TEACHING A NOVEL: EL CAPIBARA CON BOTAS

El capibara con botas by Mira Canion is by far my favorite book to teach. Currently, I use it with 7th and 8th graders as their first novel. I’d eventually like to move it down to 6th grade, but we’ll see when that happens. Here are some ideas and resources that I use when I teach this novel.

BEFORE THE NOVEL

In my previous post, I explained the process I go through when I am planning a novel. The first step is figuring out what I need to teach in advance. Click on this link to my last post if you want more details about that.

For capibara con botas, I came up with a list of important words and themes present in the novel. This organization helps me when I plan out activities and stories.

  • Already acquired or familar structures: es, está, tiene, va, quiere, ve, camina, corre, dice, exclama, habla 
  • Brand new structures: nada bien, puede nadar, le escupe, salta, choca con, árbol
  • Structures with no gestures: de repente, entonces, hacia, amable
  • Topics to explore: capybaras, rain forest, animals, Ecuador, friendship, family, accepting yourself and others 

Lesson Ideas / Resources

Here is a list of resources that I use to teach these target structures in advance. I will link what I am able to and give credit where it is due.

DURING THE NOVEL 

El capibara con botas has 14 chapters total. The chapters are actually really short so we read 2-3 chapters each class period. I like to do an activity after we finish our reading for the day. I will not break down each chapter since their are so many. Instead, I will just give a list of activities I use throughout the novel.

  • Pictures to retell events (the teacher’s guide has images for each chapter; I usually will project it at the start of class and review what happened in Spanish)
  • Students make predictions about what is going to happen next
  • Comprehension questions (I try not to go overboard with these)
  • Sentence scrambles: either physical sentences on paper or you can use Kahoot Jumble (I’ll share a picture below – the idea for the activity came from Allison Wienhold at Mis Clases Locas)
  • Running dictation (chapter 10): if you do not know what this activity is, you can read about it here on Martina Bex’s blog
  • Reader’s theater: I really like to do this after we read an action-packed chapter with a lot of characters and events
  • Comic template (review for chapters 7 and 8) – students read sentences from the chapters and draw an image to show their understanding
  • Pencil grab game: chapters 1-3
  • Digital games to use for review

word scramble

This was just a small list of ideas and there is a lot more you can do while reading a novel. A lot of ideas come directly from the teacher’s guide and I cannot share that. It’s worth the money to get the guide and it saves me a lot of time.

AFTER THE NOVEL

In my last post (linked here), I discussed what assessment looks like when I teach a class novel. I will share assessments I have created specifically for the novel capibara con botas. Again, they are not perfect but it’s what I used last year. This year, I’m trying to spend less time on assessments and more time just enjoying the novel with my students.

Those are all the resources and ideas I have to share for teaching this novel. I hope all of this was helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions about teaching a class novel. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

Cassie

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