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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!...(or whatever month it is when you’re looking at this). This project series grew out of my desire for my students to dig a little deeper in their cultural understanding of other (Spanish-speaking) countries. Especially in my IB and AP Spanish classes – many tasks require the students to have cultural knowledge, not just linguistic capabilities. I found that my students were sorely lacking in authentic cultural understanding. They often resorted to stereotypes, over-generalizations, or simply had no idea. In addition, we know from personal experience that our learning is so much deeper and impactful when associated with culture. Many “textbook based” cultural lessons are pre-packaged, limited, out-of-date, and just plain inaccurate. Most textbooks give students random cultural trivia about almost every place, as opposed to a deeper knowledge about a few places. Those “mile wide” systems also teach culture with a focus on what some teacher or developer thought was relevant, rather than on the student’s personal interest and research.
This is the first project in a series. I have my students sign up by a country/territory, and they keep that same country through each of the projects. My classes max out at 30 students, so I limit it to two students maximum can sign up for each country. This way, they end up with some deeper knowledge about at least one country’s culture. This first project is to research and get to know “their” country. I also have a food (cooking) project, an art project, and others. I'll upload all my projects as soon as possible. I spread these projects out throughout the year, but you could certainly do them back-to-back or all during Hispanic Heritage Month. You could also do the same project(s) multiple times per year, but have the students working with a different country each time.
Since my classes are upper levels, we use the Spanish only version of this project, but I will include the English version of the project as well in case you wish to use it with novice language learners.
1.Teacher Tips & Extensions
2.Project Sheet (Spanish version)
3.Project Sheet (English version)
4.Country/Territory sign up sheet, and Google Drive link for digital version (in case you wish to make a digital copy and have students sign up electronically).
5.Thematic research list
6.Rubric based on a 100 point scale (Spanish version and English version)
7.“Easy Grader page” to help you verify accuracy, etc.
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