Learning from the Past to Guide Your Future
After completing the World of Genres’ lands of the Past and Present, some questions arose: How would the Land of the Future look? How could we continue helping the students make connections across texts while keeping it fresh and engaging? These were the main questions that drove the Spanish team during the development of the Land of the Future.
We reflected on the market research information we had gathered two years prior and decided to develop a narrative that would be in keeping with the enthusiasm and rigor of the other two lands. With that in mind, we created a land that we think embodies a near future.
Characters of the Future and Their Character
In the Land of the Future, our main characters are Máximo and Dosmentes (in Spanish, two brains). It was important to the Spanish team for the student to relate to Máximo visually and personality wise. In this land, Máximo becomes a hero by saving the city from the Word Gobbler, a monster that is contaminating the city.
In the meantime, Máximo’s sidekick, Dosmentes, (personified by Analítica and Creativo) help him maintain a balance between the left and right side of his brain, the analytical and creative. Máximo knows that the only way to accomplish his mission is by learning and getting smarter. He uses the mini-exploratory scenes to charge his knowledge, and he gains power by completing the lessons and activities, ultimately realizing that he has room to grow. Máximo also serves as a role model for character-building skills such as citizenship, trustworthiness, responsibility, and caring.
The Word Gobbler Vocabulary Game The Knowledge Workshop Game (vocabulary and genre skills)
Developing Future Skills
Through vocabulary games like “El tragapalabras” (The Word Gobbler) and “Taller de conocimientos” (The Knowledge Workshop), students learn new words and practice their vocabulary and genre skills. In these games, students can actively work with word derivations, Latin and Greek roots, and context clues to acquire the meaning of a word.
Lessons for the Future
We embedded the themes of collaboration, protecting the environment, and courage throughout the lessons in the Land of the Future, while exposing the students to four new and different genres: science fiction, procedural text, fantasy, and explanatory text. Land of the Future Hub
We decided to keep the same lesson structure as in the other lands for consistency. A new feature is that we connected the three phases of the lesson (visual hook, guided practice, and independent practice) by revealing a larger three-part epic one portion at a time.
The interactive visual hook gets the students’ attention by introducing them to the problem that they will explore over the course of the lesson.
The second part is the guided practice, consisting of a mini-passage that is a continuation of the events that take place in the lesson intro.
The third part is independent practice with a reading selection that culminates in a solution to the problems presented previously.
In cycles 13, 14, and 15, students exercise autonomy and agency when given a choice throughout the three parts of the lesson to choose a graphic organizer of their preference (T-chart or Venn diagram) as gradual release.
Creating a Bright Future
After two and a half years, Istation Español has the honor of presenting all three lands: Past, Present, and Future, consisting of twelve genres, six units, and twelve lessons per grade (4th and 5th), guiding and encouraging students to embark on a fun learning adventure. Our mission is to ensure that after the students have gone through the world of genres, they have a better understanding of how to make sense of the texts they encounter. The result is an enriching and successful learning experience that they can use here and now and wherever the future might take them.
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