Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Imprisoned in Dubai

I really want to thank Shelly Terrel and her 30 Goals for Educators for all the chances she gives us to spread the word about the activities and lessons we do in class.

This time I want to share a lesson I did in October 2015 with my 6th graders and my dear sister-in-the-heart and colleague Ayat Tawel.

All this started when I was told that my 6th graders were going to work with the book "Atrapada en Dubai" by Susana Trespi during the "Reading Marathon Week", I had no doubt about it was going to be a great week for the English Class, too.

The story is about a woman who married a Muslim man and all she suffered when living in Dubai. The purpose of this post is not to tell about the novel but about what we did with the story and the book.

I worked with CLIL as I prepared material related to Geography (Muslim and Occidental Countries), Religion (Islam (the Koran) and Catholicism (the Bible), Social Studies (clothes, food, languages, customs) and Spanish Language (elements of an interview).

The Spanish Language teacher started reading the book to the kids in their class period and I started working with some topics in English. They also worked with some customs and traditions in Occidental countries, esp. Argentina and as I had visited Egypt and knew about Muslim customs, I started working with them in English and Spanish as well. 

In relation to Geography, students had to find out about Muslim Countries, esp. Dubai; they worked with Google Maps, Google Earth and other websites where they visited Dubai "virtually". With Religion, students worked with the Bible and the Koran so as to read about both religions and how they influence our lives.

What students found different and strange was how women are dressed as they wear veils, nekabs and abayas most of the time. In fact, the treatment of women is what interested them a lot.

Two of the best parts of working with this project / lesson were when they author and the editor came to class and talked to the students about the whole process of writing and editing the book. And when students interviewed Ayat via Skype as they were working with "interview elements" in Spanish and English.

As closing activity, students created a "play" using all the had learned during the project.

I want to thank Susana Trespi for allowing me use her book and translate part of it into English; to Ayat for helping my students know more about Islam and Egypt; to the "Remedios Escalada de San Martin School" principals for believing in my crazy ideas and of course, to my students who were opened to work with this project.

Me, the author and Ayat here in my hometown