Every once in a while I come across an authentic resource so amazing I have to give it its own blog post to tell you USE THIS RESOURCE.
And then there’s this one, which makes me shout #addthis and #bookmarkthis and THEN it leads me straight into an example of something I was just asking myself about, design-based connected learning.
There is a podcast called Cuentoaventuras that I play for my kids and we love it. The host, Gastón, tells stories about characters like El lobo feróz and la bruja buena. He’s such a great storyteller.
Okay, so it’s an authentic resources with stories, but what makes it such a great resource for novices, perhaps the best authentic audio resource for novices I have ever heard?
At the beginning of every single podcast, Gastón (and his guests like el lobo feróz or his niece or nephew) does… wait for it…
a mail call.
There was a program I listened to when I was a kid that did something similar, starting every broadcast with the host reading mail they’d received from kids, particularly if it was their birthday. The mail often included a joke. I’ll never forget when I sent in my letter and they read my note and my joke on the air. If you’ve heard something like this, you know what these notes include. On Cuentoaventuras, they’re from kids, and they include:
- an introduction with name, age, and where the child is from
- often an introduction to family members
- often a mention of when the child’s birthday is
- what characters the child likes and/or what their favorite story is
There are at least three or four of these at the beginning of every podcast. And it’s not just Gastón reading the letters. He also takes voice mail greetings in the child’s own voice. I’m telling you, this stuff is gold. When have you seen so much language we put in the novice category, all in one place, in a completely authentic context?!
If you add this to your novice-level homework choice options, it’s super easy to ask for a TL comprehension check: Ask the student to give you the name, age, and origin of (three?) greetings read/played along with two other details mentioned (such as siblings or a favorite story).
Of course, intermediate listeners will also benefit from listening to the children’s greetings, especially the jokes (ask for at least one and an explanation of the punch line!), but also they’ll get some engaging input with a lot of manipulating past tenses by listening to at least part of the story. The stories are about 20 minutes each, and since this is one of only two homework assignments I gave per week, I’d probably ask them to listen to the whole thing and give me a summary. In particular they’d benefit from one of his cuentos improvisados, where he asks his guest for details almost exactly the way a TPRS story-asker will!
If you read my last post you know how interested I’ve been in what a design-based curriculum looks like. I know what it doesn’t look like – it doesn’t look like making a labeled diorama of a TL culture city (little language, no real-world problem). But finding this podcast walked me right into what I feel like is a perfect example. Go to Gastón’s blog for a minute and read what happened to his nephew and then come back.
Do you see what I mean?
Real-world problem: A young boy has been badly hurt and needs encouragement.
Design-based solution: What project can I design to tell this boy in Spanish who I am, where I’m from, what I like to do, and that I hope he gets better soon? A video, digital poster? Old-school get-well card?
Ah, now that is a community connection by design.
I’ll end this the way Gastón does: Colorín colorado, este cuento se ha acabado.