Learning about Guatemala

i just realized it was the end of the month, when I also realized I hadn’t blogged hardly at all!

Part if the reason why I haven’t blogged very much is because we’re in the midst of reading Esperanza and La Hija del Sastre, and these two books have presented me quite a few challenges!

The challenge for me using La Hija del Sastre is that I have never had a group reach this level of vocabulary and grammar before!  I find myself brushing off vocabulary I haven’t used in quite a time and discussing what I consider higher-level questions.  The group reading the book is presenting some issues for me as well.  These students have had 2 years of traditional textbook style learning, and getting them to open up to the TPRS/CI methods has been like pulling teeth.  I still have yet to have a class period spent entirely in Spanish with them.  I cringe when I think about this, believe me!

Esperanza has proved challenging for me for other reasons: even though I am a Spanish teacher, I know very little about Guatemala!  The Teacher’s Guide has proved VERY helpful and I highly recommend it if you are using this novel.  However, in an attempt to educate myself better on Guatemala I am also scavenging the internet and TV for more information.  Here are a couple of things I’m doing to teach myself more about Guatemala:

1) CURRENT EVENT REPORTS:  I am requiring students to give current event reports about Guatemala.  I find this benefits them as well as keeps me informed about what is going on there.  Why should I have to do all the work!?

2) FOLLOWING GUATEMALAN TWITTER ACCOUNTS:  I’m sure most of you have heard about using Twitter for PD, and I guess this isn’t any different!  I recommend searching for accounts for government, newspapers, tourism, restaurants, etc.  To begin, I searched #Guatemala on Twitter.  I found the common government accounts: one for the US Embassy in Guatemala (@usembassyguate), Gobierno Guatemala (@GuatemalaGob), and Guatemalan’s President Otto Pérez Molina’s account (@ottoperezmolina).  I personally enjoy following newspapers, because you can also find other good accounts to follow.  El Periódico (@el_Periodico) and Telediario Guatemala (@Telediariogt) are the two I’ve found, but I’m sure there’s more.  I enjoy watching for tweets from @McGuate and comparing American McDonalds to those in Guatemala. My latest discovery is one of Guatemala’s police accounts (@PNCdeGuatemala).  If you browse through the pictures, the Guatemala police will actually post pictures of arrested individuals with details! Not sure I can show that to Spanish 1 levels, but very interesting for me to see!

3) GABY MORENO: She’s a singer/song-writer from Guatemala’s capital city of Guatemala City.  I’ve only recently discovered her, when I heard she won the Latin Grammy Awards for Best New Artists. There are two things that I absolutely love about Gaby.  First off, she is very active on social media.  I follow Gaby on Twitter and on Instagram.  Secondly, I love that she has music in both Spanish and English!  I plan to use some Spanish songs for listening activities, and I also plan to play some of her English tunes in-between classes.  ::Gasp::

4) TELEVISION NEWS PROGRAMS: I keep my ears tuned for Guatemalan news.  Just last week, CBS’ 48 Hours was airing a segment on a corrupt child adoption agency called Perilous Journey. About 15 minutes in, the show turns from an adoption in the Congo to one in Guatemala!  The show spent about 15 minutes discussing the adoption and Guatemalan conditions.  The family in the show lives on $20 a week for 6 people.  It also did a really nice job at showing how the mother was deceived into giving up her first child.  Now, this just so happens to coincide with the fact that I’m reading a book called SOLD by P. McCormick about child selling for my duties as a Speech coach.  I often find that the best resources are ones that I happen upon in my person life, such as when I was reading this book and just happened upon this program.

5) PINTEREST FINDS: Of course, I love using Pinterest to follow what other teachers are finding.  I came across an infograph that gives 20 Guatemalan-Spanish terms to learn.  I also rediscovered the song by Calle 13 – Latinoamérica.  I’ve always wanting to use this song in class but feared it might be too lofty a goal.  I am going to revisit the notion and contemplate how to make it accessible for my students.

I have found that when I take a personal interest and I am learning along with my students that the experience is better.  I hope that I’m able to share more as we progress through the novel!

PS: I’d love to learn more about Guatemala, so please feel free to share with me!

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