¡Viva la diferencia!

By Richard Peel, January 29, 2010

Grade Level

  • High School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

90 minutes for classroom activities and 30 minutes for homework


The students will be viewing the layouts of Seville, Spain and Philadelphia, PA and comparing how the two are ‘designed’ very differently.  The essential question is, “How does the design of a city have an impact upon the people who live, work, and visit there?”

National Standards

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:


Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.


Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:


Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1


Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:


Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.


Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

 Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:


Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.


Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Knowledge of Language:


Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.


Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

National Visual Arts Standards


 Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning.

Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.

Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.

Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. Anchor Standard

#10. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art. Anchor Standard

#11. Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.


Students will:

  • ask, understand, and give directions entirely in Spanish
  • us ordinal numbers and the command form of verbs/reflexive verbs
  • use technology to view the city of Seville, Spain and compare that city’s layout to that of Philadelphia, PA



text book for vocabulary support or Spanish/English dictionary




Design Process: Challenge (5 to 10 minutes)

1. Using Google Earth/Google Maps (using the Spanish version of Google https://maps.google.es/maps?hl=es&tab=wl ) on the projector screen the class will take a look at how Philadelphia looks from the air, noting the grid layout typical of many American cities.

2. Ask students: Why would city planners choose a grid? What are the advantages of a grid? Are there any disadvantages? Brief class discussion.

3. We then ‘fly’ from our school to the center of Seville.  Find the hotel we will be ‘staying’ at – Adriano Hotel, C/Adriano 12.

Investigate (5 minutes)

4. Ask students: How does the design of the city differ from Philadelphia?  Why is Seville so ‘chaotic’ compared to Philadelphia?  What could the reasons be? Brief class discussion.

Frame/Reframe (10 minutes)

5. In groups of three or four, each group will decide what place they would like to ‘visit’ (e.g. museum, soccer game, bullfight, park, cinema, etc.) and use computers to find directions from the hotel to the attraction using Google Maps in TL.  Pay close attention to the forms of the verbs used, e.g. toma, gira, continua, and ordinals, e.g. primera, tercera etc.

Generate (30 minutes)

6. In their groups the students will now use just the map (no plugging in destinations on computer) to ask each other for directions from one place to another.  The group will take turns in playing the role of the tourist and the local.  The ‘tourist’ must repeat the directions back to the ‘local’ to ensure they have got it.

7. After a couple of turns with different locations each group will come to the front and pull up their locations on the projector then ‘act out’ their roles of tourist and local with the other member(s) of the group illustrating the action on the map onscreen.  Each group will present.

8. After presentations each group will generate a map in TL explaining how to get from one location in the school to another in TL, e.g. from the teacher’s room to the cafeteria, or from the lobby to the nurse’s office, etc.  Explain to your students that the idea is that an exchange student has just arrived from a Spanish-speaking country (e.g. Mexico, Guatemala) and they speak very little English.  How can we help them find their way around their new school?  How does the design of the map affect the reader’s ability to use it effectively?  Does the map have to be hyper realistic like Google Maps or will a simple graphic representation suffice or even be easier to use?

Edit & Develop/Share & Evaluate (20 minutes)

9. Groups will now exchange maps and see if the ‘other’ group can use the map without making any mistakes, walking around the school trying to follow the directions word for word and very literally.  Are the instructions clear and easy to follow?  Are appropriate ‘landmarks’ in the right place?  After each group has gone students will return to the class and make any necessary adjustments to their map/directions.


10. Class will try out version 2.0 of maps/directions and provide final feedback.




Based on success of ‘other’ group(s) to navigate following the instructions.  Three points will be deducted from a total of 100 for each ‘correction’ or error that needs to be made.  Group receives total remaining points to convert into a letter grade.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Enrichment can be provided by the students creating a Google Earth ‘Street View’ Map of the route they planned in the school using a digital camera. 

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.