Esperanza Chapter 1, Day 2

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Today was our second day spent on Chapter 1 of Esperanza, by Carol Gaab. Here is how we spent it:

  1. Students re-read Chapter 1 aloud with a partner. I used my seating chart to walk around and monitor that they were actually speaking.
  2. We discussed the problems that Esperanza had in Chapter 1 (Note: If you read the comments on my last Esperanza post, you’ll see that Carol intentionally waited until the last chapter to reveal that the narrator’s name is Esperanza–too late for me; I gave it away! I’ll keep referring to her as Esperanza, but you may want to just refer to her as “the narrator” until the end of the book.)
  3. I passed back and we reviewed the graphic organizers that we completed yesterday (attached to the last post).
  4. I orally reviewed the comprehension questions for the chapter, included in the Teacher’s Guide, with the class.
  5. The kids read the reading about Unions (included in the Teacher’s Guide). This was an awesome reading, and very important to the understanding of the novel. It’s also a great tie-in with Social Studies standards! However, my middle schoolers had a really difficult time with it simply because they have no background knowledge on the topic. They also don’t know what many of the cognates used in the reading are (injustice, coalition, oppressors, combat, etc.). For that reason, I did a fair amount of pre-teaching before I gave them the reading. I gave them the English definitions of some of the key vocabulary, and then we discussed their meaning in Spanish. While they read, I had them complete this Cornell notes sheet Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 1.41.46 PM(click on image to access notes page) with notes in English to make sense of what they were reading, since the content–NOT the language–was a bit above their level. After most kids had finished the notes sheet, we discussed the notes in Spanish and English (I gave quick definitions in English to ensure comprehension of the concepts, then switched into Spanish to discuss them), discussed the comprehension questions included in the Teacher’s Guide, and called it a day.

Although today was not our “most fun” day in class (any ideas to spice things up are very welcome!), the discussion about unions was great. We ended up talking about injustices in our school and what might happen if they formed a union and went on strike on any given issue. Once again, I am so grateful to have great content to work from–both in the novel and the Teacher’s Guide!

10 comments

  1. Interesting that they don’t know about unions. In the rust belt we have quite the conversations/fights about the whole issue, not to mention what they hear at home about teacher’s unions! 🙂

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    1. I was surprised, too! A few students in each class had some idea what they were, but most of them were completely unfamiliar with them. Many of my kids’ parents are not in career fields that have unions, nor homes that watch and discuss the news. I’m sure that it would be different even in other parts of our city!

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  2. Thank for so much for posting these last few posts. I’ve added the novels to my curriculum this year at all levels and I love to hear the specifics of how others are using them. You truly are an amazing resource for teachers everywhere!

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    1. I have them read in Spanish. Sometimes, I would have them translate in English, but if that were the case I would specifically say that when I type out my plans. Assume in Spanish unless I say otherwise.

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  3. I know you might not see this considering the post is older, but how did you get your level 1 kids to understand some of the materials/etc for this book? I used it last year with level 2 but am trying it in level 1 this year and feeling like I’m having to give A LOT of English definitions and help – bordering on over the 10% line… Any tips?

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    1. It all depends on what is covered in your level 1 course. I backward planned mine from Esperanza so that I could guarantee that by the time we read it, they would have learned all of the important target structures needed to understand it. Then I just had to spot-teach a few words before or during the reading of each chapter. And there is no harm in waiting until Spanish 2 to read it, so if your courses are structured such that it is comprehensible at Level 2, that’s great! Read it then and choose easier novels for Level 1.

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      1. Thank you for the response! I think I’ll have to work to add the structures into earlier units so they are ready. I enjoy using it in level one, it’s a good challenge. Thanks again!!

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