Looking forward to meeting you all in a few weeks!
Well another year is in the record books. Yesterday was the last day of school and summer has officially started. However, I always enjoy taking time to look back at the previous semester to remember and highlight some of our accomplishments. So, let’s take look down memory lane…
Way back in January, we started the semester with some group skits to help us review how to give personal facts, talk about likes/dislikes and all things related to school. Later in the month and while learning about our family unit, we read our first book entirely in Spanish! After reading one of the chapters in the book, we tried running dictation. That month, most students favorite song was Guapo We listened to it so much, that most students were able to easily sing it.
Our annual trip to Epcot was a blast! We enjoyed great food, perfect weather and experienced the sights and sounds of lots of cultures and students can’t wait to sign up for next year’s trip.
By the end of January, we were talking about what we did or where we went using some of the most frequently used verbs otherwise known as the “Super 7” Wednesdays were planned as our conversation days with lots of brain breaks or “descansitos” with the goal of talking to many different partners throughout the class period. On Fridays we continued our “Hoy es viernes” (Today is Friday) activity where a students shows his or her special talent or favorite activity.
The emphasis in February was writing. For Valentine’s Day, students wrote a card to someone special and many students chose to write to their mothers, #awwh! After they wrote the cards, they took pictures giving the card to their special someone.
They wrote simple messages in Spanish like: “Te quiero porque… ” (I love you because…) “Eres muy especial para mi porque eres…” (You are special to me because you’re…)
So sweet! It was an engaging activity and they used Spanish in the real world.
During our lab days we started using Padlet to encourage students to write about a variety of topics including favorite activities and hobbies. One special Padlet feature I like is that students are able to see live posts from their peers.
Some of our songs of the week for February included two Carlos Vives’ songs: Robarte un beso & La Bicicleta , Marc Anthony’s Vivir mi Vida and Para Enamorarte by the group CNCO. We did some cloze lyrics activities, read some of the lyrics, wrote original sentences with essential vocabulary, answered and discussed questions about the main idea or theme, and used one of the songs as a springboard to research possible destinations during a “trip” to Colombia.
In March, we talked, read and wrote about sports and Hispanic athletes. Students created brochures about sports
or activities in the community.
We began the month with all the last minute preparation for the annual World Language Department event: Culture Knight. It’s one of the most popular and well attended events at our school. Students contribute food dishes from around the world and showcase their talents while representing a variety of cultures.
In class we started “La Persona Especial” daily interviews. Students engaged in a spontaneous two-minute interview with me. They were randomly selected each day and the questions ranged from simple memorized type of questions to more open-ended ones. Although students were a bit nervous prior to the interview, they always rose up to the challenge and were able to answer a variety of questions about familiar topics. Answers clearly demonstrated their level of proficiency as some students gave short and simple answers, while others were able to expand and elaborate, but all were able to keep up with the interview.
We used the Oscar winning animated video Joy or as we called in class “Alegria” for MovieTalk. It’s an adorable video that lends itself perfectly to scene by scene telling and retelling and talking about a variety of emotions.
Students wrote a picture book using Storybird. They wrote about what they used to do when they were five years old, what they did last year and what they do now. It was a fun activity to practice using the Super 10 verbs (the 10 most frequently used verbs). Later, students shared their “books” with the class.
May was one of our busiest months, ever. We read our second book, began preparing, planning, videoing, editing and watching our End of the Year Video Projects (remakes/parodies of Sr. Wooly‘s videos), practiced vocabulary using the new game Gimkit, had a hilarious fashion show in class, participated in The Pulsera Project with total sales much higher than in previous years,
talked about our daily routines, food and celebrations. And finally, we invited some of our school’s native Spanish-speaking students to our class to engage in conversations and to show off our Spanish skills. At first, the activity was a bit awkward, but as everyone began to relax, there were plenty of laughs and opportunities to learn about each other.
Wow, what a busy month and semester! I’m tired all over again just thinking about all these activities, and yet, I can also say I love seeing the progress students make and all that they are able to do now and completely in Spanish!
Wow! another semester has come and gone already. We’ve been steadily continuing on our path towards proficiency while also comparing and contrasting our culture to the Spanish speaking culture. Students began reading articles in the target language about the impact and influence Hispanics make in the United States and Canada. Afterwards, to demonstrate their comprehension, they created infographics to highlight the main topics discussed in the article. They did the same with another article about Spain.
During lab days, we continued using MIC note to engage in conversations with classmates. Students conducted interviews with a partner inquiring about personal information, classes, teachers and school and recorded their interviews. They focused on pronunciation and fluency and were able to provide some great samples of what they can do.
In order to provide comprehensible input we used Señor Wooly’s “Las excusas” song. Students listened for familiar vocabulary while acquiring some new phrases to use as excuses. They enjoyed the video, too.
We used the app Duolingo for Schools to practice and review vocabulary while enjoying a bit of competition. Some students accepted the challenge to earn the most points in their class and spent quite a bit of time at home using the app.
The song “Soy yo” was a popular song of the week in November. Students worked in groups to create a re-make and presented their new version to the class. We had some very creative and “dramatic” presentations.
As November came to an end, students began seeing more and more examples of how verbs work in Spanish and they created verb maps to provide visual resources to others. The maps included the infinitive of the verb, an illustration, the present tense conjugation and some original sentences using the verb. Later they presented the posters to the class.
Since the goal of our class is communication, we had conversations about many of topics including: talking about likes and dislikes, using gestures to talk about where things are while playing “Simon dice…“, reviewing numbers 31 and higher by playing bingo, and continuing our “miércoles en español” when the entire class is conducted in Spanish. On these days in particular we take a lot of brain breaks geared specifically for a world language classroom.
At the end of the semester, students completed their second PechaKucha, a dynamic fast-paced 2 minute speaking presentation entirely in Spanish. They were amazing, giving personal facts and talking about school, subjects, likes and dislikes and about what they do. At the end of the semester they were also able to write a letter about similar topics.
As we continue the second half of the year, I’m excited to see their progress on their path to proficiency.
Already? The older I get the faster the year goes by, isn’t that right? Well, we’ve been busy in our class and students are making great progress in their path to proficiency. As a level one teacher I am always amazed how quickly they acquire words and phrases when I am intentional about using the target language at least 90% of the time. They also benefit enormously by the process of repetition. Students are like sponges and the more input they receive in the target language the quicker they will automatically begin to pour it out. It’s a beautiful thing to watch!
We started the year with a “chalk talk” activity to focus on what a language learner looks like and does. This was a great idea I learned from La Maestra Loca. Students had some great insights in response to the prompt: “A language learner laughs, listens, takes risks, makes mistakes, tries new things, asks questions, creates with the language, uses circumlocution, and looks for opportunities to practice.”
Students set their own language goals as we discussed proficiency levels and the path to proficiency.
In an effort to get to know each other quickly while acquiring conversation starters and small talk phrases we began practicing with partners some common getting to know questions and answers.
Students are expected to make any requests for permission to go somewhere in Spanish, so one of the first songs students learned was Señor Wooly‘s “¿Puedo ir al baño? ” It’s a ridiculous song, but students always love it and best of all they acquire common vocabulary and frequently used phrases.
By the third week of school, we began working with cognates. Students are excited to discover that there are so many words that are similar to English which they can begin to use right away in context. Rather than lecturing about our procedures or policies and because we are fortunate enough to have a set of Chromebooks in our class, we used Google Classroom and Google Forms for a Scavenger Hunt about our classroom procedures and policies.
Gestures are part of our classroom to help students associate the meaning of a phrase or vocabulary rather than relying entirely on direct translations, they associate the gesture with the meaning. Students quickly acquired phrases and new vocabulary and we played games such as, Simon dice… (Simon says…), or ojos cerrados (give gestures with eyes closed), and alrededor del mundo (around the world).
