“Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Sixteen: La Maid,” written by Norma Landa Flores and available on PDF digital download @teacherspayteachers.com, is a 35 page Oral Communication and Reader’s Theater Lesson that features the story entitled, “Episode Sixteen: La Maid,” It is the sixteenth 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 and Downtown areas of Los Angeles, California, in 1934.
The Saga takes place from 1924-1937, so it incorporates many multicultural communication and collaboration strategies immigrants used to overcome barriers to inclusion that were evident during that era. Each Scene can be read aloud in a Reader’s Circle or silently by each student. After the reading, Multiple Choice questions about the story are provided. Each Episode ends with an Epilogue and is independent of the previous Episode.
The Epilogue section is the pronunciation lesson contrasting three vowel sounds, with directions of how to pronounce them and samples of which type of spelling patterns produce the sounds. The unique part of this lesson is the Assessment Instrument which features two sentences stressing each key sound. Each Assessment can then be rated, as to speaker’s competency level, by referring to its corresponding “Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for Assessing Pronunciation.”
This material is suitable for students in grades 10-12 and above. In addition, the content is very helpful for any older age level student learning English as a Second Language or for older Special Education students having difficulty pronouncing [ i ] [ eɪ ] [ aɪ ] or who substitute [ ɪ ], [ aɪ ] or [ eɪ ] for these sounds. “Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Sixteen: La Maid,” encourages verbal communication, cooperation and oral collaboration while developing competent speaking and listening skills.
Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Sixteen: La Maid ~ Contents [ i ] [ eɪ ] [ aɪ ] Vowel Pronunciation Pre-Assessment .....3
Indentured Valentine, 1934-1937.....4
Cuca, La Maid .....6
Easter Business Meeting, 1934 .....8
How Mari Got Her Monkey Baby, 1936 .....10
Ice Cream for Catalina’s Knights & Princesses .....11
He Pays the Bills. They Get Ahead! .....15
“Long Time No See, Shorty”....18
Christmas EveTango in El Monte .....21
Epilogue: She Was Shaking Her Behind! .....26
Pronunciation Grades .....27
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion
[ i ] [ eɪ ] [ aɪ ] Vowel Pronunciation Post-Assessment.....28
Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria for.....29
Assessing [ i ] [ eɪ ] [ aɪ ] .....30
Appendix: Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator.....31
First Suggestion:Oral Communication About the Short Story....32
Second Suggestion: [ i ] [ eɪ ] [ aɪ ] Pronunciation Assessments...33
Third Suggestion: Oral Interpretation, Reader’s Theatre, Stage, Play, Broadcast, etc....34
Peroration and Copyright Information.....35
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 and is supplemented with plenty of intriguing, pertinent click art illustrations that establish the situational context and appropriateness of the student’s oral communication.
The scenes are brief enough to edit into a classroom or speech tournament presentation. Furthermore, it improves pronunciation in a relevant, student-centered method. The most important message to be taken from this Episode is that even when you feel there is no way out of an oppressing situation, talking things over with your friends can help lighten your load and assist you in formulating plans to get ahead in life.That’s what Cuca learns from her artistic madrina, her co-workers and her new boyfriend, Jesse El Indio.