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Advanced Spanish Taught through the Short Stories of Quiroga

Laura M. Tarpill

Contents of Curriculum Unit 09.02.04:

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Students will be able to gain a better understanding of modernism and the Spanish language by reading the short stories of Quiroga and completing various speaking, reading, writing and listening activities that involve the grammar, vocabulary, and literary themes in the author's stories.

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Student Information

This unit will be taught to about 35 students in high-level Spanish classes at Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School in New Haven, Connecticut. There is a mix of students from both urban (65%) and suburban (35%) areas. All students enrolled in Coop have a primary art discipline/major, which are as follows: dance, strings, band, theater, visual arts, and creative writing. Each week, the students spend the equivalent of two out of eight 43-minute periods a day in their art classes. The other six periods are spent on core classes such as history, science, English and Math. At Coop, it is understood that the arts will be incorporated into the core-class lessons. It is probable that we will switch to a Monday through Thursday block schedule (80-minute period) beginning in the 2009-2010 school year although it has not been confirmed nor has a specific schedule been released. Due to the uncertainty, the lessons in this unit are based on the partial block schedule used during the 2008-2009 school year. This being said, the lessons in this unit could be molded to fit various schedules. The students to whom this unit will be taught have made it to a high level of Spanish (equivalent of Spanish IV) and most of them have a decent grasp of the language. This unit would be taught during the third marking period due to the advanced grammar and vocabulary in the stories. Normally, students in the upper levels would not reach the past subjunctive until the third marking period of Spanish IV.

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The importance of the national standards (communication, culture, community, connections and comparisons) is always stressed in language classes at Coop. Therefore, speaking, reading, writing and listening are used in each class meeting. We also use a multitude of strategies that will best address the variety of learners in our classes, keeping in mind that students need to physically move, be creative, and express themselves while at the same time learning. There is also a stress put on the importance of using the target language as much as possible in the classroom.

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Classroom Activities

This unit will be taught to the equivalent of a level four Spanish class. It will be presented during the spring semester. By this time in the year, the students will have studied all of the major grammatical points that they will need, including the preterite, the imperfect, the conditional, the future and the subjunctive. The students will work through three stories. The culmination of the unit will involve the students doing their own close reading of the last story and then writing their own unique ending.

After this first exploration of the author, we will look at his works in a historical context. It will include a Power Point in the target language on what was going on at the time in Latin America and abroad. We will also briefly put the time period into context by looking at what was transpiring in the United States at the turn of the century.

The first part of this unit will be an overview of the author's life. This section will go a long way in helping the students understand Quiroga's mindset. His stories might seem needlessly dark otherwise, but in the light of the life he lived it should make sense to the students. This first part will include a short internet 'scavenger hunt' in the target language. As always, if there are student questions, we will take time out to address the needs of the individual students.

The second segment of this lesson will involve students using many strategies to read and understand three Quiroga short stories, La gallina degollada, El almahadón de pluma, and El hombre muerto. In doing so, they will take a concentrated look at grammar, vocabulary and the culture intrinsic to the author's stories. We will start off together on the first story and by the third story, the students will be given more freedom to tackle the plot, grammar, and vocabulary by themselves.

The first story analysis will consist of a close reading and a visual organizer. For the second story, I will ask them to pair off in order to delve deeper into a segment of the short story. They will break into groups and create their own visual representations of a segment of the story. The students will in turn present the information they collect to the rest of the class by finally reconvening to re-narrate the story in their own words.

As an assessment and culmination of the unit, the students will break down a final short story, El hombre muerto, by themselves. They will be asked to complete a final preterite versus imperfect review, a past subjunctive review, and various writing, speaking, listening, and reading exercises. As a final assessment, they will write a two-page ending to the story in the target language.

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Quiroga's Life, Works and Criticism

Horacio Quiroga was born on December 31, 1878 in a small city named Salto, in Uruguay. Throughout his life, Quiroga endured tragedy after tragedy. He was not even spared heartache during his childhood and, in fact, suffered more loss than most. All of these events helped shape his character and, therefore, his writing. The two were inextricably intertwined.

