Cuento: Once Upon A Time

Mary Margaret Blanchard: You OK?
Emma Swan: Two earthquakes and a jump from a beanstalk. I think my brain’s still rattling around a little. —Once Upon A Time

August 31, 2017

This story was dedicated to a very quiet girl who seemed to be struggling to invest in our Spanish class. I checked the index card all students completed the first two days of school to see what she was interested in. Hence, the theme for our first story of the year was based on the television show Once Upon a Time.

Una descripción general: The Mad Hatter has lost his hat! Emma Swan helps him find it again.

La Clase: This lesson was designed for Spanish 1 students of mixed abilities. There are two classes of mixed 7th and 8th grade and two classes of sixth graders. In order to increase interest with limited vocabulary, we went on a field trip around school to “find” the hat–which I had hidden at one of our locations! Verb structures focused on hay, se llama, and tener–that’s it! (This is barely our second week of school.)

El Disfraz: Blonde wig, red jacket, grey tank top, jeans, and a sheriff’s badge. The kids loved the wig, which was itchy and HOT on a 98 degree day.
emma.jpg(Wondering What’s a Teacher Story?)

After introducing the main character and stating the problem…

…I distributed a half  sheet with our search locations. Student were to draw a picture of each location as we traipsed about campus. At each stop, a student volunteer was chosen to be the Mad Hatter. As we all looked around, the Hatter would say, “No tengo my sombrero.” Then I asked the class, “Clase, el Mad Hatter tiene su sombrero?” Choral response, “No, él no tiene su sombrero. Then I would say, “No está aquí.” At each location, we would reiterate and circle the locations where the hat was not found: “No hay en el gimnasio.” Then I would ask questions in Spanish about the location, “¿Qué hay en el gimnasio?” and students answered in English or Spanish or Spanglish. The purpose was to get them thinking and putting concepts together to the best of their ability!

ouat hat

So why take a walk? Our short campus tour integrated a kinesthetic learning modality into an everyday lesson. Plus, re-visting familiar places and discussing them in Spanish created concrete connections for students. Several students recalled the word “gimnasio” when going to PE later that day, and they discussed this with their peers and gym teacher. Spanish needs to get out of the classroom and become part of their world. This kind of activity helps with that.

Eventually, we found the hat! I changed the order of the tour and the location of the hat so students couldn’t ruin the “secret” for the following classes. (Hey, they are middle schoolers, after all!) Students who did not have my Intro class last year were very surprised to find out that the hat was a real, tangible object. Students who did have my class knew that it would be, and I loved them for having that faith in me.


And that’s a wrap!

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