Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spanish class activity:The Deeper Purposes of Art: Walking Murals at the Women's March



The Deeper Purposes of Art: Walking Murals 
It is an undeniable fact that this past weekend's Women's March was a powerful and courageous antidote to the incisively degrading political rhetoric that has dominated recent headlines. Due to it being slightly polarizing to some students and families, I had no intention of discussing the March in class, as we are dead in the heat of pre-finals warfare. However, I had a sudden mind shift when I received this picture from my department chair; it's a great real world connection to our unit on Art. We are in the midst of deconstructing Frida, along with the significance of art and its multifaceted purposes.  This past week we looked at different art movements and the currents moving her work. This picture captures one of the purposes of art and could be placed in a variety of movements. I thought this was good food for thought, and my students ate it up!  


Prior to digging into Frida, we looked at an article I had curated titled "Qué es el arte "(I will share this in a later post). We learned, in several class periods, the different views of art and some of the basic movements; these documents were our guiding principles that we'd revisit with each artist.    

We started off with the question "what is art." My students had a lot to say. You can see from the whiteboard collage we made in class.  I had students go to the board and write their own definition of art. We read the article, which highlighted quotes from several artists and art critics. You can see the quotes below. 


Monday's Lesson 
On the Monday following the Women's March (we are in Chicago), we looked at the poster first and then, described the picture, discussed the impact of the words (they used their art vocabulary, which can be found clicking this link to quizlet.) and lastly   impact of the social context (for aiding interpretation) and then like a math problem, we tried to solve for X. 





Guiding Questions  1. ¿Qué evento fue y cómo lo sabes? 
2. En tu opinión, ¿es una obra de arte? ¿En qué consiste el arte? 
3. Describe lo que ves en la obra de arte. ¿Cuáles son los colores? ¿Qué impactan tienen? 
4. ¿Qué rol juega el contexto en nuestra interpretación del arte?
5. ¿Cuál cita de arte (de los críticos) mejor explique la función de arte? 
6.  Esta "obra de arte" puede ser un ejemplo del muralismo, ¿por qué  sí o no? 
7. ¿Cuál es el impact que tiene sobre ti?
8. ¿A qué movimiento pertence?

This was our Campanazo (supposedly, a five- minute warm-up) and what a great catalyst for discussion it was!. We discussed the symbolism of the picture and the meaning behind the lady's mouth being covered. Many of my students, most of the boys, had a hard time relating. When I asked if they felt an impact or connection, most responded "no". So then, I had really dig deep and flip the question so that gender quality could be neutralized: I followed up with these questions to bring them into the conversation; I started by asking: 


Have you ever felt that your voice didn't matter? 
¿Has sentido alguna vez sin el poder de decidir o sin una voz? 
Have you parents made decisions about you without your input? 

¿Tus padres han tomado decisiones sin involucrar tus ideas o perspectivas? 

Did you have a part in contributing to your final exams (this really got their hands up).

¿Has podido colaborar con los profesores en la creación de los exámenes finales? - this really got them!

After seeing the sea of hands, and the boys finding "their voice" the lesson was, we can all relate to the lady in the painting. We have all felt "silenced" one way or another. I guess my point was "no one is off the hook" and we could all relate to each other's experience one way or another. 

The second "light bulb" moment was discussing the terms of Muralismo and then looking at the picture. From the article I curated, students had these definitions below of the art movements we studied prior to diving into Frida (I am still editing the article, and will share soon!). The lesson here was looking beyond a fixed definition and thinking more broadly in terms of the "spirit" of the movement or core philosophical values and purpose; looking at the "why" instead of being fixated on the "what."


Muralismo- un movimiento artístico comenzado en México a principios del siglo XX. Fue creado por un grupo de intelectuales después de la revolución mexicana. Los artistas o muralistas transformaron espacios públicos en lienzos grandes donde se reflejaban sus mensajes politicos y sociales. 


The primary goal was to make them think "outside the canvas" and think more about the "spirit" of a movement and not the letter. Many students clung to the textbook example Muralismo, which centers on it being fixed in public spaces; but this was a public space, and the art was fluid, could it be Muralismo?   After going back and forth we came to the following conclusion: 

The artwork shares various elements of Muralismo, because it: 

-It shares a strong political message- directed to the people
-Transforms (albeit temporarily) a public place (I coined the term Muralismo Andante).
-Although it does not totally comply with technical definition (I am no expert, I dabble here and there in the arts), it does comply philosophically. 

