Recently my Spanish 2 Honors class finished up reading the reader VECTOR by Carrie Toth. The text, published by Fluency Matters, takes readers on a magic journey through time as they accompany Antonio from the present back to the era of the construction of the Panama Canal. Antonio comes face to face with his nation’s past and his own family history. Along the way there are explosions, landslides, fever dreams and family revelations.

The reading was a huge success: building reading stamina, introducing command forms, and talking in level-appropriate tems about identity, colonial legacies and economic realities. It was the first time we used the text and it will certainly be on the syllabus for next year. My students really got bitten by the reading bug! Questions about the big topics above and the smaller-but-equally-meaningful language issues came up every day. Creole identities. Command forms. Word roots.

We almost wore out this high res map that came to my attention at the time we began reading. We also combined this unit with a screening of the American Experience film PANAMA CANAL.

The suspense of the story lent itself naturally to movie trailers for a project that doesn’t have studio backing yet, but could soon. My students did an amazing job writing and editing scripts, and then recording audio tracks. I stitched these together using WeVideo, adding cinematic quality sound effects I purchased from Film Crux (SINGULARITY).

The timing was right for a big-impact, small-budget hit.

The directions I gave the class were: 1) Write 6-10 sentences using vocabulary from the text and command forms, 2) image a genre (action, adventure, rom-com) and 3) rehearse and record the script using Voice Memo. I had given them this mockup.

I took care of the post production using WeVideo, the Film Crus pack and photos from Pixabay and Wikipedia. I created the titles for some of the trailers in Photoshop.

Get your popcorn ready!