In Atlanta, Brandon was surrounded by fruit trees, flowers, and colonial architecture. In Chicago, he was dazzled by skyscrapers, museums, and the famous “Bean.” In California, he saw the missions built by Spanish clergy and in New York City he saw a play on Broadway. Brandon’s education has gone beyond the four walls of the classroom! He has seen some really beautiful things in his travels!

We who live in the United States have our own collective and individual ideas of what is “beautiful.” These ideas are so deeply ingrained in our subconscious that many of us have never even stopped to consider that there are as many different concepts of beauty as there are cultures and humans on Earth! The AP theme of beauty and aesthetics is a great way for students to see that people around the world interpret aesthetic qualities differently! From architectural style to contemporary fashion, how is your class modeling “world beauty standards”?

When thinking about aesthetics and beauty, for Spanish teachers it is almost impossible not to think about the amazing Frida Kahlo. Not only did she challenge the norms of feminine beauty in her painting, but she lived her life as a walking talking model of challenging cultural norms at all levels. In this blog post, Kristy Placido, author of the biography Frida Kahlo, describes how she has her students create their own self-portraits a la Frida. Frida, the mother of the selfie, didn’t ever use filters! Her selfies showed just who she was!

From Frida Kahlo, students can look at the beauty of Moorish architecture in Noches misteriosas en Granada, the beauty of the natural world in Robo en la noche, the beauty of muralism and visual arts in the inner city with La Calaca Alegre, or bullfighting as a controversial art via Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos. Carrie Toth, author of Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos, wrote a great blog post about how she develops an entire unit around the novel and gets her students thinking about the various perspectives on bullfighting both in Spain and around the world.

How to enter the Flat Brandon Contest!

Enter the contest by printing out Flat Brandon, coloring his clothing  and  accessorizing his wardrobe  to reflect the AP theme your class is targeting. You may incorporate Brandon into a new “setting” by adding a new background if you like! You may even hold your own Flat Brandon contest in your classroom and select one as your official entry! Your submission should incorporate the printout of Flat Brandon AND visually communicate proficiency-mindedness through one of the 6 AP themes:

1. Beauty and Aesthetics
2. Global Challenges
3. Science and Technology
4. Contemporary Life
5. Families and Communities
6. Personal and Public Identities

Once Brandon is decorated, either send a single (digital) photograph or a collage of him participating in the unit of study so we can watch him learn and grow in global and communicative competence. Tell us in 1-2 sentences what Brandon has been up to in your classroom. We are looking for images that capture Brandon acquiring language and becoming globally minded through communicative activities that are creative, innovative, and enjoyable! Remember, the path to proficiency should be pleasant!

Share images on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #flatBrandonCIPeek and tag @FluencyMatters. You may also enter on Facebook by posting your photo on the Fluency Matters Facebook page with the hashtag #flatBrandonCIPeek. Limit ONE entry per teacher, please! The contest deadline is October 24 and we will announce our winner on October 31. The winner will receive a class subscription to the Fluency Matters’ Flip Book E-course for the novel of their choice! Up to 150 students will have full access to the E-course for 5 months (limited to current availability)! All Flip Book E-Courses include an online novel, audiobook, pre- and post-reading activities, and comprehension quizzes.

View full contest terms and conditions here.

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