Inside: Resources for teaching the novel El capibara con botas in Spanish class. Front-loading culture and vocab before teaching the novel. How to get ready to teach your first novel in Spanish class
I mentioned in my curriculum plan for this year that I was going to add the novel El capibara con botas by Mira Canion for the first time. The book came out after I had already done my big curriculum purchase last Spring, but I knew it would be a perfect culture-filled first novel. I even wrote about ideas for the novel last summer here – libro lunes – El capibara con botas. So this year, I asked if I could use my yearly “classroom supply” allowance instead buy a class set of novels. It was approved and I would much rather have books than supplies. (I can buy those cheap myself at back to school sales:) Here you can purchase the El capibara con botas & the teacher’s guide.
This year my freshman Spanish 1’s previous Spanish knowledge includes two separate quarter-long exploratory Spanish classes over the last two years, where they have done the first few SOMOS units, special person interviews, some Sr. Wooly songs, and other various cultural units. I plan to use this novel towards the end of the first quarter of Spanish 1, as well as during y 8th grade exploratory Spanish second semester.
To prepare for the vocabulary in the novel, my plan is to start the year in Spanish 1 with a review of the super 7 high frequency verbs as well as special person interviews. We will also do Martina Bex’s SOMOS unit 5 which focuses on is feeling, has and goes. I also want to use some of the resources that Kristin posted here in her great post about pre-teaching vocabulary for this novel. Since she has already taught the novel, she has also been an awesome resource while planning.
I like to try to pre-teach most of the key vocabulary before even starting the book. Otherwise students get board if the novel takes too long if you try and add in too many new words before a chapter. However, I do like to pick out a few key words from each chapter to reinforce again right before reading. I usually do this through PQA (personalized questions and answers), but charades or TPR can be used as well. This helps students fee confident as I read the chapter to them.
Before actually starting reading, I also like to have students dig into the culture of the novel. Luckily this book is chock full of culture since it is set in the Amazon of Ecuador. I am hoping to try and do something cross curricular with the science teacher involving the water cycle, Galapagos Islands, animals of the Amazon, rainforests or other similar themes. I know that most of my students have never left the country, let alone Iowa, and need a lot of background knowledge to fully understand the setting and characters in the book.
Since most students have never seen this animal, or maybe even heard of it, we will do some research and watch some videos to get a better feel. Hopefully they will fall in love with the giant rodents 🙂 I created this digital stations activity with capybaras and Ecuador, to allow students to do a little research on their own using their Chromebooks. If technology is not on our side we will just do the stations traditional style around the room with the resources printed and videos downloaded.
Also, here are a few videos that we might use to introduce the capibara. Since most are in English, I may mute some and do them movietalk style.
My El capibara con botas Pinterest Board for more ideas for cultural expansion.
Have you taught El capibara con botas? Please share any additional resources in the comments!