Let me be the first to say that I have a ton of resources for teaching Black History Month to students. You can check out my previous Newsletter to get a rundown of those cultural gems. However, like most teachers, I really love to create! It’s my vice, seriously, it really is (I spend way too much time on this!). This week prior to engaging in our mini-unit highlighting the life and service of Vanessa Mendoza, the first Afro-Colombian national beauty queen (who caused quite a stir in the early 2000s), I decided to add a short, but practical detour to the plan. I created a short web quest activity that allowed my level 1 students to integrate the grammar structures and vocabulary they have been learning (Ser+Personality traits).
Here’s the Game Plan
Students had to do the following:
- Research several famous Afro-Latino in English (you will see all the instructions on the sheet)
- I modeled the first one for them. We pulled up informtion on Zoe Saldaña, and make assumptions about her traits. Most students thought she was estudiosa, cariñosa and trabajadora based on what they had read.
- Based on what was read, they selected from their Quizlet list two adjectives that described them. I made sure to include their pronoun so students would use the correct form of the adjective (this is also listed on the activity).
- Research the profession on wordreference.com
Click here on the activity. This is what I call a Trenches Activity– it’s the raw materials of me creating in the moment and sharing. It’s not perfect, but it got the job done. Feel free to adapt as you see fit.
Activity 2: Memorize (yep, I had them memorize)
They had to choose one of the Afro-Latinos to present to their classmates. We did a mixer, in which students shared about their person with 3 other people. They then shared with the class community.
Delightful surprise Tucked Away in a Teachable Moment
Many of my students choose John Carlos!
I shared a bit in Spanish using words such as protesta, derechos civiles, racismo, discriminación to talk about his stance at the Olympics and what ensued afterward. One of my students begged to talk about it, and she shared it with the class. We then compared him to Colin Kaepernick. It was one of those beautiful comments in which all flowed and connected!
The activity is simple yet powerful. I hope your students will enjoy it too!
More resources for Black History Month in the World Language Classroom
Epsy Campbell Barr [Afro-Latina Vice President of Costa Rica]
Las voces diversas de la diáspora [Biographies of prominent Afro-Latin@ and Black people of the diaspora]
Yoel Romero [Afro-Cuban MMA Fighter]
Sí se puede [Short story]
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Who am I? I am currently a Spanish Teacher in Chicago, IL. I have 16 years of cumulative experience as an International Baccalaureate middle school teacher, high school teacher, and adjunct instructor. I hold a Master’s in Latin American Literature and Cultures coupled with a Master’s in Educational Leadership. These dual degrees have afforded me a vantage point from both ends of the educational spectrum: instruction and evaluation. I have been sharing my unique perspective on pedagogy and language acquisition for over ten years at national, regional, and state conferences. I am also an accomplished author! I have authored several compelling comprehensible novels that allow students to solidify their language skills while experiencing a wide range of different cultures. Check out my resources below. Thanks for stopping by!
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