September 2014 - Mis Clases Locas

Box 1

Box 1
Teaching with Novels

Box 2

Box 2

Box 3

Box 3
Meet Sra. Wienhold

Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro Ch.6-10 & Final Project

Here are my plans for Chapters 6-10, as well as the final project, of the TPRS Publishing novel Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro

Here are my other blog posts concerning teaching this novel:
BB Quiere un Perro - plans for Chapter 1  
BB Quiere un Perro - plans for chapter 2
BB Quiere un Perro - plans for chapters 3-5

Since we were reading this novel as a review to start out Spanish II, we started moving a lot quicker the second half of the book, as we all got the hang of it. I plan on reading this book in Spanish I this year, and I know I will go a lot slower, as much of the vocabulary will be new, and not just a review to them. 

Chapter 6 - Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro

  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 6 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 6 to the class. Each student had a copy of the novel and followed along. We stopped after each paragraph to discuss, reinforce vocabulary, and check for understanding. 
  • As a class we read and discussed the supplemental reading about Perros Callejeros. We discussed stray dogs in the U.S. as well as what they are called in Latin American countries. 
  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 7 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 7 to the class.
  • We discussed the post reading questions as a class. 
  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 8 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 8 to the class.
  • The students completed the post reading questions individually in complete sentences as a writing assignment. We then discussed the answers as a class, and allowed students to edit and correct their sentences. 
  • Everyone completed the Listening Comprehension Activity for Chapters 6-8 as a quiz. I read the sentences, and the students had to match the drawing to what part of the story I read to them. Most did a great job. 
  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 9 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 9 to the class.
  • Students completed multiple choice comprehension questions as well as a crossword of vocabulary words for fun. 
  • We discussed the comprehension questions as a class.  
  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 10 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 10 to the class.
  • Each table was given 10 typed up events from the book to put in order. They discussed as a group in Spanish the sequencing of the events. We then came together as a class to compare the order of events.
  • We discussed the chapter comprehension questions, as well as the book as a whole. 

Final Project - Movie Trailer - Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro

  • I got the idea from the Teachers Guide to have the final project be a movie trailer. Students had the following 2 options
    • Create a the written script for the movie trailer for the novel. It should be long enough describe the high points of the book, as well as grab the attention of the audience. It should be creative and not just a summary of the novel. 
    • Work with a partner & actually create a movie trailer video for class from the script. The pair would turn in one script and one video.
  • When I teach the novel again, I will encourage more people to actually create a movie trailer. I feel those who completed them got a lot more out of them. They were also very entertaining for everyone to watch. 
Overall my first time teaching Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro went very well! I would love suggestions for round two later this year. 

Other Novel resources you may enjoy


Having HS Students Teach Elementary Spanish Lessons


Day 23: Write about one way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in the learning in your classroom. 

For a while now I have been meaning to blog about having High School Spanish students teach lessons at the elementary. 

I believe that implementing such a program has the following benefits:

  • High school students reinforce basic language concepts be teaching them to others.
  • Elementary students are exposed to Spanish at a younger age.
  • Relationships are built between teachers at different buildings in the district. 
  • High school students are able to act as positive mentors and role models to elementary students. 
  • Parents are excited that their elementary students are coming home speaking to them in Spanish. 
  • The foreign language department is seen positively through the eyes of the community for providing this service. 
  • Administration is happy that all of the above is happening, when there is no budget for FLES programs in their schools. 

How Elementary Spanish Lessons Work at My School This Year

  • The teacher contacts the elementary school teachers at the beginning of the school year with the proposed plan to see if there is any interest. 
  • Spanish IV plans and teaches all lessons, under the guidance of the Spanish teacher.
  • The elementary is conveniently located across the street, and there is only one section of each grade 2-5. 
  • They teach 30 minute lessons in groups of 2 or 3 high school students 
    • 2nd & 3rd grade 2x/month 
    • 4th & 5th grade 1x/month (due to scheduling)
  • All classes are covering the same basic topics each week, with variation based on age

