On the first day of my sustainability unit, I began by explaining to my Spanish 3 kids (in Spanish) that this unit was for my Master’s. This went well in my first period, but about 20 minutes after this explanation a day dreamer in 8th period at the end of the day got all kind of flustered and confused. He thought he had to create the unit! My hope in telling them this is to help them understand why this unit is a little different from previous ones, to tell them this unit is important to me, and to hopefully deter some grumbling if they end up not liking it.
After this explanation, I gave students this handout with essential information. I made students repeat “la sostenibilidad” because it’s a somewhat hard word to pronounce, although easily recognizable. I asked in which class they study sustainability. We read our essential question, through our I Can.. statements, and then we went over the evaluations. Some students grumbled when they discovered they would need to present in front of administration. Others worried if this was a solo presentation or as a group. Some wondered how this would work when our principal makes it extremely obvious that he doesn’t understand or speak Spanish. I’ll admit – I’m still working on this last one myself!
We then spent the rest of the class period (roughly 30 minutes) going over these personal questions:
- ¿Eres tú sustentable?
- ¿Qué haces tú para mantener la sostenibilidad?
- ¿Es tu familia sustentable? ¿Cómo?
- ¿Te gustaría que tu familia sea sustentable? ¿Por qué sí o no?
- ¿Qué tipos de sostenibilidad hay?
- ¿Es nuestro país sustentable? Defendéis vuestras opiniones.
- ¿Qué es la sostenibilidad para ti?
Students had a list of helpful vocabulary (on the back of the handout) to reference during this time. Words listed above the line in each column were what students had, and words beneath are what we added on the whiteboard because students brought them up and needed them. Students were a little flabbergasted when I told them I did not practice a lot of sustainable efforts and asked them to tell me why. They eagerly looked around and connected the dots (my 5 floor laps, my microwave, my mini-fridge, that I run my projector ALL day long, my electric pencil sharpener, etc.).
Overall, the first day went really well but would have been a struggle without the vocabulary list. They can recognize these words in Spanish, but it’s hard for them to produce them – especially on the 1st day! I now understand why the Felipe Alou Teacher Guides had a word cloud to accompany discussions!
Fingers crossed that the rest of the lessons go this well!