This past year one of the first TPRS Publishing novels I taught was Esperanza by Carol Gaab. I started the year with the novel in Spanish III, their first time ever reading a book in class. I then taught the novel a second (and more successful time) with Spanish II, after they had started the year reading Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro. Teaching my first novel was a little rocky the first time, and I could not have done it with out the Teacher’s Guide & Audio Book. I also found inspiration to get started from the ideas of Martina Bex, Profe Hanson, Kristy Placido & Sharon Birch. Here are some more ideas on my immigration Pinterest board. More for myself than anyone else, I wanted to put together all of the resources I used in one place.
**Update – See Teaching Esperanza Year 2 Here!
Before starting the novel
- La Geografía de Guatemala – reading activity by Martina Bex
- Ave Que Emigra – song activity by Sharon Birch
- Student Slideshow – A few students from my school went on a mission trip with the International Samaritan organization in Guatemala in the summer of 2014. (I would have LOVED to go, but I had just had a baby). This Slideshow was made by Adrianna and I shared it with the classes reading the novel. It really gave the students a better picture of the current living conditions in Guatemala when shown pictures taken by a fellow student.
|from Slideshow by Adrianna|
During the novel
While reading, I relied heavily on the amazing Teacher’s Guide for chapter by chapter ideas, resources, and supplemental cultural activities, including the Immigrant Archive Project. I learned to really ask for feedback from the class to figure out the best way for them to read. I had one class who LOVED to have me read to them, a class who always chose to read on their own at their own pace, and another who loved reading along while listening to the Audio Book. Variety is key and you do not have to answer comprehension questions for every chapter.
What I have found works best for me planning wise is to create one PowerPoint for a novel that includes chapter by chapter pre-reading questions, vocabulary, discussion questions, and class activities. This way I can post the discussion questions and depending on the class, they can talk about them in small groups, write out answers on their own, or converse as a class. This helps me to be much more organized instead of just planning “teach chapter 3” and scrambling at the last minute to figure out what we are going to do. This PowerPoint is heavily based on the teachers guide, so I can not post it here.
After finishing the novel
- Option 1 – this awesome Choice Board Project by Elizabeth Dentlinger.
- Option 2 – Presentational Writing & Interpersonal Speaking Assessments
- Which Way Home – After finishing the novel, as a class we watched this great documentary about child immigrants from Central America. Check out this post about why I would recommend using the subtitles to get the most out of the movie. *Update* I recommend watching this movie before reading the novel**
Next year I am also thinking about adding the movie La Misma Luna to our immigration unit as well. We may watch Which Way Home before starting the novel, so the students get some background knowledge. It would help if they have a better idea of why someone would risk their lives to come to the U.S.A. and what kind of life they are leaving behind.
Want to learn more about teaching with novels?
Before you start…
Teaching Whole-Class Novels
- how to teach a novel – a typical day.
- 20 activities for teaching with novels.
- post-reading ideas
- Mix it Up! Reading TPRS novels as a class
- Spice up your novel
- How to Assess a Novel