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Spain and Bullfighting

Grades: 6-8

Subject: Language Arts/Social Studies/Technology

Estimated Time of Completion: Two to four class periods (Some teachers will want to spend longer on creative writing skills, others may want to spend more time on the geography of Spain, others may want to stress bullfighting, and still others may just want to briefly make a correlation between these things and Hemingway's writing.)

I. Summary
II. Objectives
III. Prerequisites
IV. Procedure
V. Classroom Assessment
VI. Extensions and Adaptations
VII. Relevant Standards

I. Summary

Hemingway spent much of his life outside of the United States. He visited Italy, France, Cuba, Africa, and Spain. In this lesson students will focus on his life in Spain. Students will view Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventures (tape 1, 10:00 to 10:16). Students will then research Spain and bullfighting using the Internet and other reference materials. Spain's bullfighting festivals and activities will be used as a springboard for inspiring students to write creatively.

II. Objectives

* Students will improve vocabulary as they study bullfighting terms.
* Students will utilize their map skills and they label maps of Spain.
* Students will apply their technology skills by using word processing skills and research skills.
* Students will read their original creative stories about Spain and bullfighting aloud to the class.

III. Prerequisites

* A copy of the Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventures, a television, and a VCR
* Computers with Internet access and word processors
* A political map of Spain
* Pencil and paper

IV. Procedure

1. The teacher will hold up a red towel waving it as bullfighters do. The teacher will ask the students what is the first thing that they think of when they see this. A discussion of bullfighting and where this takes place will follow. The teacher will question students as to what they know about bullfighting.

2. Following a discussion of bullfighting, a connection will be made to Hemingway by viewing Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventures (if time constraints will not permit viewing all tapes, then view tape 1, 10:00 to 10:16). Explain to students that Hemingway is a famous American author. A teacher might share readings from his books or allow them to hear some readings from Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventures. Students will then be told that they are going to learn about a sport that Hemingway loved and to which he often referred when he wrote.

3. Cover vocabulary by reviewing and going over the following words: gored, honor, nostrils, cafe;, bull ring, dedication, agility, disgraced, matador, coward, hero, bullfighter, mass, brave, horn, bull, shrines, banderillero, picador, and toss. Teaching activities might include:
a. Have students make up their own crossword puzzles for these words and let other students complete them.
b. Ask students to write the bullfighting vocabulary words in sentences.
c. Make an Illustrated Dictionary for younger students of these words.
d. Play Vocabulary Charades and let students act out the words.

4. Students will pretend that they must meet the bull in the ring tomorrow. They will write a journal entry of what and how they are feeling. Have students address the issue of how they feel being killed or having to kill the bull.

5. Students will pretend that they are attending a bullfight. They will write a letter home to tell others what they are experiencing. To put everyone in the mood reread to the students some parts of the Hemingway novel Death in the Afternoon or read the first paragraph of the short synopsis of his The Sun Also Rises.

6. Students will research bullfighting or bullfighters using the following suggested Internet links:

Bullfighting and its history

THE SPANISH FIESTA BRAVA: Historical Perspective and Definition
Bullfighting in Spain

Famous bullfighters:

Mundo Taurino, premier guide to the world of bullfighting
Bullfighters in Spain
CyberSpain: Manolete
Manuel RodrÌguez (Manolete)
Cristina Sanchez Page

7. Stress points of view to the students by having students write a creative story about being a bullfighter and then a story about being the bull.

V. Classroom Assessment

* All students will participate in all activities that the teacher has provided. If time is limited, the teacher may provide student options about participation in fewer creative writing activities.
* Students should have completed at least one of the creative writing activities.
* Students should be able to describe Spain, relate facts about bullfighting, and describe Spain's relationship to Hemingway and his literature.

VI. Extensions and Adaptations

* Students and teachers can participate in research and discussion of the modern-day controversy of bullfighting and/or other humane society issues involving the killing or hurting of animals. This controversial discussion could also involve using animals for the sake of testing medicine, shampoo, etc. or for research studies. Students will express their opinion about bullfighting in a paragraph. Students can use these links to examine some opposing views: and
* Discuss San FermÌn, Spain, and their festival for the running of the bulls.
* Have a class set of Maia Wojciechowska's Shadow of a Bull. Read the book together and tie in Hemingway's thrill for bullfighting with this book.
* As an older brother or sister, advise your younger brother or sister about becoming a bullfighter. Students may advise for or against.
* Design a poster to advertise an upcoming bullfight.

VII. Relevant National Standards
From McREL

Language Arts
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process
* Gathers and uses information for research purposes
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of literary texts
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of informational texts

* Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs

* Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment
* Understands the physical and human characteristics of place
* Understands the concept of regions
* Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions