Students enrolled in Spanish V Honors were recently tasked with creating a digital scrapbook as they read Chris Mercer’s popular novel Casa Dividida. Mercer’s story based on true events and set during the Cuban Revolution, chips away at political propaganda and divisive narratives with a gripping tale of battlefield heroism, international espionage, economic collapse, and human compassion. In his book, Mercer exposes who the true rebels are and what it takes to reunite a house divided.
“The course curriculum this year primarily explores the topics of Culture and Civilization in the Spanish-speaking world with students expecting to increase their language proficiency with units examining social movements, environment and political initiatives, immigration, government, current events, and history,” explains teacher and Languages department chair Gis-Xi Nahmens. “The central idea is that students will increase their skill levels and expand their knowledge of the Spanish language while broadening their cultural awareness. They will be reading each chapter at home or aloud in class, and instead of quizzing them with a packet of comprehension questions, their album de recortes digital (digital scrapbook) will demonstrate a more immediate knowledge and reflection on the material being read. Also included in the unit are videos and films to help broaden their knowledge of Cuba’s rich cultural history. The essential questions shaping this unit are the following: How does government affect the life of an individual and society in general? Who are various controversial national heroes from Cuba and the US and why is it important to understand their perspectives?”
For each chapter completed, students are asked to perform various exercises which include developing a summary comprised of three images, recording relevant quotations, and producing video responses. While Mercer’s novel focuses on the Cuban Revolution as historical fiction, Nahmen’s digital scrapbook project centers on language acquisition.