Wednesday, December 7, 2016

MUSICVideo Talk with "La escuela": Short song, BIG message

So, last year during an admin visit, I received feedback that I'd honestly thought nothing of, it was just a routine thing. What was it that was impressive? She loved how I took a music video and made it comprehensible with a Kahoot afterward (contextualized) to work on concepts we had been working on around school topics and vocab/grammar structures (I used the music video "Cuando me enamoro"). A year has passed, and even though I plan to transition out of the classroom, I don't intend to STOP teaching nor sharing ideas/my work that can be used! I look forward to continuing use of CI/TPRS with homeschool groups and others who are excited to learn Spanish in a way that, as Stephen Krashen reminds us is "really interesting, even compelling"...
So, even though this may not be the BEST post ever & you may have many questions, I wanted to share my recent MUSICVideo Talk with you so that you may begin to create your own ideas and IMPROVE what I'd like to own? If you're familiar with MovieTalk, you will understand the notes in the attached PowerPoint. It's a rough guide of what to say and when to pause the music video while watching it the first time through. I didn't follow up with a Kahoot after this video, "Me voy enamorando" , BUT I did use personalized questions using the structures we were learning with each pause after MovieTalking. Have questions about how to use this? Feel free to comment!
The BEST part of using MUSICVideo Talk that's sometimes lacking with MovieTalk is the ease of cultural glimpses--it's a great "window" for students to see more about different places than their own community (NOT to say they're aren't amazing MovieTalks I've used that are RICH with the cultural piece, like my holiday favorites, "Justino" and the new Lotería de Navidad 2016 commercial). What was my inspiration for this video? I had heard through the grapevine that my middle school kids were being mean to each other! In the halls, other classes, outside of schools, and my own room while I greeted at the door with our "contraseña secreta" --that. wasn't. going. to. fly. So, we needed some real life, compelling, heartfelt lessons through the use of some MUSICVideo Talk--our overarching theme was, How can we do something kind for others in school? (and after school, at home,etc.) Kindness matters. They LOVED this video and lesson. I also have used other escuela videos like the following:
Although not mentioned, two other GREAT ones that we've used have been "Biblioburro" and "El sándwich de Mariana." Note: these are NOT music videos, we just did MovieTalk with these. If you're curious as to how you can integrate Kahoot after using a MovieTalk, let me know! I will try to post soon what I've done with "Biblioburro!" As for now, enjoy using MUSICVideo Talk with "Me voy enamorando"...EXCEPT you'll not see it here, because I'm super new to blogging and can't figure out how to save it here, so...PLEASE see it in the comment that I've posted in the TPRS Facebook groups (and below)! Sorry, I know that's super laughable! I'm getting there! Also, click here for the link to the music video!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

For now...a TPR/vocab game for stations day!

Well, I missed Grant Boulanger yesterday, but I'd love to share a great idea from IFLTA '16 from locally talented, long-time educators, Gary Spurgin and Darlene Lankenau! I feel like I incorporate A LOT of movement in our classroom "a la TPRS" with storyasking, acting, etc. and brain breaks...BUT I've totally bombed the incorporation of TPR games/activities with my students (well, I suppose this week I did have students who were listening to plot twist endings of other students act out verbs they heard while the others spoke to ensure comprehension BUT I need to bring back a station/game day!). So, here's "¡Cráneo!"
What do you need?
What to do? In groups of 3-4 students, let them play! Using the stack of vocab terms, the students draw a card (keep it secret!) & then roll the die! Gary and Darlene proposed 3 options: to draw, to make (with Play-Doh), and to act/mime. I think for simplicity, I'll keep these 3 ideas as well & perhaps make the vocab cards different colors (easy/hard). I was even thinking that if there are 4 students, they could have a partner and challenge each other for more points (the easy could be 1pt and hard could be 3pts for example) but haven't fully thought through how that will work (it's best to try and see & the kids usually develop better competition rules than I!). However, I've also thought about having ALL of the kids in the group write a short story with the vocab that they flipped over during the game (preferably that they felt the least familiar/comfortable with) & if time, have 2 volunteers at the board to illustrate while volunteers act out the story with some circling, PQA on the fly (which is always the best!).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Finalmente... "¡La estrella del día!"