It was a lively debate (and review for an upcoming assessment). We spent about 30 minutes discussing the picture. 




Stay tuned for more on Frida: Arte sin limites



Friday, January 20, 2017

Free Short Story and Scaffolding Resources for Spanish Class




La Chica Nueva: Short story for Spanish class levels 3-5
Free Resource 



I want my students to read, be intrigued, acquire vocabulary in new ways and conceptually understand the interplay grammatical structures- all while having fun! I love it when their eyes roll across the pages and a smile slowly cracks across their faces, their eyes light up and it's obvious; they are caught up in the gravitational pull of a good novel or story. I was attempting to recreate those moments with La Nueva Alumna. 

This short story started out essentially as a review piece. My plan was for students to review structures and vocabulary prior to a writing assessment. But then, I soon realized that students really liked the story (this happened with a few other stories), so the original one-page review activity blossomed to a short story about one of the characters in El Internado. 

Although La Nueva Alumna is loosely based on one of the characters of the Internado series (which is available on Netflix), rest assured that your students don't have to be familiar with the series to understand the storyline (See the synopsis below). 






However, on the flipside, if your students are engrossed in the drama of El Internado, then this story will be perfect for them (after episode 5) for a number of reasons: 
  • It houses many of the expressions used in the series, along with some common ones used in everyday language. 
  • The text gives ample opportunity to practice core structures such as the preterit, imperfect, subjunctive and conditional (more subjunctive than anything, that was our target structure). 
  • It sheds light on Vicky's socio-economic status and leaving her other friends behind (little back story) 
  • Touches on her being colada y enamorada hasta las trancas de Iván (pobrecita, ¿verdad?) 
  • Contains dialogue that approximates native speakers' vernacular and idiosyncrasies (my students love dialogue) and it's not overbearing. In fact, many words and expressions are detailed in the footnotes. 
Students always ask me, so, do you have a story for everything? Yes, I do!

We were just about the review our target structures prior to an extended response writing assessment. Instead of the regular grammar review, which is sometimes the necessary evil, I  created this story to include the structures, the idioms and the backstory of one of the characters in our beloved series: El Internado. 

 Once I witnessed how students reacted with reading some of the other dialogues in stories in the class, I couldn't resist.We've done similar activities in the past, but not his in-depth. If you are an Internadista,  Click here for more Episode 4 Internado summary dialogue.  If you are more of a watch and creative writing type,  there is something for you, click here.  If your class loves to debate, you have to click here for the Amelia and Elsa faceoff (both resources are free).  If you are looking other interesting compelling reading drenched with drama and laced with your favorite-no-matter-how-much-I-teach-they-still-don't-get-it structures(kinda long, I know), then click here for the well-reviewed series: Skeletons in the closet (El muerto en el armario). Now that we got all of that out of the way, shall we dive into our short story?

Synopsis 
La Nueva Alumna is a fictionalized account of Vicky’s journey to the prestigious boarding school: El Internado. It gives a bit of a back story highlighting her working class roots, and her major crush on Iván, another pivotal character from the series.  This story was originally written as a cloze-text practice of language structures such as the present and past subjunctive and the preterite and imperfect. Said formative assessment was administered to students after viewing episode 5 of El Internado, when it became clear that Vicky was colada con Iván. The story presents a mix of narration and dialogue, which could be easily acted out in class or in groups!


La Nueva Alumna has five short sections: 
1. La hija de la frutera 
2. La gran noticia
3. El primer día 
4. Cómo salir de la zona de amigos

5. La chica de mis sueños 


This story packet has the following activities and resources

  1. Short Story: La Nueva Alumna
  2. Unfamiliar vocabulary is footnoted in the text. 
  3. Pre-reading vocabulary and Spanish Idiom activity (some expressions are used in the series El Internado and other are common expressions).  
  4. Comprehension questions 
  5. Pre-reading grammar subjunctive activity 
  6. Cloze-text fill in the blank abridged version of the story to practice the subjunctive (mood), preterit and imperfect tenses. 
Please enjoy and consider giving it a rating on TPT!