"Desde el psicoanálisis tal acontecimiento - y años más tarde el suicidio de su
padrastro, que el niño Quiroga también presencia - ha sido interpretado como
el comienzo de una serie de sucesos de autodestrucción y dolor en la vida del
escritor,cuya obsession más profunda, en lo personal y en su narrative, va a ser
el tema de la muerte." / "According to psychoanalysis of such an event - and
years later the suicide of his stepfather, that the child Quiroga also saw - has
been interpreted as the beginning of a series of events of self destruction and
pain in the life of the writer, whose most profound obsession, personally and in
his narrative,is the theme of death" (Martínez 1997, 10).
Although he was too young to remember, when Horacio Quiroga was an infant his family experienced a devastating event. Quiroga's father, Prudencio Quiroga, accidentally shot and killed himself with a rifle during a family outing (Martínez 1997, 10). While Pastora, Horacio's mother, waited on the shore in a car with Horacio in her arms, her husband went out in a boat with his gun. He was an experienced hunter but somehow his rifle went off accidentally when he returned to shore. Pastora saw it happen and fainted with Horacio still in her arms (Garet 1994, 21).

Quiroga's family was dealt another blow when, around the turn of the century, Quiroga's stepfather killed himself and was followed shortly thereafter, in 1901, by Quiroga's siblings Pastora and Prudencio. Both children died of typhoid (Martínez 1997, 12).

The unfortunate events did not stop for Quiroga as he got older. At this point in his life, Quiroga had experienced more than his share of death, but he had not directly participated in the act. In 1902, Quiroga went to visit his best friend, Federico Ferrando. On this visit, as Quiroga inspected the firearm that his friend had bought, it went off. Quiroga accidentally killed his best friend.

In 1909, Quiroga married one of his students and they spent much of their time in the wild frontier and Quiroga's love, Misiones, Argentina. In 1916, after living with the author in the jungle, she was "unable to tolerate the harsh conditions, Quiroga's wife committed suicide by poisoning herself - she suffered a full week before she died" (booksfactory).

While Quiroga was affected by all of the death that surrounded him, he still was a dedicated student. He attended the Hiram School and then went on to the Polytechnic Institute where over the course of six years he studied Latin, French, literary history and national history, philosophy and American History (Garet 1994, 23). Above all else during this time, Quiroga is an anarchist (Garet 1994, 25). He ended up at the Universidad de Montevideo and attended classes when he felt like it and only took classes that interested him (Garet 1994, 25). His interests run counter to what interested most people, "Prefiere Cartago a Roma, Esparta a Atenas. En la literature simpatiza con los iconoclastas, en filosofia con el materialismo." / "He prefers Carthage to Rome, Sparta to Athens. In literature he sympathizes with the iconoclasts, in philosophy with materialism" (Garet 1994, 25).

Perhaps it was his anarchic beliefs or the fact that he was raised in a family with few religious beliefs that lead to his mischievous behavior while at university. "Si una noche, en la novena de María, vació un frasco de tinta en la pila de agua bendita de la iglesia parroquial, lo hizo solo por espíritu de diablura y diversion." / "One night in the novena de María, he emptied a bottle of ink in the font of blessed water in the parish church, he did it only in the spirit of trouble making and fun" (Garet 1994, 26). Besides the occasional trouble making, Quiroga spent his time cycling. He even started a bicycle club and became its secretary (Garet 1994, 27). He was also interested in mechanics, chemistry, and photography (Garet 1994, 29).

At the age of 21, Quiroga had already been part of a society called 'La Criolla' aimed at preserving indigenous and regional culture. He had also started writing and even traveled to France. By 1903, Quiroga ended up back in Latin America. This time he was in Misiones, a jungle frontier in Argentina that became one of the themes in his stories. (Garet 1994, 45). In 1908, Quiroga met and fell in love with Ana María Cirés whom he thinks will be a perfect match for jungle life (Garet 1994, 49). As stated previously, she ended up committing suicide.

One cannot help but believe that all of these experiences shaped the author's perspective. "Critical studies of Horacio Quiroga's fantastic tales have centered on his style and the theme of man's conflict with his environment in both urban and jungle settings" (Wong-Russell 1996, 1). Quiroga chose to live in the frontier of Misiones after he accidentally shot and killed his friend Federico Ferrando, even bringing his family (Garet 1994, 7). All of Quiroga's experiences contributed to his works. The author Wong-Russell explains,

"Quiroga does not aspire to promote a short story ethic that shares in the escape

from a life that has lost its concept and excitement, but rather one that returns

to life, to the intensity of life in its most primitive conditions. Indeed, he appears

to have spent his writing career moving away from the modernista conventions...;

His characters that experience life experience its fury, which threatens them with

death and madness" (1996, 6).

