Today, one of my classes read the first chapter of Pobre Ana, and we took Cornell notes in English (1) to organize the information and (2) to demonstrate understanding. You could have your students take the notes in Spanish if you’d prefer, but it’s easy to fill out a notes sheet with Spanish information without actually knowing what it means. The students took the notes on their own paper, but here is the format that they used (click on the image to see a bigger image):

Hopefully, seeing an example of the notes will help you to better understand ways that you can use this awesome note-taking system in your classes! I love it!! And it’s a great strategy for students to have in their toolbag for future academic endeavors.

4 replies on “Pobre Ana Chapter 1: Cornell Notes

  1. I like that this activity is done in English. It gives you a much better read on their comprehension–which is so important–especially at the beginning of this book. Understanding the characters, their relationships, and their problems is key to enjoying the book later on. In my experience, it is difficult for the kids to hold so much information in Spanish in their heads at the beginning of this book without “a way” to organize it and refer to it when they need to do so. If they don’t connect the correct information with the characters, they continue to be confused and do not enjoy the book nor acquire language optimally.

    As the repetition of structures and vocabulary increases throughout the book, the kids’ Spanish fluency emerges naturally, so no need to worry about them having “it all” in Chapter 1 (for those teachers who worry that using English will some how retard their Spanish acquisition). I love how neat and organized the format is–another very helpful tool for life. Thanks for doing the “Cornell repeat” and sharing the graphic with us.

  2. Thanks, Jody, for the reassurance for teachers that are nervous about using English! I used to be a complete crazy stickler about NO ENGLISH in class–ever!! But now I realize that there are many benefits to using English purposefully from time to time in class, particularly when it comes to assessing students’ comprehension, as you mentioned. Also, I love your blog 🙂 Thanks for your super helpful ideas and lesson plans for novels!!

  3. I am interested in using Pobre Ana for my Spanish I students to introduce present tense verb conjugations. I am stuck on if it really matters if the students know the infinitives to the verbs they see in the story, and I was thinking of maybe having them create a notebook of some of the verbs we cover in the story? I am looking for any ideas or input on this. Thank you Kim

    1. No, students do not need to know infinitives for the conjugated verbs that they see. If you keep the focus on MEANING, not form, you will be amazed at what students are able to interpret. You will notice that before they even learn verb endings, they are able to correctly interpret all kinds of sentences because we are wired to find/make meaning! If we know that ‘come’ means ‘eats’, we will correctly interpret ‘Ana y su mamá comen pizza’ and ‘yo como pizza’ and even ‘ana no quiere comer pizza’ correctly because it JUST MAKES SENSE based on context.

Leave a Reply