Class Activities, Grad School

Blog update/Linked Resources

Hello and happy summer! I wanted to write a short post to share a few projects I’ve been working on for a class I’m taking.

I’m taking a visual media course for my specialist degree in instructional technology, and we are publishing all of our projects on a blog. Here is the link:

https://msbrownspanish.wordpress.com/

I have enjoyed learning more about photography and design and creating some beautiful projects, as well as reflecting about how I can adapt these strategies to use with my students. Feel free to use my preterite/imperfect poster (project 4) or re-designed possessive adjective slides (project 5) with your students.

I started this blog in 2014 when I changed schools and, probably for the only time in my teaching career, experienced a huge reduction in my workload; I went from teaching six classes to five, from one planning period to two, and from 2-3 preps to one for a whole year! The next year, 2015-2016, we changed to a block schedule, I went back to one planning period and two preps, and started grad school. I’ve been in school ever since, beginning my gifted endorsement as soon as I finished my master’s degree and now beginning my specialist degree, and I just haven’t had the time or energy to blog like I did back in 2014. My blog posts will likely continue to be sporadic for the foreseeable future, but I hope that I will be able to share more grad school projects like this one in the coming months.

Class Activities, EdTech, Spanish 2

Reviewing Vocabulary with NearPod

In this post: Reflecting on my first use of Nearpod, plus free, ready-to-use Spanish 2 resources for Realidades chapters 2b, 3a, 3b, and 5a

It is the time of the year when motivation is swiftly waning for both students and teachers. As I was planning for my lesson today, I thought about what motivates me as a teacher: being creative, trying new things, experimenting with technology, and finding ways to keep it in the target language. I decided to give NearPod a try, and I was pleased with the result – 30+ minutes of engagement for both students and teacher! I wrote a series of definitions/descriptions in Spanish for the vocabulary words, using free response and draw it slides. Students saw the prompt on their screen, and then either typed or drew their response. Next time, I want to include more draw-it slides with longer descriptions. They really enjoyed drawing and seeing what their classmates drew, and sharing their images was quick and easy. I can’t figure out how to retrieve those images now that I’ve ended the session with my students, or I would share  some of their cute sketches with you!

I am teaching driving and directions vocabulary in Spanish 2, which corresponds to Realidades 2 Chapter 3B. If you would like to see my nearpod, here is the link. I also have a Google Slides version. I have done similar definition/description activities for chapters 2b (shopping – crossword linked), 3a (places around town, errands), and 5a (disasters). The same clues could be used for a crossword, a tarsia puzzle (Chapter 2a – shopping linked), or you could print them and have students work in teams to figure them out (just be sure to clarify that their phones are off-limits). You could also project the clues on the board and have students write the answers on paper or mini-white boards. Writing the clues would be a good task for heritage speakers or advanced students (though they aren’t always as good at keeping it comprehensible for their classmates!).

Class Activities, Music in Spanish Class

#SCOLT18: #AuthRes for the Novice Language Learner

I am super excited to be headed to #SCOLT18 tomorrow! Here are the slides for my session, #AuthRes for the Novice Language Learner. I’m sharing tons of links to my favorite sources for finding beginner-appropriate authentic resources, as well as activities to go along with them. I’m also sharing three “ready to go” authres activities that I’ve used with my own students on leisure activities, school, and clothing. If you’ll be at SCOLT, I will be presenting Saturday at 9:00 – hope to see you there!

Class Activities, Sp 1 Unit 1: Greetings/goodbyes/ numbers/calendar

#AuthresAugust

Hello, and welcome back to school! Today I want to share an activity I made today for my Spanish 1 students based on a video from one of my favorite sites for authentic Spanish audio, http://www.laits.utexas.edu/spe/index.html.

This is José M. Isn’t he precious?

I like this video because the content fits with my first unit of Spanish 1 and José M. speaks clearly and relatively slowly. But what to do with it? Here’s what I came up with:

José M

Follow along as you listen, and correct the errors. After printing, I numbered the lines and students have this follow up task:

jose m 2

Simple, quick, comprehensible. Here is the link to José’s video and here is the activity, if you would like to use it.

 

Previous #Authres Posts:

Class Activities, Teaching Reflections

Teaching the Novel Tumba

I am wrapping up a three-week unit on the novel Tumba by Mira Canion and wanted to share some of the activities we’ve done. If you are interested, here are my unit plans.

Pre-Readng Activities:

  • Before beginning the book: We discussed products, practices, and perspectives and watched some videos about Día de los Muertos. We filled out a chart to compare the two holidays. Post reading, we will re-visit the chart and see what else students can add.
  • We also used this embedded reading on Tumba. Here is my pre-reading/chapter 1 packet.
  • Crayon wars with chapter word clouds from the teacher’s manual: call out a word in English, students mark it in the word cloud with a colored pencil. Pair up two students with different color pencils and make it a race. After wards, students can self-select words they don’t know to add to their vocab list.
  • Chapter art from the teacher’s manual: To maximize the mileage I get out of copies, I’ve used each chapter art for both listening and writing (I also shrunk the art on the copier so I could fit two or three on a page). First, I will do a listening activity where I read a sentence and students decide which picture it corresponds to, writing the number of the sentence next to the picture. Afterwards, I have them paste the pictures in their ISN and write a sentence or two to describe each picture. You could also use the pictures for story re-tells.
  • Quizlet: Is my favorite! I found a whole folder of Tumba-related sets made by Elena Lopez, and also made Spanish-English sets for the vocabulary I had identified for my students. Question/answer or fill-in-the-blank cards make great sets for rounds of Quizlet live. I like to print these out first for students to match up manually in order to scaffold them up to the speed of Quizlet live.
  • White boards: Put a statement on the board and have student respond on the whiteboards. This works great with True/False statements or Which character ____? questions. It also works well as a post-reading review.
  • Probable/Improbable: After chapter 8, I asked students to make predictions about chapter 9. I then picked several statements to write on big paper and post around the room. Students walked around and gave their opinion on a post-it note as to whether each statement was Probable, Improbable, Posible, Imposible (on second thought, just probable/improbable would  have been enough options). IMG_20161101_075226.jpg

