Frida! Frida! Read All About Her!

Hello?! Is this thing on? I have been absent from blogging for a LONG time. A lot has been going on…switching schools, graduating from grad school, and kids. I’ve gotten a new blog title and bought a personal website so I better start using it.

I have been all over the place this year with teaching 3 different levels- levels 2, 3, & 4. I’ve not only had to teach new units, but I’ve also had to get to know my students. We have a lot of different readers available, but I couldn’t wait anymore and had to use Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido. I have a small (NOT!) obsession with Frida so I was super excited for my students to learn about her.

I began the book by showing students paintings by Frida Kahlo. Their task was to tell me about three things: 1) what do you LITERALLY see?, 2) what do you interpret?, and 3) what was your opinion?. A lot of students were interested, but a lot of students saw her for her looks. In order to see her for more than her looks, I began the next class period with a short biography on Frida. They read about very basic facts, found key words, and created a small timeline. With the timeline, I asked students questions to check for comprehension. They were surprised as to how hard her life was…and we hadn’t even started the book!

For some listening practice, my students watched the Zamba: Excursión al Museo de Bellas Artes – Frida Kahlo . I believe I found the link in Kara Jacob’s post on the Fluency Matters webpage. They enjoyed it and little did they know that some of her comments in the video actually have a connection to some of her famous quotes.

Once we started Frida Kahlo, we whipped through the book because I only had four weeks before the holiday break. We read two to three chapters a week. We read as a whole class, in small groups, and sometimes individually. Most of my students preferred reading in small group so we usually stuck to that method. We did various activities depending on the chapter. Some of the activities were as follows:

Chapter 1: Students drew on a map the route Guillermo took from Germany to México. Using evidence from the text, students had to answer whether or not it was a good idea to send him.  Students also wrote a postcard to Guillermo’s parents from the perspective of Guillermo.

Chapter 2:  Students created a family tree for Guillermo.

Chapter 3, Chapter 4 & Chapter 5:   Students used the comprehension questions from the Frida Kahlo’s Teacher Guide.  Find it here!

Chapter 6:  I used Cynthia Hitz’s 4-1-1 check. I LOVED this!

Chapter 9 & 10: I had students create a smash doodle. There are so many examples roaming around the web, but you can find examples here.

Chapters 11 & 12:  Students used the comprehension questions from the Frida Kahlo’s Teacher Guide.

Chapter 13 & Epilogue:  I had students go back and find specific sentences in the  two chapters.  Students then wrote the Spanish translation below the English sentences. One goal with the book was to start identifying the reasons behind using the preterite and the imperfect so this served for that purpose.  We looked at patterns and circled verbs to get an idea in our heads.

We finished the book a day before we went on break so we took a break and had fun the last day. I knew when we returned, we would be prepping for midterms which I wanted to center around the novel since we spent so much time on the book.

For the reading section of the midterm, I used Martina Bex’s weekly new summary  reading on Frida Kahlo.  You can find it here.  I asked students to complete different tasks based on the reading. Students had to find keywords (English to Spanish), significant numbers mentioned in the reading and identify the meaning behind them. The main idea, and then explain supporting details by circling information that WAS mentioned and providing evidence from the reading. I found that overall, my students did great!

For the listening section of the midterm, I did two parts. The first part was what event came first. I gave students two events at a time about Frida or from the novel, and they had to write down which event came first. The second section was a small biography of Diego Rivera. I gathered information that students did not know yet and read it to them. They had to, again, circle information that WAS mentioned. I also provided them a section to explain any other details they heard.

For writing, I asked students beforehand to create a timeline of different events that we read about in the novel.  The only restrictions that students had were that the timeline: 1) should consist of around ten (10) main events – sentences; approximately one sentence per event, and 2) For each of the events, list up to three (3) valuable expressions that you can’t seem to avoid when talking about the event/situations.

On writing day, students were given six (6) paintings and were asked to use their timelines to describe the people and events in Frida’s life that explain why Frida might have painted the given paintings. The students had to choose 3 of the 6 paintings to describe. I was nervous a little because it was a harder task, but they did great! I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of my students.

WOW! Are you guys still there?! If you are, I only have a few more things to say. I cannot wait to read this book again, but I think next time I will plan it so that I have more time to look at more of her paintings, look more into Frida and Diego’s life, and to just be able to take our time.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you did anything else that would be great to add! Check out Kristy Placido’s site for more on Frida Kahlo.


3 thoughts on “Frida! Frida! Read All About Her!

    1. Thanks for reading! I had 7 pictures in total- I used la Columna Rota, Two Fridas, Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, and three actual photos of her at different points in her life. I wanted to see what she actually looked like and how she painted herself.


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