Aymara legend: quinoa

I have been delving back into teaching elementary this year. While many of my activities transfer, I am trying to figure out how to adapt some of my other lessons to make them work for younger students. This unit includes two of the activities that have worked for me: TPR whiteboards and a listening checklist.

The third grade has a unit on myths and legends, so I decided to create a mini lesson for my students with a legend from a Spanish-speaking culture. I found this legend from the aymara culture that I decided to show my students. It explains why quinoa is popular in cultures in the Andes mountains (and it includes potatoes as well- thus the picture!) It also mirrored a bit of the Muzzy show that my students watch this year.

I started out with this presentation that explained various aspects of the Aymara culture.

I wanted students to hear clips of the language. Many students were impressed by the flag as well. I also like using Google Maps to zoom in when we can. We also do a brain break when talking about potatoes and quinoa. Students got up and moved to various sides of the room if they liked the food or not.

Then, I introduced students to new words that would help them understand the unit. The students used the mini whiteboards to draw many of the words and start to write sentences with them. I read an example on how to turn drawing into TPR. I found by adding numbers (draw 3 mountains) and words like big and small (draw two big stars and one little star), I can have students hear the words more. This TPR/whiteboard activity was perfect for this class (and my fourth graders for that matter!)

My other revelation for my third and fourth graders is to give them a list of words to listen for when we first watch a video or listen to a song. I have done this before, but I have found that it transfers nicely to my middle grades students. As they listen to the song or watch the video, they can check it off the words if they hear them. It is easy to stay in the target language to review it, too! I have that activity on the bottom of the handout. I used it with this song, and it reinforced many of the words that were going to be in the video.

After this, we watched the legend video, and I explained it in simplified language and asked questions about it. I was impressed because my students recalled many of the details from the story when they were writing about the summary of their day.

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