OK, I teach German not Spanish. What’s happening in Chile right now officially doesn’t fall under my linguistic jurisdiction. But I don’t care; we’re touching on it tomorrow in class. This is just too big a party to miss. My experience is that if you have the right pictures to work with, you can get your point across no matter how simple the phrasing you use. (Note: My lesson plan I’m laying out assumes the use of an LCD projector in the room, so if you don’t have one you’d need to check one out)
First of all, I need to set the stage with what is going on. The New York Times has a great interactive graphic which gives an overview of the drill site and capsule setup is http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/10/12/world/20101013-chile.html?hp
Once that’s established, I’m going to roll with the Big Picture (a photo journalism site I often use to talk about culture, the world, etc.)
If students aren’t aware of what is going on, there was a previous photo essay a month previous that showed what the early rescue efforts looked like. I probably will show about 10 or so shots from this one before moving to the current pictures: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/09/trapped_in_a_chilean_mine.html
The current pictures, which are being updated as more miners come out has some wonderful shots of the rescue effort, the families, the miners etc. : http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/10/rescued_from_a_chilean_mine.html
With my German I students I’m likely going to focus on basic vocab such as happy, excited, feels, etc. to describe the pictures that they are seeing. One nice thing about pictures is that when you want to say something that is a bit out of bounds that they don’t know about (mine, capsule, cable, mineshaft, etc.) you can use the word and point to the picture. My LCD projector is set up to shine directly on my white board so I just draw the proper German word on the side with an arrow pointing to the picture. Less is more, of course, and I tend to tell a very basic tale focusing more on my students’ reactions to what is happening than trying to cover all of the pictures. The pictures exist to provoke a reaction, and the real conversations happen in processing the reactions. (What is the first thing that you would do after coming up? What would you miss the most? How would you like to ride in that capsule? etc.)
With my more advanced German students I’m going to get into some of the backstories, many of which can be found at the New York times Lede blog which is covering this event: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/latest-updates-on-the-rescue-of-the-chilean-miners/?hp
There are some great stories about the miners here:
- One is a former Futbol player who was presented a soccer ball signed by the national team, and who kicked it around for a bit.
- The rescuers are doing a chant “Chi Chi Chi. Le Le Le.” When watching a feed I heard that chant followed by something like “Domineros au Chile” (Yeah, I mangled that; I’ll have our Spanish teacher help me out) I think we might be doing that one in class a few times.
- The juicy story, of course, is the miner whose wife didn’t know about his mistress until they both showed up at the family camp to claim benefits (the wife, for the record is pretty ticked and is not greeting him in person). I imagine some of my students will suggest he should have stayed in the mine.
- The country of Greece has offered a free all expenses paid vacation to the beaches of Greece for all of the miners to help them relax from their ordeal
- A couple musicians in Madrid are composing 33 different songs in honor of each the miners.
- My personal favorite is about the miner who told his young sister she could help him out by doing her best in school while he was trapped. When she greeted him at the rescue site she reported that she not only was getting good grades, but brought along her notebook and pencil to prove it.
In short, I think we have a responsibility as language teachers to allow our students to recognize how they are citizens of the world. I love how the world is embracing something like this that brings us together and I want in on that party.