Introduction to Ecuador: Novices

I have one more week before teaching planning starts! I am really starting to switch from overall planning to starting to produce more materials for my students. Last year, I used Edi el Elefante with my fourth graders. It is a great novel! I loved the teacher’s guide, and we played some really fun games. As we are shifting our curriculum around, I moved Edi el elefante to third grade which left a space in my fourth grade curriculum! I decided to use Mira Canion’s Capibara con botas.

To plan first off, I scoured blogs. Allison at Mis Clases Locas has a TON of great information and ideas. However, I wanted to simply an introduction to Ecuador for my students. (You can use this with all novice classes even if you aren’t reading Capibara con botas!) I want to focus on biographies in fourth grade as well. Therefore, I created this Pear Deck/slideshow for my students. If you don’t have Pear Deck, you can have your students do something similar with mini whiteboards. (Side note: I am also excited about the ability to NOT have students log in to use Pear Deck. This is perfect for my classes since they don’t have a Google account yet!)

I included an introduction to the country and flag. I also included biographies of people in Ecuador. I like to make sure I represent a variety of professions- and not just politicians, sports figures and celebrities. I lucked out to find one scientist with a local connection to us in DC! I also want to make sure to include Afro Ecuadorian people as well. This is part of my push to include representation throughout my curriculum and not just at specific times during the year.

My students LOVED Señor Wooly last year, but I didn’t include as much popular music as I have with my middle school classes. This year, I want to try to find more fun, authentic songs for older elementary students. I found an easy to understand video about soccer and created a Quizizz to help my students recognize cognates (all in the slideshow). (For younger students, turn off the leaderboard if your group is too competitive.)

Finally, I love showing tourism videos to see how they highlight their own country. I found a great short one of Ecuador in the slideshow as well. I want to change up the students’ task for this. (If you haven’t seen Leslie Grahn’s AMAZING list of ways to engage learners online- you need to check it out ASAP!) One of the great ideas was flood the chat. My fourth graders love typing in the chat! I think this will be a fun way to use that feature while we watch the video.

At the end of the introduction, I am going to have students create a drawing and visual representation of what they learned. I want to create non virtual ideas for my students to do to express their learning. Once they are finished, they can upload their pictures to Seesaw. I think it is important to give assignments for students to work on sans computer during the instructional time just like you normally would. My fourth graders can’t listen to me talk for 40 minutes- so why would I expect them to do so on Zoom? This is also a low stakes assessment tool. I can see the words that students chose: are they important or repeated words from last year? Did they pick out main ideas or smaller ideas?

I also want to plan on some other fun ideas like checking up on the weather in Ecuador and webcams for the Galapagos and Quito. We can discuss what we see, weather there and how many people are there.

ps: My son helped with the styling of the photo and wanted this fact included in my post! 😉


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