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Summaries and Reasons for Use

Quiroga seems to appeal greatly to teenagers. I can only assume it is because of the death and gore. However, his stories are not the B horror movies of the literary world. Quiroga is a master of foreshadowing. From the beginning, even in the shortest of his stories, he artfully chooses the appropriate words to communicate to the reader the inevitable conclusion. I have found that the students are enthralled by his stories and pick up the grammar and culture gladly, even if it is just to facilitate their finding out what happens in the end.

La gallina degollada / The Decapitated Chicken

In using a story such as La gallina degollada, I hope the students will be sucked in to its plot immediately by the opening paragraph;

"Todo el día, sentados en el patio, en un banco estaban los cuatro hijos idiotas
del matrimonio Mazzini-Ferraz. Tenían la lengua entre los labios, los ojos estúpi
dos,y volvían la cabeza con toda la boca abierta" (Martínez 1997, 170). / "All
day long the four idiot sons of the couple Mazzini-Ferraz sat on a bench in the
patio.Their tongues protruded from between their lips; their eyes were dull; their
mouths hung open as they turned their heads" (Peden 1976, 57).
In this story, Quiroga introduces the Mazzini-Ferraz family and the four children that come down with a sickness within a year and a half of birth. All four, after suffering a night of convulsions, no longer recognize their parents. They all turn into a sort of soul-less creature. The four children sit all day long staring a brick wall, or the sun.

From that point on, mother and father begin blaming each other for the fate of their first four children. Neither the arguments nor the transformation of all of their children into 'soul-less creatures,' stops the couple from trying for another child.

"Nació así una niña. Vivieron dos años con la angustia a flor de alma, esperan

do siempre otro desastre. Nada acaeció, sin embargo, y los padres pusieron

en su hija toda su complacencia, que la pequeña llevaba a los extremos límites

del mimo y la mala crianza" (Martínez 1997, 173). / "So a daughter was born.

Mazzini and Berta lived for two years with anguish as their constant companion,

always expecting another disaster. It did not occur, however, and the parents

focused all their contentment on their daughter, who took advantage of their

indulgence to become spoiled and very badly behaved" (Peden 1976, 61).

After the children's mother Berta is sure that her daughter Bertita will not succumb to the sickness, she pays no attention to her four animalistic children. Both parents dote on the girl and she is given everything. Mazzini and Berta do not like each other and still get in fights. On the night of Bertita's fourth birthday, the child comes down with the chills from eating too much junk food. The couple gets in a fight and blames each other's family history for what they assume is Bertita's impending doom.

The next day, the parents ask the servant to kill a hen for the next meal. The servant cuts off the animal's head and bleeds it in the kitchen. Quiroga writes that,

"creyó sentir algo como respiración tras ella. Volvióse, y vio a los cuatro idio

tas, con los hombros pegados uno a otro, mirando estupefactos la operación.

Rojo...; Rojo...;" (Martínez 1997, 175). / "she thought she sensed something like

breathing behind her. She turned and saw the four idiots, standing shoulder to

shoulder, watching the operation with stupefaction. Red… Red…"

(Peden 1976, 63).

The servant cries to Berta that her sons are in the kitchen. The children are immediately kicked out, as they are not allowed in that room. They are shoved outside and resume their normal spot on the bench, staring at the brick wall.

As the sun sets, their sister comes into their line of vision. They stare at her blankly as she tries to climb the brick wall. Suddenly, the mood of their faces is changed by what Quiroga describes as a "gula bestial / bestial gluttony" (Martínez 1997, 175 and Peden 1976, 65). As she perches herself on the top of the wall, she is grabbed by the leg. She looks down and her gaze is met by "los ocho ojos / the eight eyes" (Martínez 1997, 175 and Peden 1976, 65) of her brothers. Bertita, the only normal child left, cries out to her mother and father as she is dragged away toward the kitchen, where that morning the four boys had seen the chicken bled. Berta and Mazzini are too late and only arrive to see the aftermath - a blood-covered kitchen floor.

