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.
During the first week, for the bell ringer, I play the Equatorial Guinea Video with pictures of that West African country and its national anthem.
On Monday, students read the lyrics in both English and Spanish.
Tuesday they do a word search with pictures from the video.
Wednesday and Thursday they color a little booklet with the flag, currency, national bird, tree, flower, popular
dessert, scene from the capital and some wildlife.
Friday the last five minutes we p lay bingo on pre-printed cards and a PowerPoint with the pictures.
I hope to repeat with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on the following weeks.
The singing and videos are made by some Venezuelan friends who need work to survive the Venezuelan crises. We have the music prepared and are creating the videos.
Here is a video of what I just described.
The last week I show a clipping from Jorge Ramo’s interview with Choc Quib Town and a few G-rated clippings from their song “De Donde Vengo Yo’.
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.