Spanish 4 Microlending Unit

UPDATE! My students’ Kiva videos ALL OF THEM. Please feel free to vote or have your students vote!

I first got interested in microlending several years ago when I was working as a volunteer translator for Potential borrowers submit their loan requests in their native language, but many lenders speak English, so an army of volunteers works to translate each and every loan request quickly into English to increase the likelihood of the loan being funded. It didn’t take long for me to also realize just how much fun it was to select a borrower and watch my money get repaid so I could select the next borrower! I knew this had to have classroom implications, too!

Soon my Spanish 4/5 students will be learning about how microfinance can improve the economy in developing countries. We have just concluded an almost semester-long study of how the civil war in El Salvador led to a worldwide virus known as the Mara Salvatrucha 13. Since this unit was honestly pretty depressing, I’d like to leave them with a feeling of hope for the future, and an idea of a way that they might help others.

We will start our unit by doing a movie talk lesson with this video (no sound since it is in English). This will give me a chance to provide comprehensible input to my students on some very specific vocabulary related to the lending process.

Then, we will do this activity. (On Teachers Pay Teachers but it is free!)

We will also watch the documentary “Living on One Dollar.” It is in English, but it will only take one class period and shows a good example of microlending in action.

We will then look at various loan requests on You can view the loan requests in both English and in their original language. Here is an example.


The assessment:

Create a Spanish-language short film promoting the Kiva borrower of your choice

Mrs. Placido will contribute $200 and class may collect money, vote for best video, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners’ borrowers get funding

*Explain what borrower’s business is all about, include helpful visuals for vocabulary your classmates may not know.

*All language used must be your OWN words, with any new vocab related to the business visually represented. DO NOT simply read the loan request or use a translator. This will end very poorly for you!

*Be sure to include a photo/drawing of the borrower

*Share details about the amount of the loan and its use

*Spoken narration is a MUST with good pronunciation

*Photos from Kiva, text written by YOU, drawings drawn by YOU, photographs by YOU, infographics created by YOU are all acceptable visuals. Random images from the internet are NOT acceptable visuals.

*Use music (Spanish language or instrumental typical of the region) to convey emotion


Script is at least 100 words long and has been proofed by teacher before shooting video.

File has been electronically shared with teacher (google classroom)


Pay attention to:

  • Script quality of information
  • Script grammatical accuracy and correct use of vocabulary
  • Script conveys ideas
  • Narration is clear with good pronunciation
  • Images and music are selected carefully to convey your message
  • Overall impact


Rubric used:

Links to info about this and similar projects:

My students’ projects from 2012-13

Carrie Toth

Kara Jacobs



  1. Thank you for sharing this! I have been interested in doing KIVA and am wanting to give it a try with my AP students. We did a unit earlier in our Vida Contemporanea unit that opened the door to Living on a Dollar. They had such a heart for this project that now we are in Los Temas Economicas and I am going to make a short unit for them on Kiva.I love your details for the requirements for the script and visuals.

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