This story illustrates some of the major themes used by Quiroga, including the inevitable death, horror, and innocent cruelty (Martínez 1997, 22). These are themes that could be explored with a class. In fact, depending on the level of the class, it might be helpful to chart this information with examples from the story. I would break the students into groups of two and ask them to cite examples from the story. They could chart the information that they find as follows,

Another useful exercise for this story is a refresher on the uses of the imperfect versus the preterite. For use in my upper-level classes (Spanish IV Honors, AP Spanish) I would outline the rules of use for each tense and then juxtapose them. We could then take a look at quotes taken from the stories and have them explain in the target language why the author uses the imperfect or the preterite. The following is an example,

Citas del pretérito versus imperfecto

"Después de algunos días los miembros paralizados de la criatura recobraron el movimiento; pero la inteligencia, el alma, aun el instinto, se habían ido del todo" (Martínez 1997, 171).

"Esta vez los padres cayeron en Honda desesperación. ¡Luego su sangre, su amor estaban malditos!" (Martínez 1997, 171)

"No sabían deglutir, cambiar de sitio, ni aun sentarse. Aprendieron al fin a caminar, pero chocaban contra todo, por no dares cuenta de los obstáculos" (Martínez 1997, 172).

After reviewing the tenses, analyzing the quotes, reading the story, and filling out the 'Elementos' chart, and completing various speaking, listening and writing comprehension activities, the students will be responsible for completing a written take-home test.

El almohadón de plumas / The Feather Pillow

This is another of Quiroga's stories that deals with the inevitable death. He communicates this fact implicitly through the use of foreshadowing. When using this story with my class, the students' grammar focus will be on the past subjunctive, while they will simultaneously look at the inevitable death and foreshadowing.

El almohadón de plumas begins with the simple sentence, "Su luna de miel fue un largo escalofrío" (Martínez 1997, 178). Literally, 'her honeymoon was one long shiver.' Quiroga goes on to describe the bride, Alicia, as blond and angelic. Her husband, Jordan, is a rough, cold man. She loves him as he loves her, but their life together is characterized by words such as 'escalofríos, estremecimientos, mármol, blancura, severidad' (chills, shudders, marble, whiteness, severity). Clearly, this story will not end well.

Alicia grows thin and has a case of the flu. She walks only with the help of Jordan and looks around listlessly (Peden 1976, 6). Soon, the doctor orders her to stay in bed because she feels faint and is unable to walk on her own. She grows worse with each passing day. Neither Jordan nor the doctor is able to explain Alicia's condition. Alicia then begins to hallucinate.

"Entre sus alucinaciones más porfiadas, hubo un antropoide apoyado en la
alfombra sobre los dedos, que tenía fijos en ella sus ojos. Los medicos volvieron
inútilmente. Había allí delante de ellos una vida que se acababa, desangrán
dose día a día, hora a hora, sin saber absolutamente cómo" (Martínez 1997,
180). / "Among her most persistent hallucinations was that of an anthropoid
poised on his fingertips on the carpet, staring at her. The doctors returned, but
to no avail. They saw before them a diminishing life, a life bleeding away day
by day, hour by hour,absolutely without their knowing why" (Peden 1976, 7).

As Alicia shrivels, her husband can only stand by and watch. The narrator mentions that Alicia is suffering from anemia and that she is always worse in the morning. Alicia finally dies. Only when the servant is charged with stripping the bed does anyone notice the blood stains on the pillow. She calls Jordan in and they both look at the pillow. The servant mentions that the stains look like punctures. The servant attempts to hold the pillow up to the light but it is too heavy to lift for any amount of time. "Sin saber por qué, Jordán sintió que los cabellos se le erizaban (Martínez 1997, 181). / Without knowing why, Jordan felt the hair rise on the back of his neck" (Peden 1976, 8).

The servant says, trembling, that the pillow is heavy. Jordan picks it up and brings it to the dining room table. He rips open the case and the ticking.

"Las plumas superiores volaron, y la sirvienta dio un grito de horror con toda la
boca abierta, llevándose las manos crispadas a los bandós. Sobre el fondo,
entre las plumas, moviendo lentamente las patas velludas, había un animal mon
struoso, una bola viviente y viscosa. Estaba tan hinchado que apenas se le
pronunciaba la boca" (Martínez 1997, 181). / "The top feathers floated away,
and the servant, her mouth opened wide, gave a scream of horror and covered
her face with her clenched fists: in the bottom of the pillowcase, among the feath
ers, slowly moving its hairy legs, was a monstrous animal, a living, viscous ball.
It was so swollen one could scarcely make out its mouth" (Peden 1976, 9).

