First Semester 2017-18

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.


First Quarter 2018

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 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!


2016-17 2nd Semester

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.Epcot_1 (1)
  • 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 ♥

2016-17 first semester

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.

Each week we enjoy listening to our song of the week, “canción de la semana”. Two of our favorites this semester were Hoy es domingo and Soy yo.

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 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.

Similarly students  created graphic organizer posters to talk about personal likes and dislikes and presented these to the class.

Students maintained an interactive notebook for vocabulary and grammar structures.

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.

Homecoming pictures:

Now, we’re looking forward to our annual field trip to Epcot next weekend!

2016-17 first quarter

We have been enjoying a great school year!  Students have been motivated and are trying new things, taking risks, being creative and making mistakes, as they strive to communicate in Spanish. They can now exchange personal information.

Students searched and discovered Spanish used around our community.

We used Google classroom and Google Slides  for students to  collaborate with a partner and create their first “story”.

We discussed some fun facts about the Spanish speaking culture.

Students researched some basic facts about Spanish speaking countries, created notebook covers and recorded a presentation in Spanish about the country using the MIC note app. 

New School Year 2016-17

Welcome!The first day of class is Tuesday,  August 16th! Please see below (Español 1 or Cambridge Pre-AICE 1) supplies needed for the 2016 – 2017 school year. Then, check the menu tab on this page and use the link to your course to learn more about it.

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I am looking forward to meeting you on Tuesday.

Sra. Scarborough