In September, we began to identify objects, letters, numbers and subject pronouns. Students practiced spelling names and telling age or birthday. We played games like, dedos, a partner competition game to identify vocabulary, Hachi Pachi, a question/answer game, and gestures to identify pronouns. During our lab days, we began using Quizlet and Quizlet.live and set up accounts for our online textbook and continued using Google Classroom to view videos or complete writing activities. Then, Hurricane Irma visited our community and we were out of school for several days.
When we returned to school students researched cultural symbols associated with the letters in their names. Then, they created posters and used them to make a short presentation entirely in Spanish, spelling their names and identifying a variety of cultural symbols.
At the end of the first unit, students completed their first modified PechaKucha They were timed for 40 seconds and spoke about basic personal facts, used numbers in context and gave some personal preferences. Although at first they were apprehensive about the activity, they rose to the challenge and were terrific. They used only pictures during their presentation to remind them about the required topics and they were able to show off their Spanish skills. I’m excited to see how much more they will be able to do at the end of the year!
This year our first day of school is Tuesday, August 15th. I am looking forward to meeting you then!
I can hardly believe it, but we only have three more days this school year. Where did the time go? It was a busy semester, but I’m so proud of how much my students have accomplished this year! We continued with our curriculum for level one, but these are few of this semester’s highlights:
Spanish 1 classes:
- Epcot 2017: We started the 2nd semester with our annual trip to Epcot. Students who were able to go, gave two-minute presentations (PechaKucha style) about their trip and those who didn’t attend talked about what they did during the 3-day weekend.
- No inglés: I re-committed to the “Señora does not speak English policy”. To get students on board and give them the responsibility for holding me accountable, I added a little competition between the two class periods. If the entire class was conducted in Spanish while still making it comprehensible, the class earned points for the day. If I accidentally reverted to speaking English and they pointed it out the class earned extra points. The class that ended up with the most points earned a celebration party at the end of the semester. Students enjoyed the competition and loved being able to “catch” me using English. And, I loved the fact the they were listening to lots of Spanish!
- Lab Day: We continued using Mic Note to practice presentations, conduct partner interviews and answer questions. We also continued using Google Classroom to make announcements, create or submit assignments or assessments with Google Forms. We used our textbook’s Supersite for interpretive listening and reading activities.
- Glyphs: We tried some of Martina’s ideas for interpretive reading activities and assessments and students enjoyed the low-pressure challenge of reading small chunks while providing evidence of understanding and receiving feedbak quickly.
- End of the Year Presentations: ( Pechakucha style) Students spoke for up to three minutes using either a pictures-only Google Slides presentation or a silent video. They talked all about themselves as it related to our six themes (personal facts, school, family, hobbies and activities, vacations and shopping). They were amazing!
- Review Group Project: Students designed a dynamic lesson presentation based on the can-do statements for each of our six themes. They formed groups and assigned a job each team member. Some of the jobs included: vocabulary presentations, grammar concept reviews, skits, sample sentences, songs and games.
Cambridge Pre-AICE Spanish 1 classes:
- No inglés: We continued the “Señora does not speak English policy”, but added a small twist. A day of the week was designed as “no inglés” for students. In January, we started with Wednesday or “miércoles en español” adding a new day to each consecutive month, so that in May everyday was en español. At first, students were apprehensive about it; however, they rose to the challenge and exceeded my expectations. I loved hearing them speak to each other and use circumlocution rather than giving up and resorting to using English.
- Circle time: These low-stress-brain-break activities were some of my students favorites. We would all literally stand up and form a giant circle and play a game, sing a song, recite a poem or ask and answer questions while still speaking Spanish.
- Novels: We read two of Carol Gabb’s novels Brandon Brown quiere un perro and El Nuevo Houdini. Students read with partners, in small groups, reader’s theater style, acted out scenes and retold main facts.
