04 October 2017

Important Problems: Adversity, Inventions, and Authentic Texts

First world problems are so 2015.

Still, I thought that brainstorming problems they could personally relate to would inspire and motivate the young inventors in my class to come up with something, you know, useful.

Little did I know that current events across the Caribbean would prove more inspiring.


First World Problems

They were good sports and played along with my Problemas del Primer Mundo EDPuzzle when I was sick last week. They answered "sí" to more than one "¿Tienes este problema?" at least. (PS, can I TELL you how hard it is to find "problemas del primer mundo" videos that won't get me fired?) The Gleam was definitely missing, though.

Now I usually use Nearpod or Seesaw (rest in peace, InfuseLearning) to collect doodles that turn into a vocabulary bank: I ask a question they can understand but can't quite answer in Spanish yet so I can figure out what words they will need to express themselves in the upcoming unit. Being pajama-bound for the day, however, I collected Google Drawings where they simply inserted pictures representing their own day-to-day problems. There was still a definite lack of Gleaming, but I was able to pick out some common themes (aside from homework and time) and turn those into some problem categories we could address.

Here's what I came up with:


We added these to their notes and matched them up with some of the photos they had inserted in the Google Drawings. When 80% of both Spanish I classes picked the same problem to focus on (tecnología, of course), I knew we had to keep looking to find our inspiration.


Real World Problems

Now all of the devastation that had--quite literally--shaken the Spanish speaking world in the last month had been weighing on me. I felt remiss only acknowledging the events with a quick Mundo en tus manos activity. So I collected some infographs from Pictoline and picked out the most comprehensible to explain the situations. I walked them through first the Mexico one, then the Puerto Rico one and had them describe some problems people had in one or both situations, on a Classroom Question.




















I had also collected a few articles on water-related inventions (we are due for another reading AAPPL at the end of the week, after all):
I took the first one and added some comprehension questions in English on Actively Learn. The kids did really well! AND I could see a little glimmering beginning!



Real World Solutions

Where the action really happened was on Seesaw. After reading about trapping water from the air, their pumps were primed. We returned to the Classroom Question and I modeled replying to the problems they had described with possible solutions off the top of my head (third period it was flexible electric grids; fourth it was a water purifying vaso).

So I gave them a drawing template on Seesaw to copy and edit with 3 sentence starters on a label:

  • Mi invento puede
  • Tiene
  • Necesita
Working those essential verbs for all they're worth, right?

So they finished the sentences and drew their inventions. Here are a few of my favorites:



NOW their brains were engaged!

And to think I had planned to have them stick to first world problems!

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