October 2014 - Mis Clases Locas

Box 1

Box 1
Teaching with Novels

Box 2

Box 2

Box 3

Box 3
Meet Sra. Wienhold

Turning on the English Subtitles

90%+ Target Language 
This is the goal we all (should) strive for. Was my class 90% in Spanish my first year teaching when I was using the traditional textbook, grammar, vocab, workbook, chapter test approach? Absolutely not. Am I getting better since moving to more of a CI approach. Yes. Am I perfect? No. As I heard mam Dugger say last night "practice makes progress."

I have learned that the student output in class is directly related to the input and activities that I provide. While doing Martina Bex's awesome Muertos Unit chock full of CI resources, I am providing the input and students are amazing me with their output, even in Spanish 1. This class also just finished Martina's Siéntate unit, and I was SO IMPRESSED with the participation IN SPANISH. I am been slowing sipping on the CI Kool Aid for a while now but now I am chugging and can not get enough. 

So in the midst of my CI transformation, we were finishing up our Spanish III unit on immigration, focusing on the novel Esperanza by Carol Gaab, with the movie Which Way Home. It was my first time showing the movie in class, so I bought a great movie guide to accompany it. With the mindset of 90% Target Language on day one of the movie I clicked "movie in Spanish." Day one bombed. Bad. 

  • Issue #1 - There were no Spanish subtitles available. This class is used to watching authentic shows in Spanish since they watch El Internado every Friday. But, with El Internado, I use the Spanish subtitles along with teh Spanish audio, which are a LIFESAVER for visual learners who are having a hard time with speed or accent. 
  • Issue #2 - I did not comprehensify the movie enough. I should have been pausing more frequently to repeat, checking for understanding, and making sure that the students were comprehending the heavy accents of the children's slang, and mumbled speech over the sound of the train they are riding on top of. I was on a self imposed timeline if finishing the movie within a certain amount of days and did not allow enough time for pausing and discussion. 
  • Issue #3 - I was too proud. When I saw the obvious signs of frustration, (students getting agitated, complaining they did not get it, checking out completely) I should have changed the course of class midway. I was too proud. I felt that by turning on the English subtitles I was giving in to their request, letting them "win," and most of all failing as a teacher. To me, having English subtitles gave them permission to not listen in Spanish, but instead just read. It meant that I had not prepared them well enough, that I had not taught them like I should have. But I was wrong

While reflecting that night, I came to the question "What is the goal of watching this movie?" Was the goal for the students to understand the varied and difficult speech of children from Central America? No, the goal was to reflect on immigration and begin to understand the journey of unaccompanied migrant children. I realized that the CONTENT of the movie was too important to have them bogged down by the language. 
This movie has the possibility of contributing to a "life changing lesson," forever changing a small town young adult's view on immigration forever. Adding a safety net of English subtitles may help the students reach this goal, and ultimately see the current child refuge crisis in the US in a different light. 

So, on day 2 I apologized for not supporting them enough on day 1, turned on the English subtitles, and tried to help to make the movie more comprehensible for the students. And you know what? We made it to out end goal. While discussing the movie, I had students share some REALLY great reflections of how the movie made them FEEL. I was told their views on immigration had changed, that they felt horrible for immigrant children,  and that they now understand why these unaccompanied children are now being called refugees. 

90%+ Target Language. That is the goal for each class. But, the end goal as a language educator is also to help prepare the whole student to be a citizen of the world, and I have learned this means sometimes you need to turn on the English subtitles. 

Here's to learning and growing everyday. - Allison 

Presentational Speaking in Level 1

Sorry I have been MIA, but Quarter 1 grades have officially been submitted! I do not know why I always think it is a good idea to have all of their summative projects, assessments and presentations the last week of the quarter, as it makes for a crazy week of grading. 

Spanish 1 just finished up a unit describing what they like and do not like. For their end of the unit assessments they did both a presentational writing and presentational speaking expressing what activities they enjoy and dislike, why, with whom and when. I had done the same unit last year for the first time, but I feel the assessments went MUCH better this year because of a couple of tweeks I made to the assessment process. I know that the end goal in communication and language production, not perfection, but I felt that the editing process was very valuable for the students to see what common errors kept coming up with their peers, and would hopefully transfer to their own work. The process we completed was as follows at the end of the unit:

