Category: Authentic Resources

Digital Breakout: Guatemala

I have a new obsession. It started with Breakout.edu and all the fantastic breakouts that are coming out from Martina Bex. I tried the Agentes Secretos breakout in class with great success and had grand plans to create my own breakout activity. That is still in the works to go along with the novel Robo en la noche, but over spring break I allowed myself to go down the rabbit hole into the world of digital breakouts.

It’s appealing because all you need is an internet connection, a computer, and a logical brain. Solving many (too many) of the digital breakouts posted gave me lots of inspiration to tackle a digital breakout of my own. My Spanish I class is about to read Patricia va a California, and the first couple of chapters deal with Guatemala and the culture there. I tried to incorporate as much of that as possible, and here is the result: Escape: Guatemala. Take a look around and try to solve the puzzles!

 

Don Quijote: El último caballero por Karen Rowan

.My Spanish III class revolves around the history and culture of Spain, so I was eager to work with Karen Rowan’s version of the classic Don Quijote: el último caballero. The last time I taught this class, I relied on my own episodios from a more difficult student reader, and I was pleased to find that Karen’s book is vastly superior to my own efforts!  Here are some of the things I have done so far, along with what is next:

Capítulo 1:

I introduced key structures with a mini-story, acted out by my wonderful student actors. Changeable details are underlined.

Target structures:

se volvió un poco loco

decidió quemar

llegó volando

Bob es un chico normal que trabaja en Wal-mart. Un día, Bob se volvió un poco loco porque un cliente molesto lo tocaba sin parar. Así que Bob agarró una espada Nerf y atacó al cliente, pero lo mató por accidente. Entonces Bob decidió quemar toda la evidencia. Hizo un fuego grande y se escapó, pero un helicóptero de la policía llegó volando. Bob fue capturado por la policía, pero cuando le explicó la situación con el cliente molesto, la policía exclamó “¡Yo comprendo!” y lo liberó.

Students drew pictures and wrote sentences using the new vocabulary as a follow-up, and we were able to read and discuss chapter one of Don Quijote without difficulties.

Capítulo 2

I used another mini-story to introduce target vocabulary.

Target Structures:

quería buscar a una dama

se enamoró inmediatamente

todos se rieron

Bob quería buscar buscar a una dama. Quería buscar el amor. Vio a una dama y se enamoró inmediatamente. La presentó a sus amigos, y todos se rieron.

This was a super-short story, and I used this creepy granny doll as the dama in question. Any prop that you have to make the dama ridiculous or funny would be a good one!

I followed up the mini-story with a love song in Spanish (“Chocolate” by Jesse y Joy, but there are many apt songs!) since this was right before Valentine’s Day. The next day, I had a sub day and my students read chapter two on their own and drew pictures to show understanding.

Capítulo 3

This was the famous windmill scene, so I wanted to really help students picture it. After writing the structures ejército de gigantes and molinos de viento on the board, we read and discussed the chapter. Students had to draw Don Quijote’s fantasy vs. Sancho Panza’s reality, and then we did a dictation which was a summary of the episode from Don Quijote’s perspective.

The next day, we reviewed stills from the 1979 cartoon of Don Quijote and then did a Movie Talk with the Youtube video:

Capítulo 4

After writing the target structures pastores y ovejas and les tiraron piedras on the board, I read the chapter aloud, throwing “piedras” (some pencil erasers) at students during the story.

Capítulo 5

My students read this chapter first in small groups and drew scenes with dialogue from the chapter. To cement understanding, we acted out the scene with actors perched on their desks and falling off of them. We then discussed why it was necessary to trick Don Quijote instead of just asking him to come home and made predictions about how Don Quijote would react to a year with no adventures.

Capítulo 6

I am going to pre-teach se dio cuenta de que with a PQA discussion about when students realized that Santa/the tooth fairy/the Easter bunny weren’t real. Then, students will read the final chapter individually while I play music from Strauss’s Don Quijote Op. 35. (One of my students remembered playing movements of this in her youth orchestra, and was trying to match what she played with what she was reading. This will be a surprise for her!)

We will then discuss what they read, focusing on whether Don Quijote is a tragic figure or merely ridiculous.

Follow-up

In searching around for related materials, I came across the short film Lila on Zachary Jones’s site.

 

We will Movie Talk the film, then students will complete the activity sheet posted on Zambombozo, separating reality from fantasy. Then students will read the analysis of the video on Zambombazo, showing comprehension by matching the more advanced Spanish of the given text with paraphrased passages in simpler Spanish. After discussing the text, students will have a writing assignment comparing themselves to both Don Quijote and Lila and answering the central question: “¿Es mejor vivir en el mundo real o en un mundo de fantasías?”

