For teachers of Spanish, the history of the Spanish Civil War and the Lincoln Brigade offer a unique episode in the history of the links between the U.S. and the Spanish-speaking world, as well as between Spain and Latin America. ALBA’s materials help contextualize and bring to life the work of García Lorca, Neruda, Vallejo, Alberti, Sender, Picasso, and many others. The war generated an impressive amount of songs, poems, plays, novels, films and essays, as well as  posters, photography, art, and film that can be fruitfully employed as realia in the language classroom. Picasso’s Guernica decries a form of terror tactics that democratic people abhorred, even before air attacks on civilians became common practice in World War II and subsequent wars. The intense continuing debates in Spain around the legacy of the Civil War and Francoism also provide a great opportunity to create relevant and compelling lessons around questions of history, memory, and justice.  (See also: Why Teach the Spanish Civil War?)

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Teaching the Common Core with Primary Documents

teaching-common-core-primary-documentsALBA works with teachers in Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Spanish to design lesson plans based on compelling, accesible primary source documents -texts, images, audio- that will incite student interest while meeting common core state standards in reading, writing, speaking & listening and media skills.

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The US and the Spanish Civil War: A Primer for Teachers and Students

10-minute version

See also: Powerpoint Introduction to the Spanish Civil War (40 min.)

Lesson Plans (click on the title to see the whole plan)

Title 1. Introduction to the Spanish Civil War
Subject Spanish
Level(s) III, IV or AP (Advanced)
World Language Standards Interpretive Communication: 1.d.Interpersonal Communication 2.d., 3.c.; Presentational Communication 1. a.,b.,c.,d., 2. c., l. Cultures 1.e.
Keywords La guerra civil, los nacionalistas (el nacionalismo), los republicanos, el comunismo (el/la comunista), el fascismo (el/la fascista), el socialismo (el/la socialista), el gobierno elegido, el golpe de estado (Coup d’etat)
Title 2. Imágenes de las Brigadas Internacionales
Subject Spanish
Level(s) IV / V (Intermediate High / Advanced Low)
World Language Standards This lesson meets all ACTFL standards.  Students will be communicating in all modes (Standards 1.1 – 1.3), gaining information about Spanish cultural perspectives through its products and practices and perhaps comparing them to their own cultural perspectives (Standards 2.1, 2.2 and 4.2) through original Spanish poetry (Standard 3.2), which will allow them to connect to history and social studies (Standard 3.1).  They will also be actively engaged in comparing how language works (Standard 4.1).  This will all hopefully propel them, and at the very least, prepare them to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world (Standards 5.1 and 5.2)
Keywords International Brigades, Spanish perception of International Brigades, Capa, Rafael Alberti, Pablo Neruda, Spanish poetry, Chilean poetry, geography vocabulary, proper use of nouns and adjectives, advanced feelings vocabulary
Title 3. “1.200 fosas todavía por abrir”
Subject Spanish
Level(s) III / IV / V (Intermediate High / Advanced Low)
World Language Standards Students will read authentic texts to gather information (Standard 1.2), discuss what they have learned and their opinions about it (Standard 1.1), understand the relationship between products, practices and perspectives of Spain (Standards 2.1, 2.2), acquire information with a distinctive viewpoint from an authentic source and engage in an ethical-historical debate (Standards 3.1, 3.2).
Keywords Mass graves, victims of Francoism, historical memory, issues of government involvement, family vocabulary, fear vocabulary, death and burial vocabulary, large numbers, structures using infinitives
Title 4. Yo sí que puedo: diez lecciones para aprender español usando artefactos de la Guerra Civil Española
Subject Spanish
Level(s) I (Novice)
World Language Standards This series of ten lessons can manage to target every ACTFL standard at some point or another.  However, by using posters and other real artifacts from and inspired by the Spanish Civil War to teach students to use language, learners will spend most of their time meeting the communication standard 1.2 (to understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics).  As students do activities and follow the outlined suggestions, they will meet the other communication standards.  If students begin to ask questions and discuss the content of the posters, as is hoped, they will also meet standard 2.2 (to demonstrate and understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied).  Students will also acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language and its cultures (standard 3.2).  The various activities and discussions may also invite comparisons between the home and target language and culture (standards 4.1 and 4.2) and motivate students to use their knowledge outside of the classroom (standards 5.1 and 5.2).
Keywords Punctuation, alphabet, spelling, pronunciation, cognate decoding, reading strategies, listening comprehension activities, affirmative vosotros commands, gender, number, days of the week, calendar dates, articles, basic Spanish vocabulary, family members.
Title 5. Vengar la muerte: Vengeance and the Spanish Civil War
Subject Spanish
Level(s) IV / V / AP (Intermediate High / Advanced Low / Advanced Mid)
World Language Standards This lesson will certainly use all communication standards (1.1, 1.2 and 1.3), both culture standards (2.1 and 2.2) and both connections standards (3.1 and 3.2).  Depending on how the discussion is approached, and whether it continues outside of the classroom, it may also meet the Comparisons and Communities standards.
Keywords C M Hardt, Muerte en El Valle (Death in El Valle), Antonio Buero Vallejo, El tragaluz, vengeance killing