Cute and Wild Orphans! ¡Huérfanos lindos y silvestres!

A Project Prototype by Alicia Gignoux

published on Sep 30, 2016

     Humans come into contact with wildlife all over the world.  Some of the encounters are positive and others are not.  In any case, these real-world current events raise interesting questions to explore and are often surrounded by controversy.

     Recently, a visitor to Yellowstone Park decided to put a bison in the back of his car.  The bison was abandoned, cold and cute.  It’s big brown eyes tugged at the visitor’s heartstrings and he couldn’t resist trying to help. In the end, the bison had to be euthanized because the herd would not accept it back into the herd.  On other occasions, tourists from other countries have been injured because they were too close to wildlife while taking selfies.  In addition, cute animal videos on Youtube are believed to be encouraging the capturing and selling of wild exotic animals, such as birds, sloths and lemurs. 

     On the other hand, there have also been many cases recorded of orphaned animals that have been lovingly cared for and released back into the wild successfully.  For example, 40,000 South African penguins were saved after being covered by oil.  See the link to the TED video on deNapoli’s story about these penguins. So, when is it okay or not to raise orphaned sloths or pick up abandoned wild animals?  What sort of human and wildlife encounters are there in countries where the target language is spoken and what sort of perspectives do others have about this topic?  

     A need exists to raise awareness of and discuss these human and wild animal encounters here and across cultures.  This PBLL project, which explores a real-world issue, allows for cross-cultural exchanges, sustained inquiry, student voice and choice, critical thinking and discussion. 

Knowledge and Understanding

     The goals of this project are to: use the target language, learn about human and animal encounters here and abroad through readings, films, research, intercultural exchanges and from specialists in the field, raise our awareness of these issues, encourage student collaboration and group decision making, complete short intercultural exchanges with students in countries where the target language is spoken and share what is learned with the local community and/or a wider audience.  See the phases below for the specific tasks for completing this project.

Driving Question 

     When is it okay, or not, to keep penguins in our bathtubs, sloths in our backpacks and baby bison in our SUVs?

Option for adapting to your classroom: This driving question can be adapted to your region by replacing the bison with an animal that has been involved in a human encounter in your area.

The Task Addressing the Driving Question

     How can we share what we learn about human and wildlife encounters here and in countries where the target language is spoken?

Student Choice: Students will work in groups to design a final product to share with the public and decide who their target audience will be as well.  A list of options for the final product and target audience is provided towards the end of this description if needed. However, students should be encouraged to collaborate to create the idea for the final product in order for this PBLL project to meet the BIE gold standard for design.

Key Success Skills or Life Skills

• Collaboration and Self-management

      Students will collaborate to: design a short opinion survey based on this topic to exchange with a group of students in a Spanish speaking country, conduct research, design a presentation of the information they gather and self-manage by dividing tasks and meeting deadlines.

• Problem Solving

     Students will use authentic resources and analyze current issues involving human and wildlife encounters locally and in countries where the target language is spoken, engage in sustained inquiry, synthesize information, reflect on the information gathered, create a final product and share opinions and what they learn within their groups and with a wider audience

Technology Options: EDMODO, TEDED,  CULTURA or a site similar to Pbworks

  Overview of Relevant Standards


Intercultural exchange, learning from professionals, readings, research, final presentation

1.1  Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions and exchange opinions

Readings, film clips, presentations, group work and intercultural exchanges

1.2  Students understand and interpret spoken and written Spanish

Final presentation, intercultural exchange and reading comprehension

1.3 Students present information, concepts and ideas in the target language


Intercultural exchange and discussion

2.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of Hispanic cultures


Learning about animals in countries where the target language is spoken

3.1 Students further and reinforce their knowledge of other disciplines through Spanish


Product presentation to a wider audience

5.1 Students use Spanish both within and beyond the school setting

(Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century)

Project Sequence and Management

Launching the Project: Phase 1

     The students will view and discuss a trailer of or the entire film, A Sloth Named Velcro, as well a couple of clips of a Patagonian penguin that was cared for by a retired Brazilian.  A professional from the biology department, a local bear or bird specialist or a representative from The Montana Natural History Center will be invited to speak about some aspect of human and wildlife encounters. The students will have an opportunity to ask questions and engage in the target language to express emotions and summarize the material presented.  There are often doctoral students working on projects involving animals in countries where the target language is spoken at our university. These doctoral students are also a great resource as speakers and can be contacted through the biology department.

Resource Information

 Salceda, Ana E, Mark Carroll, Nora Young, Stephanie Munroe, Daniel Sheire, and Christopher Rife. A Sloth Named Velcro. , 2014. Available 9/16/16: and at  

Conmovedoras imágenes de la singular amistad entre un hombre y un pingüino que sorprendió al mundo 21 marzo 2016, BBC. Available 9/16/16 from:

Patagonian Penguin Finds Second Home in Brazil, Wall Street Journal. Available 9/16/16:

Dyan deNapoli: The great penguin rescue


Project Management Steps

After the project is launched students will:

• complete some readings in the target language on this subject which include the imperfect and preterit tenses. These are attached as a PDF.