So, it has taken me forever to find what it is I've liked from all of the variations of Bryce Hedstrom's, "La Persona Especial", but I've found a gold mine in Kara Jacob's blog, click here to see her modified ideas for "La estrella del día" from modifications made by Sabrina Janczak. (Don't you just love how we educators share, modify, and try to despite all the changes credit the original creator?)
(Image resource) Why should you consider using this with your Level 1 students (great for any level but this is what I teach and my focus for sharing ideas)? The MOST important reason is because it builds classroom community and rapport (and honestly I am becoming more and more exhausted with the ins and outs of education and care more and more about my students--they're the only reason I go into work most days!) The second reason why you should try this is because it is supported output AND with Sabrina's modifications, you can provide this input for kids and incorporate CI checks with quizzes about the students for some great assessments (about each other!). Click here to see a French version of the CI check quiz for "Estrella del día" here. I hope to edit this and upload a Spanish version for you, but I'm sure you get the idea! My "Estrella del día" will include providing this modified questions sheet I've created for my kids (note: You gradually progress to more and more questions & I think I will even have my first kiddos select what other 2-3 they'd like to be asked after maybe the first 6 questions about them). I will also modify Kara Jacob's presentation to use while interviewing students to match my questions. Enjoy! Feel free to share how it has worked, how it has impacted your classroom culture, etc. in the comments! So excited to use this!

Friday, September 16, 2016

¿Cuál es la contraseña secreta?

Ok,'s Friday & while I should be enjoying my weekend (or lesson planning, sending parent/guardian e-mails, applying for a classroom grant, cleaning my e-mail inbox out...etc.)I just HAD to share a reflection and promotion of having your kids enter your room with a secret password--it's amazing! If you've ever wondered if the "TL" in my blog title also means "target language" (and the "CI" of course is "comprehensible input"), it does...BUT I wanted to combine this with what's closer to my heart...the "Tender Love and Care (Instruction)" side--and this post, has everything to do about relationships! I must confess, when I attended NTPRS, I had already read about this idea from Bryce Hedstrom & when I finally got to sit in on one of his sessions---I had decided to roll this out this year! That said, I wasn't without my reservations. I thought...the kids will HATE this. They will roll their eyes at it and just want to enter the room. Not the all! We've used the following contraseñas secretas related to things we're learning so far...
However, my favorite has been one we've used for more than 5 days now, and I don't want to stop using it. I love it because if you read more about the WHY behind using a secret password on Bryce's site (click here for the link), I TRULY felt the connection with this one, and I'm learning about the kids. They LOVE that I remember the details about them. I get to look them in the eyes as they enter, see how they're feeling that day, welcome them to my room & hear about something they's. just. awesome. As I presented it the first day, I told them that I wanted to know "¿Qué o Quién es "chévere" en tu opinión?"
Note: Many of them are funny and say "Soy chévere" or that the person in front of them is "chévere", but if they repeat this, I push them to tell me something that is important, unique to them---really something that helps me get to know them better. It really is the little things that count. It's all about building your classroom community. They want to be recognized and cared for--who doesn't? I am THRILLED to finally roll out student jobs and "Persona Especial" on Monday! Extra, bonus note: They also LOVE being recognized with their name on the board when it is their birthday. I thought a particular student who is very quiet was not going to appreciate the recognition but I did notice her immediately glance at the board as she walked in the class (where birthday names are listed)...and she smiled. Made my day. Keep doing those "little" things, they matter so much! :) Happy weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Persona Especial and Gustar

