Guerra, Juanes and Carlos Baute to study the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Venezuela. Each year brings additional material...this year it will Los Colores de la Montana, and more material from Venezuela, based on the current upheaval. You are so correct about Juanes.....almost all of my students over the year have fallen in love with his music. I must admit I am surprised that yours did not care for Minas Piedras! I also use La Historia de Juan, Bandera de Manos, Odio por Amor, La Tierra, and A Dios le Pido (along with some more current music toward the end of of the unit). I have many different types of activities for these songs, as well as what I use from Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Baute. I would be happy to share any and all of it with you, if you are interested. I also would recommend another minas song: No mas minas by Yerson y Stuard, which resembles a Michael Jackson song in the chorus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc-S4OnFwtw Your material is always terrific, and I borrow from it frequently!

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  2. Kara,

    This is a great unit! It is for a pre-Ap level, right? Los Colores de la Montaña is probably the most important movie to come out in the recent resurgence of Colombian cinema. (Although, I highly recommend "Los Viajes del Viento", which is appropriate for high school age students, but perhaps a bit slow for them). It captures both the beauty and the horror of Colombia in a way that is not exploitative nor sensational. My wife and I both left the movie with tears streaming down our faces. In terms of Juanes, if you are talking about land mines "Fíjate bien" fits in perfectly, as well as being quite catchy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et8zRSKk-kI

    Also, as far as I can tell the movie is not set in the 80's or 90's but somewhere closer to the present day (or early 2000's). Obviously Colombia is in a better situation than it was in the days of the cartels, however paramilitary activity and internal displacement is an ongoing problem in the country. I lived in Medellin as recently as 2011 and saw the shanty-towns up in the mountains grow enormously as people fled to the city. I was also constantly surprised by the number of people one saw in the city who were missing a limb. The problem of landmines is very current, and Colombia is one of the most affected countries in the world. In any case, I understand how difficult it is to simplify complex topics in order to make them understandable to the students. However, it is also important not to give the false impression that these problems are simply a thing of the past.


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  3. Kara.....additional resources:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAEzIvUerQ0 Presta tu pierna 11K abril 2014 1:18
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=texb0ImxRLQ Presta tu pierna 11K abril 2014 2:06
    and one I haven't explored thoroughly Remangate published 3 days ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZHYkiPL55c 7:41

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  4. Thank you for sharing! These activities and resources are absolutely wonderful!

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  5. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por un administrador del blog.

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  6. Wow! I just discovered your blog and love, love, love all the ideas and resources. I see you haven't updated for a while and hope you haven't abandoned the site! Keep it going!

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    Respuestas
    1. Thanks! I haven't abandoned it, just taking a break. I didn't realize how long it had been since I had posted. I am working on a new unit and will share about that soon. Thanks again for the kind words and encouragement!

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  7. Hi Kara,

    I am doing the Vida Y Muerte with my spanish 3-4 class. My wife found your blog. She and I had talked about how cool it would be if somehow my students could communicate, share ideas (twitter, blog, facebook???) with students from another school. I was thinking this would be interpersonal communication. muybien.crosby@gmail.com
    thanks
    Skip Crosby
    Poland Regional high school
    Maine

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  8. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

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  9. Hola Kara,
    I just found your blog and I love it! You have done an excellent job creating this thematic unit that can be used not only in Pre AP Spanish class, but with the proper modifications also in lower levels, such as Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. I would like to use this unit in my Spanish 2 Hrs class. I really like your ideas on how to integrate the use of movies and music into teaching a foreign language. Thank you so much for sharing your work and your passion for the Spanish language and the culture of Spanish speaking countries! Keep up the good work going!

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  10. Hola Kara,
    I just found your blog and I love it! You have done an excellent job creating this thematic unit that can be used not only in Pre AP Spanish class, but with the proper modifications also in lower levels, such as Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. I would like to use this unit in my Spanish 2 Hrs class. I really like your ideas on how to integrate the use of movies and music into teaching a foreign language. Thank you so much for sharing your work and your passion for the Spanish language and the culture of Spanish speaking countries! Keep up the good work going!

    ResponderEliminar