  • Rough Draft Each student individually wrote their rough draft on paper.
  • Peer Editing - As a class we discussed how to peer edit including: what common errors to look for & how to give constructive criticism. They traded their papers 3 times. 
  • Final Typed Presentational Writing - It was edited one more time once typed to work on accents and typos. 
  • Rough Presentation Outline on Notecard - The students could choose to talk about what they used in their writing or start over with talking about different things. Since this freshman class has yet to take speech we talk about what to write on a notecard and basics of public speaking. I did example speeches in Spanish, both good and doing many things wrong (reading strength from the card with no eye contact, mumbling, going really fast, wiggling around and playing with clothes etc.) This provided comic relief for the day and I was really impressed with their public speaking skills. 
  • Practice Day - With notecards in hand I set up students in pairs around the perimeter of the room. Each partner practiced their speech, and then gave both positive and constructive feedback. I ran a bell, one parter rotated, and we continued until I felt they all had adequate practice. **This step was key to making the students feel confident in what they were saying before they presented in front of the class. 

Practicing Presentational Speaking Assessments 
  • Presentations - While each student presented the others wrote down one question for the student presenting. After each speaker a few kids asked their questions, which then added an interpersonal element. These questions could be as simple as asking who they liked to do something with, asking for clarification of something they could not hear, or asking what a word they said meant in English. This was a great time for the students to learn the vocabulary of the activities their friends were interested in, such as trap shooting or playing the trumpet. At the end each student was given a Positive Validation to praise them for bravely speaking in front of class. 
  • Reflection - As a class we discussed the positive parts of the speeches, as well as in general what we could do to improve. 
Overall I was very impressed with how the classes supported one another in the sometimes daunting task of speaking a foreign language in front of the class. 

Lista lunes 10.20.14 - El Día de los Muertos

Lista lunes 10.20.14 - El Día de los Muertos Edition

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

Such a cute idea to paint pumpkins like sugar skulls to combine both Halloween and Day of the Dead. 

A documentary completely in Spanish, for higher level students. 

As always, an amazing resource from Veinte Minutos. They have an article in both intermediate and more basic level, as well as videos, comprehension questions, and other great resources as well. 

This year I planned ahead and all classes will be starting Quarter 2 next week with a mini El Día de los Muertos cultural unit. I purchased this unit from the awesome Martina Bex and am very excited for all of the activities included, especially the embedded readings, as this is not something I have tried before. Martina really takes care of everything plan wise and I plan on adapting it to fit all levels I-IV. 

I showed this adorable animated short last year, and love watching it every time. It is perfect to use with a movie talk method and really shows how death is viewed as a celebration. 

How do you teach El Día de los Muertos?

Quick Tip: Earn Free Books for Your Classroom

Right now there is a way you can earn FREE bilingual Spanish-English books for your classroom. Kelloggs Family Rewards program has partnered with Scholastic this fall for the chance to earn free books by entering 3 codes from specially marked packages. (I am in no way affiliated with this program, I just love free stuff like most teachers :) My husband was sick of eating the same cereals I kept buying for free books, so I decided to enlist the help of the parents to save codes for me. 

We had conferences this week, so I put the following blurb in our Quarter 1 newsletter, which I both emailed to parents, as well as had print copies available at conferences. 

There is a very easy way you can help build our classroom library of Spanish children’s books. Please save the codes inside any specially marked Kellogg's cereal or snack boxes & bring them into Spanish class. Sra. Wienhold will then redeem them for bilingual books for class. Find more about Kellogg’s Scholastic Free Book Program here: http://tinyurl.com/ogdhz8q Or if you ever see books,  magazines, newspapers, or brochures in Spanish, we would love any and all donations for our Spanish class library!

I also created the document below using the information from the website showing the participating products. I had attached this document to my newsletter email as well.

The program goes until the end of 2014, and you can enter up to 20 codes per day. Make sure the package has the FREE BOOK logo, otherwise it takes a ton of "points" to get anything worthwhile. With that logo, it only takes three codes. 
Have a great weekend!

Geography Mini Unit

Before finding my Spanish speaking maternity leave sub last year, I was freaking out about finding activities that would keep my classes busy. I purchased this Spanish Speaking Countries Packet for my sub to use for a Geography unit, focusing on the Spanish speaking countries and capitals. Well I found such a great sub, who did all of his own plans, that last year's Spanish 1 never did have a specific unit about Spanish speaking countries. While I do think that they should be integrated daily, I realized this year that my particular students needed  to be specifically assed on which countries do and do not speak Spanish. (I may have had a Spanish II student try and tell me at the beginning of the year that China spoke Spanish, and then defend that Chinese was "basically the same thing as Spanish, right?" This prompted that this year both Spanish I & II needed this unit).

