Venezuela is spiraling out of control.
Good-hearted people around the world are wringing their hands and posting videos on Facebook about the protests. (Below is the latest Google for protests in Venezuela.)
But if you want to do more than wring your hands, please read below.
Venezuela lacks jobs, food and medicines. I used to live there and heard of a friend’s son losing his teaching position because the school was closed for lack of funds. So last year I started to send work to him and four other Venezuelan families to help them survive. They were hardworking middle-class families slipping into poverty as prices soared and basic necessities became scarce.
They create and record songs, create graphics for my classroom, and create videos for classroom use in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin and soon Latin.
If you want to help them, please purchase some of our Transition Videos, Spanish Birthday Song Video or the National Anthem Video packet on Teachers pay Teachers and the money will be forwarded to them.
Last month we made $200 on TpT and a retired teacher donated $200 and I added another $100 and sent $500 to a family that is trying to establish residency in Colombia because the wife was born there and has legal Colombian citizenship.
When I first started helping them, the wife was pregnant but there was no food to be purchased in their part of Venezuela and the pregnancy wasn’t thriving. With my help, she and her husband, one of the singers I employ, made it to Colombia where they could purchase food and the baby was born. Colombia has cracked down on naturalizing Venezuelans because the flood of immigrants is more than they can absorb.
The family has come down with pneumonia and our singer can’t be treated in Colombia because he is still awaiting his documents to be processed. The last time he tried to authenticate his documents he was refused. He left the building and another government official met him outside and offered to do it for a premium. The bribe deprived him of the extra money for the electrical bill so services were cut and he relies on the kindness of friends with internet service to communicate with me.
Another graphic artist designs flash cards, family tree, and other visuals that I use in my class and will soon put on TpT. She is pregnant and the money I send her goes for securing healthy food.
There are more stories behind these very talented people who just want to work and want to live without fear – fear of not being able to feed their families, fear of being assaulted in the streets as they try to buy staples, fear of being caught of up in the protests, fear of not providing basic medicines that we take for granted here in the United States.
Remember the starfish story about the boy who threw a star fish found on the beach back into the ocean so it could live and was told it was hopeless and unimportant because he couldn’t save them all? He replied it was important to the one he was helping. I can’t save a country but I can help these five families of struggling, educated, talented Venezuelans. They pray constantly for help and I believe that God answers prayers in the form of people acting as angels. Sometimes people acting as angels have helped me in my own hours of need. Sometimes I get to help them. You can, too! If you can use these videos to in your classroom or to help someone learn a language, then please purchase them. Answer their prayers for work and not charity. Thank you.
Spanish teacher Brenda Riley asked how to change up the daily warm-ups to breath some fresh air into the class routine and, of course, my answer is musical videos.
Use a remote presentation device or clicker so you can start your class from the hall or any part of the room!
Start each day playing the corresponding song – students quickly start using the lines in the songs to spontaneously express their feeling about the day!
For something different on different days, you can use the number song for higher numbers – my students 12 – 16 secretly enjoy the gestures that go with the song – but in public they only do it because I make them and am doing it.
You can also play the survey of music song to teach them about the different genres and then play a song from one of the genres.
You can play the saludos song and each day have partners learn two new greetings of their choosing.
You can have partners do the spontaneous speaking with numbers after playing the song.
Partners do the spontaneous speaking of guessing dates after reviewing with months song.
Gone are the days when students could spend a week making a country project and then another week presenting the country project in English to the rest of the Spanish One Class!
We need to use our class time for as much Comprehensible Input as possible! So let’s deliver culture in the target language and in small chunks!
Start the pre-class or bell ringer activity with students listening to and watching the national anthem of a Spanish-speaking country sung in Spanish with written lyrics and with over 20 pictures showing national symbols and country highlights.
Introduce the idea by asking students if they think visitors should be familiar with our national anthem? Most think they should! So let’s have our students be equally informed! Appeal to knowing what is being said when the anthems are sung at soccer games, Olympics, and other sporting events. Music is a great way to deliver culture – by Wednesday they are humming it, some without realizing it!
Monday: Lyrics in both English and Spanish
Tuesday: Wordsearch with pictures – this can carry over into next day or be completed at another point.
Wednesday and Thursday: Coloring book
Friday: Complete word search and coloring book. The last 5 minutes of class we play a Bingo game using the pre-printed bingo cards placed in page protectors and markers and the Picture PowerPoint.