Resources for Lesson 1

Other Elementary Spanish Lessons Models I Have Used

  • Having Spanish Club Teach Lessons
    • The last 2 years, all high school students had a 30 minute homeroom before lunch. This is the time our Spanish Club we used to teach elementary lessons. With the elimination of this homeroom, this year I decided to instead have our "teachers" be Spanish IV students. 
    • I think our new model actually works better since before our volunteer teachers would sometimes back out at the last minute for other commitments during homeroom. This way teaching and planning lessons is a part of Spanish IV's class expectations and grade. Before the lesson planning heavily fell on the teacher, and now it can be shared with the students more.
  • Student Teaching - Bussing HS Spanish Students to the Local Elementary 
    • While student teaching the elementary school was across town, so once per month during the 90 minute block period, Spanish IV would be bussed to the elementary. 
    • The high school students were broken into groups that taught all four sections of 2nd grade for about 45 minutes. 
    • Each group was supposed to plan on weeks worth of lessons and then they would all swap each week, but this did not work as planned since some groups did not put in the necessary effort in their plans and materials. 
***What I learned from tis experience if you need to TEACH the high schoolers how to instruct elementary students. You can not expect them to have behavior management skills, attention getters, positive validations, transitions, and other necessary items in their personal bag of tricks on their own. We did a mini unit this year on how to teach elementary, where they even practiced teaching on each other. 

Have you ever had students teach students?

El Internado - Teaching Episode 1 & my PLN

Last spring I kept seeing all of these #langchat Spanish teacher tweeting about the show El Internado: Laguna Negra. So at the end of the year, I purchased the complete series of El Internado on Ebay. I binged on it this summer during baby boy's naps, and at night while my husband remodeled our bathroom. (I would not have been any help anyway!) I also collaborated on ways to incorporate the show in class via the Lang Camp Google+ Community. I scoured the Internet for ideas and resources and then blogged on the 7 Best Resources for El Internado.

Through my collaboration I came up with the following plan:

  • Spanish III & IV would watch El Internado every Friday in class with Spanish subtitles using my computer and projector in the classroom.
  • I sent home a permission form for all students to be able to watch PG-13 & R rated movies, as well as Spanish TV shows, the first day of school as a part of my Parent Newsletter
    • There are some scenes which involve partial nudity, sexual content, and foul language. Honestly, most kids see the same thing on cable TV, and I hear worse language in the hallway. 
    • We talked about not repeating language that in inappropriate, just how they would not say it in English in class, they should not swear in Spanish. 

Introducing El Internado

  • On the first Friday, which also happened to be the 2nd day of school I introduced the show using this El Internado Intro Powerpoint Introducing Characters with Trailer (If you know who is the original owner of this powerpoint, please let me know. I do not remember who generously shared it with me, but I would love to give them credit!)
  • I started class showing this trailer, which got them REALY excited about the show. It has English subtitles, which is nice to get them interested, but unfortunatly it will be the last time they have them since we watch the DVDs with Spanish subtitles. 
  • We went through the Intro Powerpoint Introducing Characters, and I talked in Spanish about each person and how they are connected to the others. 
  • We then watched the trailer again, so they could better identify who was who and what was going on. They left class PUMPED about watching the show this year. 

Teaching Episode 1 (aka reusing all of the wonderful plans of Mike Peto)

*Update - Purchase Mike Peto's AWESOME  complete guide to episode 1 here.
I will be honest when I read other teacher's plans for El Internado I thought it seemed like he went pretty slow. I actually thought that in the first class of watching the show we would easily get through the first 20 minutes, as well as the first two readings he shares. I WAS WRONG. If you want students to actually understand what is gong on, especially at the beginning with all of the important introductions of characters, you have to pause over and over, to ask questions, and reinforce what is happening. This may mean rewinding and watching parts over again. We are nearing the end of September and will be finishing Episode 1 this Friday, it only took us 5 weeks! I pretty much based how much we would get through each week by using Mike Peto's awesome Readings for Episode 1

