Kiva Projects

Last year my friend, Kristy Placido, did an amazing service learning project. Her kids used their BYOD devices to research borrowers on Kiva for a video project. The coolest part of the whole thing was that Kristy put up $200 of her own money to give the top 3 video makers the ability to really help their borrower fund the loan!! Talk about walking the walk! I was inspired!

So this year I decided to do the project in my class. My students did a reading of some authentic sites to learn about microfinance and then we headed to to find people who were seeking loans! I gave them a full class day just to read bios of people and to choose the person they want to help. They get a second full day to work on putting the pictures and audio together into a video presentation! Having Kristy’s student vids as an example was a great way for my kids to visualize what I expected!

I have offered $100 to the top video, $75 to the second place and $25 to the third place. Kristy has generously offered to match that amount so I can award two of each prize! How exciting!!! I’ll be asking for votes next week so keep your eyes on Twitter for the links if you have time to help us pick the winners! Kristy’s class is going to vote as well! Why not have your class vote too! Great interpretive listening! 🙂 

This is the playlist of my top 10 (well 11 because it was tough to cut it down. Top 6 like getters win the monetary prizes!

Please keep in mind that these are language learners and if you have any type of criticism of their language skills, email me at senoracmt at gmail dot com and do not insult their video. Being an intermediate is difficult and they take it very personally when they are flamed. (this happened, can you believe it?) As teachers, I want us to lift UP students who are trying to use language and not tear our own or other people’s students down!!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

13 thoughts

  1. I’d love to see the links you used for researching microfinance! Also can’t wait to see the videos! Where will they all be posted?

  2. I do a similar project with my 6th, 7th and 8th graders each trimester of school. We choose a lender together and vote as a class. I would love to see the links too that you used to provide information about microfinance!

  3. I LOVE this. Our kids (as in our family) are currently researching projects to choose, and one got a kiva gift card for her birthday. If you haven’t seen Living on One Dollar, go to Netflix & see it soon!

  4. What a great idea! I plan to do a similar unit next marking period. I would appreciate it if you would be willing to share any of your resources.

  5. Hi Carrie,

    Heather Witten, Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell & I are working on a Spanish 1 curriculum for VIF International Education that builds proficiency while promoting cultural competence through global inquiry. One of the ways we’re engaging learners is through Kiva projects, just as you are doing with your students — so inspiring! We’re currently piloting the program in a few schools in North Carolina, and last week I saw a teacher do a great job of connecting Kiva, language learning and a TPRS story (“Esperanza”, by Carol Gaab) with her Spanish class. Kids were just beginning to research lenders for their own projects — they were focused and curious, which was great to see.

  6. What a wonderful and meaningful project. My husband does something similar and has kids raise money with competition coin jars-kids put their change into jars and get points based on coin (pennies are worth less than nickels, etc) and team with most points wins. They compete by trying to add big coins so a team will “lose”. It is explained better here: B But the real winners are the charities, who get the money they raised.

    1. They used a WIDE variety of programs since they were making them outside of class. Some who wanted to use my devices used Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Others who used their phones used Flipagram and some Android market movie makers I wasn’t familiar with!

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