I think using these in a Heritage class would be very useful. I have the 20 anthems recorded and am now creating the videos. So far I have two: Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela. I’ll continue with the Central American and Caribbean countries that relate to our Heritage Speakers and then expand to the rest of South America. I’ll add to this post as the others become available.
I used to live in Venezuela. It’s heartbreaking to see what is happening now to such good people. The folks I still know there want work, not charity. I am delighted to provide them this work. THe singer, the graphic artist and the videographer live in Venezuela.
The money goes straight to them – no charity administrative fees.
I decided to start with Equatorial Guinea because I really know very little about this country.
“How can I transition my Spanish 2 class from listening to me speak in Spanish, but almost always responding/suggesting/asking in English to the students speaking in Spanish as well?”
Olivia Spencer Grugan asked this eternal question on Facebook today.
Based on my students, my response is that 10 – 15 daily doses of thirty- second meaningful and engaging music and voiceovers sprinkled through out the class period will have the appropriate phrases dropping out of students mouths!
My students have a constant stream of transition videos that release relaxing endorphins and teach them useful phrases for the classroom. I understand the input/output theories but in my experience this year, music creates a direct shortcut to output! No research on this, just what happens in my classroom every period every day!
Scroll to the end for videos in English, French, German, Italian, Latin and Mandarin.
As my students walk in each day they hear “the day song” and soon they are using the words to express their feelings.
1. When I am ready to start, I play the class count down video – students know to be seated and quiet as they count down the 3 -2 – 1 ya! French version below!
Students use this expression spontaneously before beginning anything.
2 I greet them, ask how they are, and tell them the objective of the day and the class activities of the day – all on 3 slides. I play the “Take out the Homework” video and show the answers on the board while I quickly check for completion. Since day two of the school year when I first played it, my students spontaneously tell me ‘la tengo’ or ‘no la tengo’ and if someone doesn’t have it everyone else asks, “¿en serio?”
3. Check for questions and play the musical slide to take attendance – we get nasty emails if we miss attendance for any class! My students tell me” X está ausente” or “no está ausente, en el baño.”
4. Play “The Daily Review”song and complete five minutes of review. My Spanish 1 students can fluently say “cuando necesito gramática perfecta” and “¿Qué hago – repaso, repaso, repaso”
5. Play “Take Out the Vocab List video and they can all mimic “Favor de sacar la lista del vocabulario.”
I also play the self- talk musical slide that reminds students if they don’t get it right to tell them selves – I don’t have it yet! I introduce a chunk of vocabulary, practice comprehension with gestures and then show slides with visuals. My Spanish 1 students use “lo acerté spontaneously in many situations” and even “no lo acerté – todavía.”
6. Play the video about finding a random partner of the week or if we already did it play the musical slide to find this week’s partner.
My students can say ¿Quién sera? even though they won’t be taught this tense for three more years.
7. Practice with partner(s) usually some kind of spontaneous speech activity – there are videos that show the students how to play guessing games. If we have the computers then they will watch “The Take Out the Computer” video, “Practice QuizletLive” video, students practice on their own, play the quizlet live video and finally I play the “Put Away the Computers” video and rearrange the chairs slide. My students quickly learn the games that have songs to teach the vocabulary and create spontaneous dialogues – month two of Spanish One! They can all do “más alto, más bajo” and many others.
8. Slide leading into next activity – could be a listening activity or a reading activity or Simon says. My students all know “vamos a jugar” and can follow it with many games.
9. Tidy up the room.
10.Take out the Agenda video and students write down the homework. My students can say any line from this song at appropriate times.
“ay no me gusta, pero es importante” “Saco mi agenda, escribo la tarea.”
11. Closure – students sing and then tell me something new they learned. My students can spontaneously say “Hoy, hoy aprendi ” and complete the thought.
My public school seventh, eighth, and ninth graders in Spanish One produce spontaneous speech even if they don’t want to – they can’t help themselves because music enters their brains and remains like nothing else that I have tried in these past 30 years. You can make your own songs or use mine.
You can even use my videos, created by native speakers, and offered here on TeacherspayTeachers. Or click here for the starter kit! They help support several Venezuelan families. We are making them in French, Mandarin, German, and Latin, and English. What I love about TeacherspayTeachers is that it helps new teachers to quickly climb the learning curve by selecting tried and true activities from veteran teachers still in the classroom, like me! If you need something new to get your students spontaneously speaking in the target language – this is it!