Continued to read Chapter 1 of Agentes Secretos on the document projector, Elmo.
ACTIVITY: I chose three student’s names out of their class name box. I ask them, in Spanish, if they would be willing to draw. After I got my three volunteers (several kids declined), I assigned each of them a character from the chapter.
- Paula, the romantic symbol observer
- Luis, her impatient friend, who wants to find the Spear of Destiny for his father
- Luis’ father, a politician, who is competing with General Francisco Franco for the “lanza” and the power to dominate Spain.
Their task: to start drawing a portrait of the character they were assigned–probably more like a “character map”, as we read the chapter and translated. I hope to put these up on the wall as a way to keep characters straight, watch how the characters grow, and keep students noticing what they are learning.
The text seems within their range judging from their ability to translate it. I still marvel at how difficult more sophisticated facets of reading are for some kids:
- finding meaning from context
- connecting what they just read to what they are reading now
- recognizing cognates
- making connections with real-life events or human motivations, etc.
- and then, adding the increased “weight” of doing it in a foreign language–whew!
The children who volunteered to draw were very excited about the task. The funniest thing was that one class didn’t really get far enough for two of the artists to do anything. Their characters were not introduced in the reading yet. They handed in blank papers and quipped about the beauty and complexity of their work. All look forward to adding on to the drawings tomorrow and beyond. Others asked if there were more characters. Luckily, there are.
Already, questions about this particular historical period are increasing in frequency and sophistication. Today, the concept of a “general”, from one’s own country, attacking politicians from that same country was a difficult concept to get their heads around. We will look for some modern-day, as well as historical, examples of that very thing.
As usual, Mira Canion, the author, has found a way to pique kids’ curiosity about the places, people and periods of time she writes about—even though the language and the story are simple.
- Autonomy – choice about drawing or not
- Mastery – noticing and tracking “what they are learning” by adding on to drawings.
- Purpose – Does it matter? This will be the hard one.
Hmmm. I’ll probably have everybody do something like the portrait maps, although it won’t be drawing for all.