Laura M. Tarpill
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.