“Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Seven: La Secretaria,1929 ” written by Norma Landa Flores and available on digital download @teacherspayteachers.com, It is a 24 page Short Story and Oral Communication Lesson that features the story entitled, “Episode Seven: La Secretaria, 1929.” It is the seventh in a collection of 17 interrelated short stories about Cuca, an undocumented immigrant girl who makes her way from Mexico to Texas and Arizona to settle in with her aunt Miriam and cousin Dora in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California. The Saga takes place from 1924-1937. Each episode ends with an epilogue and is independent of the previous episode.
Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Seven: La Secretaria, 1929, Contents
[ ʊ ] High-Back Relaxed, [ u ] High-Back Tense
and [ ʌ ] Low-Central Tense Vowel Functional
Pronunciation Pre-Assessment .....3
The Ad for a Full-Time Job. . . 4
Pasitos Teaches Dora Bilingual Telephone Skills. . . 6
Dora’s First Day at the Bradbury Building. . . 8
Pro Bono Typing for the Boyle Heights Melting Pot. . . 10
Enter Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Technical Skills. . . 12
Epilogue: Double Crossing Press Release. . . 15
[ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] Pronunciation Grades. . . 16
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion & Scores. . . 17
[ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] Vowel Functional
Post-Pronunciation Assessment. . . 18
Contexts & Standards Criteria for Assessing [ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ]. . . 19
Appendix: Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator. . . 20
First Suggestion: Oral Communication About the Short Story. . . 21
Second Suggestion: [ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] Pronunciation
Assessments. . . 22
Third Suggestion: Oral Interpretation, Reader’s Theatre,
Stage, Play, Broadcast, etc. . . . 23
Peroration and Copyright Information..... 24
Page 17 contains “Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion.”
Page 18 is the [ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] Vowel Functional Pronunciation Assessment form, with which students may take turns pronouncing and assessing each other. Page 19 lists, “Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for Assessing [ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] Vowel Functional Pronunciation. These standards for speaking and listening were agreed upon by the National Communication Association Task Force on Speaking and Listening Skills of which the author, Norma Landa Flores was a contributing participant.
Pages 20-23 is the Appendix with Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator to more easily teach an oral communication lesson creating relevancy due to the multicultural nature of this material that is suitable for students in grades 9-12 and above. In addition, the content is very helpful for any age level student learning English as a Second Language or for Special Education students having difficulty pronouncing [ ʊ ] [ u ] [ ʌ ] or substituting [ u ] [ oʊ] or [ ɑ ] for these sounds. “ Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Seven: La Secretaria,” encourages verbal communication, cooperation and oral collaboration.
A wonderful bonus is that this Episode serves as a sample for writing a short story for Reader’s Theatre or Oral Interpretation of Literature bilingually, because the text is rich in dialogue. The Episode is brief enough to edit into a classroom or speech tournament presentation.
Furthermore, it improves pronunciation in a relevant, student-centered method too. The most important lesson to be taken from this Episode is that Dora dedicated her bilingual skills to the needs of her Depression Era “Multicultural Melting Pot” Community of Boyle Heights. This way of living was passed on to her little cousin Cuca, as we shall see in coming Episodes. Enjoy teaching through this Episode as you help promote Tolerance!