In Camargue, France, bulls and horses are a way of life

They say that you can’t buy happiness but you can buy a plane ticket… and that is pretty much the same thing! Brandon has discovered that he is really, REALLY happy as a traveler and adventurer. He has experienced education in a lot of different environments, he has played a lot of different sports with friends from other schools, he has lived in houses and apartments with families across the US, and he has explored many different professions as he has bonded with these new families.

Contemporary life in Denver is so much different than life in Carlyle, IL and Fowlerville, MI. Brandon has been to Cincinnati, OH, to Palmyra, PA, and to Chandler, AZ and everywhere he goes, he discovers that there are little differences in everything from advertising and marketing to sports and leisure! He knew there were differences between life in the US and in other countries but he had no idea how many differences he would find on a journey across his own country!

Use novels like La Calaca Alegre, the Brandon Brown novel series, or Los Baker van a Perú to highlight contemporary life in cities in the US! Follow this up with a connection to a life somewhere else in the world… somewhere you’ve visited… so they can see that different isn’t weird, it’s wonderful!!

The theme of contemporary life is one of the broadest-reaching of the 6 AP themes. It encompasses everything within a culture that contributes to a person’s quality of life, including that person’s own perceptions. What are the products valued by a culture? In Los Baker van a Perú, an object that seems to be interesting but of little value to Jason and Haley turns out to be extremely important in the eyes of another culture! What practices differ from one culture to another or even within a single culture? Is there a difference in the way different Spanish people view bullfighting or is it universally accepted? When students read Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos, the practice of bullfighting can be examined and students can discuss whether it is art or torture. In Noches misteriosas en Granada, one of the ways contemporary life is highlighted is in the way food is obtained, prepared, and what types of foods are considered “normal.”

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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