It started like any other year, and we quickly adjusted to the routines in our comprehensible Spanish class. We got comfortable with each other, learned each other’s names, talked about other classes, our families, favorite activities outside of school and discussed many of our preferences. In December we went to Epcot and explored other cultures and tasted some great food. At the beginning of our second semester, we began planning our annual spring event Culture Knight without knowing what we would all be experiencing very soon.
And then suddenly everything changed! Not just at our school, but all over the country and all over the world. When we attempt to describe what we all have been experiencing, it almost sounds like a crazy story we could have made up in Spanish class. Hay un virus y las escuelas tienen que cerrar y todas las personas se quedan en casa por el resto del año, y las personas llevan máscaras y no hay papel para el baño en las tiendas. Ay no! [There is a virus and schools have to close and everyone stays home for the rest of the year, and people walk around wearing masks and the stores run out of toilet paper. Oh no! ]
But, it wasn’t a crazy story made up in Spanish class! All of this and much more actually happened this year. So, after our scheduled Spring Break, we began learning and working from home…
And we rose to the challenge and pressed on with some of our familiar classroom routines like: the song of the week, discussing likes and dislikes and preferences, playing games like Gimkit or Quizlet.live, practicing vocabulary and most of all listening and reading comprehensible stories in Spanish. Although, none of the stories were as far fetched as the real life story we were all experiencing. And our story isn’t over yet, but our school year has come to an end and so we can say…
We’re all looking forward to a restful summer and a “normal” school year in the fall.
Another school year is officially over. Classrooms are empty, textbooks and supplies are stored away, keys have been turned in and the school building which is generally filled with noise and activity is now quiet and mostly empty as most everyone is gone already and is beginning to enjoy a much deserved two month summer break. How fast another year came and went! But before I can fully say goodbye to the 2018-19 school year, I like to look back, remember and reflect on what students were able to accomplish this year. Join me in this short trip down memory lane as I look backwards and highlight our 2018-19 Second Semester in Spanish class.
This was our show off your Spanish skills month. We conducted ¨Persona Especial¨ interviews, a 2 minute daily interview with a randomly selected student. The student was interviewed by me and asked some familiar questions as well as open-ended questions not previously practiced, but based on the student’s interests or earlier answers. It was great to see how students were able to engage in this type of authentic interview. Sometimes, they were able to ask me questions, too!
We planned and prepared for End-of -the Year Projects in May. The Spanish 1 class worked on individual projects or projects with a partner, while the Pre-AICE classes worked on a group project. Some Spanish 1 students created flipgrid videos to talk about “Mi Vida” (my life) highlighting the major themes we talked about this year. Other students created a Pecha Kucha style presentation. Students were able to speak in sentences and give details about themselves and their preferences, their school, families, hobbies and ideal vacation. Two students created replicas of a Spanish artist artwork and shared a little bit about the life of the artist. The Pre-AICE students were “Profe por un dia” (Teacher for a day). Each day a group was responsible for leading the day’s lesson in Spanish. They were in charge of presenting the vocabulary and conducting all activities to help the class acquire new vocabulary. For each presentation they had prepared games, partner activities, writing and reading activities and sometimes even food was a part of the lesson which was always a class favorite. I was amazed at how well they planned and executed each lesson. They were so creative integrating technology and occasionally even humor into the lesson and they were able to keep everyone engaged during the day’s lesson. I can’t say enough about how proud I was of the great job they did. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the year seeing students use Spanish in new and creative ways while helping others acquire new vocabulary.
We increased our “no inglés days” or Spanish only days to four days per week during the month of April and finally selected our winning song for the Mania Musical which we had started the previous month. One of our favorite songs of the week during the month of April was Julian Luis Guerra’s latest release, Kitipun We participated in the challenge to create videos dancing to the song. Students created flipgrid videos and challenged our friends in Ecuador to dance, too; however, they did not accept our challenge although they said they enjoyed our videos.
In April during our lab days, we also enjoyed watching a series of Señor Wooly‘s videos as another way to add more comprehensible input through stories and songs. Some favorites included: La Dentista, El Banco and Es una ganga.
This was our toughest month with an unexpected personal challenge at home, students had to face their own challenge to independently continue to acquire the language. Google Classroom was an invaluable tool for creating relevant assignments and Remind was perfect for keeping in touch with students. We did however manage to wrap up the month on a high note with our 9th annual Culture Knight event which was fantastic, very well attended and enjoyed by all.
