Our mid-terms last semester were more or less CI-friendly with heavy emphasis on reading comprehension, translation, and writing:
click here for this mid-term’s study guide
I was quite proud of them until I sat down to grade them — ugh. It took a really long time. I was thinking of drawing up something similar for finals this time around, but instead decided for an easier to grade, output-based assignment. I know it’s probably not the best assessment of my students’ abilities, but what the heck.
DOWNLOAD: Spanish III Final Exam Project (Storybook) (.doc)
It’s nothing original. Hopefully it’ll turn out to be a fun way end to a great year of storytelling for both myself and my students. It’s something they can take home with them and keep for a long time. I’m wary of the fact that it’s a totally output-driven project, and that many of my students are not the craftiest of people, and that perhaps some will use an online translator or a friend to help write their stories, but we’ll work on it in class some and hopefully get everyone motivated enough with the idea of not having a traditional final exam. We’ll see how it goes.
So I’m just now starting off my 2′s with past tense stories. I am so far behind! We read Tumba the first semester (way too easy for them) and we just finished Esperanza (also too easy for them), so we’ve spent a long time internalizing present tense structures. They’ve been talking about our weekends since last semester, but most have only really acquired “I went.” We only have a few weeks left, so I hope we’re able to squeeze in as many stories as possible. This is their first time in a CI environment (and mine too), so I don’t feel very bad (some CI is better than no CI, right?), though I really need to step it up next year.
We told half of La chica ideal yesterday knowing I’d be gone for attendance committee today. It went surprisingly well. I could tell they really missed the stories, and one student even mentioned she learned better that way.
I left them today with another sub plan (below): translation, reading comprehension, and a little bit of writing. We’ll finish part two of our story tomorrow.
DOWNLOAD: La chica ideal SUB PLAN (.pdf) La chica ideal SUB PLAN (.doc)
I was “voluntold” to be part of the school attendance committee this year, which means I’ve had to leave my classes with subs for days at a time. Fun. As a result, I’ve been compiling CI-friendly sub plans. Most sub plans I’ve come across look something like this:
FIRST 15 MINUTES:
- FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) – Students select a reader/children’s book of choice, read for 15-20 minutes
- SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) – Students read silently for 15-20 minutes from current novel
LAST 30 MINUTES:
- Timed free write – Students complete a 10-15 minute timed write using recent vocabulary
- “Embedded” timed write – Students prime/expand upon their free writes by writing in chunks, repeating and adding more details as they go. See Martina’s 1-3-10 Free Write (which I love).
- Storyboards – Students illustrate 3-6 story panels based on story/chapter in book
Here’s something I threw together yesterday. It was inspired by the “David’s Reading Plan” posts on Ben Slavic’s PLC and several recent posts on mad libs and CI (Kristy’s, Cynthia’s and Martina’s). This activity is great for introducing a future story by including a script in English to start. The students can do it without you being there, making it a good sub plan too. Feel free to download and change to your liking below:
DOWNLOAD: Mad Libs Storyboard (.pdf) Mad Libs Storyboard (.doc)
Palabras nacas stands for “tacky/ghetto words.” I can’t recall who I stole this idea from (on Twitter, argh!), but it’s worked great with my native and heritage speakers:
I’ve seen some improvement. I often hear students (all native/heritage Spanish-speakers) correct each other and have even had some tell me that they’ll always remember that such-and-such word is a big PALABRA NACA that they now know not to use. Whatever works.
For novice learners: CI works wonders in eliminating common mistakes during output, but even after a year of rich CI, some of my students still need reminders! I haven’t done this, but a frases nacas chart could be the novice-learner alternative. Include those nasty, hard-to-shake errors: me llamo es, hay es, david’s casa, la chica es no bonita, etc.
So I’ve been incredibly non-productive (blog-wise) these past few months. I’ve been TPRSing it up in my classes since last August (!!!) and have just neglected this site way too long! There’s been SO MUCH going on this year that I’m not even sure where to begin. Suffice it to say it’s been an interesting journey — crazy stories, lots of reading, great memories, and loads of comprehensible input (hopefully) for my kids. I’ll try my best to update more frequently — sorry to anyone I haven’t responded to these past few months!
Here’s an activity I did the first week back from the winter break. It’s not exactly CI, but it was a nice break from the norm. I was looking at trending hashtags on Twitter and when I came upon #Propósitos2013 and #Predicciones2013. Here are some examples we looked at:
Then, just for funsies, we looked at #TraducelaRola, another trending hashtag. Users took lyrics from their favorite songs and translated them from English-Spanish or vice versa. Here are some examples:
Hilarious, right? Finally, I passed out the template below and my kiddos “published” two tweets: one using the #Propósitos2013 hashtag and the other using #TraducelaRola.
Took a couple of days to finally get them all on the wall, but the end result looks fabulous! Maybe I’ll post a picture later. After they all went up, we took a little bit of time to all go out (we put them outside the classroom) and read through everyone’s published tweets. Many students “retweeted” their favorites. Made for a nice end of the week.
A more practical use of “tweeting” in the classroom: While reading novels, students tweet from characters’ perspectives (read this one on Twitter — I think Kristy Placido’s idea). Can you think of any other uses?
We had a huge anti- social media presentation at one of our inservices. We learned about how to do everything we can to avoid being in situations that compromise the student / teacher relationship. Enter my new classroom “tuíter” wall:
LOVE IT! I’m adding a class participation category into my grade book this year, and I hope this twitter wall helps my shy students use their language skills more frequently without having to be put on the spot. I’m thinking about limiting the amount of “tweets” to one tweet per class so that my first period doesn’t fill up the entire wall all at once. I used these Dry Erase Writing Strips:
I found them in the dollar section at Target last year, and bought several sets for $1 each. I haven’t seen them this year, though. What do you think?