I created multiple stations for students to work at independently, while I did individual interpersonal assessments for out 1st unit. Last year I bought these IKEA frames to hold station directions. I learned that it works best if you write out specific instructions at each station, so students can work independently without having to interrupt assessments avery 2 minutes for basic questions. The stations were as follows:
  1. Fill out their own blank maps with country & capital using world maps to have to study.
  2. Quiz themselves writing with a dry erase marker on laminated blank world maps. They then corrected themselves using the full maps on the reverse. 
  3. Play "Old Maid" matching country and capitals with a laminated reusable class card set. 
  4. Play "Memory" matching country and capitals with a laminated reusable class card set. 
  5. Place laminated labeled country tiles on blank maps of each continent & then correct each other. 
  6. Watch the obligatory annoying "Rock the Capitals" videos below. I very much dislike the videos, but students in the past have loved them as a study tool. 

We also spent a day playing a variety of Kahoot games on countries and capitals. There was no need to make my own since there are a TON if you search "Los países hispanohablantes y sus capitales" I rarely give tests in my class, but for this unit, we ended
with a test where they are given a blank map with the countries numbered and need to label the countries & capitals. There are many opportunities for expansion in the future, such as having each invididual research one country and share with everyone else, or have a gallery walk to display their results. At this point I just wanted to make sure my students understand China does not speak Spanish :)

IWLA 2014 Takeaways

Overall the 2014 Iowa World Language Conference was a great success.

  1. I completed my 1st professional conference presentation & overall I think it went really well! I even got them to get up and do #baileviernes with me. Here is my presentation is you are interested. 
  2. I was able to finally meet in person, have lunch, and pick the brain of the lovely @SraDentlinger. 
  3. I was awarded one of the 2014 IWLA classroom grants, which I will use to expand my classroom library.

Implementing Comprehensible Input - My favorite session

  • I need to post high frequency structures
  • I need to use the same specific actions for these structures
  • While free reading have kids follow along with finger so they are not just quickly flipping through pages. Also for accountability, pick one random student at end of class to describe what they read, and then another to ask a question about their description.
  • It is ok to give lots of crutches & training wheels. Our goal is for them to communicate, feel success and build confidence in the language. 
  • Utilize student jobs to keep everyone involved such as: Vanna White, Ventriloquist, Videographer, Actor, Extras, Narrator, Police, Genius, Tally, Lights/Camera/Action etc. 
  • Focus on communication of thoughts, not accuracy. We need to concentrate on IDEAS, not worry too much about the correct construction. 

Putting Culture at the Core & Using Native Speakers

  • Students must first understand their own culture, before they can begin to compare and contract with the cultures they are studying. 
  • When starting with culture we should organize our sequences of instruction by theme, in longer chunks, such as a semester. 
  • In content based instruction begin with a topic. Theme > #authres > task

  • We want students to be able to mediate between cultures. 
  • We need to get to the WHY of the culture. Its not just about describing what each country does to celebrate Day of the Dead, but rather "how does each culture FEEL about death and why?"
  • It is all about shifting the student's perspective. They need to first see the culture of the US in a new light. 
  • By looking at the most popular sport in the country, you can see what colonizing countries have had the most influence there. 

Random Tips & Tricks

  • Show a video first with no sound. This will allow students to describe the video without being overwhelmed my the TL. Then for novice classes, only un mute on key things you want them to hear. 
  • Share unit calendars with students and parents so everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises. 
  • Silent Attention Getter - Start touching your eyes, shoulders, ears, etc slowly moving from one to the next as students pay attention and follow along without saying anything. 
  • Play Mind Reader to have students guess what supplies they will need for the day. This would be a way to utilize the vocabulary for school supplies, without ever directly having a unit on them. 
  • Have tongue twister competitions as a Monday Bell Ringer to practice pronunciation. 

Things I need to look into

  • Lan School - A FREE management tool to see what everyone is doing on their computers from your screen. 
  • Brining in more native speakers, especially utilizing the Fulbright scholars visiting at local universities; whose job while in the US is to represent their country. 
  • Resources for teaching about colonization

My Overall Takeaway 
We do not just teach language, we are communication teachers.

I can't wait for #CSCTFL15! - I hope to see you then!



Come see me in person at the IWLA Conference THIS 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!

For the presentation and handout for this session, please click on the IWLA 2014 - Música en la Clase Page. 

I can not wait for face to face PD. Follow along with #IWLA14 to see what we are up to this weekend.

Thank you so much for joining me in my 1st conference presentation! - Allison 


How to get MONEY for your Classroom

How do you get money for your classroom or for professional development? ASK & APPLY!