We closed our unit on families with a PechaKucha style presentation and used Padlet to write posts about a variety of topics like: “what I did last weekend”, or creating simple stories, basically anything that would engage us in writing and collaborating with others. We played “Un Minuto Loco” students were divided in teams and each team would have one minute to talk about a particular topic. The team that said the most number of words in one minute would win. Another more competitive game we played was Pop Up! – a game I learned from Sra. Chase -Students enjoyed the competitive aspect of the game and by May we were playing it where I called out the phrase in English and students popped up to say it in Spanish.
We started the new calendar year by comparing and contrasting our own New Year’s traditions with those around the Spanish-speaking world. We partnered up with Inmaculada, a school in Ambato, Ecuador through flipgrid This was a great experience to hear from high school students who speak Spanish and are learning English. We exchanged videos during most of the semester and got to see a little bit of their community and school and shared about ours. Beginning in January, we used comprehensible input to talk about all the countries and capitals for all the Spanish speaking countries adding one each week. We talked about some basic facts about each capital city using numbers and pictures, and by May students were able to say all of capitals and countries.
Well if you stayed with me during this look back trip, we’ve come to the beginning of the semester. It was a semester packed with activities, some high and low moments and lots of comprehensible input to help students acquire Spanish. As always it all went by much to quickly. I am extremely proud of what they accomplish and grateful for the opportunity to be their teacher. Happy summer!
We did it! Another semester is now over and we’re enjoying a few weeks off to rest, enjoy time with family and recharge for our second semester, but before we begin a new semester, it’s a good idea to look back, celebrate and reflect on what we have accomplished!
We participated in a series of routines such as: a daily report, a song of the week and an artist of the month. The daily report is a 5 minute Q&A activity to review and be exposed to a ton of useful vocabulary to engage in small talk with others, like providing personal bio facts, talking about the weather, school, classes, teachers, personal likes and dislikes, and other common daily activities. We listened to sixteen authentic songs of the week and rated each according to personal preference and gave our opinion each week to others. We also explored a couple of them in depth to learn about the artist and acquire some vocabulary and grammatical structures. Each month, we replicated art pieces from the Spanish speaking world.
We started the month with our annual field trip to Epcot. This year we scheduled the trip during our first semester and were able to visit the park while it was beautifully decorated for its International Festival of the Holidays. Students absolutely loved the experience.
We spent a week reading our first novel. We read chapters as a class, reader theater style or with partners. It was great to see in the midterm writing assessment how many students used grammatical structures they acquired during this reading.
During the second week of December, thanks to Williamson CI & TPRS we completed a portion of this year’s Navidad Commercial Madness. Students watched seven authentic commercials and were able to listen for key vocabulary, identify the main idea or respond to basic questions. Students also learned about some unusual traditions in Spain by watching Pablo at Dreaming Spanish and using Edpuzzle to demonstrate comprehension.
The Midterm Reading and Writing assessments showed how much students have acquired. They were able to read, interpret and understand a variety of texts on familiar topics and write a letter in Spanish. Some students wrote up to 190 words!
We completed a 30-day challenge using Duolingo — great for acquiring new vocabulary and seeing vocabulary in context.
La Cintura by Alvaro Soler was a popular song of the week and we discussed more about the artist and practiced vocabulary with a variety activities, such as listen and draw, reading a class story and creating a new version of the story and finally we learned a few dance steps. We also used another song of the week, Soy yo to talk about what we do or don’t do including when, where, why and how.
Flipgrid was a class favorite in October. Students created and watched peer videos and rated some of them or answered questions about them. We also used a variety of sites during our lab days. To encourage team collaboration and competition we used, Quizlet Live, Quizizz and Gimkit
We described our school and compared and contrasted schools around the world with our own. We also talked about how we felt and what we liked or disliked.
We learned the alphabet, how to spell our names and other words. We talked about a variety of locations and other icons in the Spanish speaking world. We used numbers to talk about dates, count and tell time.
We started off the year by getting to know each other and learning how to ask and answer small talk type questions. Students began to see how they are able to understand a new language through images, gestures and other context clues. One of our brain breaks included taking a group selfie.
We talked about why learning Spanish would be helpful. Everyone had different personal reasons.
By the end of the month, students presented their first PechaKucha adjusted to 30 seconds and gave personal information facts entirely in Spanish!
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!
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 ♥