I Can Be Your Hero, Baby!

One of the catalysts in my growth as a teacher in the last few years was this post from the amazingly creative Kara Parker and Meghan Smith.  It was what lit the lightbulb of how I might be able to make comprehensible work in my class.  I knew why, but without having seen models, the how was difficult to grasp.  It resulted in teaching the “activities” unit of my novice class a lot differently.  Instead of naming sports, we instead started talking about them–all in Spanish.  Since the sports’ names are almost all cognates, they are easy.  But when we started learning about sports through famous athletes, well that was an a-ha! moment.

Students researched a famous Hispanic athlete to report back on.  While most chose mainstream US sports like basketball and baseball, there was a group–that group–of boys who are totally not into school, let alone Spanish.  But when they were given the opportunity to talk about Rey Mysterio and other lucha libre, oh my tortilla!  They were all over it.   And thus, Lucha Libre Day was born.

Students completed this assignment:

1.  Ve al sitio:   ¿Cuál es tu nombre de luchador?

2.  Inventa una personalidad como luchador.  ¿Dónde vives?  ¿Cómo es tu personalidad como luchador?

3.  ¿Luchas por el equipo técnico (bueno) o el equipo rudo (malo)?

4.  Diseña y colorea tu máscara de luchador.

And they made their own lucha libre masks–for those who didn’t own one already.;)


Now, confession time:  I didn’t know anything about this world when we started this journey.  But my students were enthusiastic about teaching me, and that got me exploring on my own.  There is a collection of resources at the bottom of this post that you might find helpful in building your own Lucha Libre day!

For the intermediate classes, I’ve also done a different version–superhero day.  It might be easy to dismiss all of this as fluff, but it is an engaging topic with real meat to it.  We can compare superheroes that they already know with characters like Chapulín Colorado (played by the recently deceased Chesperito).  We do some activities with film (Los Increíbles), music, and it’s a great way to work on advanced grammar concepts like imperfect subjunctive/conditional tenses with questions like, “if you could have one superpower, what would it be?”, “what would your costume be?”, “what would your secret hideout be like?”, and “who would be your sidekick?”.  This also opens up into a potential PBL project: “If you could solve one world problem, what would it be?  Why?  How?”, etc. and let them fly.


Superhéroes latinos article from Veinte Mundos

Superhero resources

PBS documentary on Lucha Libre

Dhani Tackles the Globe–episode on Mexico (available on iTunes)

Get the party going with this groovy song from Mexican Institute of Sound

Jasmin Garsd’s story on las LuchadorAs–women in the lucha libre ring

Zachary Jones (of course) has some resources here