Don't Cry for Me Argentina by JoSale
What's Happening In My Classroom
There are several things that have gone really well in my classroom lately! This week was my last week teaching Spanish IV. I am happy to report that my final project with my Spanish IV students was an extreme success. My CT mentioned that it was her favorite assignment I had the students do all year. Our final unit was over human rights. Argentina is one of the countries we study in this unit. Having spent a few weeks in Argentina, you can imagine my excitement to have the opportunity to share Argentina's rich history with my students. After learning Argentina's history with a special focus on the Dirty War and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, I had my students do a mini project. This project had three different elements. First, students had to choose a family member or a friend to represent as one of the disappeared during the Dirty War. They had to make a poster with a picture (or drawing) of that person. Student's had to put the name of the missing person, their relationship to that person, and the date of the disappearance on the poster. We pasted their poster to a piece of black card stock and then hot glued paint sticks on the back so the students could hold them up. The second element of the project was a letter. The students had to write a letter describing their feelings and love for their missing person. The letter had to include the name of the missing person, the student's relationship to that person, and at least four things that described or represented the missing person's life. The final element of the project was participation. After all the posters and letters were complete, I moved the desks to create a circle around the room. I had half of the students pretend to be "Madres de Plaza de Mayo" and the other half visitors. The "Madres" marched around the classroom holding up their posters. The visitors choose one "Madre" to speak with. The "Madre" had to read the letter to the visitor and explain their lose. The visitor was expected to listen actively and ask questions. I then had the students switch roles. These project surpassed my expectations in every way. The students really got into them and made it very personal. I read letters about missing parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and close friends. Each was touching and heartfelt. One of my students even chose to do her photography project on the missing people in Argentina. She represented them through shadows and reflections in her photographs for her performance final. It was incredible to see how passionate my students became about history, especially the history of Argentina. I think that by having them choose a family member or friend close to them to represent as a missing person made them better understand the tragedy and the lasting impacts of the Dirty War. I am blown away with this project's success! I will certainly be using it in the years to come.
What has not gone well:
The challenges I have faced this past week were in large part due to standardized testing. This past week the tenth grade students had to take the gateway. This standardized testing affected a large majority of my Spanish 2 students. My third period class only had three students for two days due to testing! There is not much you can do with just three students. They gateway was over by the end of third period, so all my fourth and sixth period students were in present. However, they were completely drained from testing all morning long. The activities I had planned for my students one these days were challenging and required a lot of deep thought. I learned how much standardized testing really does effect students. In the future, I need to be mindful of major standardized tests that affect a large population of my students. I need to come up with lessons that still engage students and further their knowledge, but that are appropriate and accommodating after a long day of testing. I am thankful to have had the experience during my student teaching as I know standardized testing is something that is going to continue to affect my classroom as long as I teach.