I am going to teach the short story Dejar a Matilde by Alberto Moravia as part of a unit structured around the AP theme of contemporary life, focusing on the sub-theme of relationships. My essential question for the unit is: How do young people from other cultures express romantic interest? This story is but one piece of the puzzle; ultimately I would like to expand the unit to explore historical changes in courtship. At the end of every unit my AP students write an essay in class responding to the essential question; this short story is one piece of “evidence” that they use to write their essays.
(1) Before reading the story
I have identified thirteen vocabulary words that I want to pre-teach. This list is for me, I do not think I will print a copy for students, nor will I teach the words all at once. These words will be added to a word wall as we casually chat and co-create class stories. Click here to download the vocab.
(2) Brainstorming on a theme
¿Qué hacen los jóvenes para atraer a un amor potencial?
(3) An embedded reading to prepare for the hard part
The first page of the story is difficult reading. This simplified introduction guides students so that they are not intimidated. Students read the two sections on the front side on their own and write six simple questions that can easily be answered by information contained within the reading. Nothing tricky! Then in large group each student reads a question and we answer it in unison. It is a great way to prepare a difficult selection by focusing on the big picture. The second part (the dialogue) is read aloud to emphasize the drama. Click here to download the embedded reading for Dejar a Matilde.
(4) Main reading
The main reading is a nine page story with many words translated in the right margin and comprehension questions in the left margin. The comprehension questions are in English, as well as most student responses (except for the last). I often vacillate between requiring English or Spanish responses to stories. I decided to keep the comprehension questions in English because I did not want my students uncertainties about writing to interfere with their ability to demonstrate that they understood the reading. Discussion in class is completely in Spanish. Click here to download the main reading Dejar a Matilde.
(5) Comprehension check
This is a quick assessment that includes a comprehension check and a short writing prompt related directly to the story. At a later point I ask them to write a free-write using words from our word wall. Click here to download an assessment – Dejar a Matilde.
(6) Optional vocabulary extension activity
Finally here is an activity to provide more exposure to the rich vocabulary in the story. I do this activity after reading the story as a way to revisit certain elements before a class retell. Click here to download the vocabulary extension activity.