  • Episode 1 - Day 1
    • We slowly worked our way through the beginning of the episode until minute 10, where Maria enters the Internado for the first time. (I was nervous as it is in these first 10 minutes that Maria fall out of the tree in her underwear, but most students did great, and thought it was hilarious. I told them in advance a scene involving was skin was coming up and gave them the option to leave, which no one did.) We stopped frequently to check for understanding, and to reinforce who is who character wise. We then used Mike Peto's Reading for Episode 1 - part 1, to review what had happened. We started going through it as a class, and what we did not finish was homework. We then discussed our answers and reviewed some more on Monday. The students LOVED the show and could not wait for more. 
  • Episode 1 - Day 2
    • We reviewed part one in Spanish, through questions to the students about what had happened and each of the characters. During class we made it from minute 10 to minute 19, ending where Evelyn and Paula are in class, and Evelyn is eating boogers. We then completed the Reading for Episode 1 part 2 in a similar fashion as day 1. 
  • Episode 1 - Day 3
    • By this point Spanish IV is running in the door on Friday, pumped for El Internado(They also think it is pretty cool that I let them bring in food to share with the class while they watch). Many of the girls are also already hopelessly in love with Marcos. We reviewed what had happened so far as an introduction. We watched from minute 19 to about minute 30 where Hector finds Maria smoking outside. We then completed the Reading for Episode 1 part 3, like the previous weeks.
  • Episode 1 - Day 4
    • During week 4 of watching, and the students are really starting to get watching the show, especially Spanish IV. The students told me the following statements: "at first it seemed like they talked really fast, but now I can understand them," "I used to only read the subtitles, but now I can listen at the same time," "Can we watch more! We went from about minute 30, all the way to minute 57! I was planning on stopping where the reading activity ends, when Alfonso hits his head in the forest, but they begged to go on. The students were really understanding everything, and I did not want to bore them with stopping so much, so we continued and they completed the Reading for Episode 1 part 4 on their own, and we discussed it later in class. 
  • Episode 1 - Day 5
    • This week we will finally finish episode 1. Whooo! I plan on having the class  watch the rest of the episode, and then review episode 1 as a whole. We will complete this review activity for Episode 1 as a class to practice both reading and writing about the show. If there is time we will begin to introduce Episode 2.


Day 22: What does your PLN look like, and what does it to for your teaching?

Thursday night at 8pm CST log into Twitter and search #langchat. This is my PLN. These amazing, generous, and insightful teachers saved me from being a boring, textbook, workbook drone teacher. They also inspired me to use El Internado! The teachers that participate in this chat, as well as post other great resources throughout the week with the #langchat hashtag, or on their incredible blogs are my inspirations. I have posted about them many times, including as my inspirational online colleges. If you would like to see who are the rockstars on my foreign language teachers PLN, check out who I follow on Bloglovin, Pinterest, as well as on Twitter @SenoraWienhold.


Reflecting - Days 17-21


So, I got behind, very behind. Trying to catch up from Homecoming week has been like running on a treadmill, backwards, while also succumbing the crud that has been going around. I decided the blog and reflecting on teaching had to take a back seat to actually TEACHING. So here I am at 6pm on Sunday, putting my feet up for the first time all weekend. It is finally me time, so here goes. 

Day 17: The most challenging issue in education today
I think the most challenging issue in education today is trying to please everyone all at once. It is a constant balancing act to make sure to are satisfying parents, administrators, other teachers, the state, and most importantly THE STUDENTS. I feel like I am finally getting a hang at figuring out out to provide comprehensible input to my students so that they can actually understand and use the language in meaningful contexts. Now I have to find a way to justify to everyone else why all we do in Spanish is "watch TV shows (El Internado)," "listen to the teacher read (TPRS novels)," "listen to music (in Spanish)," and "eat food (cultural experiences!)." I think the proof is in the pudding, so if students are leaving my class speaking Spanish, that should please everyone.

Day 18: "Teaching is like walking through quicksand"
You have to walk carefully, yet very quickly to make it through the quicksand. If you pause to long, doing the same old, same old, you will be swallowed whole. There are times when you will find yourself sinking, and if you do not reach out for help, once again you will sink. While teaching, you need to just keep moving forward, even if you can no see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.  Most importantly, you ned to go in with a plan, and execute it without pausing too long, allowing the natives to get restless. In the end when you make it through, there is no better feeling, than knowing you have conquered and succeeded at teaching. 

