Planning for Cajas de Cartón - Mis Clases Locas

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Teaching with Novels

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Planning for Cajas de Cartón

Happy Cold/Snow Day from Iowa!

This day off actually came at he perfect time. I had two days to get back into the swing of school, get ideas flowing again, and get excited to teach my wonderful students this semester, and now have some extra time to plan in between playing with baby boy. I am excited for Spanish IV to spend this quarter reading the first book I ever taught Cajas de Cartón.

Year one as a teacher I knew I wanted to try and implement novels in class, but I did not know how or have the resources to do so. I found the original guide generously shared by Sara Elizabeth for Cajas de Cartón, a novel I had read before, so I decided to give it a shot with Spanish IV. Well the first year it went alright at best. Considering I was their third new teacher in three years their Spanish level was not exactly where it should have been and they had never read a novel in class before. It was TOUGH for them and they complained a lot. I do not blame them because I did not really give them all the tools they needed to succeed. I expected them to read and answer the questions, all on their own, and went way too fast. At first I thought we would do a chapter a day! A couple if the high achievers loved it, learned a lot, and did great with the guide, but many just tried to copy the other students' answers to get by. 

Year 2 went much better using the original questions. The class was more prepared for the higher level material and we went much slower. I has started learning about TPRS and spent more time reading the book out loud and using other methods to make the book more comprehensible. 

This year I am very excited to use the awesome Cajas E book Guide that I got my school to purchase for me. The chapter by chapter vocabulary will be a great resource, as well as the discussion and expansion activities provided. Also, this class has a good foundation and has read novels before including Robo en la Noche and La Calaca Alegre

Something I started last quarter, that worked out great, was creating a calendar for the whole quarter to share with students. 
This rough guide is both a great planning tool for me to see the entire unit, as well as for the students to plan ahead. I am trying to treat this Spanish IV class more like a college course, so providing them the calendar in advance allows them to plan, and be prepared for class. It also makes sure they are ready for the Elementary Lessons and Internado. Students should read the chapter before the day listed, so they will be ready to discuss in class. I am roughly planning on two days for each chapter of Cajas, which should provide us with ample time to read as a class, discuss, reflect and complete expansion activities. We are going to end the unit watching Which Way Home which I blogged about here and will be nice way to end our unit on immigration.
What resources do you use to teach Cajas de Cartón or immigration?


  1. This is my first time teaching this section of the book with my native speakers.I am looking to only teach Chapter 9 Cajas de cartón with them and purchased the activity guide from Sarah-Elizabeth Cottrell. How would you recommend teaching this book? For example, reading a section in class together then answering the questions or having them read a certain section at home and then answering questions together in class. I am trying to figure out how I can make this more than just reading and answering comprehension questions. Any ideas would be of great help!


    1. If it is your first time reading a book in class, I would read it to the students, pausing and discussing as you go. If you have high level students, they could read alone and then discuss as a class. I would recommend doing much more than just comprehension. Sara Elizabeth has some ideas in the guide, plus if you search Cajas de carton, there are other resources out there as well. If you click the "novels" tab here on the blog, I have pre, during and post reading activity ideas.
      Let me know if you have more questions!


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