Perros y Gatos, Oh My!

Zachary Jones has a weekly feature on Wednesdays call Miaucoles (get it?) that is worth checking out. He posts a cute cat meme or video in Spanish every week, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up for those dreary winter days that seem to drag on forever.

One recent video is a commercial about the value of adding some furry friends to a boring situation. It’s a great clip to add to your arsenal of Movie Talk videos. I haven’t used it yet, but I would probably teach or reinforce structures like works, boring/bored, and smiles. You could also get a lot of mileage out of describing the cats & dogs, talking about what they are doing and where, and discussing students’ pets.

El monstruo de la laguna

I’ve talked before about using Name Cards on the first day of school to get to know students and provide content for creating mini-stories in the first days of school. Favorite activities are a no-brainer for novice students, but what about second year students? I like to get the ball rolling with the phrase “tiene miedo.” Students draw pictures of what they fear, and we build scenarios of students finding clowns in their lockers or sharks in the bathroom. It’s very useful for reviewing past vocabulary, too.

A natural segue for “tiene miedo” name cards is this little comic strip I found on Zachary Jones’s site. The language is super-simple for returning students, but you can use circling techniques to build up a background story for the little green monster and the redheaded girl. I like to finish by having students draw what happens next, then displaying possible scenarios, discussing them in Spanish, and voting on a class favorite. Whatever my students decide, I write up into an extended reading for another class period.

delcar_el_monstruo_de_la_laguna_610_2

You can extend this little comic even further if you have access to Señor Wooly’s fabulous site! His video for “Guapo” makes for a perfect contrast. After viewing and discussing the video and accompanying readings, I like to have students do a Free Write in Spanish on who the REAL monster is: Victor,  or this little green sweetheart.

OR you could connect the monster in the comic to Canticuénticos’ “Cumbia del monstruo,” a catchy little dance song with lots of opportunities to teach different body parts.

One of the things I love about teaching with Comprehensible Input methods is how easy it can be to link authentic resources from different sources. How could you use this comic in your classroom?

Alma

“Alma” is a fantastic animated short that was making the rounds in CI circles last year. It’s perfect for this time of year because of the weather and winter clothing vocabulary. I borrowed several ideas from around the web as I built my lesson plans around the video.

First, I pre-taught some vocabulary. “arriba del estante” and “escribió en la pared” are easy enough to TPR, and then I used PQA to circle the word “muñeca.”

Then, I used a shortened version of the embedded reading from Nina Barber, changed to the past tense since that is what my students have been using all semester, to do a Pictado. Students listened as I told the story and drew pictures of what they heard. I got a lot of repetitions from simply saying the story multiple times, then I circled some questions about it to make sure they understood. Then they used their pictures to practice saying the story back to a partner.

The next day, we reviewed the story by talking about a student’s Pictado drawings. I wrote the essential vocabulary on the board as we went, then added the words “gorra,” “guantes,” and “chaleco.” It happened to be a hat day in my school, so we talked about the different hats people were wearing. Then I copy-pasted version 2 of the embedded reading into IMTranslator, using their TTS Voice service to read the story in Spanish. Students listened to the Spanish and translated it aloud into English. (I love IMTranslator when I want to give my kids a break from hearing my voice!) Then I used the photo collage on Cynthia Hitz’s site as an informal listening assessment, with students holding up their fingers to indicate the number of the photo I was talking about.

FINALLY it was time to watch the film. The first time through, I paused it at different times to talk about what they were seeing in Spanish. I really liked how pre-teaching with the readings helped them understand the final film. I stopped right before she touches the doll and asked for predictions. Then we got to watch the whole thing through without pausing. After discussing the ending, I had them do a timed writing assignment about the story. (If students finished early, I challenged them to continue the story on their own.)

There are so many other different things to do with this video, I couldn’t try them all. Martina Bex even turned it into a midterm exam!

Movie Talk with Rio (plus a novel tie-in!)

As my high school students have been reading Kristy Placido’s Robo en la noche this quarter, they keep drawing comparisons to the animated movie Rio. Now, I’ve never seen this movie, but I thought it would be a natural progression to do a week of Movie Talk with a clip. Pixar-type movies are usually good about posting clips that function as stand-alone shorts, instead of just the typical teaser-trailer. One short jaunt through YouTube got me a good clip for Movie Talk: It’s short (about two minutes), action-packed, and full of vocabulary that my students will be familiar with from reading the novel (aves, no puede volar, se cae, tiene miedo, alas, se pone nervioso). After viewing the video, I started writing up a comprehensible text, focusing on two target phrases:

no sabía volar
chocó con

Here’s the video, along with the accompanying reading.


Rio MovieTalk