Day 19: How students reflect on their learning
In all my classes, they fill out a Friday Feedback Google form every couple of weeks. When I first started teaching, it was very helpful to me to have them fill out a Friday feedback form each week, so I could see what kinds of activities they were enjoying and what was helping them learn. At the end of each quarter, all students fill out a more detailed self reflection including what they need to do to enhance their learning, and what they need from me to get there. They also provide suggestions of things they would like to see more or less of in the classroom. These written forms are a great way for me to find out how class is REALLY going for those who will not speak up about it in class, or come talk to me. 

This year I need to come up with a self reflection for students to complete with their assessment projects. It would be nice for them to evaluate what proficiency level they believe they are at by using the rubric and indicators, as well as their effort they feel they exerted. This will hopefully assist them in realizing where they are at proficiency wise and why they received a certain grade. If anyone has anything like this I would love to see it!

Day 20: Curating student work
Students curate their own work through presentational or interpersonal speaking or writing assessments at the end of units. Most units have one speaking and one writing assessment per unit, which may be combined in one big project which included both writing and presenting about it. I guide students to incorporate as much as they can from the unit. I have found that assessments, as opposed to exams allow students to show what they KNOW, as opposed to what blanks they can not fill in on an exam. This year, I need to make sure that my assessments are derived from more real life contexts, as opposed to hypothetical situations which will probably never happen in their lives. I try to give students an extraordinary amount of voice and choice, so they feel ownership in what they are creating. 

Day 21: Hobbies I bring into Teaching
As I have mentioned before I love to dance. Baile viernes sprung from my enjoyment of dance and Zumba, as well as the need for a way for students to expel some of their extra energy and excitement on Fridays. As I mentioned in this post, I also enjoy performing, so any time I can turn the classroom into my stage, I am at home. When you show your passion for something, the students can feel your energy and excitement, and they can not help but become passionate themselves. 

Here's to running across the quicksand and showing passion this week. - Allison

Brandon Brown Plans Chapters 3-5 & Superpower


Reading Robo en la Noche on Superhero Day during Homecoming
If you could have one superpower to use in the classroom, what would it be and how would it help?
If I could have one superpower in the classroom it would be to stop time. I would love to be able to pause a great moment, go back and fix a terrible waste of a class, or have more time in the day. This would help me enjoy the moment, assist in repairing a wasted learning opportunity, or allow me to get everything done in a day that I would like to. 

Since I do NOT have this superpower, I am not going to focus on it but rather try and catch up with my plans for Chapters 3-5 of the TPRS Publishing novel Brandon Brown Quiere un PerroSee my plans for Chapter 1 here & plans for Chapter 2 here.

Chapter 3 - Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro

(After realizing I was going to slow for many of the students with chapters 1 & 2, I can of sped through chapter 3 to see how fast they really wanted to go. I realized it was too quick and that we needed to find a more happy medium.)

  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 3 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 3 to the class. Each student had a copy of the novel and followed along. We stopped after each paragraph to discuss, reinforce vocabulary, and check for understanding. 
  • We took a multiple choice quiz to see how much the students understood in one class period. We then went through the quiz to review and check for understanding.There were some who were fine with the rapid pace, but I know that we need to take it slower for most of the class. 
  • I introduced new vocabulary words for the chapter by acting them out, as well as writing them on the board. 
  • As a class we played charades to practice the new vocabulary words. My small class just took turns acting them out for everyone, and the big class was split into two teams for the game. (Many students commented later that playing charades was their favorite part of the week.)
  • We had fun talking about the sounds animals make using this video and the matching animal and sound activity found in the TPRS Teachers Guide. It was a great Friday activity as the kids were all wound up and thought the ridiculous video was hilarious, and used it to check their matching guesses. 

