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Introducing La Calaca Alegre - Mi Identidad

My Spanish IV class is just starting the great novel La Calaca Alegre by Carrie Toth. To begin we had a wonderful guest speaker from Mexico. We also completed a fun little activity about identity, a main theme of the novel. I got the idea from the awesome TPRS Teachers Guide to accompany the novel. These guides are worth their weight in gold and make teaching a novel for newbies like me so much easier. 


Last week we had state testing, so while proctoring I had some extra time to prepare for my Spanish IV. Normally they are my fifth straight class in the morning with no break (after 2 Spanish II & 2 Spanish I) so some activities have a tendency to be thrown together for this class. It was nice for a chance to start fresh with this as my first class that day. I knew I wanted to start with a picture of myself to talk about my identity, but then found some old embarrassing high school pictures of myself I had taken pictures of and decided to use them as well. I did not do anything fancy, but just put them together in a Keynote with a few key words that I would have used to describe myself while in high school. 



As the students came into class I had the slide above posted and you should have seen them crowded around my board trying to find me in the group pictures and laughing at my hair and fashion choice for my Freshman Homecoming. I spent some time in the target language describing my identity as a high school student. I then switched to the slide below and talked about my identity now. It was great to be able to compare and contrast how I saw myself then, and how I see myself now. 


It was then time to move on to talking about their identity. In the slide below I asked them to put together some pictures and words on a document or slide, that they think describe their identity now, as a high school senior. I know there are many fancy tech tools we could have used to do this, but the focus on the lesson was not about them creating, but rather communicating about themselves. The students had fun finding their favorite pictures of them and their friends to put together. 


After about 10 minutes I had the student share with their tables about how they see themselves and their identity, and the others were supposed to ask questions as well. 
I then asked for volunteers who airplayed (we have Apple TV) their slide up and described it to the class. 

It was a great segue into introducing the novel, as well then discussed the main character and completed the pre reading discussion questions. How do you introduce a novel?

12 comments

  1. Cool ideas! Did you only use the teachers guide? What are some other things you did with this novel? Im struggling with finding supplementary activities.

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    1. The teachers guide for this novel is GOLD with great resources from Carrie Toth. I would highly suggest you get it if possible. Pretty much everything we did with the novel came from the guide. You can always add in additional culture with Chicanos in the US & Chicago, Mexican artists (especially Hector Duarte), Mexican food, etc. Check out the TPRS Publishing or Carrie's Pinterest board for the novel.
      I have a presentational writing assessment for the end of the book I can share if you give me your email address! - Allison

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    2. Hi Allison! My class is beginning this novel right now. I also would LOVE a copy of the writing assessment. Thank you for sharing your resources. - Tracy (cahill.tracy@gmail.com)

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  2. Ok, i'll see of I can get it. Thanks! My email is heavenspanish@gmail.com

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  3. I would love to have the writing assessment as well! mjohnson@eastwakeacademy.org - thanks Allison!!

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  4. I also would like to see the presentational writing assessment or any other resources you have for this novel. I have the Teacher's Guide, but there aren't a lot of additional resources online outside of that.
    hoopesk@usd204DOTnet

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    1. I sent it to you Kelly. I hope you find it useful!
      Allison

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    2. I would love a copy of your presentational writing assessment as well if possible. We are about to finish the book and I am looking for a different end of book assessment. Thank you! agomez@telluride.k12.co.us

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  5. Allison,
    I love your blog for an honest look at how you approach topics and how things go! Thank you for sharing and helping the CI community! If you have a minute, I'd love a chance to look at your presentational writing assessment. awuebker@allamakee.k12.ia.us

    Gracias,
    Anne

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  6. Hi Allison,
    You are a lifesaver!! If you are still sharing your writing assessment, I would be enormously grateful. Gracias!
    mpallant@eaglehill.school

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    1. You can get it here!
      Assessment: La Calaca Alegre - Presentational Writing by Mis Clases Locas on Teachers Pay Teachers

      https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Assessment-La-Calaca-Alegre-Presentational-Writing-3146016

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