20 July 2010

Pies Ligeros, Pasos Primeros (Light Feet, First Steps)

I have been fervently hunting authentic texts--authentic children's literature--online since April at least.  Pies Ligeros is a book I'd come across, but hadn't found much information about (though it's been on my Amazon wishlist since June 13.)  While this is not an actual legend, as I'd hoped it was, it is an authentic product, in that a Mexican author, daughter of a Mexican painter, wrote the story to accompany her father's series of paintings on death.

I can use this as a sort of introduction to attitudes toward death for my unit on Dia de los Muertos (should that come to fruition)

Reading strategy 1: Graphic preview
Obviously, with a book based on paintings, I'd want to emphasize the art.  I like the idea of projecting scanned pages (conveniently enough, no words on the paintings!)  I'm not sure what I want to emphasize besides death as a jumproping skeleton in pretty much every picture.  I think I'd like to tap into feelings the colors and images evoke, but also have students make note of the animals represented and possibly speculate on the purpose of a jumprope in paintings about Death.  In discussion, we might consider why some animals appear to have human bodies.

Reading strategy 2: Preexisting knowledge pre-writing
(This might come first, or after picking the animals out of the paintings.)  I'd ask students to do a pre-writing (in L2? not sure they'd have the vocab) on which animal is most likely to win a jumping contest and why: man, toad, monkey, iguana, coyote, rabbit, alligator, (bat, snake), or grasshopper?

Reading strategy 3: Personal connection, discussion
I've started digging up some death quotes in English, but maybe I should be leaning toward Spanish quotes.  I was thinking connecting to the familiar, but these quotes aren't necessarily familiar--though they might ring true.  I'm under the impression that "death comes with light feet" is a saying in Mexico, but I could be wrong.  Either way, I think I'd distribute a page and have each student choose the quote that most closely aligns with their perception of death and why.

Reading strategy 4: Jigsaw
The text is not dense, but it is complex, and because of the variety of animals, I think this would lend itself well to jigsawing, wherein each group tries to make connections with a different jumprope rhyme, say, matching the rhyme to the picture or figuring out which word is the animal word and which animal it is.  They might also practice jumproping to the rhyme to get a feel for the rhythm of the poetry.  Then, of course, groups would share what they've accomplished.

I think then I'd read the story aloud to students in Spanish and have them figure out why the grasshopper beat death and what the point of the story was.

I will definitely need to do some vocabulary frontloading, so I will digest the vocabulary chapter by tomorrow night and have more ideas to make the text accessible to Level 2 learners.

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