Teaching culture and controversy
While teaching a group of illustrious 7th graders a few years back, I had a goal of getting them to engage in discourse about real world topics and events. During this time, the wealth of resources for input, project-based and design thinking in the WL were very scarce (or I just did not know). Like most problem-solving oriented teachers: I created texts and resources for my students so that they could tomar cartas en el asunto. I was determined to have them chime in on the controversy of Bullfighting in Spain and the plight of girl’s education around the world. even with limited vocabulary. It was awesome!
Quick links: Activities referenced on this blog post can be accessed by clicking the links below. If you’d like to get ideas about how to use these activities just scroll down to the letter designated section for context.
Interview with Ainhoa (Interview with a girl from Pamplona on the Running of the Bulls, school, Teens and Pamplona and her interest)
Questions for Interview (These questions span all levels. A little bit of novice in the beginning but she takes off. Listen to the recording to see if it is something you students would like)
Creating shared background knowledge
Teaching with any group of students means that their exposure to a topic varies greatly. In order to tap into background knowledge and create our own working template of experiences, my students conducted a scavenger hunt on Spain, read about the country and regions and engaged in other activities that contextualized the vocabulary and culture. Having students who have traveled the world and those who have not step foot outside of their neighbors, having an “equalizing” exposure to texts adds balance. We used this resource, which includes:
1. Internet Scavenger Hunt Activity to familiarize them with the people, places and culture
2. KWL activity to assess pre-knowledge
3. Read a basic cognate laden text on Spain and answer questions.
These sequenced activities set students up for reading about the Running of the Bulls- and their upcoming debate. For the debate they had to read both sides of the argument in this text and figure out, based on the language, attitude and claim who was for and who was against the practice. The first iteration of this article was all in the present tense. I have revised it to fit more of an Novice-Mid-High / Intermediate low. That said text below is slighter higher than the one figured in MaryGlasgow in 2011.
The purpose of his resource was to engage students in both Common Core and IB standards/strands, so they would use the same strategies for engaging in text. This activity allowed students to:
- Compare different perspectives (ACTFL: 21st century standards)
- Cite textual information (in a basic non-intimidating form)
- Compare and contrast cultures
- For me, to be able to collect ideas, process them and debate in the target language
At my previous school they had PYP Spanish from Kindergarten. I saw them 4 days a week, so it makes since that a 7th grader was able to read and debate a slightly softer version of this text. If you’d like to see how they slammed the International Educational Unit. They wrote papers on women rights. This was my “Malala Unit.” Check out this post with examples of student writing.
Added Listening Activity for Running of the Bulls
This year I had the opportunity to interview a girl from Pamplona. I included this interview and activity as part the Bullfighting debate activity. Listen here for her Los Jóvenes Opinan interview below:
The good, the bad and the ugly
The interview is long- 4 minutes, but the activities are divided into different sections. Only the first 1.5 minutes is comprehensible input for Novice students, after that her pace picks up. Here is how I am planning on using this resource:
- My Spanish 1 Novice students will be doing this All about me activity next week (we are three weeks overdue). The will read the interview about Ainhoa and then listen to the first couple of minutes of the audio.
For my Spanish IV class, we are finishing up our Teen Identity Unit. Since Ainhoa is soooo passionate about the Running of the Bulls (she was a perfect complement to the debate article), they will listen to her and compare their lives to hers. Here are a list of the themes for the audio:
- Favorite TV shows
- School in Spain
- Teens in Pamplona
- Running of the Bulls
Listen to the first edition of Los Jóvenes Opinan here to make sure it is suitable for your students.
I also had the opportunity to interview an award-winning photojournalist from Colombia this summer. The interview, which goes from Novice to Advanced will be posted in October.
If you use this resource, feedback is welcomed!!