• show their comprehension of the articles by answering questions based on the readings and then discussing some of the important ideas that have emerged from the presentations and readings. Use sentence starters to reflect on what they have learned and read about these animals.  See the attached PDF for ideas for discussion.

• be divided into groups of 3 to 5 students. Option: The instructor forms student groups. See the BIE site for the advantages of instructor formed groups.

• exchange information and come to an agreement about a topic to investigate to begin narrowing their idea for a final product.

Within the small groups, the students will:

  ask questions that they still have about the subject and discuss main ideas that emerged from their discussions as well as be able to ask and/or email the professionals to get the answers they still need.  See the attached PDF for discussion sentence starters.

• create a short intercultural exchange survey to gather opinions and information by engaging in a discussion about what to include in the short intercultural exchange about this topic, post the forum, and collect and reflect on the information they gather. Students will have an opportunity to ask more questions to clarify any unanswered questions they might have with the exchange group. The students will use English and the exchange group will use the target language in order for the exchange to be equal and of some value to both groups.  The exchange will be mutually important to both groups. For example, the students in the target language could practice English by reading our students descriptions in English, but respond in Spanish so that our students can have an opportunity to read responses in the target language. The exchange group will be invited to ask 5 questions and/or post images to get opinions as well.  This can be negotiated with the instructor who is abroad.  I have contacts in Mexico and Chile.  I am sure most instructors have connections in the countries where the target language is spoken. 
Technology Options: EDMODO, TEDED, CULTURA or a site similar to Pbworks


• engage in a short intercultural exchange with students learning English in a country where Spanish is spoken to explore perspectives and share information about local human and wildlife encounters once the survey is launched.

• do more research to decide on a specific topic to cover. Discuss their ideas and decide which ideas to focus on to create a final product.  Discuss what they need to know and/or learn in order to meet their goals.

• brainstorm to decide what sort of media or presentation they will use to share the information they learn as well as decide on a target audience. Present this idea to the class in a gallery walk, which is explained in phase 1 below.

• decide on a target audience for the final product and how to present the information to the public.  Reflect and research throughout the creation of the project.


Prerequisites: Skills the Students Know

This project is designed for students who are at the end of their first year of Spanish in college, but can be modified for other students.

The students know:

• how to conjugate the present tense, imperfect and preterit tenses as well as the typical verb conjugations, vocabulary and other grammar taught prior to the imperfect and preterit  (See the grammatical expectations in the Puntos de Partida text through the preterit and imperfect forms for an example.)

• how to exchange information on a basic level

Skills to Learn

Students will:

• read and understand authentic articles in the imperfect and preterit tenses in the target language and learn strategies for reading and comprehending articles in the target language

• learn strategies for working and discussing within small and large groups effectively [See the attached PDF based on the work of Brookfield and Preskill, 2005]

• collaborate and create a basic short survey to send to students in a country where the target language is spoken and if needed, learn the technology to add images to the survey

Sustained Inquiry

• During the project and creation of the product, the students will revise, reflect and have opportunities for engaging in sustained inquiry.

Project Phases, Stages and Assessments

This section includes an overview of the project, formative and summative assessments and benchmarks.  Several rubrics are attached as PDFs.

Project Phases

Phase 1: Launching and Entry Reading Events  (1 week)

Formative:  Students will gather information from the professionals’ presentations, the films and articles, ask questions, synthesize and discuss the topics. Students will prepare and present short summaries to the group and the class as a whole.

Summative: Each group investigates instances of wild animals and human encounters in countries where the target language is spoken. This can include library research, an online search, emails to the professionals who visited our class or contacts with other professionals knowledgeable about this topic. The driving question will be presented.  Students will work together to come up with what they need to know to address the driving question. They will narrow big ideas and focus on one point.

Benchmark Summative Activity: Each group presents their information and group ideas to the class in a gallery walk. The gallery walk will consist of each group writing their ideas on a large piece of paper and taping it to the wall. The students will go around and read the ideas and comment for each group.  One comment will be about what they like and the other comment will be about what they are wondering about. For more information on gallery walks, please refer to the BIE website.  Afterwards, students will reflect on the presentations in small groups and then together as a class.  This process will be repeated after the readings are completed in phase 2 as well.  This is not their final product design.  This is one step towards narrowing their ‘big ideas.’

Phase 2: Readings in target language, Group Work, Inquiry, Dividing Tasks and Survey (1 week)

Formative:  Reading comprehension: Students will complete the authentic readings and answer questions based on the reading in the target language.

Summative:  Students will reflect on the readings, give opinions and share feelings and other relevant information in the target language.  Students will complete a short survey to share with students in a country where the target language is spoken.

Benchmark Summative Activity:  Students will create and launch the survey, synthesize the responses on the survey and ask any remaining questions.

