If you love to incorporate authentic resources into all levels, you know that there are two major problems with doing so. 1) It takes a lot of time to find the right resource. 2) Using many resources in novice classes can be problematic because of how much scaffolding you may have to do to make it more comprehensible, lest the level of confusion demotivate your students.
Once in a while, though, there comes along a particular resource that shines, and when you find it, you’d better download it and bookmark it, because once you’ve found it, why search for something else, right? So even if it slowly goes out of date, it’s still useful for students. But what if you find one of those resources that is actually updated every year?
I know this is the wrong time of year to post about this, but you’ll want to get this one saved on your computer or in the cloud. One of the best authentic resources for novices (or any level) I have ever seen is the program and schedule of the Xcaret Festival de Vida y Muerte. It’s packed with deep cultural references that beg to be explored, and it’s brimming with novice skills: making plans, days of the week, calendar, times, interests.
Regardless of when you’re reading this post, this year’s information should be available here. The 2014 program is still downloadable here, and download it – they’ll remove it a couple of months before the new one comes out. Then check back and download the new one – they’re always very different, and they’re always #authres gold. And if it’s too late and you’ve missed the 2014 version, no worries – I have it on my Google Drive here (I wish I had the 2013 version for you; it was equally well done). Really, it’s stunning- tons of context, tons of cognates, tons of culture. The activities are even organized by interest, so ask your students – what interests you? What would you see?
Here are some extension suggestions:
- Have students explore the Twitter hashtag: #festivalvidaymuerte
- Explore the website of the Xcaret park: how much to get there? where would you stay? what would you eat?
- Check out the park’s Facebook page.
- They also have a YouTube channel.
- Do a simple Google Image search of “Xcaret festival”; students can describe their favorite Catrina or altar and vote.
- Have students group together by similar interests to plan their trip to the festival. What will they choose to attend?
- Students can research cultural groups that interest them- where are they from? what else do they perform at?
Enjoy this amazing resource. Have you found something similarly so easily adapted to multiple levels and already so rich with culture?