Internado aficionados: The Untold Story of Vicky- Target structures, Spanish Idioms and a whole lot of Scaffolding!



La Chica Nueva: Short story for Spanish class
Edición Internado 
Free Resource 



I want my students to read, be intrigued, acquire vocabulary in new ways and conceptually understand the interplay grammatical structures- all while having fun! I love it when their eyes roll across the pages and a smile slowly cracks across their faces, their eyes light up and it's obvious; they are caught up in the gravitational pull of a good novel or story. I was attempting to recreate those moments with La Nueva Alumna. 

This short story started out essentially as a review piece. My plan was for students to review structures and vocabulary prior to a writing assessment. But then, I soon realized that students really liked the story (this happened with a few other stories), so the original one-page review activity blossomed to a short story about one of the characters in El Internado. 

Although La Nueva Alumna is loosely based on one of the characters of the Internado series (which is available on Netflix), rest assured that your students don't have to be familiar with the series to understand the storyline (See the synopsis below). 






However, on the flipside, if your students are engrossed in the drama of El Internado, then this story will be perfect for them (after episode 5) for a number of reasons: 
  • It houses many of the expressions used in the series, along with some common ones used in everyday language. 
  • The text gives ample opportunity to practice core structures such as the preterit, imperfect, subjunctive and conditional (more subjunctive than anything, that was our target structure). 
  • It sheds light on Vicky's socio-economic status and leaving her other friends behind (little back story) 
  • Touches on her being colada y enamorada hasta las trancas de Iván (pobrecita, ¿verdad?) 
  • Contains dialogue that approximates native speakers' vernacular and idiosyncrasies (my students love dialogue) and it's not overbearing. In fact, many words and expressions are detailed in the footnotes. 
Students always ask me, so, do you have a story for everything? Yes, I do!

We were just about the review our target structures prior to an extended response writing assessment. Instead of the regular grammar review, which is sometimes the necessary evil, I  created this story to include the structures, the idioms and the backstory of one of the characters in our beloved series: El Internado. 

 Once I witnessed how students reacted with reading some of the other dialogues in stories in the class, I couldn't resist.We've done similar activities in the past, but not his in-depth. If you are an Internadista,  Click here for more Episode 4 Internado summary dialogue.  If you are more of a watch and creative writing type,  there is something for you, click here.  If your class loves to debate, you have to click here for the Amelia and Elsa faceoff (both resources are free).  If you are looking other interesting compelling reading drenched with drama and laced with your favorite-no-matter-how-much-I-teach-they-still-don't-get-it structures(kinda long, I know), then click here for the well-reviewed series: Skeletons in the closet (El muerto en el armario). Now that we got all of that out of the way, shall we dive into our short story?

Synopsis 
La Nueva Alumna is a fictionalized account of Vicky’s journey to the prestigious boarding school: El Internado. It gives a bit of a back story highlighting her working class roots, and her major crush on Iván, another pivotal character from the series.  This story was originally written as a cloze-text practice of language structures such as the present and past subjunctive and the preterite and imperfect. Said formative assessment was administered to students after viewing episode 5 of El Internado, when it became clear that Vicky was colada con Iván. The story presents a mix of narration and dialogue, which could be easily acted out in class or in groups!


La Nueva Alumna has five short sections: 
1. La hija de la frutera 
2. La gran noticia
3. El primer día 
4. Cómo salir de la zona de amigos

5. La chica de mis sueños 


This story packet has the following activities and resources

  1. Short Story: La Nueva Alumna
  2. Unfamiliar vocabulary is footnoted in the text. 
  3. Pre-reading vocabulary and Spanish Idiom activity (some expressions are used in the series El Internado and other are common expressions).  
  4. Comprehension questions 
  5. Pre-reading grammar subjunctive activity 
  6. Cloze-text fill in the blank abridged version of the story to practice the subjunctive (mood), preterit and imperfect tenses. 
Please enjoy and consider giving it a rating on TPT!





