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Festivals, Fairs, and Fun and Unit Exploring Spanish Festivals

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Keywords: Spanish, Foreign Language, Technology Skills
Subject(s): Photography, Civics, Social Studies, Video, Spelling, Technology, Geography, Grammar, Writing, History, Foreign Language, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Robert Cross Middle School, Albany, GA
Planned By: Jaycie Holland
Original Author: Jaycie Holland, Albany
It is our desire to purchase tablets that will allow students the ability to read, research, and create assignments without leaving their classroom. These devices would greatly aid the students in obtaining knowledge for lifetime learning and not just test mastery. The technology will be implemented into an 8th grade Spanish classroom at Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School in Albany, Georgia. We are looking for ways to incorporate technology into not only the Spanish classroom, but all classrooms in order to bring it into the 21st century for its 21st century learners. In particular, we would like to find a way to effectively incorporate Kindles or other mobile devices into Spanish lessons.

The target audience for the project will be 8th grade students aged 13-14 years old who are on or slightly above grade level. Currently all 8th grade students in the school take Spanish 1. Classes are mixed with gifted and regular education students. There are not any students in any classes who are considered special education students. The 8th grade students take Spanish to earn credit for 9th grade while still in middle school. There are 3 students who speak fluent Spanish, while the rest of the students have no prior knowledge of the language or subject.

The goal is to provide all students access to current technology inside the classroom so that each student may have the opportunity to complete their best work. Currently not all students have access to computers at home so this project is aimed at allowing everyone to be on equal footing in regards to technology. The primary learning goal is for students to realize similarities and differences in cultural traditions of Spanish speaking countries with their own culture.

General Characteristics
Learners for this project will be 8th grade students at Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School in Albany, Georgia. Learners are between 13-14 years old. The socioeconomic status of the county is low with 50% of the students considered to be from low income households. The school is not considered a Title 1 school and therefore does not receive any extra assistance from the government aside from the allocated state and local funds. The school has a 3% foreign language population, which receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) help as needed. There are 3 fluent Spanish speakers who currently take this class. The rest of the students have no prior knowledge of the Spanish language.

Entry Competencies
There are 3 fluent Spanish speakers who take this particular Spanish class. The rest of the students have no prior knowledge of the Spanish language or the subject. The attitudes of most of the students are positive towards the class. There are a few students who question the necessity of the class because they would rather learn another language besides Spanish. Overall, most of the students enjoy the class and are open to learning the new language and new information about the Spanish culture.

Learning Style
Because all of the students at Robert Cross Middle School are required to take Spanish, there are multiple learning styles in each classroom. A majority of the students, when surveyed, prefer to work in small groups. They like to do projects and class assignments that are hands-on and allow them to present what they have learned in many different formats. Although most students have access to personal computers or smart phones there is still a good percentage that does not own up-to-date technology. Currently the classroom is outfitted with 6 computers that students are allowed to use during class time and after school. The goal of the project is to incorporate mobile devices into the Spanish classroom so that all students will have equal opportunity to use current technology for the completion of projects and classroom assignments.

Georgia Performance Standards will be addressed in this unit where students will research and present information about festivals and celebrations observed in Spanish speaking countries. The student will be allowed to choose which festival they wish to research and what method of technology they desire to use for the presentation of their final project. Utilizing these concepts allows the students to be in control of their learning and the teacher will take on the facilitator role. The standards listed below will be the basis for assessment of mastery at the conclusion of the project.

MLI.INT1 The students demonstrate understanding of simple spoken and written language presented through a variety of media in the target language and based on topics such as self, family, school, etc.
The students:
A. Identify main ideas and some details when reading and listening
B. Comprehend simple, culturally authentic announcements, messages, and advertisements
C. Understand simple instructions, such as classroom procedures
D. Demonstrate Novice-Mid proficiency in listening and reading comprehension

MLI.P1 The students present information orally and in writing that contains a variety of vocabulary, phrases, and patterns.
The students:
A. Present information gathered from a variety of sources such as informal conversations, class presentations, interviews, readings, and media
B. Give basic information about self and others including school, family, activities, etc.
C. Demonstrate Novice-Mid proficiency in oral and written presentations with respect to proper pronunciation, intonation, and writing mechanics

MLI.P2 The students present brief, rehearsed material in the target language, such as dialogues, skits, poetry, and songs.
The students:
A. Demonstrate Novice-Mid proficiency in pronunciation and intonation when presenting rehearsed material.
B. Demonstrate comprehension of rehearsed material.

MLI.CU1 The students develop an awareness of perspectives, practices, and products of the cultures where the target language is spoken.
The students:
A. Demonstrate knowledge of contributions of target culture(s) to civilization.
B. Identify commonly held viewpoints of the cultures, such as those relating to time, education, and meals.
C. Describe customs and traditions of the cultures such as greetings, celebrations and courtesies.

MLI.CCC2 The students demonstrate an understanding of the significance of culture through comparisons between the culture(s) studied and the students’ own culture.
The students:
A. Compare patterns of behavior and interaction in the students’ own culture with those of the target language.
B. Demonstrate an awareness of elements of the students’ own culture.

Technology Standards:
1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a) apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b) create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c) use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.

2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a) communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
b) develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging learners of other cultures.

