My unit will begin with an exploration of the concept of identity. Students will think about what and who determines identity, and then read different materials on the subject. They will then use the provided materials, in conjunction with their own ideas to formulate a definition of identity. Students will then use these definitions to create personal and group identities for themselves.
I would suggest looking at each of the resources mentioned in the
section. Much of the information provided in those resources is commonly known, but there is also a lot of interesting (and less well-known) facts contained within the websites and books listed. These resources are excellent means to glean background information to share with students.
We will, as a class, determine what culture is, and how it relates to identity. We will discuss common cultural practices in the United States, noting not only commonalities, but variations as well. We will talk about possible explanations for both the similarities and differences we find in American culture, taking history and geography into consideration.
We will study the history of Spain, and the Spanish conquest of the New World. We will look at the way that the Spanish language has evolved in different regions, and examine the way that cultures in certain different areas resemble Spanish culture, and how they maintain aspects of native culture. For example, Catholicism is the dominant religion in most Spanish-speaking regions, but many of the religious festivals celebrated incorporate ancient Pagan beliefs and traditions. I would engage students in a discussion of why this might be.
Through both internet and traditional research, students will investigate different facets of the three regions we are studying. Students will present the information in small groups, and then to the entire class. In this way, students will be able to see each region as it relates to the Spanish-speaking world, and to the United States. This will foster cooperation among students, and each will become an expert in at least one aspect of Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Bolivia.
Throughout the course of the unit (and the year), students will communicate with one another and me in Spanish about Hispanic culture and heritage, as well as about their own identities. This communication will take many forms, and will be a vehicle for all types of learning in Spanish. This communication and learning will utilize strategies and activities for every type of learner, from logic-based learners to hands-on learners.
Sample Lesson #1: ¿Qué Es la Identidad?/ What is Identity?
1 Students will be able to define 'identity.'
2 Students will be able describe how culture relates to identity.
3 Students will be able to utilize a Spanish-English/English-Spanish Dictionary.
4 Students will be able to write in Spanish.
5 Students will be able to speak in Spanish about their own (general) identities.
6 Students will be able to understand spoken Spanish.
1 Students will already have learned the Spanish alphabet and basic phonetic sounds of letters.
2 Students will already have learned about cognates, and be able to recognize and give examples of cognates.
3 Students will have already learned basic Spanish vocabulary (including greetings, expressions of courtesy, numbers, and colors).
4 Students will have learned a simple definition of 'culture.'
1 Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionaries.
1 Create a working definition of 'identity' in pairs, discuss as a class.
2 Learn appropriate vocabulary and basic language structures to talk about identity in Spanish.
3 Write Spanish presentations about own identity, along with a list of 3 questions for other students to answer about presentation.
4 Orally present to the class.
5 Answer other students' questions about their presentations.
Review the definition of 'identity,' and discuss why it is important.
Students will be assessed based on their preparation, their presentation (content, pronunciation, and accuracy), and their responses to each others' questions.
Depending on the level of the students, more or less may be required of them. For example, I might ask my level IB students to elaborate on their presentations, and have them create and answer 5 questions instead of 3.
Sample Lesson #2: °Vamos a Investigar!/ Let's Investigate!
1 Students will already have learned a general history of Spain.
2 Students will have already been given an overview of the Spanish Conquest.
3 Students will have already the basic geographical information pertaining to the Conquest (locations of the continents, Spain, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, South America, and North America).
4 Students will have learned about the history of Hispanic Heritage Month.
1 Students will be able to obtain information from a variety of resources (in English and in Spanish).
2 Students will be able to identify and explain important aspects of different Hispanic cultures.
3 Students will be able to identify and explain similarities and differences between different Hispanic cultures.
4 Students will be able to create and participate in a Spanish-speaking community in the classroom.
1 Construction paper or poster board, scissors, gluesticks.
2 Computer access with printer.
3 Books, articles, and websites as referenced in "Student Resources" section of unit.
1 Each student will be assigned one or two specific points of culture for one of the three focus regions (Mexico, Puerto Rico, or Bolivia) for investigation. For example, a student might be assigned to find the "typical foods" and "traditional costumes" of Puerto Rico.
2 Students will have opportunities to use the Media Center and the Computer Labs for research during class time. I will also provide or suggest some materials for students where possible (books, magazines, websites, pictures, etc.). Students are encouraged to find relevant and appropriate graphics for their topic.
3 Students will meet in region-oriented groups to compile information about that region.
4 Students within each group will create two posters; one detailing general statistical information about the region, and another describing the culture and traditions.
5 Students will set up a mini-fair, where they walk around the room and look at all of the posters on display. Students will fill out a questionnaire for each of the posters they view.
Discuss whether the mini-fair was successful. List interesting facts learned from each of the posters as a class.
Students will be assessed on their research and final product. A scoring rubric for the final product will rate students from 0 through 2 for the completion of each of three categories. These categories are research, accuracy, and overall appearance. A score of '0' indicates that no work was completed in a given category. A score of '1' indicates that effort was made, but that something is lacking. A '2' is awarded when the objective of a category has been successfully completed.
Students will also be held accountable for completing the questionnaires given. The questionnaire will include tasks such as: "List 3 similarities between the regions," "List three interesting facts you learned about each region," or, "Why do think that the regions have so much in common? Why are there so many differences?"
1 Students may prepare authentic dishes from their assigned regions to share with the class.
2 Students may partake in the creation of traditional crafts and decorations from these regions.
3 Students may incorporate food, dress, crafts, music, or any number of cultural activities into the mini-fair.
4 Where possible, guest speakers or other external resources may be utilized to increase student interest and subject relevance.
Sample Lesson #3: Ésta es mi Identidad/ This is My Identity
1 Students will already have learned about identity, culture, Spanish- and Spanish-American history, and Hispanic Heritage Month.
2 Students will have studied the regions Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Bolivia (including culture).
3 Students will have been exposed to many aspects of culture including visual art, literature, music, and food.
4 Students will, by this point, be able to use a variety of relevant and appropriate Spanish vocabulary to communicate with one another about the aforementioned topics.
5 Students will be able to communicate with others in Spanish.
6 Students will be able to define and express culture and identity.
7 Students will be able make connections between Hispanic cultures and identities and their own.
Materials may vary depending on the demands of the individual students' projects.
1 Students will develop their own definitions of "culture" and "identity.
2 Students will create a visual representation of their own identities, using (Spanish) words and visual elements. Students must include at least two of the following: Hispanic images, Spanish lyrics, or Hispanic works.
3 Students will present their '
' to the class, explaining the significance of each component.
4 Students will respond to every other student's
citing examples to back up their comments.
Discuss whether the
project was successful. Offer positive feedback to others (e.g. "I thought it was cool that you used the picture of the pizza to describe how you are a mix of different things, and how that makes you American.").
Students will be assessed on their preparation, completion, and explanation of their
projects. Students will also be held accountable for completing the responses and participating constructively in the class discussion. Preparation will be assessed based on the overall appearance and content of the final visual product. Language components assessed include communication (content), language (vocabulary and grammar), and pronunciation.
Again, depending on the level of the students, this project's requirements can be made more specific, or less structured. Also, the level of language expectations may vary.
Students may either prepare a meal that they consider to be representative of their identity and/or culture. Students may wish to demonstrate a certain craft, dance, or other culturally meaningful task.