We are going to take a little break from the Tumba-thon to talk about what we are currently reading in Spanish II, Felipe Alou: Desde los valles a las montanas. It is a great novel from Carol Gaab about the true story of Felipe Rojas Alou, available in Spanish, French and English. Felipe was a baseball player from the Dominican Republic, who came to the U.S. during the civil rights movement. If you are going to teach the novel in class, you have to get the teacher’s guide & audio book. Besides scouring the teacher’s guide, I also like to look around at what other bloggers have done with a novel for inspiration.
Resources for Felipe Alou
We started the unit completing Martina Bex’s Spanish Reading: The Dominican Republic. I was actually home with a sick little boy, so this was a great reading with comprehension questions that could be completed with a substitute. If I was there I would have divided up the topics, one for each group to do a little bit more research on, and to present their finding as experts in Geography, Merengue, etc to the class.
The next day we watched quite a few videos to show the Dominican Republic, the relationship with Haiti, and the era of Trujillo & the Mirabal sisters
- Video – DR – rico – to show that it is a beautiful country
- Video – DR – pobre – in English, but gives a real picture of the level of poverty
- Video – Haitian exploitation in the Dominican Republic
- This video demonstrates that even with the level of poverty in DR, Haiti is far worse as the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
- Since I teach in an agricultural area, we compared how much our students make a day detasseling, picking up rock, or doing other farm related labor, to the $3 for 15-18 hours of labor they make in the sugar cane fields. This is when I think it really hit home for some of them that at 15 years old they are making $10/hour in the fields, but an an adult is making $0.20/hour doing far harder work.
- La Era de Trujillo – Parte I & La Era de Trujillo – Parte II – A total of only about 3 minutes in Spanish with footage of the time of Trujillo, which is good to explain movie talk style.
- The Story of the Mirabal Sisters | AARP – A good 10 minute documentary about Mirabal sisters.
- Tiempo de las Mariposas – Trailer – Trailer for In the Time of Butterflies.
Movie to show with Felipe Alou
In the Time of Butterflies – This movie was inspired by the true story of the Mirabal sisters who were murdered in 1960 for their part in a plan to overthrow the dictator Trujillo. Dustin Williamson shows this movie before starting Felipe Alou.
Sugar – A fictional movie about a young baseball player who leaves the Dominican Republic to play in the U.S. minor leagues with the hope of making it big. I would show it to be able to compare and contrast, but this group watched it last year as a part of our sports unit. They thought it was pretty cool that he comes to Iowa and was filmed about 2 hours away.
Pelotero – A documentary about baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic.
The Perfect Game – This PG rated baseball movie is based on the true story of a group of boys from Mexico, who are the first non-U.S. team to win the little league world series.
After reading chapters 1 and 2, discussing question from the teacher’s guide, we completed this activity about schools around the world.
What resources do you use while teaching Felipe Alou?