Monday, October 6, 2014

TPRS year 5 - Cultural reading - los niños no acompañados

I realize that for our students, things that are novel are more interesting.  I'm also aware that one of the best experiences I had with my classes (ever) was being real with them in Spanish about a discussion where I was prepping their understanding of the words "las cosas pequeñas"(the small things) before listening to a song, "Las cosas pequeñas" by Prince Royce. (see blog entry)

While we prep our Spanish 2 students to be able to read Noches Misteriosas en Granada by the wonderfully talented Kristy Placido.  

And so a friend and I had decided to create a breakdown of new vocabulary per chapter for the novels so we would know how to pace ourselves and what/when to pre-teach structures.

This has been very helpful to determine which words we could teach through different contexts.

Some of the structures we have been working on this year in Spanish 2 so far are: sigue [+ing], se va, piensa, tienes que ayudarme, sale de, qué lástima, etc.

And I wanted to do an extension activity different from the previous movie-talk that we found success with and enjoyed.

I remembered that a much more talented teacher than I (her name is Martina Bex) has blogged about creating cultural texts incorporating the structures from class.  I thought this was genius.  This also was further nailed home by a presentation at the Central States Conference by Carrie Toth, where she talked about using more Comprehensible Input and cultural relevant information in upper levels.

So I took a stab at it.  I remembered this summer in the news that tens of thousands of immigrant children were coming into the US from Central America.  I don't know how great of a job that I did with my PowerPoint presentation, but I thought it made for an interesting discussion with my kids and they did pretty well on the translation the following day for their warm-up.

I thought it would be more interesting as a presentation than a reading.  And it went quite well.  They were definitely not happy and laughing during the presentation, but it wasn't meant to be a normal Spanish class.  Someone even broke out in English, "Well this is depressing".  But I wanted them to understand the reality.  The only thing to add in the future is a "What can we do?" component.

Here's the presentation and the warm-up for the reading.  Please let me know your thoughts!


  1. Thanks for sharing the power point and activity. I will use it when I start Vida y Muerte en la Marasalvatrucha. Also, would be good to use in an imigration unit. This song, "La Bestia," could be an interesting follow up It is a actually a PSA from the US government played in Central America (explained in article here also has lyrics of song. Thanks again for sharing your work! Greatly appreciate it :)

    1. I thought I responded to your comment but I guess I just did in my head. You're awesome and thanks for sharing! Interestingly enough, one of my students had mentioned a song about "la bestia" and I had no idea what they were talking about until I saw your comment! ;-)

  2. Hello! I'm in my first year teaching at a high school and am going to be using Noches. Would you be able to share with me your new vocabulary breakdown per chapters for Noches Misteriosas please? I would appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks!

    1. Here is a link to the one I have.

      Keep in mind there is a teacher's guide you can buy to help with the book as well.

      ¡Buena suerte!