El cuento del río – a test of moral values

So my students are in the middle of the most exciting thing that we have ever done in Spanish class. Well, at least I think so 🙂 Some of them may have different opinions…I’ll post the full plans later, but I wanted to post this component now because it is just so fantastic!

El cuento del río morals test in Spanish

Click on image to download slideshow

Part of the most exciting thing that we have ever done in Spanish class involves lots of different tests–a creativity test, a memory test, a physical fitness test, etc. One of the tests is a story-based moral values test that I  found online. Students read or listen to the story of a girl that is separated from her true love by a crocodile-infested river and then rank the characters at the end from worst to least worst. Obviously, you don’t have to do the moral rating–but it makes for great and lively discussion! When you tell the story, you can use the powerpoint that I created (see the link below), or you can act it out. I use it at the end of the year in Spanish 1, but it’s very comprehensible and could be used earlier in the year (or in upper levels, of course).

Here is the story in English:

There are a boy and a girl that are separated by a river. The boy is named Marcos and the girl is named Ana. They are boyfriend and girlfriend. Ana wants to cross to the other side, but she can’t because there are crocodiles in the river. She talks with Diego, a guy with a boat. Usually, the use of the boat is $100, but he knows that she has no other options and tells her that she has to pay $200. She doesn’t have money, so she talks to a guy named Sancho. He says that he’ll give her $200 if she kisses him (I changed this from the original version which says ‘if she sleeps with him’). She kisses him and he gives her the money. She pays Diego and crosses the river. She and Marcos are happy because they’re together. Then, Antonio, who is a friend of Marcos, tells Marcos that Ana kissed Sancho, and so Marcos is angry and breaks up with her.

Download the slideshow story in Spanish here.

After you work through the story together, students must rank the characters from least worst to worst. Who committed the worst atrocity? Who was a victim of circumstance? The way that your students rank the characters tells you what they value most.

Ana = Amor (love), Marcos = Moral (morality), Diego = Dinero (money), Sancho = Pasión (passion–I changed this from ‘sex’ in the original test), and Antonio = Amistad (friendship)

Reveal the hidden meaning to your students and discuss morals. Is love more important than friendship? Morality more important than love? Etc. I had students number the characters (5 being the worst, 1 being the least worst), and I totaled the points that each character received in each class to make a graph for us to interpret. I’ll include that with the rest of the plans for this most fantastic unit ever 🙂 🙂 🙂 ARE YOU SO EXCITED?!

Update 8/2016–4 years later, I finally posted the complete unit that I was referring to here!! Check out my Solar System unit with Astronaut Competition here.

12 thoughts on “El cuento del río – a test of moral values

  1. Brigitte says:

    This really is wonderul, amazing, and exciting!!! Yes, if you wouldn’t mind, I would very much love an editable copy of the powerpoint so I can adjust it for German. My e-mail is below (I assume you can see it).

  2. Diana says:

    Hiya gorgeous. I’m requesting an emailed editable version for my French colleague, the lovely Marcia Myers. Why? Because I’ve blabbed to her how great this is and now she wants in on the fun. Thanks!

  3. srasimh says:

    Hi Martina
    It’s the first thing I’m doing next year. Thanks a lot. BTW have you used the short film “el misterio de Pez. My 5-6 students really enjoyed it.

  4. La says:

    Hi Martina, if it’s possible, may I have the editable version of your wonderful ppt? I was going to use it for the last “unit/chapter” but it won’t be in time now, though I ‘d love to use it beginning next year. I’ll bake you cookies!
    Thank you very much, La

  5. Laura T says:

    Hi Martina, this is very exciting indeed! I just translated the story into French. Was wondering if maybe you would give me the powerpoint if I let you use and sell my French adaptation once it’s done? I’m a native speaker so I promise it would be top notch!

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