Ok, so while I'd love to jump in to Bex's Unit 2...I'm honestly just dying to have an entire week all about the kids and what they like, what interests them, etc. Basically teaching to the heart. :) This week I'm going to synthesize ALL of the materials I've read for getting "La Persona Especial" (see Bryce Hedstrom's blog and handout here) going & share how I plan to use it with my middle school level 1 students here. In fact, we've already started! My secret password is for them to tell me What or Who is "chévere" since they'd already completed that video and nuggets from my Señor Wooly premium account. Which is awesome input for the kids and homework they WILL do that you can tie into class! See Señor Wooly here! Yes, I did pay my own money for kids to use this for homework and emergency sub plan activities BUT it is totally worth the investment! So, expect to see my posted unit plans (hopefully before Monday morning! ja!). It's my "bridge" unit before jumping into Bex's Unit 2. Here's my "sneak peek" SOMOS Curriculum Collaboration Facebook post with a few early resources mentioned.
The link for the song is here and Señor Adam's fill in the blank resource can be found here.

Oops! HAY un problema...

I have NOT posted in forever, and I hope that this gets better. To be perfectly honest, when I jumped off the plane from attending NTPRS, I jumped into getting ready for school which started 4 days later, moving in to a new house (still unpacking the final things), painting cabinets, changing addresses, and sending my little one off to preschool! Did I mention having Open House within the first few weeks and NWEA testing which definitely reminded me that I'm a super adaptable individual (Adiós lesson plans I had made for the week! Bring it on testing and 20 minute classes!) So...this is NOT what I wanted to REALLY post about, but it's a short & sweet idea for an activity that you can use in your classes with a high frequency structure, "HAY." My inspiration of course comes from Martina Bex; see her post here. Here's my idea that takes pretty much ZERO prep (except for investing in these amazing giant rubber die that you can purchase on Amazon; I bought mine at a local dollar store) & the kids loved it as a brain break (and way to teach HAY).
WHEN can you play this game? If you're teaching level 1/first time novice students, you can play this even within the first few days! If you're using Martina Bex's curriculum, it's a nice CI game complement to her Unit 1 Dice. Name of the game: "Juego de Proceso de eliminación" (Structure focus: HAY...but it lends itself well to boys, girls, sit down, How many?, In your opinion, etc)
The next day, have some cool optical illusion/abstract art and/or hidden images as a fast bell ringer with a question like ¿Cuántas personas HAY en la foto? ¿HAY animales en la foto? etc. My favorite is the one below.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Possibly my shortest post (for a reason)!

I think I'm on a roll today, and I'm so excited to share some more ideas this evening (fingers crossed if I can make a Starbucks run). To abide by the acronym "KISS" (Keep it Simple...Silly) best this year for my sanity,health,and happiness, what better way than to revamp my philosophy as well, right? So, here it is! I feel that this philosophy pertains to all age groups and types of learners regardless of content or context!
Yep, that's right! My teaching philosophy as an educator is a Chinese proverb! Why recreate the wheel if it's already so simplistically yet well put? Speaking of this proverb, it appears my toddler's nap (and mommy's free time) is over, so perhaps I can put this into practice now with the current explosion of toys in the living room and some hands on experience for her? Happy weekend! Come back soon! P.S. Methodology should always be the foundation for using new technologies (use it with a purpose), but if you like the cutesy graphic above with my philosophy, you must check out CANVA.

Level 1 Content: Refreshed and (Culturally) Relevant!

