At my school for re-certification, we have to do an Action Research Project during a three year period, mine is the development and improvement of a course that I created called Cultura y Civilización. Technically it is a Spanish 4 class, but it is open to anyone after level 3. It was developed to encourage our non-AP students to continue their study of Spanish, but in a more engaging, more communicative, more interdisciplinary, non-grammar way.
As my three year cycle ends this year, I am going to be posting a summary and reflection of each unit that I teach. I will also be sharing this with my administrators and department head. So, these posts will be lengthy and detailed. This is my first detailed post about a unit. (Here is the first "starter" unit that I blogged about)
We just finished a unit called "El Movimiento Estudiantil en Chile". I thought maybe the unit might be a little outdated, but the essential questions are still poignant, the song is still very engaging to students, and the authentic resources are rich and varied.
These are the Essential Questions for the unit:
- ¿Qué está en el otoño de 2011 en Chile? ¿Por qué están protestando los estudiantes?
- ¿El gobierno debe tener la responsibilidad de proveer educación gratis para todos los estudiantes en todos los niveles de educación?
- ¿Quién es Ana Tijoux? ¿Cómo refleja la realidad su canción "Shock"? ¿Es la música una buena manera de protestar? ¿Por qué?
- ¿Con cuáles otras protestas se puede comparar esta protesta en Chile?
The first day of the unit was actually a "Blizzard Bag" day, so students did these activities the first day. They watched this video for an older song called "Me gustan los estudiantes" by Mercedes Sosa (written by Chilean Violeta Parra). The images in the video are from the 2011-2012 student protests in Chile. We did not spend a lot of time with this song, but there was a option to compare and contrast the two songs on the written assessment at the end of the unit.
From there, students learned about Ana Tijoux using these authentic resources:
- Wikipedia article
- Article about how Ana Tijoux was inspired to write Shock because of the student movement in Chile
- These three interviews. In the first one, she is speaking English, but it is great to show students that you don't have to speak a second language perfectly and you can still get a message across!
Some of the things they learned (and were able to talk about) from there are the following:
- how to say 1977 (using that is song is the fastest, most enjoyable way to teach students how to say numbers over a thousand, particularly useful when talking about history!)
- that there was a dictator named Pinochet in Chile
- that people, including Ana Tijoux's parents, went in to exile because of Pinochet
- Ana Tijoux is a really cool, very political, strong female, pregnant rapper ;)
Next, students translated the song. This song is very challenging to translate! It is like translating a poem with many analogies and references to politics and history. Many might not agree with doing translations, but it does fit under the Comparisons strand:
- Standard 4.1: Students demonstrate understanding of the nature of language through comparisons of the language studied and their own
- Standard 4.2: Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own.
After students translated the song, I explained (in extremely basic terms) what the Shock Doctrine is. I am fortunate to have a husband who is an Economics teacher and he explained it to me!
From there students investigated what the Movimiento Estudiantil en Chile was all about. They learned about why students were protesting, what their demands were, and how they protested... and they were able to talk about all of those things. These are the authentic resources they used to find this information:
- Wikipedia article
- The video for Shock has lots of information about how students protested, including: la toma de varias escuelas, protestas masivas, and una huelga de hambre
- These videos also showed different ways that students protested:
1800 horas - Estudiantes corriendo La Moneda
Cientos de estudiantes chilenos particpan en beso masivo
There is so much to talk about with these videos. (*Note: we briefly watched the last one and read the headline) In the first video, it actually sounds like an American student doing the interview. In the second video, the newscaster is talking very fast, but we viewed it a few times and some students were able to pick out words. Even if students cannot understand what is being said, that is ok, as long they can talk about what they see. The second part of the speaking assessment was to answer questions about the student movement in Chile and about how they protested.
From there, we did this worksheet from the amazing Zachary Jones: Mensajes sociales en los grafitis de Shock. I love this activity and how it teaches Media Literacy. The language in the graffiti is rich and varied, and students of all proficiency levels can do this activity. Analyzing graffiti is not something students do in class everyday and it is an engaging way to get to students to read, think, and analyze.
Students did a variety of speaking and short writing assignments during the unit. Here is the unit packet. We even compared these protests to protests in the United States. There was a lot of class discussion and then breaking off in to pairs to repeat the same conversations... repetitive, yes, but students were speaking and able to talk about real things.
Overall this unit was excellent for these basic reasons:
- It was engaging to students! This is one of the most important points for me in this course. I developed this course with one of the main goals being getting students engaged and excited about learning Spanish. I decided that using songs and music videos to do that was the best way... and it seems to be working.
- Students learned about something relevant to their lives. They are juniors and seniors and will be paying a lot of money very soon for education.
- Students were exposed to a wide variety of authentic resources. Some might have understood very little, some might have understood parts, and some may have understood a lot... but whatever they were able to understand, they were able to to talk about what they saw.
- Students learned about economics (a little), history, and government.
- At the end of the unit, students spoke and wrote about facts and their opinions related to the facts with much greater fluency.
I love correcting the "tests" at the end of the unit. Students have the link to the test during the entire unit, so it is not a surprise when they get it. They know the learning goals and know what I want them to know and be able to write about at the end of the unit. I also feel that the speaking part for this unit is excellent. These students are of a very wide variety of abilities, but all of them showed growth and were able to explain things in Spanish. They used the present, preterite and imperfect tenses, but didn't even realize it. This course is so refreshing to teach and truly interdisciplinary. I love teaching it!
This unit is for a non-AP Spanish 4 class, but this would be a perfect unit for AP Spanish. There would have to be some more readings added, but the essential questions, the base of the unit and the authentic resources could all be used. These are some of AP themes and recommended contexts that this unit touches upon:
Theme: Global Challenges / Los desafíos mundiales
- Economic Issues / Los temas económicos
- Social Conscience / La conciencia social
Theme: Contemporary Life / La vida contemporánea
- Education and Careers / La educación y las carreras profesionales
- Social Customs and Values / Las tradiciones y los valores sociales
Theme: Personal and Public Identities / Las identidades personales
- National and Ethnic Identities / La identidad nacional y la
- identidad étnica
- Personal Beliefs / Las creencias personales
Theme: Families and Communities / Las familias y las comunidades
- Customs and Values / Las tradiciones y los valores
- Education Communities / Las comunidades educativas
Theme: Beauty and Aesthetics / La belleza y la estética
- Defining Creativity / Definiciones de la creatividad
- Language and Literature / El lenguaje y la literatura
- Visual and Performing Arts / Las artes visuales y escénicas
Also, if you are interested in seeing more related authentic resources, go to Zambombazo ---> panorama temático ----> and ctrl + f "reformas educativas"
Any suggestions or comments? Please share your thoughts and/or additional resources.