Wednesday, January 4, 2017

La clase de confesiones Spanish 1 Novel- present tense, school vocabulary

La clase de confesiones
Target structures -ar, -er and -er present tense verbs 


Now available to order at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pIu4VS.   Let the confessions begin!
Excerpt from chapter 2: El profesor Martín (Free Teacher's Manual of Confesiones)
...Carlos mira a Jessica. Ella saca su cuaderno, una pluma rosada y su móvil. Él piensa que Jessica es muy hermosa. Le gusta su cara. Le gusta su pelo porque ella siempre tiene peinados interesantes. Le gustan sus zapatos y su ropa.  Pero, lo que más le gustan, son sus ojos. Le gustan los ojos de Jessica. Sus ojos son grandes y cafés. Carlos ya no mira a Jessica porque alguien está bloqueando su vista.
-Carlos- no la mires tanto- dice el profesor Martín. 

El profesor Martín mira a Carlos mientras Carlos mira a Jessica.  

-¿Tienes la tarea?  - dice el profesor. 

-No, no la tengo. ¿La puedo traer mañana?- pregunta Carlos

-Si no miras a Jessica tal vez puedes hacer tu tarea- dice el profesor. 
Carlos mira al profesor. 

-Yo no acepto el trabajo tardío- dice el profesor

-¿Puede usted hacer una excepción? Yo tuve práctica de beisbol. ¿Puedo traer la tarea mañana? - pregunta Carlos, otra vez.  

-Más te vale- dice el profesor. 

Preview


This is just the tip of the iceberg for Carlos. Not only does the teacher shakes things up in class, but a normal run-of-mill- writing assignment turns fatal for Carlos' social life. In an attempt to "pair" Carlos with the girl he has been crushing on, the teacher makes a critical move that backfires and throws Carlos' life into a tailspin. As Carlos tries to dig himself out of this hole, he actually digs it deeper! He endures endless teasing and gossipy teachers as everyone discovers his secret. He is literally in a "camiseta de once varas." Carlos soon realizes that his mentiras can only get his so much mileage and that only can the truth set him free....but will it be enough for Jessica?

Themes: Friendship, Love, Bullying, Decisions, and Character.

I created this story for my Spanish I novice-mid class. Yes, your students can read it and enjoy it at the novice level!  After countless mini stories and quizlet-self-engaged vocabulary sets, they still had difficulty with some of the basic vocabulary. I knew the target structures they needed to learn but I also thought it'd be fun to familiarize them with native expressions I used in class. Students will immediately see themselves and their teachers reflected in the story (I got some good teacher lines in there as well, all the things you ever wanted to say).  

The story features most vocabulary associated with classroom such as school supplies, classes, class furniture, prepositional phrases and activities related to the classroom activities. Stretching their vocabulary a bit, there is a little bit of poetry from one of the characters such as “ ella es el sol que ilumina mi día” in addition to common idiomatic expressions such as más te vale, no lo aguanto ni en pintura.  Phrases such as these are footnoted, listed in the pre-reading vocabulary and practiced in pre-reading exercises.  My student also used some of this vocabulary to talk about their other teachers (what happens in Spanish class stays in Spanish class!).

 As students read this story, they were on the edge of their seats (they wanted to read aloud because it was fun. I was the narrator to keep the flow). There is considerable dialogue for it to be read aloud. There are also some lines for the whole class such as "¡Vaya!" and "!Ohhhhhh!" during an intense (appropriate to level) debate in chapter 10 (my boys loved this!).  The boys were rooting for Carlos the whole time (Dude, why did you do that?- Jamal), and the girls fell in love with his attempts to woe Jessica (and other funny characters- Rubén is a riot). I had originally wrote only 5 chapters, but they wanted to know what ever happened with Carlos and Jessica, so I finished with La Bella Mentira. The ending will not disappoint. 

Amazing Side Note 
As a post-reading assignment, they begged to write a sequel and prequel so I have them class time to do this (We were at the end of the unit and it was time to assess and move on). One of my students, who came with no experience whatsoever in Spanish, wrote one of the best alternative endings. I included the brief synopsis below. I will include the full narrative after winter break.  

