- Grade level: Upper Elementary, Middle and High School
- Subject Area: Foreign Language - Spanish
The prime consideration for students learning Spanish is that they get the learning motivation from exploring these Spanish-speaking countries in the world -- They know what kind of people they will use their Spanish to communicate with. Also this unit will help students to get the chance to look deeper at these countries, not only some countries' names flashing in their brain but profound research impressing them in the multicultural background behind the language.
In this unit, students will conduct primary and secondary research to know the "hispanohablantes" in the world. These explorations will serve as windows for these Spanish-speaking countries for students to acquire information and impression from different perspectives . Students are supposed to conduct the researches by using their Spanish ability to comprehend these information on Internet.
Through team works, they will target one country as research topic, collect information using Internet resources as well as library reources, share their research with other groups, and visit these web sites set up by other groups that relate to these Hispanic countries.
Some important considerations:
- Some students might be Hispanic American or their parents/ancestors came from these countries. They will have special interests to know certain country. You can specially assign these students to do research about the topic they are really concerned and let them to share their heritage with peers. Also it is a great chance for other students to know more about their hispanic peers.
- A lot of resources about Hispanic countries on-line are in Spanish, which require advanced Spanish language skills for students to comprehend the inforamtion. In addition, the developmental level of each country is different. Students might have difficulty to find certain topics on WWW. For students in upper elementary and middle school as well as incomplete resources, the alternative way is to do the research from library resources in English instead of exploring on WWW. Depending on students' Spanish skill, you can conduct the unit associated with these two kind of research with some students with special Spanish skills exploring on WWW and other students doing library research.
- Students will get overview impression about Hipsanic world.
- Students will learn how to conduct research through WWW/Internet searches for information about certain topics.
- Students will have chance to learn from their peers by visiting these sites set up by other groups that are related to other countries.
- Students will enhence their reading comprehension, oral presentation in Spanish.
Materials and Resources Needed
- Hardware requirement: several PCs or Macintoshs with color monitors, printer(s), and CD-ROM.
- Software requirement: Operating system (MacOs, Window, Dos, Windows/95, etc.), application software (ClarisWorks, MS word, etc.), and WWW browsers (Mosaic, Netscape, etc.)
- Network/Internet requirement: telephone lines, high-speed modems (14,400 or above), Web browser: Netscape or others.
- Shareware or free software:
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Hispanic World. Whole group discuss the Spanish-speaking countries in the world. Students will develop general knowledge about the cultural background of these countries, ancient cultures in Mexico, Central America, and Peru, Spanish conquistadors in 16th, the independence, and current development.
- Lesson Two: Spain Field Trip. Whole group discuss the original Spanish-speaking country. Form students into research groups to search different topics like art, cities, museums, universities, musics, dance, and other related sites. They will structure their research with information and graphics for their presentation. Share their research with whole group.
- Lesson Three: Mexico Field Trip. Whole groups discuss the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world which also the most closest neighbor for the United States. Form students into research groups to search different topics about Mexico. They struture their research as presentation with interesting information and graphics. Then share the exploration with whole group.
- Lesson Four: Central America and the Caribbean. Whole group discusses the Spanish-speaking countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Form students into research groups to choose one country in each group as research topic. They structure the exploration as presentation form with interesting information and graphics. Then share the exploration with whole group.
- Lesson Five: South America. Whole group discusses the Spanish-speaking countries in this area. Notice the historical background here that Brazil is not a Spanish-speaking country but Portuguese-speaking country. Form students into research groups to pick up one country as research topic in each group. They will struture their research as presentation form with interesting information and graphics. Then share the exploratyion with whole group.
- Lesson Six: Reflection on the Hispanic World Field Trip. Students write up reports, including their general impression about these Spanish-speaking countries and special impression about certain country, their feeling about these countries associated with learning Spanish, and their expectation for further learning.
Relation to Standards
Please refer to the Standards for an explanation of how these Hispanic World Field Trips fits into the context of National Foreign Language Standards.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit classroom situations where students and teachers have access to several computers that have internet access. To accomodate the fact that few classrooms will have access to a computer lab with full Internet access, students will work in research groups to explore internet sites and conduct internet research.
If you have only one computer which is hooked-up to the internet, you may choose to do one of several things.
During the intial stages of the unit:
- If you have the technology, you may hook-up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages where students are exploring sites created by other children.
- If you don't have a TV monitor or LCD projector, you may choose to have students rotate through the station in groups.
- If you don't have a TV monitor or LCD projector, but have several computers available you may also download files from the internet and save them to a disk. Then transfer Netscape [http://home.netscape.com] onto your other computers. Now you can transfer the files you down-loaded to the other non-internet computers to view with Netscape. This will not allow students to explore the pages with hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with Netscape.
During the research phase of the project:
- You may choose to have students rotate through the machine in research groups that are composed of students from similar backgrounds, allowing them to gather research as a group.
- You may choose to focus on one ethnic/cultural background for a given period of time-- say one day or week-- where you explore the links broadcasting with a TV or LCD projector. This way students get a sampling of the sort of information that is available.