May 2015 - Mis Clases Locas

Box 1

Box 1
Teaching with Novels

Box 2

Box 2

Box 3

Box 3
Meet Sra. Wienhold

Bad Blood (Spanish Version) - Music Activity

As my husband and little boy know, I am currently obsessed with T. Swift's new, fierce song Bad Blood. So today when I found out that Kevin Karla & La Band have a cover in Spanish, I was pumped. You can find the lyric video here

I actually wish we had school next week so this song could be our música miércoles. I guess I will have to wait until next year. While excited about the song I create an activity to go along with it for a lower level class. As a thank you for being a loyal reader, the PDF of the activity can be found here. (If you see an error let me know, since I made it fast!) Also you can download the editable pages & Word version here. There are so many different concepts that could be reinforced through the lyrics such as past tense tú forms (focusing on hiciste), the phrase "has hecho" or present tense yo, tú and nosotros forms. I could also see the song being the center of a story unit about what someone did to someone else to become rivals. 


Teaching the novel Esperanza

Teaching the novel Esperanza - shared by Mis Clases Locas


Lista lunes: End of the year in Spanish class

You are this close to the end, you can do it! The students are squirrely, the teachers are tired, and the warm sun is outside. As the wonderful Laurie Clarcq said, "students are not going to master much at this point in the year. Use these days to build confidence, find joy, strengthen trust!" Here are some ideas below to do just that!

Plate Sketch Game

I used this activity around Christmas, but it would be great for the end of the year as well. The teacher gives direction to draw a beach or other summer scene and students must draw it on a paper plate on their head without looking. 

The Book of Life or Canela movie guides for novice classes

Sometimes with wacky end of the year schedules a movie is perfect. For example when I taught a 6th grade exploratory class, they got to watch a movie in Spanish during the long finals classes, since they did not have finals. The Book of Life or Canela would both be great movies for a novice class to watch. There is a guide posted if they need a little something to keep them focused and on track. 

Go outside!

When the weather is nice, instead of fighting it, take your students outside! You can either plan specific ideas, or just adapt your plans to fit a new setting. 


This awesome new game in Spanish is similar to Apples to Apples and needs your help to fund the kickstart campaign! It would a great activity to play at the end of the year!

Cardboard Glove Activity

To have students learn more about poverty in Central America, baseball, or sports in general, make cardboard gloves! You then get to try out what it is like playing baseball with a stick bat and cardboard glove, while once again getting outside! 

Survey your students

This is the perfect time to get feedback on how to plan for next year. 

Zachary Jones Summer Spanish 2015

This FREE packet of fun activities using authentic resources would make good filler activities if needed, or a great enrichment packet for students to work on over the summer. 

What are your ideas for ending the year strong?


Summer Goals

Just like last year the first thing I think about on summer break is next school year! Except last year the was not until June 4th! (Thank you less snow days & no make-up days for state football for the longest summer in history:). Looking back a year ago I was nervously thinking about how I would possibly implement novels and El Internado in what had been a pretty textbook focused curriculum. Now looking back I am so glad I took that leap and I could never imagine going back. So for those of you thinking about spending the summer delving into something new curriculum wise, do it! Please let me know if you need help brainstorming or finding resources, because I have gotten pretty good at borrowing from the best. 

Even though it will be my fourth year teaching, I will once again be starting over, but this time with a completely new group of kids, so I can reuse things that have worked the best! Knowing I have a pretty deep back of tricks now, I know that I can actually take some time off this summer from planning for teaching, and focus on my favorite 16 month old student! Keeping that in mind I have my own goals this summer, both professional and personal. (I almost started it as a "To Do" list, but then remembered I am on vacation, so there is no need to check things off a list!)

