Spanish Civil War Unit in Spanish 4 – Instagram Imagery

guerra civil insta SQUARE COVERI really love the concept of #instagramELE and I also love the idea of tying social media into lessons from history. Since I am home on my 3rd snow day in the last 4 school days, I am getting tons of work done! Too bad I didn’t bring home my stack of week-old quizzes to correct!

We have so far completed our Timeline Activity and we have watched the movie Butterfly. By the way, I only teach Spanish 4 every other year, and I realized that my movie only had English subtitles. I am going to have to get one with only Spanish subtitles because since we have been using El Internado weekly in class, my students really don’t need English subtitles! But Spanish closed-captioning is very helpful!  We are moving toward our final project which is creating an art gallery, but first we have a novel, some additional readings, 2 more films, Guernica, and the film short El Ambidiestro to study!

Since our culminating project focuses on imagery, I thought bringing Instagram into the mix might be a great way to get kids connecting their learning to images.

I created this project, which I am happy to share with you (It is a FREE resource). You may need to create your own calendar, but it provides a model for you of how you can implement the project.

I also have a couple of other items that you might find useful if you are teaching about the Spanish Civil War. I have a reading activity about the Niños Robados of Spain (FREE resource). I also have a packet I created with a mini-biography of Federico García Lorca and comprehension activity which I sell.

I will continue to update on how my unit is going in Spanish 4…if the snow ever stops! Happy Spring!

Unidad: Lo sobrenatural (Spanish 3)

image courtesy of I’m Fantastic

I needed something light, fun, and engaging to take us through the last 8 weeks of school. This is what I came up with! A unit on the supernatural! Kids love it, and I with a little help from my twitter PLN I was able to gather/create a ton of resources! A very special thanks to  Caitlin Hudgins, Carrie Toth, Carol Gaab, Martina Bex, and Cynthia Hitz for all of their help with this, whether they realized it or not!

Essential questions

  • What is “supernatural?”
  • What are some examples of different types of supernatural creatures/events that occur in movies and stories?
  • How do people react when faced with a supernatural occurrence?
  • Why are we fascinated by the supernatural?
  • Do different cultures have different ways of portraying/explaining/relating to supernatural events?
  • Why do some people believe and others don’t believe?
  • Is belief in the supernatural a cultural thing?
  • How do our religious beliefs affect our reaction or ability to process something that appears supernatural?
  • Are there supernatural phenomena that YOU believe in?

Learning targets

  • I can identify vocabulary used to discuss the supernatural.
  • I can compare and contrast various supernatural phenomena from the stories we learned about in class.
  • I can make inferences and predictions about unknown elements of a story.
  • I can recall main events as well as details from and understandably re-tell a story about a supernatural phenomenon.
  • I can describe my own beliefs about the supernatural.
  • I can inquire about the beliefs of others in the supernatural.
  • I can create my own supernatural story using vocabulary and concepts from the various resources we studied.

Please view my entire unit on the supernatural here.

Addition 5/29/13:

To assess this unit my students are doing an interpersonal conversation as well as an in-class essay.

For the interpersonal conversation, I made a set of picture cards (download sobrenatural_pics) of various supernatural creatures/phenomena from the unit, and also a set of question cards (download speaking assessment questions). Students selected their own groups of 3.

Each student will select a picture card randomly, as well as 3 question cards randomly. They will then discuss the cards they chose and ask each other the questions. I will encourage them to make up their own additional questions as well! I will let you know how it goes after they do this next week!

Essay for Lo Sobrenatural “Los Cucos” (gracias to @senoraCMT for this!)

  1. Select 3 of the pieces we looked at – Explain how they have a common thread.
  2. Compare 2 of the “cucos” with your own childhood cuco.
  3. Compare 2 of the “cucos” with a favorite cuco from a movie or book.
  4. Why is it sometimes scarier when you can’t SEE the scary thing? Use the film/videos/novels/stories to explain your point.

Chac Mool Embedded Reading

chac embeddedI am creating a unit on the supernatural for my level 3s, and I decided I really wanted to teach them the short story Chac Mool by Carlos Fuentes, which is one of my favorite short stories and super creepy! The only problem is, it is a bit over their heads!

