Foreign Festivities in the World Language Classroom

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. – Jimmy Carter.

Tolerance is a key component of a World Language class. To learn a foreign language is to open oneself to others; this includes to open oneself to other beliefs and cultures. That is why I try to integrate culture awareness whenever possible. Canary Islands day (on May 30th) is a great opportunity to implement a fun, educational and cultural lesson plan.

Since I am from these islands, students get really excited with this plan; there is a personal connection with this place. They receive first-hand knowledge from a Canarian native: me! I always do this at the end of the year. Not only it is a perfect set of exercises for those last days of school, but also it matches the real Canary Islands day celebrations on May 30th!

This the lesson goes:

1. Does the word Canary Islands sound familiar? Does it sound like a beautiful place? Let’s check it out with this amazing video:

and this one:

2. Exercises about video:

a. What is its main idea? Do you like the islands? Why?

3. Now we will learn the geographical location of the islands. I point at a map and I give an oral introduction (a bit of English, a bit of Spanish) about its location and the particularities of each island.

4. We will be doing some research online about the Canarian Museum and some key Canarian words. Students receive the worksheets (below). Note: Please make sure that the research is done using http://www.google.es

5. San Borondon Legend. Reading and exercises (below)

6. Homework: What are “Pintaderas Canarias”? Students must research and write a paragraph about their importance. They will choose their favorite one and will explain its meaning.

pintadera-41  pintaderas

7. Receta de las “papas arrugás¨.

papas

Worksheets: Dia de Canarias

8. What about some music? Let’s sing and dance while we learn the vocabulary with this song. Here is the video: 

9. May 30th: Canary Islands Party! We will be eating Canarian Food that students have previously researched and cooked at home. Some of the food that we will be having will include bananas, papas arrugadas con mojo, gofio y tortilla española.

We also sing the song ¨Vivo en un Archipielago¨, and we will listen to traditional Canarian music while we dance Canarian Folklore:

This is an easy song to dance:

La Punta y el Tacón Lyrics

10. We will be coloring and researching Canarian drawings. Students will choose two drawings from the ones provided and will explain to the class their importance in the Canarian culture. Here they are.

11. Today we will be having a Skype conference with the Museo Canario! This is the power point that they will be showing us. We will also be able to see real Guanche materials, live!

Presentación del Museo Canario.

12. For homework, students will search current events in the islands. They will write a summary of one of the news that they find most interesting using one of these two Canarian newspapers: Canarias7 or La Provincia.

13. Lesson plan finale: Tshirt painting! Students will design Canarian Tshirts as a way to wrap up everything learned these days. They can choose to draw a pintadera, lucha canaria, the islands or even Canarian words. Creativity is always highly encouraged.

I hope that you enjoy this lesson plan and that you are able to incorporate it in your course. Students certainly have a blast, and I enjoy teaching them my culture and language. ¡Feliz día de Canarias!

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Educational Field Trips

ronis _bastille72One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Inspiration. Beauty. Appreciation. I enjoy beauty in everything and anything. I want my students to enjoy the charm that life brings us everyday. I also want my students to explore the world, and to love the content of my course as much as I do.I want my classroom experience to come alive.

That is why I went to Willy Ronis Exhibit with my French class this week. I thought that making this Field Trip inter-curricular would add even more educational value to it. So I invited the Arts teacher and her class to join us.

The real Field Trip name was Willy Ronis: Paris. The Field Trip name that I give it is: enjoy beauty, appreciate the charm around you.

What an eye opener! Not only I fell in love (one more time) with Paris. I also found another love: photography. This love was found not just by me, but also by (at least) half of my 8th graders. We left the gallery with shiny eyes, open minds, and a sparkly spirit.

But I wanted to make my field trip educational. I wanted to let the kids be kids, but also give them a lesson to learn forever. I divided the trip in three sections with the following activities:

Pre-field trip:

– Video preview to visualize the looks of the city in 1939.

 

– Research about the author: Willy Ronis.

 

During field trip:

– Take pictures of the pictures exhibited in the Gallery (yes, it was allowed). Select favorite picture and make up a story based on it. Title the picture with a French word. Post entry in their Kidblog.

Please read below an example of one of my student’s post:

Cette photo me fait penser au bonheur.Screen-Shot-2013-01-10-at-5.00.17-PM

Marc est encore en retard. Céline ne veut pas attendre plus longtemps, alors elle quitte le café. Il pleut. Elle n’a pas de parapluie. Elle ne sait pas comment elle va rentrer à la maison. Elle est toute seule. Céline voit un homme courir vers elle. C’est Marc! “Je suis désolé,” dit-il. Il lui donne un bisou. “C’est daccord,” dit Céline. Ils retournent au café. Ils boivent du chocolat chaud, souriant.

 

– After the exhibit we headed towards the most beautiful park that I have ever seen in Florida. A poetic scenario for a poetic day. That’s right, our trip was full of poetry.

We had a French picnic in the park and, while eating our petit fours, we discussed the paintings and the exhibit; completely in French (total immersion).

Post field trip activities:

– We printed out all pictures and placed them beautifully around the room. Students created a scavenger hunt (in French). Once created they competed in order to win the game!

– We later created a collage with all the words that our trip had inspired us (in French).

This trip was so creative, simple, inexpensive,  and unforgettable. I enjoyed it so much that I created a new hashtag in Twitter! #edtrips is my new contribution to the Twitter world. A place to share ideas, network, and contrast thoughts about educational trips. An educational aspect sometimes underestimated, but incredibly rewarding. Let’s get out of the classroom. Let’s make our course come to life. Let’s together create the ultimate Field Trip experience.

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” Prophet Mohammed.

Welcome to my world!

Image Welcome, world!

Do you sometimes feel like you have many ideas and they end up being all scattered around? We all feel sometimes overwhelmed by our own thoughts. Well, this is what came to my attention a few days ago when I realized that I had a lot of ideas, motivations, thoughts coming to my brain. These thoughts have always eagerly been shared with my closest friends and relatives, but they tended to end up disappearing due to not being able to keep track of them. This is the reason why I decided to create my blog; a place where my passions come together in one place.

But first, let me introduce myself. I am originally from Spain, but I have been living in the USA for more than 6 years. Before moving into this wonderful country I worked and lived in England, and France.

As you can guess from this information, I am a total travel freak. Travel and words are my obsession. I am always into discovering a new place that awakens my free spirit. I am a word researcher, since word matters always brighten up my senses.

I am a Foreign Language Teacher (French and Spanish). I worship Paris and its joie de vivre, as well as the art of the language and its intrinsic complications (a pleasure to my neurons).

I am also a freelance translator, and an avid reader of French, Spanish, and American literature.

I am always in the search of new Technology tools to learn from, and I try to incorporate all this knowledge into my courses and daily life. Educational Technology being a key aspect of my teaching, I also incorporate TPRS to cheer up my language classes, to boost my student’s self esteem, to create fun courses, and to fast track my student’s language acquisition skills.

Keeping this in mind, now you must know what this blog will be about. A melting pot of my curiosities and devotions. An online resource to satisfy my appetite of learning, and sharing knowledge with the world.

Welcome to My World and Language!

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