By Carmen Samanes and Elena Zapico, Atlanta International School
What better way to celebrate February than thinking about love in Spanish! On this occasion, the inspiration came from the existing Museum of broken relationships in Zagreb, Croatia (http://brokenships.com), which led us to consider embracing both sides of Cupid´s capricious behavior in our own “Museo del (des) amor: The museum of falling in and out of love”. From now on we will refer to it simply as El Museo.
We conceived El Museo as a circuit of visible and artful routines pertaining to the Spanish B topic on personal and social relationships. Once again, we joined 11th and 12th graders in both the Standard and High levels and witnessed spectacular results in their interactions. This time we decided to take the experience a step further and trained some of the students to conduct the activities themselves. This is how we did it and what happened.
The first step was designing the different stations at El Museo to fit an extended period of 90 minutes. We decided to have five stations set up around the class that the students would visit in groups. Each group would spend about 18 minutes in each station. Every station was located in a specific place of the classroom and was framed around a different kind of input: music, images, video, objects and text. All the inputs related to relationships and love. The space looked like this:
We have included the experience had at the museum. Please enjoy your visit!
At the entrance you will receive a flyer that gives you the information that you need to navigate through El Museo. Look for your name in the section called “groups”, get together with the students that are in your same group and go to your assigned first station. Then follow your group´s route from station to station until you complete the circuit. A “routine guide” (yes, that guy with the big heart necklace) will give you instructions on what to do. Let´s go!
Station 1: “Beginning, Middle, End”. Watch a one-minute fragment of the Argentinian film “El secreto de sus ojos”, then take a moment to write if you think it belongs to the beginning, middle or end of a story and why. Discuss with your group.
Station 2: There are two routines, “Zoom in” and “See, Think, Wonder”. First, you will see different fragments of a painting in a power point presentation. After every fragment, you will reflect with your group on what you see and what you think is in the part of the picture that you are not seeing. The final image, the complete Magritte´s painting The Lovers, will surprise you and provoke more comments!
Station 3: “Creative questions”. Look attentively at the objects displayed. Then write 10 questions that come to your mind about them. Share with the group your most interesting observations.
Station 4: “Listen 10×2”. Listen to a 30 second music clip. After listening, write 10 words or ideas about what you heard. Repeat the process and reflect with your group.
Station 5: “What makes you say that?” . Read the poem “Nada es lo mismo” by the Spanish poet Ángel González. Do not worry about understanding everything; just explore what it suggests to you. Write about the following questions: What do you think the author wanted to express in his poem? What makes you say that?
Did you enjoy? Our students did! We have to say that it was magical to see them observing, thinking, wondering, sharing and reflecting in Spanish between themselves. We were almost invisible! As in previous experiences using PZ routines, we had the chance to observe how the affective filters lowered and students that usually do not participate much in class were thriving with comments, questions and insights. We dedicated the next class to reflect as a group about the highs and lows of the experience, receiving very enthusiastic and valuable feedback.
An interesting observation is that only few students felt that reading and reflecting about the poem was the least positive experience. These students had difficulty going beyond the fact of not understanding the meaning of each and every word and considered that this kept them from offering their best interpretation. However, most of the students felt at ease with this routine and based their opinions on the feelings suggested by the tone and semantic patterns that they detected in the text. The rest of the routines were unanimously considered interesting and fun. “Beginning, Middle, End” pointed out as a favorite.
Next thing we knew we were receiving “complaints” from other classes about not being invited to El Museo; needless to say we had to keep it up and running to satisfy the new visitors. The exhibitions remained opened for more than a week and were enjoyed by three different Spanish III groups.
PZ, it is now official: we are in love!