I am unfortunately really particular about the way things look from a design perspective. I say unfortunately, because I almost always end up redefining a perfectly great rubric/activity/poster to meet my standards of preferred font type, image use, wording — the works. It’s a little bit of extra work, but it’s something I really enjoy doing, and I think it ultimately goes a long way in showing students the amount of passion, effort, and personalization we put forth in ensuring their success. So, when it came to decorating my old, smelly classroom this week (think overhead projector, combo desks, wood paneling) with the printed resources available to me (like, 2 Teacher’s Discovery posters), I was totally depressed. My classroom was (and is — I’m not done yet!) in dire need of a revamp. Fortunately, I tracked down some illustrations with the potential to become awesome posters for my classroom. I hope they get the students talking!
Finding classroom-friendly illustrations
Here are some images I came across last week that I really loved! This gallery includes illustrations by Eduardo Salles, Joel Caracas , Frannerd, and others. I stumbled across most of these images either on Pinterest or on trocitosgraficos.tumblr.com, a wonderful compilation of Spanish-language illustrations by @ZJonesSpanish (thanks for everything you do — we love you!) Many of these images make reference to the Internet and “geek” cultures (I feel awful referring to it as such, but as an uber geek myself, I absolutely do not mind) that a perhaps my shy, tech-savvy students may respond to. Either way, they’re much nicer than my 2 Teacher’s Discovery posters. Another site to keep in mind is Infografías en castellano. Lots and lots of nice infographics!
I used a program called PosteRazor to create rasterized cuts of my illustration which later come together to make one big poster. Yay! It’s especially useful for large or long images. Here’s an example of one I did last week:
I hope they make decent conversation pieces, if anything. I created a few more that actually have text in them, but left them in my classroom somewhere. Maybe I’ll post later.
Ahhh, the last week of school is finally upon us! This week, right after finals, we’re ending things on a positive note with an awards ceremony (credit goes to CLC — as always, thanks for the awesome idea!) and what has turned out to be a surprisingly fun and interesting karaoke/dance party (Student song of the year? Definitely “Vamos a la playa” by Righeira!). I also try to make a photo/video compilation highlighting the year’s most memorable moments (Friday cheers this year, mostly!). Here’s how this year’s video turned out:
Despite a significant transition (moving away from family and friends) and the occasional rotten attitude, I must admit I’m so very grateful to have met and shared with such a wonderful group of students this year!
I began a family unit with my students a few weeks back, and I somehow wanted to incorporate an idea gathered from a Twitter friend a few weeks ago. Kristy Placido mentioned during a recent #langchat an alternative to music cloze activities. Instead of a fill-in-the-blank lyric sheet, @placido suggests cutting up lines from a song and having kids arrange the lines in order as the song plays. What a cool idea (for more, visit Martina Bex’s ideas for cloze-less song activities)! I haven’t yet stumbled upon a song I’d want to use for my level one family unit, but I still wished to try this “cut/paste” idea with something else. I’m sure it’s not anything that hasn’t been done before, but here’s what we ended up doing:
First, we watched the intro to “UP: Una aventura de altura.” The first 4 minutes or so include dialogue in Spanish, and the remaining 6 are without dialogue.
After silencing the few remaining snifflers in class, I asked for input about the characters in the story. ¿Cómo se llama el señor de la película? ¿Cómo se llama su esposa? ¿Cuántos hijos tienen? ¿Son padres? etc. Then, we broke into pairs, and I passed out the following:
WORKSHEET: Una historia de amor PREGUNTAS, Una historia de amor RESPUESTAS (Word format)
Students worked with a peer to cut out all of the words or phrases they’d need to answer the questions relating to the story. We ended up racing to see which pair could cut and paste the correct arrangement of words/phrases for each question the fastest! There’s less stress on the student to actually produce TL as they’re already provided with scrambled answers, but it’s certainly interesting to see them make sense of familiar and not so familiar structures. Overall, I think I had a pretty successful day.
Here’s an activity for your visual learners. Some of my students complain when they have to draw in class (This isn’t art class!), but ALL of them love to share and compare their drawings. I made this worksheet to go along with our “estar + feeling” lesson:
WORKSHEET: Mi diccionario visual — Los sentimientos (Word format)
Students illustrate a vocabulary term, put it into context by creating a simple sentence, and then think about a strategy that can help them remember the meaning of that word. This activity can be easily adapted to any vocabulary lesson, and students can compile their sheets into a folder to create their very own visual dictionaries.
Here’s a funny (albeit incomplete) set of drawings from one of my Spanish I students:
Creado por J. Gonzáles
Here’s another interdisciplinary activity using estar + feeling:
WORKSHEET: Communicative Activity 10 — Y tú, ¿cómo estás? (Word format)
Students go around the room asking one another how they feel all the while keeping a tally of responses. After the whole class has finished, the class collectively comes up with a bar graph to represent our current mood (¿Cuántas personas están cansadas? ¿Enfermas?). While it’s fun to see them argue about whose data set is right or wrong, be sure to remind them not to switch up their stories during the activity, else everyone will have a different bar graph at the end!
Communicative activities are fun ways for students to get out of their seats and practice their speaking skills without being put on the spot, although sometimes it’s hard to get them to stick with the TL. For more awesome ideas on speaking activities, visit las chicas over at The Creative Language Class, who offer some great tips on how to encourage students to evaluate their own output during speaking activities!