I decided to try my hand at creating an embedded reading.

Please take a look, use it if you like, and please leave me a comment!

Chac Mool por Carlos Fuentes embedded

TPRS Mad libs

Remember the fun of Mad Libs?

People often wonder how TPRS teachers can maintain the creativity and stamina required to use such a method.  The teacher tends to be a major source of comprehensible input for the students and it is sometimes a challenge to be cute, funny, engaging, 90% in the target language AND comprehensible!

When I first started using TPRS, I used to script out my stories, leaving room for a few personalized details.  Now, after having used the method for over 15 years, I am capable of “winging it” most of the time.  However, there are days when it falls flat or certain classes that just don’t really get into it.  I am also now mentoring a fantastic intern teacher from Michigan State University who is openly embracing the concept of teaching with comprehensible input, and I am trying to find ways of making the whole process easier for her.

In reality, the storytelling process (or “storyasking” process as it is often affectionately known by TPRS practitioners) is quite a bit like the concept of Mad Libs.  You have the skeleton of a plot and then fill in the details.  Once you start filling in those details, you “circle” the details with questions.  Here are some videos of Carol Gaab teaching with great examples of TPRS if you are interested!

Today, in Spanish 1, we literally made a Mad Lib for students to complete with a partner.  After that, we asked students to share some of their stories.  We then verbally circled those stories.  Great comprehensible input! And it was fantastic for those couple of reluctant groups to see how fun storytelling can be!

Here is a Mad Lib that I created and a second Mad Lib I created, feel free to use, adapt, steal!

Level 4 Spanish Civil War / Art / Film unit

Recently my level 4 Spanish class finished up a study of the Spanish Civil War and Franco. It was a lengthy unit, which encompassed a novel study last semester, and then continued into the current semester with a film and art study. I was really pleased with the learning that took place, the increased ability of my students to discuss more advanced topics (these are 4th year students, but not pre-AP. Most of them are just interested in Spanish and not all are even college bound kids.), and what seems to be a genuine appreciation for the struggles of the Spanish people, the understanding of the concept of fascism, the understanding of left-wing versus right-wing, and the concept of film and art as a powerful political statement rather than simply entertainment or beauty.

I’d like to share an overview of what we did, much of which unfolded as a result of some really powerful collaboration with my colleague Carrie Toth (@senoraCMT). I am so grateful to know her and call her my friend!


La hija del sastre
García Lorca Biography Packet


Article on Spain’s Falsified Adoptions under Franco


La lengua de las mariposas

El espinazo del diablo

El laberinto del fauno


Guernica by Pablo Picasso in 3D

El Ambidiestro

Students kept journals, we did lots of discussion, and they also were told to look for imagery and especially what they believed might be symbolism. We kept track of the powerful images that were common across more than one of the items we viewed or read. Students practiced speaking about the imagery with an inside-outside circle activity.

Finally, after studying the painting Guernica by Picasso, students were given time to create their own art representative of what they knew about the events and consequences of the civil war for the people of Spain. Once their art was finished, we displayed it in a “gallery” (a large open unused choir room in our school!), complete with tapas (ok, popcorn, chips and oreos, but it was a nice thought!). Students were divided, each group had 10 min to circulate and talk with others, 10 minutes to stand near own art. All talking in Spanish. I circulated asking questions to help them refine their own thoughts and statements. At the end, they had to describe their art to me in Spanish (via cell phone using Google voice), and then were randomly assigned to the art of another student to describe or discuss in Spanish.

Here is a video of two of my students describing art created by their classmates.

MiWLA Handouts and Links

Rejoinder List  we dicussed in Carol Gaab’s workshop on Friday

Transforming the World Language Classroom With Formative Assessment 1:00-4:30 pm University 1

Formative Assessment MiWLA 2011

Angry Birds Article

Robo en la noche Choice Board Projects

Formative Assessment Teacher Tools

Reading Comprehension Assessment

Writing Rubric

Cute “Secret Message” Activity

Formative Assessment Card Sorting Activity (if you are a coach feel free to borrow and use!)

Online Resources for Maximum Learning Impact  2:30-3:20 pm Ballroom F


Leave your impressions of these resources here!