“Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Thirteen: Happy Holidays!” written by Norma Landa Flores and available on digital download @ teacherspayteachers.com, is a 41 page Oral Communication and Reader’s Theater Lesson that features the story entitled, “Episode Thirteen: “Happy Holidays!” It is the thirteenth 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 1931-1932. The Saga takes place from 1924-1937. Each episode ends with an Epilogue that features practice and assessment of pronunciation skills and is independent of the previous episode.
This material is suitable for students in grades 7-12 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 [ɝ] [oʊ] & [ɑ] or substituting [ ɛ ] [ ɑ ] or [ ʌ ] for these sounds. “Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Thirteen: Happy Holidays!” encourages verbal communication, cooperation and oral collaboration while developing competent speaking and listening skills.
Cuca’s Conundrums Episode Thirteen:Happy Holidays! Contents
[ ɝ ] [oʊ] [ɑ] Vowel Pronunciation Pre-Assessment .....3
Cuca Goes Back to School 1931-1932 .....4 Why Cuca Was Expelled from Berendo Junior High .....6
Cuca’s Cielito Lindo Tuition-Raising Plans .....8
And, Gooodbye Lady Companions! .....10
Little Orphan Cuca at St. Vibiana’s, Downtown L.A......12
The Queen of Sheeba and the Parking Valet .....15
Cuca at St. Vibiana’s Chapel School, West L.A. .....16
Strawberries for Artistas in Mexican Movies .....18
“Don’t Burn ME At The Stake!” .....21
Cuca said,”Sorry for Your Bad Luck, Champ” .....23
Cuca’s Christmas Wish Comes True .....26
The Boylston Ave. Apartment House .....29
Epilogue: Make Circumstances Work For You .....32
Pronunciation Grades .....33
Multiple Choice Questions for Discussion .....34
[ ɝ ] [oʊ] [ɑ] Vowel Pronunciation Post-Assessment .....35
Contexts & Standards-Based Criteria
for Assessing [ɝ] [oʊ] [ɑ]....36
Appendix: Suggestions for the Teacher/Facilitator .....37
First Suggestion: Oral Communication About the Short Story ....38
Second Suggestion:[ɝ] [oʊ] [ɑ] Pronunciation Assessments....39
Third Suggestion: Oral Interpretation, Reader’s Theater .....40 Stage, Play, Broadcast, etc.
Peroration and Copyright Information.....41
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 click art illustrations that establish the 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 too. The most important lesson to be taken from this Episode is that every cloud has a silver lining. Cuca finds herself in awkward, unfriendly and even emotionally stormy situations. But no matter what the circumstances may be, she makes those circumstances work for her as she pursues the goal of improving her English reading, writing and speaking skills. As Cuca said, “ He Dicho - I Have Spoken!” Help your students speak up too!