 

Reading:
I really enjoyed reading out loud to students, with student readers doing the dialogue, but towards the end of the book students felt confident enough to read independently or in small groups. Sometimes I would have them read in groups and then read together as a class with actors (low-key reader’s theater), sometimes I would read to them and they would re-read as they completed post-reading activities, and sometimes we skipped the whole-class reading altogether. Variety is important!

Post-reading:

I used a LOT of activities from the teacher’s manual, as well as from Allison’s Wienhold’s blog posts on Tumba (I really liked her idea of having students write quiz questions and quiz each other – we did it after chapter 9 and it was a good change of routine from answering post-reading questions).  I often used the chapter questions from the teacher’s manual, or we played a game like Kahoot (the ones by Elena Lopez are always high quality), Quizlet Live, or Quizizz, or we simply discussed.

Assessment:
Ok, I’m a bit old school here. I made a chapter packet for almost every packet with target vocabulary, comprehension questions, and other related pre-and post reading activities and graded several of these as classwork completion grades. I gave two quizzes – one after chapter 4 and one after chapter 10. Quizzes were all comprehension based, with matching and true/false questions. I will give them a unit test including a writing section (describe a character and/or describe a picture). I am also planning to put students into groups and have them re-enact different parts of the book as a review before the test.

Reflection:
I’ve really enjoyed teaching Tumba, and I think my students have enjoyed it too (planning to give them a survey about this and will share results). I feel like I’ve taught Día de los muertos more completely than any other year, and students have a deeper understanding of it. We also touched on  lots of other cultural topics, such as school schedules, family relationships, and the Mexican Revolution. I also think students acquired a lot of vocabulary, and as we wrote and talked about the characters and events, I was able to do a lot of pop-up grammar about 3rd person singular/plural verb forms. I look forward to teaching it again with future classes and further refining and improving my lessons. If you have funds available for materials, I would highly recommend purchasing a class set of Tumba and the teacher’s guide to go with it.

 

Class Activities

Thoughts on Stations and Games: Homecoming Week Edition

Homecoming week started last Thursday. Friday was “Movie Star” Day:

img_20161007_161918_01
Ninja tutus.

Between the chaos and costumes of homecoming week, plus the interruption of fall break in the middle, plus just being at the point in the semester where I am tired, we’ve been playing a lot games in class. I’ve written before about using games the day before a break to engage students with language, and I wanted to share a few more ideas.

  • Stations do not have to have rigid timing and rotation. Some games/activities take more time than others, and that’s okay. If students are enjoying an activity and using language, I am happy to let them keep that activity until it is no longer engaging. Also, whenever I do stations where students physically move from one area to the next, a lot of time is wasted with transitions and my dear students treat me to a lovely chorus of whines. So, I’ve found that often it works just as well to move the activities around, and let students stay put. I circulate constantly (and get tons of steps on my imaginary FitBit) and offer to trade out activities when one seems to have run its course.
  • You need more activities than groups, but they don’t all have to be different activities. If it’s okay for students to spend twenty minutes playing one game, they aren’t going to have to do eight different stations. That’s fine. However, it helps to have multiples of games if they do take a long time to play. For example, I made two sets these Halloween preposition cards for a Go Fish station. Students really enjoyed playing it, and having multiples of the same set made it possible for more students to play. Also, having extra games makes it easier to keep everyone busy when groups are finishing at different times.
  • All your stations cannot be high prep. I made three different sets of custom cards for stations today. That was a lot of work to make, even with help from several students with the cutting. Having other games handy that do not require any more work than getting it out of the closet like As, Dos, Tres or Verba,  will save your sanity.
  • That being said, Quizlet makes printing cards super easy. I waste so much time finding pictures, pasting them into a word document, resizing, and formatting when I make my own picture, word, or sentence cards. If you make it as a set in Quizlet, you can add pictures and print flash cards without having to mess with the formatting.
  • If you invest the time to teach students to play it, then use it more than once. I saw an idea on Mis Clases Locas about playing Old Maid with countries and capitals. Great idea! Then I realized I had printed and laminated the cards without including an old maid. And then realized I didn’t even remember how to play old maid. And then I remember that we had played spoons on our game day last Friday, and that was basically the same thing! So that’s what we did, and I didn’t have to spend time explaining the rules to a new game.
  • For weeks like this, I am ok with “just” playing with language. It takes a lot of thought and prep time to prepare multiple engaging stations activities around the same content. So today I made an effort to start students on an activity related to our current topic, but if they want to play As, Dos, Tres or Spot It in Spanish, that’s fine with me too.