Hello Teachers!

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Teaching with Radio Ambulante newsletter!  

We plan to publish these newsletters with stories about how teachers are using Radio Ambulante with their students, as well as information on meet ups, conversations and lesson sharing... All of which we hope will connect the growing community of educators who use this podcast for teaching as well as increase the impact of their work with their students.

In this newsletter:
  • Who are we and what do we teach?
  • Creating a materials repository: Join Us!
  • This week’s episode: Learning Spanish!
  • Best practices showcase: Meet teacher Kara Jacobs
Who are we and what do we teach?
Since 2015 over a thousand teachers have contacted us to ask about ways to teach with Radio Ambulante.  Here is what we have learned so far:
  • Many of you teach at the university level (45%), and a large number of you teach high school students (29%)
  • The majority of the high school teachers are looking for materials for AP Language classes (61%)
  • University and high school teachers alike are eager to find materials for teaching their heritage speaker students (approximately 20% of all teachers expressed this desire)
Creating a materials repository:
As teachers we often find ourselves creating materials for our students in isolation, only to find out later that a colleague has also struggled to do the same thing for her students as well.  Or, we don’t have the time to create materials and find ourselves scouring the internet late at night with the hopes that someone out there can come to our rescue. 

One of our goals for 2019 is, with your help, to create an open repository of teaching materials for Radio Ambulante. Using the Creative Commons Licensing, a teacher’s hard work can be recognized and celebrated, while allowing her the ability to decide how it will be shared with others. Never heard of Creative Commons licenses?  Here is a quick video that explains how their licensing works:

If this sounds like something you would like to do, please share your material using this form
This week’s episode
We want to call your attention to this week’s Radio Ambulante episode, as it is something that will resonate with both teachers as well as students.  It’s called Escuchadme, terráqueos and is told by our Executive Producer Daniel Alarcón. It’s a lovely story about re-learning your home language and would be of great interest, I believe, to our heritage learners.  Please listen and share it with your students!
Showcasing best practices: Meet Kara Jacobs from New Hampshire!
Name: Kara Jacobs
What I teach: Spanish 1-AP (differs every year)
Which episode I used: 

What my goals were for the lesson:
I most recently used Éxodo with my AP Spanish students. For that episode, my goals were for students to understand what is happening in Venezuela right now. I chose Radio Ambulante because the storytelling is excellent, so I knew it would be engaging for students.

Also, since I am preparing students for the AP Exam (and the real world too!), which includes solely authentic resources, this podcast fits in that category of authentic audio. Students hear a variety of voices and accents when they listen to Radio Ambulante.

Also, I wanted to give students some content knowledge for these AP Themes and AP Contexts (decided by the College Board):
AP Temas: Los desafíos mundiales, La vida contemporánea, Las identidades personales y públicas, Las familias y las comunidades
AP Subtemas: Los temas económicos, La población y la demografía, Los estilos de vida,La enajenación y la asimilación, La estructura de la familia, La ciudadanía global, La geografía humana

Students had to complete the guide during their February vacation. They listened to the podcast and read along with the transcript. As they read/listened, they had to fill in the blanks; answer comprehension, comparison, and/or personalized questions; and sometimes illustrate what they just heard/read.

What  I created: Éxodo guide

Feedback, comments from students:
Most students knew little to nothing about what was happening in Venezuela, so this was an eye opener. The personal stories had an impact on them and they were definitely empathetic. I was hoping it would spur on some action, but it didn't. I did share with them that after I listened, I donated money to ACNUR, in hopes that that would encourage them to do something, but that didn't work either. A couple of students were able to make connections to the southern border in the U.S. One student, I think, may have become inspired to be a reporter! Overall, students learned a lot from the assignment and became much more globally aware, while also improving their Spanish! 

What I would do differently next time:
At the end of the guide, I would ask a question like: "Does learning about this make you want to do something? What could you do here in our small town in New Hampshire that could somehow help this situation or help others in a similar situation?" I don't know the answer to this question, but when teaching about social justice topics like this, I want my students to reflect on their role in the world.

Thanks for reading!  If you like this newsletter, please share it with a friend.  If you have materials to share and would like to be featured in future newsletters please send me a note at

And also, consider donating to Radio Ambulante. ¡Gracias!

Hasta la próxima,

Bárbara Sawhill
Spanish Language Education Coordinator
Radio Ambulante
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