It turns out that what the reader believes to be Alicia's hallucinations, were actually not hallucinations at all. A large tick was sucking the life out of her every night.

As with La gallina degollada, I would like the students to have a preview of the grammar Quiroga uses in the story. Depending on the level, I will either do a review of the past subjunctive or I will do an entire overview lesson. After the initial grammar lesson is done, the students will have a chance to see the construction used in context. I will give them a sheet of past subjunctive that is used throughout the story. In this way, they will not only have a preview of some of the harder grammatical constructions but they will also have a preview of the plot. For each quote, I would like them to translate and explain why the past subjunctive must be used in that particular instance.

Citas del subjuntivo

"Sin duda hubiera ella deseado menos severidad en ese rígido cielo de amor, más expansiva e incauta ternura; pero el impasible semblante de su marido la contenía siempre" (Martínez 1997, 179).

"Al cruzar de una pieza a otra, los pasos hallaban eco en toda la casa, como si un largo abandono hubiera sensibilizado su resonancia" (Martínez 1997, 179).

"Pasábanse horas sin que se oyera el menor ruido" (Martínez 1997, 179).

Since this will be the second of the two stories that we read, we will use this story as the basis for the final assessment. The students will be broken up into pairs. Each pair will be given a segment of the story to illustrate on a large sheet of paper. The groups will then be responsible for narrating their segment in their own words. In this way, when the segments are put into order, the story will be renarrated by the students in their own words. They will be graded by the rubric for New Haven Public School's World Languages Oral Presentation.

El hombre muerto / The Dead Man

This five-page short story tells of the impalement of a man on his machete. Quiroga starts the reader out in the banana grove where the man is clearing rows. He feels satisfied with his work and observes that he only has a bit left to do. He decides to climb over a nearby barbed wire fence so that he can "tenderse un rato en la gramilla" (literatura.us) / "stretch out for a while in the grama grass" (Peden 1976, 121). By the second paragraph of the story, the main character slips on a piece of bark handing from a fence post while holding down the wire so he can cross the fence. As he slips, he drops his machete.

"Ya estaba tendido en la gramilla, acostado sobre el lado derecho, tal como él
quería. La boca, que acababa de abrírsele en toda su extension, acababa tam
bién de cerrarse. Estaba como hubiera deseado estar, las rodillas dobladas y
la mano izquierda sobre el pecho. Sólo que tras el antebrazo, e inmediatamente
por debajo del cinto, surgían de su camisa el puño y la mitad de la hoja del
machete, pero el resto no se veía" (literatura.us) / "Now he was stretched out
on the grass, resting on his right side just the way he liked. His mouth, which
had flown open, had closed again. He was as he had wanted to be, his knees
doubled and his left hand over his breast. Except that behind his forearm, imme
diately below his belt, the handle and half the blade of his machete protruded
from his shirt; the remainder was not visible" (Peden 1976, 121).

At this point, the man knows that he is going to die. From this point on in the story, the narrator alternates between observing the surroundings and theorizing about death and life. The story is basically a snapshot in time, what people might call the 'out-of-body experience;' that slow-motion forever of the dying moments. The narrator explains that even though he has been going on about the cycle of life, 'No han pasado dos segundos: el sol está exactamente a la misma altura' (literatura.us) / 'Still not two seconds passed: the sun is at exactly the same altitude' (Peden 1976, 122).

The thought of death crosses the main character's mind again and he pushes it out, thinking that the whole experience is just a nightmare (Peden 1976, 122). He and the narrator alternate again between observing the surroundings (his house with the red roof, the scrub trees, the fence posts that will have to be replaced) and thinking about inevitable death.

But then, half way through the story, the main character considers life and the question of whether it is a normal day. His mare is standing close by and he hears whistling from the boy who goes to the new port every morning at 11:30. Life is continuing on, so how could he be dying?

