15 June, 2009

"No more pencils, no more books"

Ok, so school isn't completely over, but all that's left are Regents. 
Today I wore my Ohio necklace from Brookadelphia. My students asked me what country it was. Others were pretty sure it was Texas. Fingers crossed for their US history Regents tomorrow!

Last week I had that odd experience of doing the same lesson for 2 classes and having it go really well with one class and really not well with another. 
Last month I put a request on donorschoose for a set of La Dama del Alba, a play by Alejandro Casona. I read this play in high school and remember the absolute terror feeling upon being told we were going to read an entire book, in Spanish. But we did it and had a lot of fun acting it out, so much that I remember the name, plot, characters, etc, from 5 or 6 years ago. I knew it would be a challenge for my students who aren't at the skill level I was at in AP spanish, but I decided they could rise to the challenge as long as I helped them out in the right ways. My donorschoose request got filled in a week and a half. Maybe it's end of the year burnout, but I wasn't expecting the generosity of random strangers  so quickly.

So I chose a scene, created a vocabulary list and pre- and post- reading questions. In the first class, one of my students actually said "Ooooh I love when we bring my favorite activities into the classroom, I can't wait to try and act this out." Maybe she was still in quality review mode? We read the scene individually, then twice together and they worked on acting it out. By the end of class it was practically like being in the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla. Well, not quite, but I had fun and so did my students, who spoke more spanish in 40 minutes than they had in the last 3 weeks without even noticing it. 

Then the next period came in. They took one look at the 3 pages of text and lost their composure. In a theater school, students losing their composure can be more dramatic than any play. After many attempts to convince them to try it, they took a second look and got a little angrier. By the end of class I had gotten them through maybe a third of the scene, with numerous stops for questions, explanations, and dictionary breaks.  We were all equally frustrated I think. 

Luckily one of the good things about teaching is that your students will forget particulars about your lesson pretty quickly, even if you don't.  The second class didn't get back to the play before the end of the year, but they did survive some other reading and speaking activities and maybe even some knowledge of the Spanish language. 

In other news, I bought these and filled them with Tart Cherry Stomp from Red Jacket Orchards. The best thing I've discovered for summer weather, if it ever comes back. 

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