Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Morir Soñando, Felipe Alou, & Béisbol - A Culture-packed Friday

Think back to your high school Spanish class and answer this question, "What were 3 of your best memories from that class?"

Are any of your answers related to food? 

Food would probably be part of my students' answers. I enjoy including teaching about the culinary aspect of Spanish countries, but it's not always possible (at least to the extent that I would like it to be) when I have classes of 30 students and no easy access to a refrigerator and other kitchen appliances. 

However, making drinks from a Spanish country is less of a challenge because ingredients can be kept chilled in coolers and the appliances needed are small and portable.

My students and I are reading Felipe Alou, a TPRS Publishing Inc. novel about a Major League Baseball player and manager, and his journey from a small town in the Dominican Republic to the United States, and the obstacles he overcame to achieve his dream.

The Teacher's Guide is packed with resources for discussions related to segregation and discrimination in the US in the 1950s and 60s, about the DR's past of discrimination towards the Haitians, about the homes in the DR, and other cultural topics related to the DR.

In addition to the sources in the Teacher's Guide, we read A-Z Reading's Spanish book on Rosa Parks and the article "Diez pruebas de la segregación racial en los Estados Unidos en los 50 y 60". After tackling these tough subjects, I was ready to change focus toward the food in the DR. 

My friend, Nelsi, is from the Dominican Republic and a few years ago she made the drink "Morir Soñando" for me when I was at her house. It's delicious and easy to make so I made a list and students signed up to bring the ingredients and the paper supplies to class. 

I used to tables for workstations for the students to extract the juice, measure the milk and sugar and ice, blend the ingredients, and serve it in cups. All of us enjoyed a refreshing cup of Morir Soñando and even had several cups extra that students asked to deliver to teachers in the building.

Our class is split by lunch, (35 minutes of class, then lunch, then 35 minutes of class).  In the second half of Friday's class, we played the Beísbol game (shown on the right). We used the questions that came with the game, but I think the next time we play, I'll use questions specific to the novel, Felipe Alou. (There were 3 different levels of questions: easy questions the person scored a Single; average questions the person scored a Double; and difficult questions the person scored a Triple.  If the previous player scored a Single and the following player scored a Double the first player will then be on 3rd and the second player will be on 2nd. Outs occur when the person asked the question does not know the answer.) It was the first time I've used this game even though it's been in my storage cabinet since my first day at this school.

Making the drinks and playing Béisbol was a relaxing, but cultural-filled class period and fun way to end the week. I'm adding the Morir Soñando and Beísbol activities to the curriculum for next year.

Now... if I could only figure out how to convince administration that I need (let's be clear, it's not a want IMO, it's a need) a classroom equipped with an oven, stove, refrigerator, microwave, and sink, I can e-x-p-a-n-d on this and immerse the students even deeper into the culture of different countries.    


  1. Replies
    1. :-) The students will too!
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

  2. Hi, where did you find that baseball game?

  3. The previous teacher left it in the closet. I searched online today but I was unable to find any. :(