Professional Goals

  • Read more TPRS  books as research for ones I would like to teach
  • Watch Spanish TV shows & movies such as Gran HotelSin IdentidadEl BarcoVelvet & Te Presento a Valentín (or just rewatch El Internado:)
  • Blog 2-3 times per week
  • Re-plan curriculum for a new school with 1 hour classes on 12 week trimesters (who is not used to having comprehensible input methods or novels)
  • Design a new classroom...maybe with just chairs!
  • Participate in Langcamp, #langchat & other online professional development
  • Get familiarized with my Chromebook and plan for implementation with my school who will be newly 1:1

Personal Goals

our local pool 

  • Get our use out of our family pool pass
  • Go to Movies Under the Moon
  • Buy (& use!) a lot of local produce at the farmers market
  • Daily activity including stroller walks
  • Go to the library weekly, including toddler story time
  • Speak only Spanish to baby boy
  • Take parent/child swim lessons
  • Enjoy 1st mom/dad vacation away from the little guy
  • Clean out and organize the office/closet/junk room
  • Read a book for fun outside

What are your summer goals?

Goodbyes & a Leap of Faith

A sweet gift from the class of 2015 Spanish IV

As of Thursday, May 21 I will have finished the first chapter of my teaching career. It is bittersweet to leave my first real teaching job. I have spent the last three years of my life pouring my passion, sweat and tears into students and a school that have become home. I am talking literal sweat at a brick oven school with no air conditioning that starts in mid Iowa August, and actual tears (both happy and sad) on many occasions.  

There are so many major life events that happened while teaching hereThis will always be the school that 6 weeks into my first year teaching I went from Ms. Bickle to Mrs. Wienhold getting married. (NEVER get married 6 weeks into your first year teaching by the way!) It will also be where I spent my first pregnancy, had to leave for maternity leave & returned to teaching as a new mom of an 8 week old. I have personally grown in my faith, and do believe I was chosen to teach at this Catholic school for my first job. 

I feel for the students those first two years, because personally I was all over the place now I finally feel I am hitting my stride. You can see what I learned after my first two years in a popular post here. If I were to add to that list this year, I would add what I learned through my 3rd year curriculum risks of jumping into using El Internado: Laguna Negra & class novels. More than anything I learned that I personally just need to relax. Luckily I have a very chill and calming husband who lets me know when I get to high-strung and worked up about school. I take everything personally, and how can you not? Teaching IS personal. 

Outside of the classroom I started my first Spanish club, directed a play and musical, and sponsored student council. I have also continued my part time job with Camp Adventure, recruiting, selecting, training, and supervising university students to work in summer camps around the world. My husband and I bought a house, had a child, and I can finally say I now feel like a real adult. 

As an adult, I have to make decisions to do what is best for me and my family. Unfortunately, this means moving to a public school which will be able to provide for us in the future. A new school, with fresh administrators and coworkers will hopefully allow me to learn and grow in ways that I never would have if I had just stayed safe at the same school, even though I will still be a department of one

Goodbyes are hard. Tears have already been shed as I said goodbye to my seniors in their last class and at graduation. I hugged every one of them, since I had personally had every one of the 36 graduates either in class, or when I had their class or homeroom. It is starting to become real for the underclassman as my classroom is bare and empty, as I move out the last three years of my life. 

Moving schools is scary. I already have some if the same butterflies and questions I had as a first year teacher. Will the new kids like me? Will they hate everything I love like baile viernes? How will I transition my lessons to hour long classes on 12 week trimesters? Will I make friends with the other teachers? Will I regret jumping into something completely new? The constant questions will always be there, but I will never know until I try. 

Here's to always learning & growing! - Allison 

Quick Tip: Google Drive for Student Organizations

Something that worked really well this year for both Spanish Club and Student Council, was having a shared Google Drive folders for the group. If you have not jumped on the Google bus, you are missing out! All of our students already have a Google account, so it is very easy to just share the folder by clicking the circled button below. This way all members are on the same page and the group can be paperless. 

For student council we had shared folders for agenda, minutes, elections, homecoming, etc. During a meeting, we project the agenda for the day, so there is no need for paper copies. If someone is absent, they can also access what was discussed. 

Student Council Agendas
What is great is you can also change sharing permissions within a folder if there is something that is just for officers or advisor. For example the attendance Google sheet is only editable by the officers and advisor. 

Elections with Google Forms

Another tip is this year we did student council election through Google Forms. The membership application below was sent to the entire student body. 
Membership Application
These applications were then put together in a Google Form ballot below for class voting. This also allowed us to include the candidates statement as to why they should hold the position. 

student government election ballot

What are other uses you have for Google Drive?

