If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Spanish Culture Through Film or Why I'm a Big Nerd

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in the middle of putting together the curriculum outline for my Spanish 5 class for this coming year. While the thing I most enjoy about teaching is being in the classroom with the students, opportunities like this are high up on my list of why I love being a teacher. The freedom to reach out into the world around me and bring things into the classroom, even if that means a major overhaul of my curriculum, always keeps my job fresh and new, and keeps me learning, which is half the fun.

In this specific case I am reworking a class I taught back in NJ: Spanish Culture Through Film. The basic idea of the course was to watch a Spanish language movie, discuss it in the cultural and historical contexts, throw in some grammar review, and finish it up by having the students write and film their own movie based on the themes of our discussions. I always got great feedback from the students on the class, even if the movies were not all to their tastes, and they generally made good progress with their Spanish along the way.

The real joy, though, is that as I revisit this course that I haven't taught in five years, the experiences I have had since then give me a chance to refine and improve it. Some of those things are planned, but others are happy accidents.

As I mentioned in my latest What I'm Reading Now post, I recently picked up El capitan Alatriste on the recommendation of a former student. My intention was just to brush the rust off my Spanish at the end of a summer, and to enjoy a fun adventure story. As I began reading, though, I realized how much fantastic historical and cultural material is built into the book. I've already ordered the movie version of the book, a highly popular and award winning movie when it came out in Spain, and I may have the makings of a whole new segment for my class on the Siglo de Oro and Spain's decline in the 17th century. My job is really fun sometimes (although it helps that I'm a big nerd).

1 comment:

Melissa B. said...

So, you taught in NJ? Then you're the perfect person for this! Please drop by when you have the time. I've got an Asbury Park contest going, which is kinda fun! Good prizes, too! :)