I have a $0 budget at my school for my classroom, textbooks, and professional development. My first year I spent TONS of my own money trying to get my class and classroom up and running. Then my second year I did something bold, something daring, I asked the principal if the school would pay for me to attend the IWLA Conference. And you know what? They said YES! A teacher who has been at my school 30+ years was shocked that the school was paying for me to attend, as she had always paid her own way. (It also helps that I am a department of one so I have a pretty good argument for needing to collaborate and get new ideas.) All I had to do was ask. 

Last year I went out of my comfort zone and applied for my first grant to start my classroom library. My grant was approved and I received almost $1000 to start my Spanish classroom libraryAll I had to do was apply.

Last year I decided I would like to incorporate some TPRS novels into my curriculum. So I put in a proposal for a set of books for each level as well as a Teacher's Guide (which are awesome, so not get the books without one!) It was approved, they are going great, and the kids are learning so much. All I had to do was ask.

Just last week I put in a purchase request to pay me to attend the CSCTFL (Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) & to buy the Cajas de Carton - Teaching Guide and both were approved!  All I had to do was ask.

Today I got a voicemail saying that I will be receiving a IWLA Grant, that I put in a proposal for this past spring. With this grant, I will be able to purchase more Spanish books to expand my classroom library for free reading! All I had to do was apply.

There are grants and money out there just waiting for teachers like us with great ideas to apply. Let's not let it go to waste!

How have you gotten money for your classroom and professional development?

Lista lunes 10.6.14

Lista lunes 10.6.14- What I am loving from around the web 

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

This anti bulling poster 

Some of my Spanish students had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Guatemala this past summer. (I was very upset I could not go, but as a new, nursing, stay at home mom for the summer with no childcare, I was not able to make it work). These great students have been sharing their experiences and pictures, which included this picture of a poster they saw against bullying. I think I am going to get it printed out in color & laminated to hang in my room. 

Mike Peto's Review Activity for Episode 1 of El Internado

My lesson plan process for using El Internado: Laguna Negra in Spanish III & IV this year has pretty much been visit Mike Peto's El Internado Resource Page. (As you can see by my plans for teaching Episode 1 here). We used this great review powerpoint which focuses on the verb dejar on Thursday before we started episode 2 Friday. 

Andrea Brown's 4 Corners Activity

As a many year summer camp counselor I have played many variations of the game 4 Corners. Andrea's post reminded me how perfect it would be to get kids up and moving in class, as well as to use it with the commonly confused options of "I am" in Spanish.  

Video - Dale la vuelta a la tortilla

This video has a nice positive message for students, as well as provides a lot of opportunities to discuss idiomatic expressions. The video is chock full of famous people, from Antonio Banderas, to David Bisbal, to the Backstreet Boys. It is great to see famous people, who they have no idea speak another language, speaking Spanish.

Fun Landmark Quiz

Lately EF Tours has been sending some entertaining activities and games in their emails. This Landmark Quiz would be fun as a part of a geography unit, to see how much the students already know. Also these free madlibs would make a good emergency sub plan. 

Have a great week!

New Activity for Telling Time

Something that Spanish I always seems to struggle with early on is telling time. We practice it each day by doing La Bienvenida, but getting the "menos" side of the clock is usually tricky for some students (especially those who struggle with math). 
I had found an activity last year where students make a "watch" by making a clock face on a strip of paper, and then go around asking each other for the time. It went pretty well, and gave students the opportunity both ask and tell the time multiple times. The issue was they were only practicing telling the time that was on their own watch, and I wanted them to have a variety of practice clocks. My first class started out walking around, but the issue was with this shy section, they were all just avoiding asking each other and barely speaking. Spur of the moment I came up with the following solution:
  • Students make a "watch" with the time of their choice
  • The class makes an inside/outside circle (or in my class set up it works better to have 2 lines facing each other).
  • On side is the "mom" or "dad" and the other side is the whiny kid who can't read the clock. 
  • The whiny child hold up their watch and says "mammmmmiii, ¿Qué hora es?" (mom what time is it)
  • The "parent" then responds with the time in Spanish. 
  • The students then switch roles.
  • The teacher rings a bell and one side rotates, so everyone has a new partner. 
  • This continues until they have gone through each partner
What worked well:
  • Students loved playing the part of the whiny kids. 
  • Everyone was involved and always had someone to talk to.
  • There was a lot of repetition and students felt much more confident telling time at the end of class. 
What are your favorite activities for practicing telling time?

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