  • I read chapter 4 to the class. Each student had a copy of the novel and followed along. 
  • Students completed 10 reading comprehension questions in Spanish with a partner to both check for understanding, as well as practice writing sentences as their answers, and turned them in on Google Classroom.
  • Pre-Reading Discussion Questions for Chapter 5 found in the TPRS Teachers Guide.
  • I read chapter 5 to the class. Each student had a copy of the novel and followed along. We stopped after each paragraph to discuss, reinforce vocabulary, and check for understanding. 
  • Students created a 6 box storyboard to review what has happened in the novel so far. They used one box for each chapter, and the extra either to add an additional event from chapter 5, or to predict what would happen next. They were able to draw what had happened, as well as write if they wanted to. They also prepared and practiced how they would present this storyboard to someone else.
  • In the bigger class students got in two lines and presented their storyboard to the person across from them. Every couple of minutes, one line would rotate, giving them each a new partner. This continued until they all had a good understanding of what had happened in the book so far. (The students really liked the repetition of explaining the story, as well as the fact that it was just one on one, and not in front of the whole class.) The small class just each took turns explaining their story board to everyone. 
Happy Planning!

3 Strengths

Check it out! Come see me in person at the IWLA Conference on Saturday, October 11 in Des Moines, Iowa at 9:20a.m. in the Cedar Rapids Room for a presentation about baile viernes & música miércoles titled Música en la Clase. I would love to see you there!


Three Strengths I have as an Educator

1. I Love Performing

I love being in front of a crowd and performing. I grew up being on stage, and if you asked me what I wanted to be as a child the answer was always "an actress." I would rather get up and give an impromptu speech or presentation in front of a class than write an essay any day. I think of teaching as putting on six show five days a week. Every class has paid for a great show, so you need to deliver with the same amount of enthusiasm, whether it is the 7:30am Monday show the week after Homecoming, or the 2pm Friday afternoon before the big game. I have little shame or fear and will make an idiot out of myself to get a point across, or get the students' attention. This is why I felt like the book Teach Like a Pirate was speaking right at me, and making it ok to be the ridiculous teacher. 

I am asked quite often: "How do you implement baile viernes in class?" "How do you get students to buy in to dancing in class?" The answer is you have to sell it. Whether you are a good dancer, or have have zero rhythm, if you are up in front performing with all you have, the kids will join in. If you introduce it as an option and you sit in the back and watch, it will fizzle and kids will feel self conscious to join. Fake it 'til you make it, and try to give your best performance each and everyday. 

2. I am Organized

For the most part in my teaching life, I consider myself an organized teacher. I really tried hard my first year to set up systems and processes to keep everything organized. I have a magazine holder labeled with each day to put materials in advance for each day by class. My goal is always to leave school in Friday with the whole next week planned, and everything ready to go for that week. (Of course this is the week I failed at this since I was swamped with Homecoming details after school Friday and finished up plans Sunday night, whoops!) I LOVE binders and have a binder for pretty much everything. As you can see in my desk drawer I have labeled binder clip with each class, To Grade, To Enter in Grade book, etc. These work great for me, but now with almost everything online with 1to1 computer and Google classroom, I need to keep up my organization digitally as well. 

When you teach all levels Spanish I-IV you have to be organized. In my morning I teach two sections each of  Spanish II and Spanish I as well as Spanish IV with no breaks. Granted I am better at working on the fly with a little experience under my belt, it gives me anxiety to not be ready, and the delivery and students suffer when everything if not all ready to go. 

3. I Love Spanish

I do not think I could do what I do without loving the content that I am teaching. When I got my graduate degree, others mentioned that I could become a professor in Leisure, Youth & Human Services. While I enjoy that field, the same passion is not there for me as I have for Spanish. I love seeing students learn another language and thrown out of their comfort zone into a whole new world. 

What do you see as your strengths?


Day 12-14 - Future, EdTech Tools & Feedback

We did it! We survived Homecoming week and everything was a success! Now I can try and get back to a semi-normal routine as well as get caught up on my @TeachThought #ReaflectiveTeacher blogger challenge. So here is day 12-14.

Day 12: How do you envision your teaching changing over the next 5 years?

