An Easy Way to Use Authentic Resources to Celebrate Culture

Happy Tuesday! I am super excited to share this with everyone! I am not sure about your teaching context, but it seems lately I am being encouraged to use more “authentic resources.” Now, I won’t get into a big pedagogical debate here (I do have thoughts about this for novice learners), but I work in a district that really pushes the use of almost exclusively authentic resources. So, I needed to work on some way to deliver authentic material, yet still offer opportunities for scaffolding. I had been to some workshops that taught different strategies that I loved, and I use the Stepping Stones Curricular Framework, but I teach three levels, so I needed something I could easily level up or level down.

I knew there had to be a way to do this and still teach cultural materials. In the Stepping Stones Curricular Framework, these fit perfectly into Cycle 2! So, I started working on a series of materials using authentic resources. I am calling them Cultura Impactante (mainly because the title uses cognates–so, it might change….) The types of resources I have compiled so far include Gente impactante (Impactful People), Lugares impactantes(Impactful Places), Celebraciones impactantes (Impactful Celebrations), Historia impactante (Impactful History) and Jóvenes impactantes (Impactful Young People).

So, how does it work? Well, honestly, use it however you think would function best in your teaching context. I will, of course, talk about how I use these.

First, I Picture Talk a series of screenshots from a short video I have found. I teach Spanish, so I looked for videos in Spanish, but this same in any language.

Next, I show them the video (like a Movie Talk as discussed in Foundations, the book by Tina Hargaden). For lower levels, I use subtitles IN SPANISH to help them understand. I do try to play it once at a normal speed and then I play it again at a .75 speed. You can do this simply by using the cog on a Youtube video.

Then, I take the same pictures I used at the beginning and write some captions that use a writing level just above that of the students. I try to hit key vocabulary, if there is any.

Finally, we end with a Write and Discuss time together.

So, here is the first one:

I hope this is helpful to you! I would love to hear any feedback you might have about this series as well! I am a firm believer that two heads are always better than one, and I know there are amazing teachers who may read this and have some ideas about how we could polish it! Let me know in the comments!

Author: srakspanish

I have spent 25 years in education. I have taught Spanish, ELA, Social Studies, Science and ESOL in all levels of public school, and even several years at a local community college. I am the Curriculum Director and Lead Instructional Coach for a language learning organization.

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