Comprehensible Ballet: Part I

Comprehensible Ballet- Part I

My colleague Trudy Roddy has been working on a great idea to incorporate both the target language and the ballet.  Teaching in DC, we have opportunities to go to the Kennedy Center to see ballet.  However, as we are working up to this unit, we have made the story comprehensible in Spanish and French.  As the ballet itself has no words, it is a version of a MovieTalk but a live performance!  I danced for almost all of my life, so I knew that I wanted to include this into my 8th grade classes.

(FYI- If you would like to use this lesson, but you cannot go to the ballet, you can use this video of the whole ballet!)

First, we found the story here.  We turned this into a comprehensible story for students focusing on words that we could repeat.  We also divided the story up into chunks.  The Spanish version is here.  The French version is here.  Once we were writing, I realized that this ballet is just like any other story that you would tell your students.

Once we had the story, we made a Quizlet (French here!) to introduce the vocabulary to students and planned our lessons.

On the first day, we will have students complete a KWL chart about what they know about gypsies and gypsy culture.  Then, we will introduce the characters.  I plan on showing a description and allowing students to sketch them on whiteboards.  After that, we will play Quizlet Live to learn more of the vocabulary.  I also had students make a kit in GimKit from the words as well.

After that, we will introduce the Prologue and Act I.  We will give each student a piece of paper that has one chunk/detail from the Act.  They will organize themselves in order.  Once they have completed this, we will review if they are in the correct order.  Then, we will give each student a NEW chunk/detail and they will display it as a picture on a whiteboard.  I will give students the full Act I, and students will guess which picture matches the chunk.

For day 3, we will complete a similar activity.  Students will work in pairs and put together the order of the new act.  (Act II, Part I)  They can also draw a picture to represent each detail.  Then, for act II, part II, students will create a freeze frame in groups to recreate details of Act II.  We will go around and guess what each group is doing.  Finally, students will create a comic strip or splash page to explain the events in Act III, Part I (example of splash page).

For day 4, we will do a gallery walk of the comics and splash pages.  We will read the last part aloud and discuss it as it is very short.  In order to demonstrate understanding, students will complete a meme in Spanish or English about any part of the story.

For the day of the field trip, students will have a checklist of the story to see what parts they have seen during the performance.  When we return the next day, we will talk about what we saw and noticed in the ballet.  We will also start to address the culture in the ballet.  We will talk about gypsies and flamenco music.  I also hope to tie in some ideas about Rosalía- stay tuned for Part II!



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