Five year ago this month, my life was forever changed when I met my now husband. I was an undergrad at UNI at the time and had little idea what I wanted to do with my life. Flash forward to right now and I am a third year teacher at a small, private school 22 minutes away from where I live with my husband and 8 month old. 

In 5 years I see myself having grown tremendously in the use of comprehensible input and barely, if at all using a textbook. I hope to be in a paperless environment rich with technological use to enhance instruction. Ideally, I would be teaching at a public school closer to home, so I can be closer to my kid(s). At the same time I hope being a bigger district would not stifle my creativity, but allow be the chance to collaborate and have fewer preps, so I could spend more time creating rich learning environments. 

Day 13: Name the top edtech tools you use in the classroom.

this year the top edtech tool has become Google Classroom. With our new 1to1 computer initiative, I have found that classroom has been the easiest way to transition to a less paper classroom. I do love how it organizes work into neat little folders, but it will take some getting used to remembering to go in and grade assignments. Without the stack of papers in the tray to remind me, I have found I am more likely to forget to grade work, especially those that come in late. 

Within Classroom I have been using a lot of Google Forms this year for their Information Form, Weekly Reading Log, Friday Feedback, as well as for teachers to vote for Homecoming floats, dress up days, and hallways. 

The number one tool I use everyday is YOUTUBE. Música miércoles & baile viernes would just not be the same without videos. It is the perfect way to integrate authentic listening sources and culture on a daily basis. Having access during school makes last minute planning a breeze, and is a great way to utilize those extra  minutes at the end of class,

Day 14: What is feedback for learning and how well do you give it to students?

Feedback was actually just a #langchat topic, that got me thinking quite a bit. To me feedback is helping to communicate with students what they are doing well, what they can improve on, and what they need to do to continue to build their proficiency. To be honest, I am not good at giving feedback and this is something I need to work on. I should start having quarterly conferences with all students to talk about their proficiency goals and what they can do to achieve them. I am pretty good at having the students give ME feedback about what they like/do not like in class, what is helping them learn and what they would like to do differently through Friday Feedback and end of quarter surveys. Yet, besides some comments on their assessments, I do not give them enough feedback. I need to make sure that feedback is more of a dialogue between the student and I with both parties having an input and sharing how to help move towards meeting the goals of the language acquisition. 

Happy Planning!

My Favorite Part of the School Day & Random Facts

As the student council advisor and this week being Homecoming, this week has been slightly busy, to say the least. (That is my excuse for being behind on my #ReflectiveTeacher Blogging).

So here is day 10. 
5 Random Facts
  1. My high school mascot was a Pretzel (No seriously See Here)
  2. My 2nd cousin is Bill Murray 
  3. My mom married my band teacher, (while I was in high school band, let that sink in for awkwardness)
  4. I moved 14 times by the time I was 16 years old
4 Things From My Bucket List (I obviously have wanderlust!)
  1. Go on a Mediterranean Cruise with my husband and show him Europe
  2. Visit all 50 states (24 down!)
  3. Visit all 7 continents (3 down!)
  4. Go to Ireland with my 100% Irish mom
3 Things I Hope For This Year
  1. Spanish III & IV continue to enjoy El Internado and push their listening comprehension to new levels
  2. That I can successfully implement TPRS novels in all levels
  3. That I can get classes and their materials organized online for their reference
2 Things That have made me Laugh or Cry as a Teacher
  1. Everything made me cry my first year. (I may have freaked out my principal my breaking out sobbing to him on more than one occasion because I was so overwhelmed and could not handle everything. There were also a few times I had to turn around behind my desk to compose myself after my a couple incredibly mean students really got to me. EATING snacks and getting a thick skin was key!)
  2. I try to laugh with my students everyday, especially just joking with them in the halls. (This has been key in building positive relationships with all students, not just those in my classes.)
1 Thing I Wish More People Knew About Me
  1. I need help. I try to be super mom-wife-teacher-student council advisor-Camp Adventure trainer, and may not ask for assistance, but usually NEED and love help.

