Narco Bling to Infografías

Some of the more shocking moments for my Spanish 4 classes have come from our study of Narcotraffickers. Two consecutive years, mid study, El Chapo Guzmán was in the news for prison breaks and arrests! The Ayotzinapa kidnappings were also smack in the middle of our unit… it raised the question among my level 4s, where is the news coverage of this and why don’t the newscasters highlight the stats about who is buying the drugs!?

As 17 and 18 year olds, they haven’t had much experience with how media works and so finding out that this drug war is a result of US consumption and that the money and weapons are coming from the US to Mexico is a shock for them. I think it is important! Often we see only the “build a wall to keep the bad hombres out” side in our media.

Beginning with the National Geographic documentary, Narco Bling and building pieces around Kara Jacobs’s Narcoviolence unit, we look at the cause/effect relationship between US consumption of drugs and the heavy armament of the cartels.

Their final product, an infographic on a Genius Hour topic is an infographic that they will present “art gallery style” a’la Sharon Birch!

As you consider whether to tackle heavy units with your upper levels, be sure to temper them with the good as well! One of my favorite parts of this unit is a commercial Zachary Jones of Zambombazo shared about the reasons to believe in Mexico! While we want students to understand that things happen around the world that are glossed or ignored in our media coverage, we also don’t want them to come away with the impression that they are not safe nor that people have worse violence problems in other countries than we have here! It’s all relative!


CYBER MONDAY at somewheretoshare


Tomorrow and Tuesday are the annual Cyber Monday sale on TPT!  Consider shopping online to help fill the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas!  I added two of my favorite movie talks:


My favorite little movie talk, El Regalo, is great for a connection to the novel Brandon Brown quiere un perro but it also makes a great stand alone as we approach the holidays!

With cold weather upon us, it is also a great time to movie talk Lily and the Snowman!  Such a sweet video!

Whether you’re a movie talk pro or just a beginner, I hope these movie talk packets help you incorporate some great CI into your classes as the old year goes out and the new year comes in!


How to Tackle ACTFL!

I have been to ACTFL 5 times and I never stop being amazed at the magnitude of this conference! If you’ve never been, please consider this something worth doing for yourself! We live in an age where schools don’t pay for PD very often but it is worth every penny to attend this conference at least once!

I have 5 helpful hints if you’re headed out for your first ACTFL and are feeling overwhelmed!

1. Don’t miss the opening session. It is at the opening session that you will get to meet the five candidates for National Teacher of the Year! They’ll name the winner right before your eyes! Plus, the ACTFL Keynote is always able to open my eyes to something I didn’t know before!

2. Don’t skip the exhibit hall! There are so many exhibits you could spend a whole day wandering around! Of course there are textbook companies but don’t skip the smaller publishers! You can walk out with armloads of Comprehensible readers at great prices! Read a lot of stories and decide which your students will love the most!

3. Pick out 2-3 can’t miss sessions per day! If you get caught up chatting with a like minded colleague after a session, you may end up missing one time slot but identify at least 2-3 a day that you will go to to keep yourself in a learning mindset! Sometimes that nap or that stroll around Nashville can be tempting but there is just too much great information available in these 3 days to skip out!

4. Have a dinner with a group of people you met at the conference! Some of my closest friends and collaboration pals live in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania! You never know which session your new conference bestie might be hiding in!

5. Send a thank you tweet! ACTFL and particularly Julia Richardson spend a LONG time making this so awesome! How great would it be on Sunday to see a ton of shout outs for all the hard work!

Hope to see you at ACTFL!

Material World- A unit on world homes

If you don’t have Peter Menzel’s photo books Hungry Planet-What the World Eats and Material World, please buy them.  The images are ALL OVER THE INTERNET but his work is spectacular and I want teachers to support him as a photographer!  I’d love to see him update these projects!

I wanted to do a unit in level two where students could talk about their own homes and possessions but also dig deep into what people in other parts of the world are lacking!  I’ve been amazed by how they performed as we worked our way through image talks, comparison and contrast, and deep thinking about how much we really have!  This is just the first draft of the unit but I’d like to share in case you’re looking for a way to bring the world’s people to your classroom!

I relied heavily on some suggestions from the National Geographic community for the supplemental resources.  If you’re not a National Geographic certified educator, I’d highly recommend it!  Access to the community and the suggestions alone is worth the time to create the portfolio!

Homes Unit Proofed