- Lab Day: In addition to using Mic Note, Google Classroom, Google Forms, and our textbook’s Supersite, we explored writing simple stories using Storybird and journaling collaboratively about our weekend using Padlet. Sr. Wooly‘s videos and songs quickly became students’ favorite interpretive listening activities.
- Fashion Show: During our shopping unit, students formed groups, picked a theme and put on some hilarious fashion shows. Two of the team members served as MCs describing each ridiculous outfit each “model” was wearing and then conducted an interview with each “model” about his/her shopping habits. Students were so creative coming up with great themes for their group’s fashion show everything from “the injured” to “Christmas” to “Hawaiian vacation”, etc.
- End of the Year Video Projects: Students formed groups and created a Spanish novela to showcase this year’s themes. The stories and videos were funny, creative and fun! It took us three days to watch all the videos, but we really enjoyed them and had some great laughs.
- Enrichment: We read several Spanish readers/books including: Deb Navarre’s series (La Novia, El Viaje, El Desafio), Pobre Ana and Los Baker’s van a Perú. We watched Living on One Dollar, McFarland, USA and the BBC’s interactive drama Mi Vida Loca. Students competed in groups to see which group created the best video for Jarabe de Palo’s song Bonito.
I’m so grateful for all my students. They were willing to try new things, be creative, work hard, take risks and make mistakes and best of all they didn’t give up! My hope is that they continue on the proficiency path for years to come, but for now we are all ready for summer break ♥
Wow! Our first semester flew by, but I say that every year. It was a great semester and students are making amazing progress increasing their proficiency levels. We strive daily to use the target language and although we don’t reach the 90% use of the target language as per ACTFL’s recommendation daily, we continue to make progress toward that goal. This semester my Cambridge Pre-AICE 1 classes started earning ClassDojo points whenever they catch me using English. Every class has at least one student who is quick to point out when I revert to using English unnecessarily. This has encouraged students to accept hearing the target language as our routine and has helped me to be mindful to provide daily comprehensible input to my students.
Students have daily opportunities to hear each other use the target language. In addition to practicing and engaging in simple partner conversations, we have one or two students who act as our reporter for the day “reportero(a)” in front of the class. They answer prepared questions about our current topics as well as give some memorized information, the latter to focus on pronunciation. Students are randomly selected using ClassDojo which encourages them to be prepared. Students were timed on their most recent presentation to help them build fluency and they rose up to the challenge. Most of them were able to finish well under the allotted time.
With the goal of increasing fluency, using comprehensible input, we tried something new and different. First, I presented in the target language a short story/joke using gestures and a pictures only PowerPoint, which helped students clearly understand the story/joke. Then, for the next several days as a class , we repeated the story aloud and with gestures as a brain break. Finally, we took our “show” on the road and presented it to the AP classes. It was great having a different audience for a speaking presentation.
After reading in the target language and annotating our textbook articles about the US, Canada and Spain, students designed and created infographics using Piktochart or easel.ly They presented their infographics to their partners in class who rated them using a provided rubric. Students enjoyed giving and receiving feedback from their peers.
During our weekly lab days, we continued using the app Mic Note to record messages, practice before a presentation or embed recordings into a Google Slides presentation.
Students completed the recordings individually or with a partner or in groups, depending on the assigned task. We used Google Forms regularly for formative and summative assessments and surveys. When using Google Forms as assessments, students are able receive instant feedback on their responses and most of all, they loved knowing how they scored. We also continued using Quizlet Live and Kahoot! to practice vocabulary which always brings out everyone’s competitive nature. We also used our textbook’s video and listening activities to provide students different native speaker samples.
When we talked about what people do students created graphic organizers to include: the verb, translation, conjugation chart, sample sentences and an illustration of the verb.
At the end of their first semester in Spanish class, students completed this writing assessment. Although not flawless, they certainly were able to provide some simple personal facts and talk about teachers, classes, likes and dislikes and activities.
Now, we’re looking forward to our annual field trip to Epcot next weekend!