What is your favorite part of the school day & why?
I love the start of class on Friday in every class. I love that the kids come in bursting with excitement saying "we get to dance today!" "yeah Viernes Chant" "baile viernes!" "El Internado hoy!" (Spanish III & IV). I love that we have created weekly traditions that make them run to Spanish class. It end the week on such a high note. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Our 1st viernes chant, fall 2012. My babies are seniors now!
What is your favorite part of the day?

I actually became a teacher


What is a teaching accomplishment no one knows about?
- Actually becoming a Spanish teacher

I did not grow up wanting to be a teacher. I did not spend my free time as a child playing "school." 

I was a "deciding" major at the University of Northern Iowa for my first year there. I took a Spanish class there, knowing I at least wanted to minor in it, and then decided to make it my major. The only logical companion to a Spanish degree, was a teaching one, so that is what I did. 

Towards the end of my undergrad in Spanish-Teaching at UNI, I was pretty set on NOT becoming a teacher anymore. My methods of teaching a foreign language professor, while having a doctorate, had a whole 1 year of teaching experience outside of the university. Let's just say I dreaded the class and learned more in one session of #langchat. 

The head of the Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services program (which is headquartered at UNI & I participated in all throughout college), but the bug in my ear early in my undergrad about wanting me to have an assistantship with the program and get my M.A. in Leisure, Youth & Human Services. So, I decided that would be the route I would take after my undergrad. 

I was *this close* to not even student teaching and getting my teaching license. Luckily someone convinced me that if I ever wanted to teach in the future, it would be a lot easier to go back and renew a license, as opposed to trying to student teach. So I trudged through my 16 week student teaching, with a teacher who lived and breathed the textbook. Lesson plans were vocab, vocab quiz, grammar, grammar quiz, book chapter test, repeat. I tried to infuse some life and fun activities, but this was before the era of Pinterest and Twitter, and I had not yet found the amazing bloggers who have shaped who I am today. I literally counted down the days to it being done. It did not help that I was living back home in Illinois with my parents while my boyfriend at the time (my now husband) was back in Iowa, where I would make the 3 hour drive pretty much every weekend to hang with him and my college friends. Since I knew I was starting graduate school in the fall and not teaching, I had no desire to plan a classroom, or make lessons for the future. I left my last day thinking I may never teach again. 

Somewhere during my first semester of graduate school, I realized that I missed the classroom and teaching. Second semester I started subbing in the local district a couple days a week when I did not have class, for extra money, and started to yearn to be back in the classroom. Once finished with my degree after a year and a half in December, I started looking for Spanish teaching jobs, where I landed a maternity leave Spanish position that spring, and then a full time position in the fall where I currently teach. 

My first year of teaching was probably one of the hardest of my life (that is until I had a baby!), but also incredibly rewarding. Breaking the textbook habit changed everything and I can now let my creativity shine. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I needed that break from teaching to show me where I was meant to be. 

Lista Lunes 9.8.14 & My Desk Drawer

Lista lunes - What I am loving from around the web 

**Please credit the original sources and click on the links provided.**


What is is your desk drawer & what does it say about you?
I am an obsessive organizer -  labeled binder clips. 
I am an elementary teacher at heart - Spanish stickers & rewards.
I am always ready for a creative craft project - hole punches, sharpies, glue stick & scissors.

Bosque Tropical Movie & la deforestacion y biodiversidad

These two awesome and subtitled videos by Carrie Toth (@SenoraCMT) are perfect for a Medio Ambiente Unit, or to use with with the Novel Robo en la Noche by Kristy Placido. 

Epic Battle! Google Translate vs. Word Reference

A fun idea by Maris Hawkins teaches students why they just need to give up on translators. 

Pelipareja Carteles de Cine en Español

I love the movie activities from Zachary Jones. They are perfect for subs, in between units or during crazy weeks like Homecoming or MAP testing. 

Immigration judges: Deporting children can be a death sentence

While in English, this article bring up some great points for an immigration unit concerning unaccompanied minors. 

Winning a Sweet #langchat T-shirt!

Thanks to @Musicuentos & @SECotrell for my new T-shirt. I can't wait!

 Happy Hollywood Homecoming week from the Student Council Advisor!

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