I am incredibly lucky to have Callie Rabe, an extraordinary teacher, as a colleague and mentor. Because she used to have my position as a middle school teacher, she is able to give me great insight on what is developmentally appropriate for each level that I teach. As I say to anyone who will listen, all of my best teaching ideas come directly from Señora Rabe. This year, I’ve implemented her Culture Points project with my students.
Culture Points is an independent project where students have the opportunity to connect themes of Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures to an area of personal interest or passion. I give the students a list of ideas for things they might do being sure to let them know that these are only suggestions. Students then fill out a Culture Points contract which explains what they are planning to learn and how they will present their learning to their peers. Their project is graded on this rubric criteria.
I have been really impressed with the unique and interesting projects that have been presented so far this year. At the top of this post, you see a student perform his rendition of José Feliciano’s “Feliz navidad” to our small class. Above, you see one student’s drawing Blue and White Day, one of our school’s signature traditions, in the style of the great Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. He told me, “Señora, I couldn’t color in the t-shirts blue because all of Posada’s drawings are in black and white.” Other projects have included students taping themselves ordering food in Spanish to a native speaker in a Mexican restaurant as well as a “Name That Tune” style gameshow where students had to guess the English language song that a Spanish language cover tune was based on.