Cultural input: the prisons in Bolivia (or how to engage Spanish learners)

How to get students engaged and producing a lot of language???? Well…. I recommend purchasing Martina Bex 7-day lesson plans about Los niños prisioneros de Bolivia as it is truly worth the investment! Not only did it save me a lot of prep-time, it also made my students had a meaningful discussion in the target language!

I have already mentioned Martina Bex a few times on my blog because she always produces excellent resources and she has brilliant ideas which work in the classroom. In this unit, my grade 9 students (14-15 years old) learned the structures “no debes (hacer)” and “lo que hace” and then used their newly acquired vocabulary to learn about children that live with their parents in Bolivian prisons. It made my students think and debate about children’s right and if children should be with their parents or with a fostered family: ¿Los niños deben estar con sus padres? My students really made an effort to debate in Spanish and came up with interesting reasons a favor o en contra.

Here are the two videos we watched thanks to Martina Bex:

At the end of the unit my students were assessed by having to write an newspaper article stating what was going on in Bolivia with arguments for and against and mentioning a possible solution to this issue. I was impressed by my students’ level of accuracy. Their ideas were clear, coherent and well developed! Here is an example:

And here is a form I made to encourage my students to speak in Spanish during lessons:
At the end of each lesson, students decide whether they have spoken enough Spanish in the lesson by circling a number (1 being the least and 5 the most). So students have to reflect on their own performance and effort and at the end of each month or half semester, they meet with me to reflect on their results and on how they can improve and speak more Spanish.

It is also available to download on TeachersPayteachers for free!

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