The students were asking me the feminine version of Patán (jerk), the name Jessica calls Carlos in the story (intense scene, but funny). So I could only think of mosquita muerta. Well, Hannah ended up using it in her story. Also, one of the motivations of Carlos' lie was that he had been rejected. She included this, the past tense phrase (not many) in the story into her narrative. It was beautiful and made me think of how students really are sponges. 
Free Teacher's Manual 

Check out the free Teacher’s Manual for this storyIt features 17 front-loading during reading and post-comprehension exercises. This bundle includes pre-reading vocabulary and sentence activity, a Quizlet set (for you techies), sentence writing activities, cloze-text reading text for the story, practice test, listening exercise (you read a passage and students fill out the activity) in addition to contextualized sentences for working some of the idiomatic expressions.  For example, one of the pre-reading activities familiarizes students with some authentic expressions used, such as “ más te vale.” Contextual fill-in-the-blank sentences also offer a unique peek into the story as well as access background knowledge. 

Synopsis
Carlos hates Spanish class with a passion but finds the will to survive when he lays eyes on Jessica. Her presence is both distracting and motivating. However, his secret crush is compromised when his teacher decides to “shake things up a bit” in class. A simple writing assignment turns out to be a lethal injection to his social life and by extension his chances with Jessica. From the nosy teacher inadvertently trying to help him “set him up with Jessica” immediately backfires and turns into one of the most embarrassing moments in Carlos’ life; and Rubén is there to witness it all.  After this incident, Carlos takes matters into his own hands and makes the biggest mistake of his adolescent life. Will his social life ever recover? Will his stunt in class win over Jessica, or will it push her away for good? Carlos learns that las mentiras as tienen patas cortas and that the honest is the best policy. Carlos invites you to come along this adventure into La clase de confesiones….todos tienen una confesión (even the teacher!)


I wish I could say that was the end but..Carlos' adventures don't stop here... Carlos mete la pata otra vez

!

Part 2, takes the adventure up a notch.

Themes: Redemption, Second Chances, Friendship, Courage, Resilience, Rejection... it's a mixed bag. Carlos learns that "las mentiras tienen patas cortas,'" and the only way to win Jessica is by telling the truth (I hear Jack Nicholson in my ear saying " You can't handle the truth!)









Excerpt from chapter 9: La Bella Mentira 

Es jueves y Carlos está triste. Está triste porque tiene la clase de español. La clase de español ya no es su clase favorita. No es su clase favorita porque Carlos escribe sobre Jessica y todos los estudiantes escuchan el párrafo de Carlos. La clase de español no es su clase favorita porque Carlos dice cosas muy malas del profesor. Ahora Carlos está triste porque Jessica está en la clase de español. Carlos piensa en el mensaje de texto de Jessica << Eres un patán.>>

Antes de la clase, Carlos ve a Lucas, su amigo en el pasillo: 

-Hola Carlos, ¿cómo andas? hermano- dice Lucas. 

-Bastante mal, lee esto- dice Carlos. Carlos le enseña a Lucas el texto de Jessica.  

Lucas lee el primero texto de Jessica 

<<Tengo una confesión: tú eres el chico de la clase de español.  Me gustas también.>>

Lucas responde: 
-Enhorabuena, ¡Jessica te gusta!

No exactamente. -Ahora, lee el otro mensaje- dice Carlos

<<Carlos, yo pienso que yo te gusto pero veo que no. Yo pienso que eres un mentiroso y todo que escribes en la clase de español es una mentira. No me gustan los mentirosos. Yo soy alérgica a los mentirosos.  Yo no quiero hablar más contigo… y otra cosa… Eres un patán- Jessy.>>

Lucas lee el segundo mensaje de texto y responde:

 ¡Caray! Esto no es bueno. 

-Sí, yo sé- dice Carlos con un tono triste. -Y ahora tengo la clase de español. 

Jessica está en la clase. Carlos le explica la situación a Lucas. Después, Lucas dice:

-Carlos, ánimo. Yo te ayudo. Tú tienes que ser honesto con ella.  

-¿Honesto?… pero ¿ cómo?- pregunta Carlos.  

-Pues, habla con ella. Dile que tú eres un chico estúpido y que todos necesitamos  una segunda oportunidad.  

-¿Eso es todo?- pregunta Carlos.  


-Sí, no es muy complicado- dice Lucas. 

Enjoy!