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
a) plan strategies to guide inquiry
b) locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c) evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
a) identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b) plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students"
a) advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
b) exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
c) demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
d) exhibit leadership for digital citizenship

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
a) understand and use technology systems.
b) select and use applications effectively and productively.
c) troubleshoot systems and applications.
d) transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

1. The primary goal of this project is for students to compare and contrast the cultural traditions of Spanish speaking countries with their own culture. As educators we desire that the students develop an appreciation for other cultures and people so that they will be prepared to enter a workforce that is becoming more globalized each day.

2. It is also a goal of the project to produce awareness and present skills for using various types of media to research, compile, and present information in an organized and meaningful manner.

The teachers will use student and teacher-centered strategies for the Spanish festival assignment. We will use whole group instruction to introduce the topic and the overall goal of the assignment. We will also provide guidelines and a rubric for the contents expected in the completed assignment. Before the students begin the assignment they will be provided with a brief tutorial and demonstration of the features and how to properly use the mobile devices. Student-centered strategies will also be used for students' assignments through research and the creation of the Spanish festival project. Students will use their own judgment to find the appropriate, credible information from the approved research engines for their assigned festival for the project.

The teacher will assess the Spanish festival projects after they have been presented based on the rubric provided below.
1) All 12 of the questions are answered about the festival and its similarities and differences.
2) No grammar or spelling errors. All verbs, adjectives, etc. agree in number and gender as discussed in class
3) Student compares and contrasts the Spanish Holiday to the American festivals (closest possible match). Discusses at least 5 similarities and differences.
4) The student provides a visual production (PowerPoint, Poster, Video, Etc.) that is above and beyond what is expected.

1) 9-10 of the questions are answered about the festival and its similarities and differences.
2) 3 or less grammar errors. Most of the grammar and spelling is correct but there are a few minor areas that need work.
3) Student compares and contrasts only 3 similarities and differences between Spanish and American
4) Student uses backgrounds, animations, textures, and interesting facts to bring the festival to life. The visual is lacking in some areas but overall is done on a middle school level.

1) 8 or fewer of the questions are answered about the festival and its similarities and differences.
2) More than 3 spelling and grammar errors. Student does not show mastery of the agreements rules
3) Student has less than 3 similarities and differences between the Spanish and American festival
4) Color, textures, and overall neatness/organization are missing from the final project. More time is needed to make the visual production appealing and interesting.

Students will view a small PowerPoint that gives a small amount of background information on why each festival is important and what they celebrate. This will help the students choose which festival they would like to research more thoroughly. They will answer a series of questions which will serve as their organizational planner that will be turned in as an outline. This will help the students incorporate all of the necessary ideas and topics and will serve as a starting point for finding information. The goal of the organizational paperwork is to help students decide what information should be included.

Questions that must be answered in the project:

1) What is the celebration in honor of?
2) Where do they celebrate?
3) When did the first celebration take place? Why?
4) What are the rituals of the celebration?
5) What foods/drinks do they serve?
6) How do they dress?
7) How do they decorate?
8) Why is this holiday so important to Hispanics/the Spanish?
9) Does the United States have a celebration or festival similar to this? Or a similar holiday? Where?
10) How does their celebration differ?

Teachers will use the Spanish festival project rubric to review and grade each student's project on their selected Spanish festival. They will add individual comments to each student's rubric for them to see when the rubrics are returned after grades have been recorded. We will make sure to note on the rubrics students' strengths and/or weaknesses on their Spanish festival project.

Teachers will use the following rating scale and rubric to evaluate students' Spanish festival projects. Students will earn an overall grade based on the rubric (see below).

Students' projects will be assessed based on the following criteria. They can earn Exemplary, Proficient, or Ineffective ratings in the following criteria areas:
• Follows Directions (Did they answer all 12 festival questions?)
• Grammar/Spelling (No spelling or grammar errors.)
• Compare/Contrast (Did they compare/contrast their Spanish festival with a similar American festival?)
• Visual Production (Was the proper visual production used above and beyond expectations?)

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
Below 70 = F

To evaluate the strategies, technology, and media utilized, all teachers will conduct debriefing activities with the students. We will talk informally with students through the entire evaluation process. These discussions will take place in both group and individual discussion format. Our desire is to talk specifically with individual students about their project evaluation if they request it. We will remain open to any feedback concerning the Spanish festivals project such as provided websites, presentation software used, or the grading rubric in order to help improve the lesson. Students will also be asked to provide feedback on how they liked the presentation software they chose to use to construct their project. The goal of the evaluation is to see how much students learned based on the strategies used to teach the lesson as well as the online resources.

Students will be asked the following questions before and after the project’s completion to assess how much information is acquired throughout the learning process. Teachers will use answers to the pre-test to help determine if any changes or edits need to be made to the lesson before it is taught. Comparison of the pre- and post-test will help determine the amount of information acquired throughout the project by each student. Students should be able to answer all 5 questions by the conclusion of the project.

1) What are some festivals that commonly take place in the United States?
2) What are some festivals that commonly take place in Spanish speaking countries?
3) Do all festivals in Spanish speaking countries deal with celebrating important events or are there some that are just for fun?
4) Why do you think people go to festivals?
5) What are 5 of the most important celebrations in Spanish speaking countries?

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
These devices will be used in multiple classrooms and content areas.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Headsets, English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Office Suite, Internet Services, Integrating Technology
Other Items: 30 Kindles or Mobile Devices, $199.00 each, total of $5970.00
1 Charging Cart/Chargers, $1500.00 each, total of $1500.00