January 2016 - Mis Clases Locas

Box 1

Box 1
Teaching with Novels

Box 2

Box 2

Box 3

Box 3
Meet Sra. Wienhold

Curriculum Year 4

Last year I posted my Curriculum years 1-3. Some of you have requested an update, so here is my year 4, which includes tentative plans for the rest of the year. Please remember that I am at a new school this year, which was previously legacy methods textbook driven curriculum. The comprehensible input and novels were quite new, so I eased in all levels with more simple texts to build confidence. You will notice that the whole year my sophomores were only one unit behind my juniors. This was intentional, as I laid out the novels I had and put them in the order I wanted to teach them. I then started each class in that order. 

This year each level is composed of two trimesters that are 12 weeks each, with 60 minute classes. This means that students completed one and a half "levels" in a year. Next year we are moving back to semesters, meaning we did not want to start half of a level trimester three with the freshman. This means for one year only we are able to over an optional culture class for freshman as an extension and preparation for Spanish 2 in the fall. I am highly encouraging those who have more difficulty with Spanish to take this class. I plan to give them a long list of possible culture units, which they will vote on their favorites. Tentatively, they will read the novel Tumba, as well as complete many mini units that are about two weeks long. 

Year 4 - New school with (attempting) full on 
comprehensible input 

My working Google Sheet document to plan 15-16 Curriculum
Yellow - Martina Bex Units, Purple - Novel Units, Blue - Culture

Freshman - Spanish 1 & optional Culture & Civilization Sp1C

  • Spanish 1 C - Trimester 3 (optional extension this year)
    • Class will choose units to focus on. (chart above are just ideas)
    • Ideas I have include the following: lucha libre, bullfighting, medio ambiente, immigration, health, superstitions, biblioburro, native civilizations, la guerra sucia, guachos, yipao parade, fairy tales, geography, la tomatina, geography, culture opiñatas, specific countries of study, music, food, holidays, etc. 
    • UPDATE See this post for the full trimester curriculum for the class.

Sophomores - Spanish 2 B & Spanish 3 (A&B)

Juniors - Spanish 3 B & Spanish 4 (A&B)

Exploratory Spanish - 6 weeks each of 7th & 8th grade groups

For next year, I am planning on going back to having my Esperanza unit before Robo en la Noche in past tense. I think it makes more sense to stick with present tense novels for me, and then moving on to past tense. I made the temporary switch this year because I know that Robo is always a popular and enjoyable first book, which is how I wanted Spanish 3 to start the year. 

Also, this summer I get to order a TON of new novels with it being my year for curriculum supplies. I am very pumped and my next year curriculum map will look much different with the addition of many new books:) I may go to an every other year with some books, to keep it fresh for myself. 

What does a typical year in your class look like?

Exploratory Spanish - 6 week plans

For the first time ever this year I teach junior high exploratory Spanish. This means I get to have all of the 7th & 8th graders, each for a 6 week block of time. We are on trimesters and have about 60 minute classes. You can see my reflection on one special student from my first group. it is a pretty neat opportunity, because it means I get to have every single junior high student and help to convince them to take Spanish in high school. Usually it is just encouraged to the "college bound" at my school, but I want to change that because EVERY student can benefit from knowing Spanish in their future. 

I spent a lot of time thinking about exactly what I wanted to do with these students for our 6 weeks together. Well Friday 2 was the last day of group one and I am very sad to see them go. The progress they have made in our 30 hours together is amazing and I can not wait to get to see these 7th graders again next year before they even take Spanish I. I wanted the basis to be a fun, enjoyable experience, where they were surrounded with comprehensible input and the language came naturally. The items below were a part of our daily routine every day. 

Explore Daily Routine

  • Para Empezar - Exploratory - Every day we had a fun class starter. They especially loved Música miércoles & Baile viernes
  • Special person interviews - We then had our "persona especial" interviews, which really helped me to learn about everyone, as well as reinforce basic questions and answers.
  • Real World Choice Work - Their only homework, was one stamp style sheet, collecting eight cultural experiences using Spanish. These included playing Duolingo, asking people their names in Spanish, being the greeter, the special person, watching Snapchat stories, or any other way they used their Spanish or learned about culture. 

