We can encourage our students to think at higher levels even in low level language classes. My students are doing questions 1-3  below today and tomorrow (broken schedule due to high stakes state testing this week and next).  They will need to re-read a bit to answer the questions well, which is what we want–MORE COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT.

Notice that we are NOT forcing output here. They can answer in English. Writing above the level of acquisition is not required–but I bet that some will answer in Spanish.

The attempt here is to engage kids with compelling input and thinking. Knowing how to ask their parents for something and get it without losing their dignity is a BIG issue in their lives.  These questions point out that in the book and ask them to think about it.

I am giving them questions 1-3 today since we just got done reading chapter 3 of Patricia yesterday (not sure about questions 4-6 yet, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it):

When students begin to read Patricia va a California someone always says, “Oh, this is just like Pobre Ana!”  In some respects the two novels are similar: In each book a girl travels to another country where they speak a different language.  But once we start reading and thinking, we see that there are many important differences.  Show that you are reading, understanding and most importantly, reflecting on what you read by answering these questions.

You will need to refer back to the text in each novel to answer these questions well.  We have read and acted out the novels in Spanish and discussed them in Spanish, but you can answer in English if you like (Spanish is OK too).  Answer on the back or on a separate piece of paper.

After reading all of Pobre Ana and chapters 1-3 in Patricia va a California:

1.  Compare each girl’s motivation for wanting to travel.  Cite specific examples from both novels.

2. Compare the two girls’ approaches to asking for permission to travel. Is one approach better than the other?  Give specific examples from each novel.  How could adapting one of these approaches help you to ask for and get what you want in your life with your parents/boss/teachers?

3. Compare the reactions of the fathers when each girl says she wants to be an exchange student.  In your answer include your thoughts about these:  Which family is likely to have a higher income? Which family has to pay more?  Why are their reactions so different? What might this imply about their values?

After completely reading both books:

4. Compare each girl’s reaction to a difficult situation that she encounters.

5. Compare what each girl takes from her experience by the end of the book.

6. Identify the main theme in each novel and show how the author develops it.  Use examples from each book and be sure you go beyond just summarizing.