Developed by Tara Knopp
Carroll High School, Dayton
Grade Level: Spanish 4 AP
The play Hamilton has taken the Broadway stage by storm! The “discovery” of the play’s author, Lin Manuel Miranda, has caused a stir the likes of which is unheard of in recent years! Miranda’s use of rap and hip hop to tell the unvarnished story of a historical figure is new and revolutionary. Besides making the story fun to see, it tells the truth about Hamilton and catches the audience’s attention to the point of getting them to their feet with cheers and Bravos! The play has been so successful that young and old alike rave about it long after seeing it! Muse Machine teachers were delighted to learn that they would be seeing it on the Broadway stage in 2016. It was an exciting event that provided the teachers with new ideas about how they might teach a traditional subject. Several took what they saw and heard back to their classrooms and used it as an incentive for writing a wonderful lesson for their students. None did so more successfully than Tara Knopp from Carroll High School. Tara used this play, as well as information from Miranda’s other award winning play, In the Heights, to enhance the teaching of Spanish in ways that supersede the usual instructional process. Her kids loved it! We hope you enjoy this lesson as much as we enjoy bringing it to you!
Spanish 4 AP
After teaching about Puerto Rico with your class at any level or in any context you can easily implement Hamilton into your Spanish lesson by teaching about Lin-Manuel Miranda, son of Puerto Rican immigrants to the United States. In the following lesson, my Spanish IV AP students had studied the history of Puerto Rico. I had given a presentation in Spanish with guided notes about the country, they had a reading about the history and current culture of the country. Then, they read Preguntas from Album and another story called, Receta Marvillosa from Momentos Hispanos. After learning a bit about the country and reading stories about two different characters from Puerto Rico, the students studied a bit about popular music and Puerto Rican heritage in New York. Jennifer Lopez is a great famous Hispanic to teach about leading up to the lesson about Lin-Manuel Miranda and connecting them with their popular song, Love Makes the World Go Round.
I will give a presentation about being in New York and seeing shows with other Muse Machine teachers, seeing the National Puerto Rican parade on June 12th, and the show Hamilton which was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also starred in the show. Prior to presenting Hamilton for Spanish class we investigate the life of Lin-Manuel Miranda as a Puerto Rican-American and his other Broadway success, In the Heights, which starts the conversation about bilingual speakers in the United States and Puerto Rican influence on culture specifically in New York City and other regions.
The students will inquire more about native speakers, bilingual speakers, and Puerto Rican influence in the United States while discussing and participating in a discussion about an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the successes of Hamilton and the recent Puerto Rican financial issues. They will collect and record data obtained from the video and continue to develop questions after the lesson.
Level of Inquiry (confirmation/structured/guided/open) Circle and describe.
The level of inquiry for the lesson that will be observed is confirmation inquiry. The students will follow the guided questions provided to follow the interview, and with the information learned in the pre lesson material, the students discuss, questions, and form a deeper understanding of the theme of the lesson.
Students will have the ability to discuss topics about performing arts in Spanish and relate the show Hamilton and the city of New York to other high volume Spanish speaking cities and other performances with or without Spanish speaking cast, crew, or creators. They will also understand and discuss the financial crisis in Puerto Rico and relate it to the financial building blocks of our country that are discussed in the show Hamilton.
Essential Question in World Language:
After watching the interview with Lin-Manuel about the financial crisis in Puerto Rico discuss his recent success with Hamilton. How do native speakers differ, if at all, from fluent foreigners? How can you sound more like a native speaker?
Essential Arts Question:
After the video and discussion about Hamilton, do audiences have any responsibility to artists to share not only the story, history, and performance, but also share their story? “Who lives, who dies, and who tells your story?”
Expectations for Learning
Discussion and execution of activities relating to the topic. They will also be able to speak about these topics and relatable topics in their second language.
Reading information about Hamilton, listening and watching videos relating to the questions they will need to be able to pose, and then writing and speaking about the topic while comparing it to other forms of art.
Assessment (Pre and/or Post)
They will know their own progress with the comprehension questions that are paired with the reading and their ability to draw conclusions and create dialogue based on the information. The comprehension questions will be graded as a group immediately upon returning to class after completing them at home.
Materials & Resources
- Articles about the show
- Videos about the show and previous works of Lin-Manuel
- Articles about Boricuas en Broadway (Puerto Ricans on Broadway)
- Video and article comprehension activities
- Spanish speaking classroom (all activities can be used at all levels depending on the level of guided instruction)
Included in each activity is a list of vocabulary that will help the students to discuss and understand performing arts words in Spanish.
The time in which the lesson is completed and the guided instruction by the teacher will help the diverse group of learners. For example, in the Spanish classroom we would flip the classroom and include videos of the discussion prior to the students watching the videos in order for those students to see what outcome they will need to be able to partake in, they are also be able to speak, or write their answers.
This lesson can be integrated with the 2016 ATTS trip because at the time of the trip the city was buzzing with Hamilton excitement prior to the Tony’s. Each day the teachers did something different, but each day there was discussion of lesson plans and topics that could be covered while relating the lessons to Hamilton. After seeing the show, there was even more reflection and anticipation in lessons that could relate to our trip and Hamilton. This lesson is also a great way to connect ATTS to my classroom because I was also able teach through all of the cultures on Broadway, especially Borricuas en Broadway. This gave me not only the ability to connect Puerto Rican culture to New York, but various minority groups through the art of performing.
Many of the videos used for the lesson can be posted in a classroom website that you keep. I recommend showing a video before the students complete an assignment at home in greater detail, then you are able to review the answers of the assignment in class and use it for discussion topics. Flipping the classroom and actually teaching the majority of the lesson on video is also a great option! I recommend using a projector for the classroom, a simple iPhone camera or digital recorder to record yourself, and of course the videos that you find you can post to whatever online website or resource that you use to organize your class.
Home/At Work Connections
As mentioned in technology connections, the students should complete the activities relating to the movie so that they may discuss, share, and build from the information that they find.
Always review the answers to the assignments prior to the discussion, therefore any students in a second language classroom can be sure to be empowered with the correct information to formulate a successful discussion in their second language.