03 June 2011

Non-perishable learning

She's been speaking Spanish as long as she's been able to speak, but she said she learned something worth remembering--and it stuck--when she had stuck was blindfolded and forced to touch different ingredients, guessing in Spanish what they were.

So the cooking unit stays. But with modifications.

I'm not sure if the time frame will stay the same for two reasons. First, it was the third unit we did this year, right after small talk and describing families. This was mostly to align with the Health Science class's nutrition unit. I would like to do more next year with the whole plan we had for modifying traditional recipes to be healthier, but it will take more time than we had before midterms to pull that off. I would not be opposed to making this the second unit, because that means that students are diving right in with authentic texts that have enough familiar contextual structure (and often pictures) to facilitate interpretation--and to discourage translation.

Actually, moving up the unit might be even better, if handled correctly. Sure, it's weird that my kids know how to say "boil" before they know how to say "run," but I am also keeping in mind that I have to leave something do-able for a sub after Christmas (so I can adjust to being a mother of two!), and good ol' adjectives or hobby words are more likely to be in a sub's repertoire (though I may have the inside track on a sub, as a student's grand-pere speaks the Spanish and, according to said student, would do fine as long as I had someone in each class designated to keep him on track).

Yes, I think we'll cook before I'm out of commission for a few weeks. But there will have to be a few changes:

  1. I know enough now to pick a better ingredient list without waiting to see what recipes they pick, so the choice will probably come after some vocabulary guidance. On that list, I should probably add some more fruits and vegetables, too.
  2. The verb list will need a few more words, among them: enfriar, poner, anadir, sacar, dejar. I can probably drop refrigerador and congelador from the list by adding the first one alone. And if I make weather part of the small talk, voila! Connections to prior unit!
  3. I will be amassing a set of different types of recipes: desserts, meats, soups, etc. I'm thinking this will give students a) reinforcement for sets of vocabulary and b) a place to start their searches. I shall attempt to represent as many countries as possible in this set, too. Googling "recetas tradicionales" appears to be a good way to start.
  4. Organizing by different types of recipes means different semantic groups--which have proven to help even some of my most challenged students. Instead of being organized by verbs then types of food, it'll be by types of dishes, period! Hooray from breaking out of the shackles of grammar-based language instruction!
  5. Speaking of grammar, it might seem bass-ackwards, but I rather like how the recipe focus allows me to introduce things like stem-changers and irregulars before getting into verb endings. With the dish-type orientation, I may also be able to focus practice and reinforcement of those sorts of words!
  6. Also, I must never, ever try to compare appliance prices again. That was really pretty pointless.
Things I want to keep include...
  1. The trip to the Hispanic market--with some caveats.
  2. Crazy cookbooks--plus some circle story telling with real or wacky recipes.
  3. The cooking show finale. Those were pretty cool, and some of the most memorable things for the kiddos. Maybe we'll have better luck with kitchen space next time...
  4. Appliance vocabulary, especially the ones that reinforced verbs, ie horno/hornear, batidora/batir

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