AP unit outline: los avances tecnológicos

Here is a quick outline of a two week unit I just finished with my AP class.  It includes links to many of the authentic sources I used in class as well as some notes on how I taught it, although not as detailed as I would like. 

AP unit: los avances tecnológicos

Essential question: ¿Cómo nos impactan los avances tecnológicos?

Brainstorming in small groups about the essential question

class discussion: un producto que va a revolucionar el mundo de _____. Students imagine that they have invented a product that is going to revolutionize some part of society. It could be a pill that makes you fly, clothing that always fits… anything. In pairs they develop a marketing pitch for their product and present it to the rest of the class. Before they work together I tell them about my own product, a pair of glasses that allows me to see two seconds into the future. I use my glasses to play soccer, because in real life I always go left when I should go right.  While demonstrating I am circling the phrase va a revolucionar el mundo del deporte so that they learn to use this essential phrase related to the theme of the unit.

miyamotoMiyamoto video from RTVE: http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/cultura/shigeru-miyamoto-mago-los-videojuegos/1098052/  A video about the creator of many iconic video games, including Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong. He came to Spain to receive a Premio Príncipe de Asturias. Over the summer I did edit this video boiling it down to a two minute clip, I transcribed it with Spanish language subtitles using Movie Maker, and then in class slowed it to play at 70% speed using VLC player on my school computer. In class I focused on use of the phrase ha revolucionado el mundo de los videojuegos. After summarizing the source we work to recognize the perspective of the author (that is, what were they trying to communicate with video). I have quite a few studnets who, when asked to summarize the video, will simply write a single word such as Mario Brothers. When asked what was the author trying to communicate they tend to respond with full sentences. Once they have learned to summarize then we work together to develop a critical reaction to the video. Recognizing that the video takes a positive perspective on Miyamoto´s work, I ask them to use the source to develop a critique of his work. One student observed that Miyamoto was praised for creating separate universes for people to escape into. We then turned that to argue that, although Miyamoto is praised for this, we argue that creating separate universes to escape the real universe is a fundamental problem with social media today, thus relating the video back to the essential question of the unit. I use this video as an example of how I would like students to use the sources presented in class to make their own arguments rather than simply parroting the source. Refer back to essential question.

homework readings and podcasts: Refering back to the Miyamoto video and how we analyzed it, I show students how to create their bitácora. The first column is to simply summarize the content of the source and identify the purpose of the author (what were they trying to communicate). The second column relates the source to the essential question of the unit and develops a critical reaction to the source. It is essential that this critical reaction is neither a summary nor a simple emotional reaction; it should be a well thought out critical reaction that they can use at the end of the unit as they prepare their essay and oral presentation.  Developing this type of critical reaction will require much modelling.

readings and podcasts assigned for homework (readings were printed out, podcasts linked from our class edmodo page):





soy adicta a los juegos de mi móvil  http://www.audio-lingua.eu/spip.php?article2269&lang=en

cómo celebrar el día del cariño a distancia: http://www.audio-lingua.eu/spip.php?article2065&lang=en

prefiero leer antes que navegar por internet: http://www.audio-lingua.eu/spip.php?article2052&lang=en


class discussion: El futuro está en nuestras manos: ¿Cuáles valores queremos fomentar?  A lot of circling on the verb fomentar… they will want to use it with a verb, like necesitamos fomentar leer rather than saying necesitamos fomentar la lectura entre los jóvenes

sleep dealerPortions of a feature film: first 20 minutes of the feature film Sleep Dealer. Depicts a futuristic world in which the border between Mexico and the US has been closed and Mexican migrant workers gather in Tijuana to work in the US via internet connections, controlling robots as they continue to work in the agricultural and construction sectors. The US military also controls drones that protect the assets of US companies abroad. Middle 20 minutes depicting main character working in Tijuana.

class discussion: Does the director of Sleep Dealer describe the values of our current society as he depicts a future world? Could this really happen?  Is this the future that we want?  I give them a list of transition words that they must use during class discussions. At first it is incredibly forced and unnatural, but it slowly gets more and more natural until the point that…. I can give them more transition words. Click on the following link to download the transition words document: transitions while making an argument (four copies per sheet).

Student presentations (recorded online and sent via email): La tecnología en mi vida (2 minutes)

short story read in class: Nosotros no

brainstorming: creating our thesis statement.  The day before we brainstorm possible theses to respond to the essential question of the unit. Students provided three thesis statements, which remained on the board the next day. They were allowed to create their own thesis statement if they chose, but for this first experience with formal writing I wanted to focus on the difference between developing ideas and simply restating what was provided in sources.

formal writing: a paragraph written in class responding to the original esential question, referring back to three sources that we have discussed. They earn two grades: (1) assesses the argument that they make, encouraging them to use sources as a part of their argument rather than simply summarizing the sources, and (2) how well they expressed themselves in Spanish.

Tomorrow we will take a day to reflect, and then on to a unit about the environment….


  1. Hello, I would also like to use the Miyamoto video from RTVE for a Spanish 4 lesson. Can you tell me how you were able to edit the video? Did you download it or use an online application? Muchas Gracias!

    • It seems to me that RTVE changes the way their videos are embedded online, so sometimes I can download them and other times I cannot. It also seems to depend upon where in the website I find the video… it is confusing to me.

      Here is what I do: I use an extension on the Firefox browser called “Video DownloadHelper”. I do not really use Firefox except to use this download app. Then I convert the video to an .mp4 using a free program called “Format Factory”. Once I have the video in the .mp4 format I edit it in Windows Movie Maker (which can be downloaded free from Microsoft).

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