"¿Qué pasa, entonces? ¿Es ése o no un natural mediodía de los tantos
en Misiones,En su monte, en su potrero, en el bananal ralo? ¡Sin duda! Gramilla corta, conos de hormigas, silencio, sol a plomo...; Nada, nada ha cam
biado. Sólo él es distinto" (literatura.us). / "So what is happening, then? Is this
or isn't it an ordinary midday like so many others in Misiones, in his bushland,
on his pasture, in his cleared-out banana grove? No doubt! Short grass, and
hills, silence, leaden sun...; Nothing,nothing has changed. Only he is different"
(Peden 1976, 123).

Even as he lay dying, the main character keeps observing things that need to be fixed, like the handle of his machete. Life is continuing even as he lay dying. Only the man doesn't seem to realize he is mortally wounded; only the narrator does. He just thinks he is tired from the midday sun (Peden 1976, 124). He hears his son coming and once again claims to himself that his situation is a nightmare. The last we hear or see of the main character is him saying that he can abandon his body and observe his surroundings. He can see all the things he built or cleared with his own hands. He can see himself on the ground, "descansando, porque está muy cansado" (literatura.us) / "resting, because he is very tired" (Peden 1976, 125). Quiroga leaves the reader with the horse and the sounds of nearby voices.

The students will first read the story and finish a sheet on verb identification. (They have reviewed the preterite, the imperfect, and the past subjunctive in the previous two Quiroga stories). We will also have a brief class discussion on the plot, characters, and themes in El hombre muerto. The students' final step will be to write an ending for the story. It must flow and make sense when read with the existing story, which means they should stick to the plot, characters, and verbs tenses (unless they write it in the 'future'). This story will be grade using the New Haven School District writing rubric.

I believe that this story will lend itself beautifully to a final assessment. There are many discussion points, including death and self awareness. Depending on the comfort level of the students, we might even discuss how they might deal with their own mortality.

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Sample Lesson #1:Setting the Stage

Duration: 1-2 class periods

Objectives: The students will be able to,

1.demonstrate an understanding of the historical context in which Quiroga wrote and the region on which his stories are based, by completing a vocabulary sheet, taking in the PowerPoint presentation and completing a note-taking form on the history of the time.


Vocabulary sheets, note packets, PowerPoint, pens, pencils, dictionaries.


Day One/Day Two - Students will split in to groups in order to complete their historical vocabulary packets. After this initial period of 15 minutes, we will begin the PowerPoint portion and the students will take notes on the general historical happenings of the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

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Sample Lesson #2: Scavenger Hunt

Duration: 1-2 class periods

Objectives: The students will be able to,

1.demonstrate an understanding of the author's life and motivation for writing by completing an internet scavenger hunt on Quiroga.


Scavenger hunt sheet (please see appendix), pen/pencil, computer, internet access, and a dictionary.


Day One - Students will be given a list of acceptable internet sites to use in order to research the topic of Quiroga's life. I will also leave them room to write down at least three facts about the author's life that they found interesting. After they find the information, the will come together again to discuss the answers that they found.

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Sample Lesson #3: La gallina degollada

Duration: 2-3 class periods

Objectives: The students will be able to,

1.understand and use the vocabulary and grammar from the story in and out of context by completing various speaking, reading, writing, and listening activities.
2.explain the plot, characters, and facts in the story to their classmates by verbally communicating their thought and also writing them down.


Visual organizer, pens/pencils, dictionaries.


Day One - The students will have read the story for homework and underlined any words they were unsure of. They should have defined as many of the words as they could find in the dictionary. In class, we will compile a list of words on the board that they would like to discuss. We will also discuss the characters and they will start the visual organizer for homework.

Day Two - The students will come in with their visual organizers completed. Using the target language, we will work through any problems they had understanding the homework. As we organize their thoughts on the organizer, we will revisit parts of the story that serve as critical for their understanding. This part of the lesson will include a discussion of the themes in the story. For homework, they will begin organizing and outlining their thoughts so that they can complete an in-class summary the next day.

Day Three - As practice in writing, the students will use their class time to complete a summary essay that uses at least 15 story vocabulary words and also discusses the themes that can be found in the work.

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Sample Lesson #4: El almahadón de pluma / The Feather Pillow

Duration: 2 class periods

Objectives: the students will be able to,

1.fully explain the plot and characters by working collaboratively with another student to illustrate a segment of the work.
2.demonstrate understanding of vocabulary and grammar by completing various writing, speaking, listening, and reading activities.