Individual Novel Study in Spanish Class - pt. 2

Earlier I posted about Individual Novel Study in Spanish 4 for the fourth quarter. Overall I think it went great. It is a perfect option for classes that would like to read in Spanish, but do not have class novel sets. In a perfect world, multiple students would read the same book, literature circle style, which would then discuss as a group. Yet, with my experimental group, having all students read different novels actually worked. They had complete choice in what they read, which led to higher interest and engagement. 
Individual Novel Study in Spanish class - part 2


Ice Breakers

At a small, private school there are many interruptions that "take away from our classroom time", especially at the end of the year. The way I see it is we have two choices, be a grump and complain about it, or embrace the opportunity to learn more about your students in a different setting. I chose the second the past two days as I assisted with the freshman and sophomore retreats. Our awesome campus minster, Kim Huff, has been doing retreats for 18 years and I was excited to get back to my Camp Adventure roots and play. I spent 5 summers overseas as a day camp counselor on U.S. military bases, and love a good camp song, game, and team building activity. Here are a few of the ice-breakers and team building games that we completed over the last couple of days. These would be great for end of the year fun days, leadership retreats, class bonding, or spicing up class. 

Giant Progressive Twister (in the TL!)

    Giant Progressive Twister
Prep for Giant Progressive Twister
  • Find multiple Twister boards, or spray paint colored circles on multiple large tarps. 
  • If you are creating your own and do not have a spinner, type up and cut apart instructions such as right hand red, left foot yellow. (This could be done in the target language!) 
  • At our retreat the 50 students were divided into 6 teams with three 4x6 Twister boards. 

Instructions for Giant Progressive Twister
  • One member of each team starts the game. 
  • As each instruction is called one more team member is added. 
  • To make things more interesting we had the rule of only 2 body parts on each color. 
  • If someone falls or touches the ground with another body part, they are out. 
  • As the game winds down, everyone pauses, gets up, one board is take away, and the game continues from there. 
  • The team with the last standing member(s) wins. 

3 Words

This was a simple introduction our speaker John Huff did to get to know his audience a little better. This would be great for a first day of school activity where novice students have very little language skills yet, or as a quick way to get to know your audience when presenting at a conference. The three words could be changed based on your setting and purpose. 

Instructions for 3 Words
  • Explain that everyone is going to introduce themselves using just 3 words 
    • First name
    • Hometown
    • Favorite Activity/Hobby
    • Ex - Allison, Cedar Falls, Dance or Joe, Raymond, Farming
  • Everyone quickly goes around and states these three words. 
  • This allows the leader, as well as everyone else to get to know each other a little better, without taking forever, or having people lose interest. 
  • In a language class this could be expanded to include the phrases for these items (Ex. Me llamo Allison. Soy de Cedar Falls. Me gusta bailar.)

People to People

People to People
  • No prep! Just have the commands typed up or memorized. 
  • This is a camp game I have played with 5 year old up to college students. It works great as an ice breaker or a brain brake in the middle of class. It is a twist on TPR, but with a partner and could be made very goofy if you wanted to. 

Instructions for People to People
  • Everyone stands with a partner
  • The leader states what body parts the pairs much touch (in the target language!) such as "hand to hand" "hip to hip" or "nose to foot."
  • If they say "people to people!" then everyone must scramble to find a new partner.
  • If a pair messes up or does not want to complete one such as "nose to foot" then they are out and sit down. (You could also play without anyone getting out).
  • Play until only one pair is left or just for fun for 5-10 minutes. 

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line
  • Type up a list of statements (could be in the target language) for students to agree or disagree with. 
  • They should start light such as "cross the line if you like ice cream" and build deeper such as "cross the line if a family member has been in jail" or "cross the line if you have ever felt unsafe coming to school."
  • Make a physical or imaginary line for students to walk up to. 
  • Explain that this activity will be done in silence in a safe space where no one will be judged for their responses. 
  • The objective is for students to learn more about each other and have more empathy for the burdens others carry. 
  • Students should line up against a wall and when a statement is made students, they silently walk up to the line, turn around to face class, and walk back. 

Have fun breaking the ice! If you are looking for more Ice Breakers check out Ultimate Camp Resource.
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