A huge thank you to Martina Bex's amazing storytelling units, for making up every other week of our class. The students LOVED acting out stories, and I think I may add more in with the next group. I also thought it was important for these first time Spanish students to have an idea of where in the world speaks Spanish, hence the mini geography unit. Not included in the 6 weeks were the two days the week of Christmas we has school, when we watched The Book of Life. So here is what we did with our time together. 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

  • Write own story & create project - This was my first time attempting something like this, and I think I will try and add more direction the next time around. It did not help that I was home with a sick little boy the day they started writing their stories, so they missed some crucial early guidance. I was hoping for more creativity with their projects, and may add risk taking to the rubric for next time. I think I will really encourage them to make some kind of video next time, so they will be able to look back at them to see their progress the next year. These videos would also work well to show the other sections. 

Have you done exploratory classes? What other plans have worked well for you?


TPT Sale today!

Everything in my teachers pay teachers store will be 20% off TODAY and tomorrow, the 20th & 21st. This is with the site wide sale! Use the code START16 for an additional 10% off!

I know I am planning on heading right now to purchase items waiting in my cart. I like to plan smarter, not harder. This means 90% of what I do in my classroom comes from someone else. I have a teacher in my building who prides herself on making everything she implements. That is great if you have that kind of time, but as a mom, my family comes first. Why waste my time reinventing the wheel, when I can use tried and true great resources!
Head to teachers pay teachers now!


General Sub Plan Template

It is that time of year again. The plague has hit. Students are dropping like flies, and so are teachers and their children. If you are in Iowa with me the balmy high of -11 yesterday is not helping much with the sickness that has been going around. My little guy caught it, had a fever, and I needed to stay home last Friday. I was glad to already have my basic General Sub Plan Template, which made planning that much faster. Once you insert your class schedule and class times, adding in daily activity for each class is pretty quick. 

During graduate school I subbed part time for three semesters for everything from preschool special education, to elementary P.E. to high school. There I learned exactly what I wanted and did not want to leave for substitute teachers in my absence. My favorite plans were simple, one page and to the point, including classes, times and activities. This led me to put together my basic Sub Plan Template. Some teachers go way overboard, leaving 5 pages of plans, which a sub never even get a chance to read. Make the job uncomplicated for the sub, so they are willing to come back to your class. It helps if your students are trained on routines, which they continue with even in your absence as well. 

It is important to note, that this is my quick one page at a glance notes to set on the desk for the substitute, along with my full substitute binder. This binder already has class lists for each section, helpful students for each class, daily and emergency procedures, as well as extra forms and emergency plans that can be copied for any class. Spending a little extra time setting up a binder like this will save you SO much time when you feel like death and have no time to do so. It is essential if you will be gone long term. Here is my post about planning for maternity leave, which includes a link to my binder. 

Stay healthy!

Finally, everything in my teachers pay store will be 20% off this Wednesday & Thursday to go with the site wide sale! Use the code START16 for an additional 10% off!


Lista lunes - Día de San Valentín 16

Lista lunes - Día de San Valentín 16

Here are some ideas from around the web to get your wheels spinning for the celebration of love. Remember holidays in language class can be so much more than a free day to "make a card in Spanish" while we eat food. (Which is what we always did while I was in high school and I did my first year teaching). The cultural connections and possibilities are endless with any celebration!

El Día de San Valentín Infografía Activity

Last year I made this simple reading comprehension activity over a Valentine's infograph. It is perfect for a novice level class for basic reading comprehension and to get the discussion started.

Full Valentines Unit from Profe Cochran

Profe Cochran shared an awesome full free packet on Valentine's day last year. Last year I used her helpful speed dating sheet to do a little speed dating in Spanish II. I even got out the prop box so students could date as their alter ego, which is way more entertaining than speed dating with just your normal classmates ;)

Martina's Dating Unit

It works out great that Spanish I will be using Martina Bex's Dating Unit (which is unit 12 in the Spanish I curriculum). We will be taking a break from her curriculum reading Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro this month, but will jump back to this fun unit after we finish. Last year I used an awesome authentic video that is a part of this unit in upper level classes as well. It is about dating and students thought it was hilarious. 

Tengo tu Love

This catchy song by Sie7e is perfect for this time of year. It has wonderful repetitions of "tengo" and is usually one of students favorite songs of the year. I like using Zachary Jones wonderful clozeline activity that can be found in the clozeline 2012 packet. 

