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¿Cuba o casa? #BreakoutEDU activity for Spanish 2+

January 2, 2017

I have so enjoyed my break from publishing weekly issues of El Mundo en tus manos! I have had a restful few weeks of no-looming-deadlines to just hang out with my super cool kids. My bigs (5, 3.5) are totally into games and legos right now, and the littles (2.5, 1) are best buddies that giggle as they wrestle each other all day, every day. I just love watching each of my children develop their own, unique personality and set of interests. HUMANS ARE SO COOL!

Click on image to download ¿Cuba o casa? breakout!

One of my goals over "break" was to finish this #breakoutEDU activity that I started before Thanksgiving. (The spring subscription of El Mundo en tus manos debuts one week from today, so make sure you have purchased it so that the first issue is waiting for you on Monday morning, 1/9!) I am really excited about this one. The premise of this activity is that "Emilio", a Spanish teenager, has misplaced his passport and will not be able to join his family on their Cuban vacation if he doesn't find it and leave for the airport in 45 minutes! In order to solve the clues, students will need to listen to the audio recording of a phone call between Emilio and his mom, scan an #authres blog post in order to answer questions in Spanish, sift through a packing list and narration of what Emilio ended up packing, and read two stories in order to interpret the object clues that the teacher will have scattered around the room. True to my passion, students will walk away from this breakout with some new cultural knowledge about La Habana!

This Breakout is pretty hard, so I would not recommend using it as your students' first. (A better start might be Leslie Davison's 'Salvando la Nochevieja', which is timely and available here.) What makes this one 'hard' isn't so much the trickiness of the clues, but the amount of Spanish that students will have  process in order to interpret and solve all of the clues. There is an audio text, a story, a letter, an #authres blog post, and more! My goal was for students to get A LOT of input from the activity, and I think I accomplished that! My neighbors--who have been in an Immersion program for 5 and 6 years--test-drove this breakout for me, although they haven't yet finished it. So will take awhile. I would set aside at least two class periods for it.

Two questions that have come up since my first BreakoutEDU post...

  1. If you have large classes but only one Breakout Box, divide students into teams and use the "ticket system" to run the breakout. Join the public BreakoutEDU Facebook group and search for "ticket system" to find detailed instructions and resources.
  2. I would not demand that students in Levels 1 and 2 speak Spanish during the activity. I have been very intentional so far about creating input-based clues, so students are getting lots and lots of comprehensible input during the activity. Expressing their processing thoughts in Spanish would be so hard and so stressful to most students that I think it would completely undermine the activity. The stress of having to express complicated, uncertain thoughts in Spanish would outweigh the excitement of solving the puzzle for most students. In upper levels, it would be more reasonable to set that expectation. There has been discussion about this topic and other L2 Breakout-related issues in the Breakout en español Facebook group, which I would strongly recommend joining if you are a Spanish teacher! (If you teach another language, why not start a Facebook group for teachers of your language?!)

If you do end up doing this breakout with your students, please take a few minutes to share feedback with me! Since I don't have a class full of students to work with, it's helpful for me to know the successes and struggles that your students in order to inform future breakouts. Thank you to everyone that has shared feedback and tweeted out photos of their students working on the Carmina breakout!

Download the breakout here!!

Happy New Year everyone!!

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