Have you always felt uninspired by your first unit as a Level 1 Spanish teacher? Fear no more! Check out the Creative Language Class' recent Birthday Unit 1 blog post here! I've been inspired to use this to start the year! Of course, I feel like to comply with my district & to be somewhat aligned to my colleagues I had to also glance at our required textbook to ensure that "I'm doing what I'm supposed to do" (nobody has actually ever said that though verbatim, so let freedom ring!) Of course, after glancing at the textbook, wouldn't you know that my vocab and grammar structure list grew exponentially from the Creative Language Class' more brain appropriate expectations? On a related note...I'm finishing up a great book right now, "Using Reading to Teach a World Language" by Donna Spangler and John Alex Mazzante & besides arming me with more confidence as I tackle reading in the WL classroom (Yes, even for novices, folks! I know we're all at different parts of our teaching journey, but if you're a teacher of novices and don't have your kids reading yet...I HIGHLY recommend this book! Spangler and Mazzante remind us that "...reading is one of the best ways to incorporate target language input into a world language classroom" and Krashen himself shares (if you don't know who Krashen is either, I recommend you read his works too this summer!) that reading "is the way to achieve advanced second language proficiency." Substantial research supports this! So, where am I going with this? And why did I jump from mentioning my lengthy vocab list to reading? Words cannot be learned in isolation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, is not effective. In fact, it is a waste of your time & as fun as you make your class, at the end of the day, your students will not become as proficient as possible. Although I'm not sure if there's research yet to back this (please cite if so!), I'd go insofar as to say that they're not as engaged, curious, and invested as possible either. So, here's what I am getting at. We must make lemonade out of lemons. As an educator, I must take what research is telling me, and try my best to create stories this summer with this unit's vocab and infuse great authentic resources as well to provide repeated exposure and to incite curiosity and interest in my students. I LOVE that the Creative Language Class has posted this & I cannot thank them enough! Megan and Kara (of Creative Language Class) also remind us that finding #authres is so much easier when our unit is culturally relevant too! So, here's off to a great start to the school year! If you use the TPRS method, incorporate reading in the WL classroom, and teach culturally relevant themes with #authres (and especially if you're additionally tied to a Level 1 textbook--make that lemonade!), please share your ideas for making the textbook's units/ideas refreshed and relevant! Maybe you have to shut your door & not mention that you're going out of "order" from the required textbook within your district if they don't yet realize it is only a tool (if this is the case, I commend you for your resilience and strength), and I encourage you to take that risk for your students' happiness and success and yours! I hope to see some great ideas & share some of my own as I strategically pick through the content in the forthcoming weeks! Here's to a great 2016-2017 SY!
Note: PLEASE don't just go off of this Vocab/Grammar Structure list above. This is only a rough draft add on (due to my textbook constraints) to the Creative Language Class' AWESOME post! When planning a unit, first focus on creating your communication standards and cultural relevance. But, they have already been gracious enough to share their hard work with this first and most essential part. Again, check out their "I can" communication goals and inclusion of community, connections, and comparisons (ummm... LOVE the community ideas!!!!) for this unit here. Even with a textbook and different philosophies/understandings, where there's a will, there's a way! I hope to soon post & share my specific story ideas with this content and party theme, but if you think of any of your own before I share mine, please share! ¡Gracias! Also, don't forget to buy this book! You'll love this quick, easy read & it just may transform your teaching next year!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My first post and a dedication

I'm very excited to start my journey of archiving great ideas,articles,relevant research as it relates to developing my students as language acquirers and the best, whole person they desire to be! This is only my second year teaching Spanish, but I'm constantly striving to incorporate the practices that substantial research supports. Popular tags you can expect to see from me include the following: Reading, TPRS, Comprehensible Input, ACTFL, Target Language, Educational Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, IPAs, Proficiency, Intercultural Competence, Service Learning, PBL, SBG, Travel, Community, Technology, and Metacognition. This year I'm looking forward to incorporating better reading practices and effectively utilizing Web 2.0 to allow my students to connect, investigate, and grow with authenticity. I'm also hoping to find some closure with assessments (more on that to come) while striking a perfect balance with boosting students' morale with a new language and lowering their affective filters despite teaching in the target language. I'd like to graciously dedicate this blog to two influential educators in my life-- Jen "HT" and Jill Woerner. I don't know where I'd be without your guidance, selflessness, and expertise. Finally, I'd not be anywhere in life without my little ray of sunshine toddler! She marches to the beat of her own drum & I'm a proud momma!