Flirting in Spanish Poster

Mi clase es su clase has a cute idea for a flirting poster or bulletin board. These are the kind of phrases students want to learn and will remember!

Es dia de san valentin - Charlie Brown

This full video of Charlie Brown's Valentines Day in Spanish could be used in parts for a movie talk or the entire thing for an upper level class. 

New**Valentine Poetry in Spanish - shared by Kim Huegerich

Thank you @DonaKimberly for sharing your Spanish Valentine's poetry activity on Twitter after I posted this!

New**Candy Heart Printables

lista lunes - Día de San Valentín 15

Here are my ideas from last year including using authentic cards, Spanish conversation hearts, the song Chocolate and more.

What are your go to resources for this holiday? please share in the comments!


Mix it up! Reading TPRS Novels in Class

Teaching with TPRS novels was the most common request I received on what you want to hear more about on the blog. Here are all of the posts I have so far using novels. These are the novels that I have class sets of (so far!), have taught in class, and have posts on. After each novel are the levels I have taught them in. Please remember that I am by no means an expert, I have now taught novels for two years, each time with a new group who has never read books in Spanish. I start with very easy books to build confidence, while allowing for higher level discussion in Spanish. The first 6 are from TPRS Publishing and I have all of the teacher's guides. 

The teacher's guides have tons of great pre-reading discussions, during reading questions, post reading follow up activities and cultural expansion. They have been essential to saving my planning sanity and give more than enough ideas to make a novel a complete cultural unit. Also, make sure before you start to plan to check out teacher blogs and Pinterest for even more ideas and activities to complement the novel. 

What I struggled with at first was not what to complement the novel with, but how to actually read each chapter without it getting stale. Here are a few ways of how to mix up actually reading each chapter. 

Teacher reads the chapter to the class

  • This is how I would suggest doing the first chapter or two, or even more for first time students or low levels. This is the preferred method for most students as they enjoy when I read with inflection, as well as pause to ask questions, expand and personalize. The issue is reading five classes in a row takes a toll on my voice and requires a lot of teacher energy. You have to vary your approach not just for student interest, but teacher sanity. 
  • MIX IT UP! 
    • Students get to sit anywhere in the room while listening.
    • Everyone gets to bring in comfy blankets and pillows and lounge around the room.
    • Students sit on the floor around the teacher's chair, similar to kindergarten style. 
    • Have projected discussion questions on the board, that remind you to pause and talk about these topics, relating them to the students.
    • Read to students in a new location that fits the chapter, such as outside or in a dim auditorium.
Students following along with Robo en la Noche (during Homecoming superhero day:)

Students read alone

  • I usually start having low levels students read alone after I have already read it to the class. As a review, students can start the day re-reading yesterday's chapter.
  • Some upper level students prefer to read alone, as they do not like to be dragged down by reading at slower students' pace. Last year my higher level section of Spanish III preferred to read on their own every day if given the option. 
  • MIX IT UP! 
    • While reading students jot down how they feel after each page or paragraph. 
    • Students have a graphic organizer to keep their focus on important events or character organization.
    • While reading students decide one change they would make to the story.

    Students read in pairs

    • Some teachers have had great success with students "volleyball reading," where they take turns reading a paragraph and then translating it out loud. This can be a good confidence builder to show students they understand more than they think. It works best when students have a task while with their partner as well to keep focus. I generally give students the option to read in partners or alone, for those who would rather read on their own.
    • MIX IT UP! 
      • While reading out loud to their partner they must use accents like the character. There can even be a competition for the best character portrayal. 
      • Change the seating to side by side partners in a circle. 
      • Students get to sit anywhere they are comfortable, also allowing other parts of the school or outside if possible.

    Reading Tumba outside in pairs

    Class listens to audio recording 

    • The audio books are an amazing resource that I mistakenly rarely used my first year using novels. They allow for students to hear a native speaker and someone other than their teacher read the novel. It is a great refresher of a chapter after a weekend too. They are also a lifesaver when you lose your voice or are just plain exhausted and need a break. 
    • MIX IT UP! 
      • Pause the audio like you would do while reading to discuss and personalize. 
      • While listening, students draw a mural or story board of the chapter. 
      • Silent student actors portray what is happening during the book with props and costumes. (A class favorite!)
      • While listening, students have paper characters that they move, imitating movement in book.
      • Students follow along in their book with their finger while listening, jotting down questions, words they do not understand, or reflections. 
      • While listening a second time, students move paper strips of events around in order. 
      • Here are more of Kristy Placido's great ideas of using audio books.

