Name: Robertson, Jeff
School: Sherburne-Earlville Middle School
Lesson title: Crime and San José, Costa Rica-Interactive Speaking Activity Model
Brief description: Students watch a brief slideshow of San José, Costa Rica depicting the city, police/security, buildings (bars on doors, windows, store fronts, etc.), and neighborhoods. After a brief discussion on crime in San José students, are told that there was a crime and that they need to describe the perpetrator to the police sketch artist (photo is supplied) using descriptive adjectives and noun agreement. Follow-up activities include describing students in class and discussion on crime in the US and it’s consequences.
Topic: 8.Health and Welfare : Crime and Culture
Grammar topics: Noun adjective agreement
Keywords: Costa Rica, Crime, Culture, Descriptions,
Language: Spanish
Textbook: N/A
Skills targeted: - Speaking - Listening - Culture
Model: Interactive reading/listening
Standards: - 1.1 Interpersonal Communication - 1.2 Interpretive Communication - 2.1 Practices of Culture - 2.2 Products of Culture - 3.2 Acquiring Information - 4.2 Culture Comparisons
Date: 8/13/2006 2:53:24 PM
Lesson URL: Please email me for URL at:
Objectives: - Students will be able to describe a person to another for the purpose of identification. (1.1, 1.2, 3.2)
- Students will be able to talk about US practices to guard against crime, versus the practices of Costa Rican residents. (1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 4.2)
- Students will be able to talk about crime, its possible causes, and ramifications with others. (1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 4.2)
- Students will be able to talk about negative stereotypes and their perceptions of others, as well as others' perception of them. (1.1, 1.2, 4.2)
Materials: - Power Point slide show of homes, businesses, security police, etc.
- Elmo projector
- Blank sketches of people (i.e., without features, hair, clothing, etc.)
- Photos of famous people of Costa Rica
Procedures: Pre-listening:

1. Present slide show of San José showing houses, businesses, policía/security guards, etc. regarding security (barbed wire, alambre de navaja, etc.)
2. Talk about crime in Costa Rica and the perception held by many Costa Rican people that crime has been brought to their country by Nicaraguans, Guatematecas, Hondurans, Colombians.
3. Talk about the reality of crime in Costa Rica versus the perception by those of the upper middle class and the comment made to me that Guanacaste is the one safe providence left in Costa Rica? .

Identify main ideas:

1. The scenario: A crime has been witnessed by several people.
2. Students will work in pairs. Each pair will include a witness (testigo) and a police sketch artist (artista de boceto). Witnesses will receive a photo of a person "el/la delincuente," who they will describe to the sketch artists (all witnesses will receive the same photo). Sketch artists, using a rough figureless sketch given by the teacher, will fill in details of the perpetrator.


1. In a five minute framework, witnesses need to explain to the sketch artist how the person looked. For example sex, skin and hair color, physical characteristics (beard/mustache size of nose), clothing, approximate age, and other pertinent information.
2. Artist uses the pre-drawn sketch to fill in specifics.

Revision of details:

1. Pairs now work as groups (2 or 3 pairs per group) to compare drawings.
2. Still working in Spanish, groups talk about and correct any discrepancies between drawings within groups.

Re-creating textual information:
1. Using a table, each student will describe 5 different students in the class. Include the following information:

Name, Sex, Height, Color of skin, hair, and eyes, Other physical characteristics, and Clothing.

Reaction to text:

1. (Tarea) Students talk to parents regarding their perceptions of the crime level when they were younger versus now.
2. (In-class) Students discuss differences between how the crime level has changed in the US and what this means for their parents, them, etc.
3. Extended Activity: Talk about who the person in the (witness) photo really is, along with his/her accomplishments, etc.
*Actual photo should be a famous Costaricense, for example president, singer, etc.
Cultural information: - Product: "Portones," bars on doors/windows, use of "alambra de navaja" (razor wire).
- Practice: Locking houses/cars, carry backs in front of body, don't walk alone at night.
- Perspective: Costa Ricans' self-perception as being pacifists and that crime was brought in from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, etc.
Technology: - Elmo projector
- Power Point slide presentation of San José