This is a complete unit plan for use in an AP or other advanced Spanish class. This unit plan was developed for the AP Spanish language classroom, so all the materials are completely in Spanish.
This unit plan was created for use with the novel "Antes de ser libres" by Julia Alvarez. In English it is called "Before we were free". This novel takes place in the Dominican Republic at the end of the dictatorship of Trujillo and is told from the perspective of a 12 year-old girl who is forced to come of age under extreme oppression. It is very powerful and has material that many students can relate to.
In this unit students have the opportunity to read the novel (in Spanish) with support of reading logs and class activities, discuss multiple literary interpretations, and write a final essay reflecting on what they have learned. My favorite lesson is the last one in which students compare the main character in "Antes de ser libres" to Anne Frank.
This unit plan includes:
1. Unit plan overview to share with students (list of learning targets and assessments in Spanish)
2. Ten individual daily lesson plans to discuss and explore each chapter of the novel (Topics include: symbolism, oppression, historical accuracy etc). Lesson plans include vocabulary lists taken from the text of "Antes de ser libres"
3. Reading log for students to complete with each reading assignment. Reading logs help students process what they are reading especially if they are reading a book in Spanish for the first time.
4. Final essay instruction sheet
5. Peer Review activity for final essay - students have their essays reviewed by their peers before submitting.
6. Editing checklist for final essay
7. Three vocabulary quizzes
8. Powerpoint presentation entitled "The Era of Trujillo" that can be used before students begin the book or after they have read the first chapter or two. It gives students information on Trujillo's dictatorship and how Dominican people were forced to live during his reign.
9. Background information on Julia Alvarez and details about the book to share with students before they begin reading. Should be used with Day 1 lesson plan. This is the only item that is not in Spanish.
10. Links to two articles about Trujillo (one in English, one in Spanish)
11. Letter to teachers - please read before reviewing lesson materials. (Links to above articles included in this letter)
This is a powerful unit plan that my students always enjoyed because they were able to interact on many levelsI with the text, the characters, and the historical material. It requires some amount of flexibility and creativity on the part of the teacher because your students will likely respond in different ways to the book so you may wish to add, remove or adapt my materials for your students and your course. I recommend allowing at least two months for this unit. It will probably take at least that long to complete if you allow your students some control as to what areas of the book you explore more deeply with them. Also, the lesson plans will make much more sense after you have read the book yourself.
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