From the time she watched the trailer for the beloved movie Encanto, Grades 5 and 6 Spanish teacher Señora Valentina Gabrielli had to find a way to incorporate the film into her classes. She was thrilled when she heard the buzzing conversations around the film among Grade 5 students and the joyous singing of the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” through the hallways.
The film has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song for “Dos Oruguitas.” This movie not only includes wonderful music by Colombian artist Carlos Vives (one of Señora Gabrielli’s favorite singers), but also does a wonderful job of storytelling using Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “realismo magico,” or magic realism, that students study in their literature and humanities courses.
In this unit, Grade 5 students will embark on a journey through Colombia. They will explore aspects of the historical context behind the movie and learn about the music, instruments, and artists as well as flora and fauna. They will delve into symbols of Colombia such as mochila wayuu and sombrero vueltiao’ and the delicious food Colombia has to offer. We will “bring it home” by talking about our own families and find connections between ourselves and the characters of the movie. The students will be asked to write and illustrate their very own magical room and door and will listen, read, write, sing and, most importantly, have fun! “Encanto took me back home. It is one of my hopes to enchant my students and immerse them in the culture and colorful world where I was raised,” Señora Gabrielli said.