What’s going on in Spanish II? By Capt. Ken Yeatts
By: Marshall Sheorn on May 15, 2019 | Categories:
Spanish II classes routinely learn and practice speaking, reading, and writing about common topics like, sports, hobbies, family, food, and travel. Culture is embedded into the content of each thematic unit but, to help students make deeper connections with the products and practices of other countries, we conducted a brief study of the individual nations where Spanish is spoken.
In the first part of the lesson, the class reviewed the Spanish-speaking countries, identified their capital cities, and their locations on the map. The class followed up the geography portion of the unit with a research component where each student chose a Spanish-speaking country and was tasked with conducting research, ultimately creating an oral presentation for the class. Once each student had chosen a country to research, the teacher distributed two-sided note taking handouts and iPads. The handouts, often referred to as Cornell Notes, were included in the lesson as an ongoing means of helping students take more effective notes. In addition to questions that students generated on their own, on the second research day, the teacher provided a list of key questions to guide students as they prepared their oral presentations.
When students’ research was complete, the class reviewed Spanish verb forms, vocabulary, and circumlocution strategies to help students convert the information from their research into simple, oral presentations in the target language, with minimal use of online dictionaries or translators. At the end of the unit, each student stood before the class and presented their research on their topic country. While the primary goal of the unit was Cultural, this research project integrated several important learning components. Aside from the learned content and linguistic practice, students also used technology for learning, they practiced two-sided note taking, good digital citizenship, and public speaking.