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La Presencia Escondida: Spanish Speakers in Our Community


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Keywords: Spanish, photography, interviewing, transcription
Subject(s): Technology, Foreign Language
Grades 9 through 12
Original Author: Jennifer Degenhardt, Darien
Lesson Title: La Presencia Escondida: Spanish Speakers in Our Community

Subject Area: Introductory Spanish, Writing & Technology

Grade Level: 9 – 11

Lesson Summary:

Though my students live in relative proximity to the largest cosmopolitan city of our nation and hail from mostly upper middle class families, it is a sad fact that they are not as conscious of cultural diversity as I believe they should be in an ever-changing, blended world. This lesson will give students the opportunity to encounter Hispanic people who also reside in our community, be they natives of the area or recent immigrants. It is my hope that students awareness of Hispanic culture and language will increase as they get to know, on a more personal level, Spanish-speakers from different regions of the world and how they contribute to our society.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this lesson students will:

• Effectively operate a digital camera
• Conduct basic interviews with Spanish-speaker(s) in Spanish
• Conduct in-depth interview(s) with interviewees in English, if possible
• Transcribe all or portions of interview(s) in Spanish
• Present orally their findings on interviewed person(s)
• Identify and compare Spanish-speakers from different cultures
• Create an electronically manufactured article using one or more of the following: Tool Factory Workshop, MultiMedia Lab V, Whole Class Fresco and/or Tool Factory Home Page

Lesson also realizes the following school, district and national goals:

Complies with the school’s mission statement with regard to the following intentions:
 encourage the development of all students as reflective thinkers
 require students to
o write and speak effectively, and listen actively
o reason effectively and solve problems
o demonstrate the skills and real-world contextual knowledge to meet the demands of a changing world.
o analyze problems from multiple perspectives by understanding past and present cultures.
o engage in intellectual and cultural activities with people from other communities and cultures.
o understand individual learning styles and apply them to his/her learning experiences
o develop positive interpersonal skills
o demonstrate self-confidence by setting challenging and appropriate goals, and working towards them.
o participate effectively and efficiently in groups to pursue and generate information
o develop a healthy sense of self-worth and the worth of others.
o demonstrate mutual respect for all members of the school and town community.
o interact with and values people of other towns, countries and cultures.
o understand the human impact on the environment


Satisfy the standards of the American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL): Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities.

District Goal #1: Meet Educational Specifications – Objective 1.2: Integrate new technology of Darien High School directly into classroom instruction.

District Goal #4: Advance Learning Through Technology

District Technology Curriculum Goals:

K- 12 Technology Standard #2: Social, Ethical & Human Issues
K-12 Technology Standard #3: Technology Productivity & Communication Tools
K-12 Technology Standard #4: Technology Resource Tools

Multidimensional Activities:

Lesson Introduction:

Students will work in small groups to meet a person (or persons) of Hispanic heritage who work(s) in the community, interview him/her (them) in Spanish and English and take photographs of him/her (or them) both in and out of their working environment. With the knowledge that they gain from the interviewees, students will then have the opportunity to create group or individual projects using Tool Factory Workshop, MultiMedia Lab V, Whole Class Fresco and/or Tool Factory Home Page, to incorporate both a visual and a written component. Projects can include, but are not limited to, collages of subjects and written summaries of interviews, books for children, greeting cards with explanations of photographs, and/or websites replete with photos, tables, charts and descriptions of interviewees.

Given the level of Spanish acquisition that students will have attained by spring of the current academic year, this lesson will be introduced at the beginning of the last marking period. The lesson will begin by posing the following questions to the students to stimulate discussion and create awareness:

- Are there Spanish-speaking people in our community?
- Who are they?
- Are they involved in the community? How?
- Where do they work? Where do they live?
- How do they contribute to the community?

Over the course of a week I will ask students to pay particular attention to any and all Spanish speaking people that they encounter in their daily lives and have them record their observations. They will then be able to compare their findings with their preconceived ideas discussed on the first day of the lesson. After a frank dialogue as to how to properly approach potential interviewees, students will be tasked with establishing a relationship with him/her (them), and requesting their help with the completion of the students’ projects.

While students are forming working relationships with the Spanish-speakers outside of class, they will be learning about and practicing with the digital cameras, ensuring that they are better-versed in the nuances of candid photo taking.

Once a rapport has been created between the interviewers and interviewees and permission granted, students will then schedule meeting times for interview to take place and photographs to be taken.

At the computer students will then collate the information gathered and assemble the photographs to generate a final electronic product, perhaps one described above, that will be showcased on International Night, a World Language Department sponsored evening to which both school and community members are invited.

Some of the enrollees of the course for which this lesson is designed are either students of special education or reluctant learners, and due to their unique learning styles and abilities, most have not had the benefit that many of their contemporaries have had of learning a second language until this year. This course is designed with them in mind by incorporating a slower pace and an array of hands-on activities to help them learn. Therefore, the intended benefits to this group of students are many and varied. Not only will students be able to experience first-hand the practical applications of speaking and learning Spanish and writing in the new language, but by participating in this lesson students will also make real-life connections with real people. Likewise they will also be able to avail themselves of technology that is becoming an integral part of today’s world.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Yearbook, Digital SLR, Word Processor, Web Page, Podcasting, Digital Voice Recorders, Flash/USB Drives
Other Items: 1 Olympus D-545 digital camera $200, $200 each, total of $200.00
1 pack of 8 ½ ” x 11” 8 mil glossy photo pack/100 pack, $25 each, total of $25.00
2 package of multicolored cardstock, 8 ½” x 11”/250 pack, $30- $15each each
1 case of 5 ¾ ” x 8 ¾ ” envelopes/100 pack $11, $11 each, total of $11.00
1 package of 50-count CD-R disks for easy transport of projects, $13 each, total of $13.00
4 Olympus Digital Recorders, model VN-240, $160- $40each each
1 Shutterfly Volume Pricing Account/200 prints, $44 each, total of $44.00
Associated File: 3539.kid