Thursday, May 12, 2016

Character Analysis

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My level one classes are currently reading Robo en la noche. We've just finished chapter where the actual robbery takes place and I wanted the students to make an informed guess as to who the culprit was. I was trying to come up with a plan that would provide valuable reps of the target vocabulary while at the same time teach students to express an opinion. I thought: Character analysis! Students would have to re-read the text (valuable repetitions) in order to find the thoughts and actions of a particular character. Next, they'd have to analyze these actions in order to determine who was most likely to have committed the crime. Finally, they'd have to articulate their conclusions (express an opinion).

I started with an Internet search to see what was out there in terms of Character analysis templates and lesson plans and found some good resources from Read Write Think.  Focusing on only four of the characters, I made a modified Spanish version of the table found here.

The only problem was my students didn't have enough adjective vocabulary to describe some of the personality traits I wanted them to analyze. I decided, since my objective wasn't focused on the acquisition of adjective vocabulary, to just give them the words they'd need. I prepared a list of as many adjective cognates as I could and made a Spanish/English matching activity.

I started with a warm up question:

¿Es más importante lo que una persona dice o lo que una persona hace? Explica. 

This generated some interesting responses and led to more personalized questions like: 

¿Piensas en cosas que no haces? ¿A veces haces cosas sin pensar? ¿Hablas sin pensar? ¿Conoces a una persona que habla sin pensar? 

While we were discussing these questions (a great opportunity to review some of those super verbs like pensar, hacer, and conocer), I passed out the adjective match-up activity. I gave students about three minutes to complete it independently and then projected the answers on the ppt. After ensuring that everyone had the correct vocabulary, I explained that in groups of four students would be going back into the book to find out what each character does and says and then record this information on the table I had given them. I explained that each person in the group would be responsible for researching one character and that they'd share their findings with the rest of the group. As always with group work, I had to emphasize that all the work was to be done in the target language. With a student volunteer and some sentence starters on the board, I modeled how students were to share their opinions about the characters (Yo pienso que Juan Carlos es egoísta porque a él no le importan las aves.).

When students finished, I projected the question:

¿Quién robó las aves? ¿Por qué? 

I also provided the following template for students to use to answer the question:

En mi opinión / A mí me parece / Pienso que / Creo que _____ robó las aves porque 


Students were give two minutes to discuss their answers in groups. After sharing out as a class, students had to give their response in writing using 50-75 words. 

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