Thursday, October 31, 2013

TPRS year 4 - The Day of the Dead

     So almost every Spanish teacher has some sort of activity or activities that they do in their Spanish classes around this time of the year!  Since November 2 is celebrated as "The Day of the Dead" in Mexico and countries in Central America, this is an opportunity to talk about something involving culture.

    Last year, I wrote a reading for them involving Day of the Dead.  I believe this was the Spanish 2 reading, but maybe a simplified version was a Spanish 1 reading, there were more out-of-bounds words than there should have been.  See reading.

    This year for Spanish 1, I found a neat video through the Moretprs yahoo group.  It's a silent movie about a girl who misses her mom and somehow gets whisked away to the land of the dead, where she finds her mother.  See movie.

   My goal was to do some different embedded readings (multi-leveled after the Movietalk).

    Here is what I came up with.

    What we did for reading was we folded the questions portion and hid it while reading.  We circled words we didn't know.  Then we wrote those words on the board and went over them.  We then translated the reading as a class.

     Then we went over the second reading.

     I never had time to get to the third reading.  Maybe next class.  I also might try out some textivate with the second reading or the third.

    Most classes did well on the reading.  I know reading isn't a favorite of many students.  But I was asking them to circle words they couldn't figure out and I did tell them that I threw in a few words I knew they wouldn't know but could figure out.

    I liked the movietalk/story combo because we were able to slowly add to our understanding of what Day of the Dead might look like in other countries, which we can continue to revisit each year.

    How do you do embedded readings in your class?

*     My first years of teaching, I had students create altars for fictional characters that had supposedly died (Bug's Bunny, Kenny from Southpark, Shrek, etc).  They made the altars during class and then teachers voted on their favorite altars that captured the spirit of the character the most.

     They were fun and the kids enjoyed this activity.  Of course, with group work comes lots of English and lost time in the target language.  I am reconsidering doing this project again next year to give the kids something hands on to do during the last 20 minutes of class for a few days leading up to the Day of the Dead.  I think this would give the opportunity to discuss what exactly is an "ofrenda" and what are the "altares" used for.

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