06 May 2014

Authentic Interpretation: Making Maracas

Last year we made piñatas for Día del Niño. This year, we made maracas to accompany our musical performance at the local language festival in April.

Since each student chose a specialty, and the music group finished pretty early, I set them to finding videos to create the musical instruments (with the design group's approval, of course). They uncovered this one:

I took the main part of the instructions (:56-4:30), transcribed it, and made a cloze, taking out key words like botella and adentro and doblamos and putting them in a word bank. 

If my students learn nothing else before they leave my class, they learn that you have to be exposed to a text in your second language at LEAST 3 times before you can say you've interpreted. As always, Phase 1 is basically let it all wash over you and try to get the gist of the context. Phase 2 is read along (if you're feeling like a smarty pants, you might start filling in words the second time around). Before Phase 3, I like to make sure the kiddos cross off words they've used in the word bank so as to focus their attention. Phase 2.5 also involves reading over the whole thing without listening and seeing if you can figure out what kind of words would make sense, and maybe penciling a guess in lightly above the line. Then Phase 3 we listen and fill in words for real. Usually with my novices, there's a Phase 4 that involves stop-and-go listening: pause the video after the end of each sentence with a blank.

Now, this text is still a little complex for the novice, so I take the vocabulary they've been absorbing from the video exposure--and visual reinforcement therein--plus my own botella and tijeras and then walk them through the steps in simplified Spanish. (If time had not been of the essence, I also would have had them write down the steps after they finished following along with me, but we were in a bit of a crunch for various reasons.)

When this was said and done, we had nearly enough maracas for everyone to have a pair. So then we took the next logical step, knowing to teach is to learn again! Based on their proficiency portfolio needs, individuals chose whether they were going to practice their speaking or listening, and then they guided each other through the rest of my rice/duct tape/bottle supply.

And voila!

Our own gorgeous maracas!

Not to mention about ten different North Carolina essential standards in a day and a half of activities:

NL.CLL.2.4 Interpret phrases, commands, simple questions and descriptions that are presented with  accompanying gestures, intonations, and other visual and auditory clues. 
NL.CLL.2.5 Recognize vocabulary and syntax of single words and simple memorized phrases in the target language. 
NL.CMT.2.1 Recognize single words and simple, memorized phrases from media in the language community. 

NL.COD.2.3 Recognize words in groups from other disciplines. 

NL.COD.3.2 Use single words and simple, memorized phrases to name common objects and actions related to other disciplines. 

NM.CLL.2.2 Understand the meaning of memorized words and phrases in sentences
NM.CLL.2.4 Infer conclusions from simple spoken and written passages about familiar topics, using context clues and cognates.

NM.COD.3.2 Use memorized words and phrases to describe common objects and actions related to other 

NM.CMT.2.2 Infer meaning from familiar texts by using visual cues, such as road signs, charts, graphs, etc., that reflect the target culture.

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