Pens/pencils, markers, large paper, worksheets, dictionaries, and lined paper.


Day One - The students will come in with the story read for homework and the past subjunctive quote sheet translated. We will briefly discuss plot and characters in the work. The students will then be broken into groups of 2-3 (depending on class size). Each group will be given a piece of the story. They will have time to discuss their segment in the target language and ask any questions they might have. They will then begin to plan their poster. For homework, they will complete a comprehension exercise.

Day Two - The students will come prepared to complete their poster and renarrate it that day. They will also hand in their homework. They will be given time to draw out either one large picture or a series of smaller pictures to facilitate their explanation/renarration of the segment. When they have finished, they will be responsible as a class for putting themselves in order (based on the plot). They will then narrate the story in their own words. The students are graded using the New Haven School District's oral rubric.

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Sample Lesson #5: El hombre muerto / The Dead Man

Duration: 2 class periods

Objectives: the students will be able to,

1.be self sufficient, use available resources, and comprehend the story by completing various activities with support from the instructor.

Pens/pencils, computers, dictionaries, and lined paper.


Day 1 - Students will come in to class with the story read and the vocabulary defined. We will discuss any comprehension problems or vocabulary issues during this class period. We will also complete a brief oral question round (about plot and characters) between instructor and students. For homework, the students will start the rough draft of their story ending.

Day 2 - Students will be paired up with a workshopping buddy. They will share what they have of their draft so far. They will use the rest of the class time to finish their drafts and get feedback from the instructor. Those who finish their first draft can begin correcting and typing their final draft.

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Aguirre, Nataniel. 2004. Las 10 mejores novelas de la literatura boliviana : la vuelta a la

literatura en diez mundos. La Paz: Plural Editores.

Booksfactory. Vida y obras de Horacio Quiroga. Booksfactory. http://www.


Garet, Leonardo. 1994. Encuentro con Quiroga. Montevideo: Editores Asociados.

Literatura de Horacio Quiroga. El hombre muerto. Literatura. http://www.literatura.


Martínez, Carlos, ed. 1997. Cuentos Completos 1. Buenos Aires: Seix Barral.

This is a useful collection of Quiroga's short stories with an informative introduction that outlines the author's life and times.

Pasteknik, Elsa. 1997. El mito en la obra de Horacio Quiroga. Buenos Aires: Editorial

Plus Ultra.

Pasteknik gives us an in-depth look at the author and his close ties to the region of Misiones.

Peden, Margaret, trans. 1976. The Decapitated Chicken. Austin: University of Texas


This is a collection of some of Quiroga's most popular short stories. This would be helpful to use with students if a class wanted to look at vocabulary translations and how each translator has his or her own interpretation.

Pérez-Martín, Norma. 1997. Testimonios autobiográficos de Horacio Quiroga. Buenos

Aires: Ediciones Corregidor.

Pérez-Martín gives us a look at Quiroga from many different angles, including the author's letters and travel diary.

Quiroga, Horacio. 2000. 15 cuentos y un decálogo. Montevideo: Ediciones del Pizarrón.

Wong-Russell, Michael.1996. Science and the uncanny in the fiction of Horacio

Quiroga. PhD

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Appendix One: Búsqueda ñ Quiroga

Usa los siguientes sitios del internet para buscar información sobre la vida del autor Horacio Quiroga.





1)¿Cuándo nació Horacio Quiroga? ¿En qué país y ciudad nació el autor?
2)¿Cuándo murió su padre y su padrastro?
3)¿Cuál fue su primera obra escrita?
4)¿Qué significado tiene el nombre 'Consistorio del Gay Saber'?
5)¿Quién es Ana María Cirés?
6)¿Por qué es importante la region de Misiones? Explica.
7)¿Cuales son 5 obras que escribió Quiroga?
8)Aparte de ser autor, ¿qué hace Quiroga para ganar dinero?
9)¿Cuales son algunos temas en las obras del autor?
10)¿Cuándo falleció el autor?

Escribe por lo menos tres cosas que te interesan sobre la vida del autor:




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Appendix Two: National Standards for Foreign Language Education

This unit is written to coincide with the ACTFL guidelines for the teaching of a world language, including the five Cs: community, communication, cultures, connections, comparisons. Please see www.actfl.org.

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