See attached PDF for Cultural Exchange Rubric: The Survey

Phase 2 and 3: Group Work, Inquiry, Deciding on Presentation and Target Audience, Working on Presentation, Dividing Tasks (1 week)

Formative:  Students will work together to discuss their ideas and decide what to focus on for a final product. They will conduct another gallery walk as explained in Phase 1 above. Ask the question following question again: What else do we need to know and/or find out about the topic we have chosen and divide research tasks?  The students should use this question throughout all of the phases to encourage sustained inquiry.

Benchmark/Summative:  Students will decide on a final product, complete a report to turn in to the instructor listing their idea for the final product and target audience.  Students will work together to complete their final product presentation.

Reflections as well as self-management and group work self-evaluations will be completed.

Phase 3: Group Work, Inquiry, Completing Product, Practicing the Presentation of the Project and product (1 weeks)

Formative:  Students will self-manage, divide tasks and log their progress in a daily journal.  Students will find a venue, set times and dates and send out invitations.

Benchmark /Summative: Students will share any new research they have found and needed and work together to practice their presentation.  The students will add any new information they believe that they need.

Phase 4: Presenting the product (1 day or more if it is a week-long exhibit)

Formative:  Students will practice the presentation in the venue, set up their exhibits, or prepare in other ways for the presentation of their final product.

Summative: Students will present the product.

Benchmark /Summative: Students will reflect after the presentation.

The self-assessment logs for collaboration, participation and communication will be read and summarized.  See the attached PDF of a log that the students will keep in their folders and use on a daily basis. 

Additional Assessment Resource

The following presentation rubric is a good example for assessing the student’s ability to communicate what is learned through a presentation:

Key Knowledge, Communication: See Buck Institute for Education (BIE) rubric attached as a PDF and available online.

Available on 9/18/16 at

Stage 5: Celebration, Reflection and Student Voice (2 days)

        Student voice: Students will use some sort of creative expression to reflect on what they have learned. This might include a poem, short prose piece, artwork, dance, music, short self-reflection piece or photography exhibit.  One option will be for the student to post their creative expression piece around the room where the celebration takes place and/or on the web. If possible the exhibit will be displayed for a week for other students to enjoy.

         • Students will decide how to celebrate the completion of their project. The celebration will include an opportunity for more reflection as well as celebration.

 Project Resources

Optional List of Ideas for Final Product To Share

• Create a storybook or comic book about one of the animals to share with speakers of the target language and/or immersion schools in the community

• Create an online video of a puppet show to tell about one of the animals

• Create a presentation through music, art, opera or other type of show or production

• Create a live story telling event and involve the audience in some way

 Create a game to test and teach about this topic, commands

• Create brochures for national parks to educate the visitors about human and wildlife encounters, use the preterit and imperfect to describe past encounters, use formal commands 

 Target Audience Ideas

  Grade school students in a Spanish immersion program or school

  The local community during a diversity or international fair or other community event

  A wider audience found on the internet, such as an immersion school in another state or a school in a country where the target language is spoken

 University students studying Spanish and/or science students who are also Spanish speakers

• Spanish speakers in the community

The yearly Humane Society Banquet or other event

Other Resources

Artist Image Information: Joshua Masias,  Website: 

Lemurs aren’t pets, by Sarah Zielinski ,  January 16, 2015.  There are many interesting  comments on this article from both sides of the argument. Available on 9/16/16 from:

See attached PDF of Classroom Clipart Terms of Use Information and Website Link

Disscussion as a Way of Teaching

This resource is excellent for organizing discussions and ideas for good discussion techniques.   Available on 9/28/16 from

Stephan Brookfield Website:

Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms, Brookfield and Preskill, 2005, Published by Jossey-Bass.

Buck Institute for Education (BIE) Website

Stanford University PBL website

Fishbowl Discussion technique Explained

Flipping My Spanish Classroom. Demonstrating Proficiency Using PBL and the ACTFL Scale 2012

ACTFL Can do statements

 This is helpful for creating rubrics and designing projects.


The Magpie that Saved a Family




Cites ‘CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

 World Wildlife 'Falls by 58% in 40 years' by Rebecca Morelle, BBC, 10/27/16

How Should we protect endangered species? Oct. 10, 2016 BBC
Peru's Wildlife for Sale  2015 BBC
Sale of wildlife laws flouted in Peru Market May 13, 2015

Peru's Wildlife is under Threat from Illegal Trafficking





Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

Tasks not specified.

Launching the Project

Tasks not specified.

Managing the Project

Tasks not specified.


Tasks not specified.

Implementation Info

Implementation information not specified.

Preparing for the Project

Launching the Project

Managing the Project


Implementation Info


Re: Cute and Wild Orphans! ¡Huérfanos lindos y silvestres! Nov 6 2016
by Alicia Gignoux

The links to the PDFs might have been duplicated and are being checked by the website creator.