In the Time of the Butterflies, part 1

This week we’ve been working on a mini-unit as a lead in to reading Felipe Alou from TPRS Publishing–one of my favorites from their collection.  Knowing that my students would need a fair amount of background knowledge to appreciate the setting, I decided to do some front loading through the film In the Time of the Butterflies starring Salma Hayek, Edward James Olmos, and Marc Anthony.  The film is in English–something I generally try to avoid–but it’s captivating enough that it pulls students in.  I’m using the unit in Spanish 2 and I have some very reluctant students in that group who have been difficult to motivate.  It’s my hope that this mini unit will engage them enough to be a stepping stone toward more challenging tasks while exposing them to culture and history that they might otherwise dismiss.  And so far… so good.

Here’s the outline of the mini-unit (90 minute blocks):

Day 1:  Students work on cultural background log (DR Culture log) after completing assessment from previous unit  (and while waiting for others to finish)

Day 2:

Day 3:

  • This Kahoot (in Spanish)
  • Watch ~ 45 minutes of film (stop when Minerva is removed from her jail cell)

Day 4:

  • Quizlet/Quizlet Live with this vocabulary
  • Watch rest of film
  • This Quizizz
  • Comprehensified background information reading (Las hermanas mirabal) on the Mirabal family (in Spanish)
    • Read, working together
    • Make timeline of key events in Spanish
    • Comprehension check questions (individually)
  • Happy weekend!

Many of the students have really enjoyed the film so far, and were asking for it to continue when I stopped it at the cliff hangers.  They loved recognizing Marc Anthony from Música Miércoles earlier in the year, and the issues of racism, discrimination, and having a voice in society have been resonating with them.  Some of the background information will be rolled in to assessments more directly dealing with Felipe Alou.  I’ll add in another reading assessment based on an infographic about the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, which has been designated to coincide with the anniversary of the Mariposa’s assassination.

All in all, the “spending” of my English minutes on this film has been worth it with this group of students… and that has reminded me again that the “best practice” is the one that sparks the interests of the students.  We’ll kick our Spanish minutes back up next week, but for these students in this class this week… this has been a good fit.

Mis Dos Mundos: El Cole

My family is currently hosting our fourth exchange student, and for the first time our student is from a Spanish speaking country.  Our previous students have been from France and Ukraine, and have added a dynamic to our family that is immeasurable.  From a WL teacher’s standpoint, having a resident language and cultural expert for the language I teach at my dinner table each night has been a true delight.  She only has about two more months with us before she returns to Spain, and in that time I’m working on a series of resources called “Mis Dos Mundos”, where I will interview Olatz on common topics related to class and create comprehensible resources for students based on them.  I like the idea that I’ll be drawing a direct connection with an authentic source, and also that we will have inherent comparison and contrast of the two worlds. Plus, it will be fun!  We will be hearing from a teen who is a lot like them… and who brings a different perspective.

Our first installment is about comparing and contrasting Olatz’ school in País Vasco and her school in the US.  The first document is the reading that we created from the interview; the second is a reading performance assessment built on the ACTFL IPA model/rubric.  I hope that they are helpful and interesting to you.

  1.  Olatz school description 
  2.   Olatz school IPA

What topics would you like to see us address?