November 2, 2014

As I plan for November, I find myself reflecting on everything more than before. I recently moved to Denver, CO and I think this has caused me to reflect even more. What do I believe in and does it show in my lesson plans? I believe in teaching with authentic resources. I believe in teaching cultures and compassion. I believe in students talking about themselves and their cultures. I believe in high rigor. I believe in staying in the target language. I believe learning should be fun and relevant. Oh my… that’s a lot!

We are often asked HOW we plan out a unit and what does our daily instruction look like. Let me share what goes on in my teacher brain based on my upcoming plans.


I really want students to be able to discuss their own Thanksgiving traditions, but I want to teach about Latino culture too. How can I have both? After researching, I found out that Puerto Ricans celebrate Thanksgiving, but with a “Latino touch.” This can be the focus of how I will “teach” the vocabulary, structures and culture. I found several blogs about “Latino Thanksgivings” and plenty of authentic resources. I will teach about Puerto Rico, then mainland U.S. Thanksgiving traditions, and finally compare the two. I’m trying an intercultural assessment this time around too.


Pernil from a local food truck!


It was extremely important at my last school to include a project to strengthen their research and creativity skills. I discovered that there are many different harvest celebrations across the globe. They can design their own projects, which adds a little independence. I’m ready to let them have more control over their learning process and demonstrating their learning.

Harvest Celebrations around the World:


So far, my best place has been to find information and resources. Twitter is great too, since these are topics that people are talking about. This is the way they gain vocabulary and structures, so I want to use ones that are shorter and rich with pictures, like infographics. I love using these!

#Infografía Día de Acción de Gracias


Within this unit, I want them to be able to talk about their own Thanksgiving traditions and compare to Puerto Rico. This is when I unpack the big goals into daily, specific goals. I write them out, then arrange them so that they build on each other. Here are some of the goals I chose and my favorite stamps:


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“Coqui” stamp – Puerto Rico’s official mascot

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Hibiscus stamp – Puerto Rico’s official flower


Now that I have my stamp sheet with unpacked goals, I can start creating my daily plans. This is where I find an authentic resources, and then base my activities on it. I try to touch on all modes/skills when I plan. Sometimes I focus on interpretive skills one day, then interpersonal and presentational the next day. Other times, I do all in one day. It just depends on the goal. I have folders on my computer and in my file cabinet that have  generic activities. This saves me a ton of planning time.FullSizeRender



We have this unit on if you want to purchase it.


Do you teach Thanksgiving in class? How do you add the culture component?