    Students read outside of class 

    • This is only something I would recommend with very high level classes. Last year in my amazing Spanish IV class, I wanted the second semester to be run more like a college class. While reading Cajas de Cartón, students were given a syllabus in advance of the unit, of dates that each chapter would be discussed. Students had the awesome guide questions from Musicuentos, and were to come to class prepared to talk. Throughout they had time to work and read in class, either alone or with classmates, especially during days when I knew many were very busy with out of school events at night. These high level students had read books previously in Spanish class and had the skills necessary to read completely on their own. I know that this does not follow the storytelling CI model, but it was a way to differentiate for high achieving students. 

    Also, for more pre and post reading ideas, here are 5 Activities to Spice up any Novel.

    What are other ways you mix up reading novels in class?

    Thank you to everyone who entered the book giveaway. Congratulations to the winners Wendy F, Stephanie E, Heather S & Erin M. Your books should be shipped this weekend. No one entered for Portuguese, so if you know anyone who could use them, let me know!

    Classroom Relationships & Routines

    I asked for feedback in my Book Giveaway post (Today is your last chance to enter!) and one response said they wanted to hear more about classroom management. I agree that this is one of the main things I struggled with my first year teaching, mostly because it is not something you can learn well in listening to a lecture in college. You have to learn by fire in the classroom. I think I actually learned more about classroom management from being a camp counselor for elementary students than I ever did during college. I think the best thing to do is focus on classroom routines and relationships. If you can take care of those things, there are few opportunities to actually have to "manage" anything. 


    To learn more about building relationships in the classroom read up on Grant Boulanger's blog. His Spanish 1 curriculum is based on the students in his class. He teaches with comprehensible input with everything focusing on his students. If you focus on building relationships as your number one priority, your students will know you care, and will care about each other. If everyone feels valued and accepted there is little chance for behavior issues, because everyone keeps each other accountable about the classroom family. 

    How can you build better relationships with students? Here are a few ideas.

    • Have students fill out interest questionnaires at the start of the year & look at them periodically to remind yourself what students are really into. I do a Google Form.
    • Do Special Person Interviews
    • Always spend passing time in the hallways chatting with students and greeting those entering class. 
    • Attend out of school events such as concerts, games and school dances. Then talk about these events the next day praising all of those involved. 
    • Use PQA (Personalized question-answer) all the time. Involve your students in your weekend talk, vocabulary introductions, stories and everything else. Cater class to what your students are interested in and want to talk about. 
    • Notice the little things. Complement new haircuts, shoes and those who hold doors for others. If a student looks really down, pull them aside and ask of there is anything they need. Don't let any student go through a day without someone telling them something positive. 

    Classroom Routines

    Personally, along with building relationships, classroom routines have helped me to curb possible "management opportunities." These are all things that must be taught and reinforced to work effectively. 

    When students enter my class they know they have the following jobs:

    • Put away all electronics, which includes having their Chromebook closed (unless there are instructions on the board to have it out for a task).
    • Go to their assigned seat. (A well made seating chart is an excellent management tool).
    • Switch to speaking Spanish. 
    • Complete their Para Empezar bell ringer task of the day, which is projected on the board.
      • Monday - variety of activities - video, review, meme etc
      • Tuesday - free choice reading from classroom library (5-15 min depending on level)
      • Wednesday - música miércoles - embedded Youtube video playing with questions on the side
      • Thursday - free choice reading
      • Friday - baile viernes - video playing & students immediately start dancing. This is followed by VIERNES chant. My upper level classes then watch El Internado each Friday. 
    Other classroom routines during class include the following:
    • When I do an attention getter, students are to respond and stop what they are doing to listen. These include call and response such as this one from @SenorG T -"listos, listos" Students- "Sí, estamos listos" 
    • If supplies such as scissors or colored pencils are needed, 1 volunteer from the table goes to get enough of these items from the communal shelf for the table. 
    • If a student is going above and beyond, they are given a chile, which can be redeemed later for prizes such as sitting in the comfy chair. If they have presented in Spanish in front of class and need even more recognition, we give them a Positive validation.
    • When students leave the room, they are to leave it better than they found it, cleaning up their are and pushing in chairs. 

    For other ideas, here are all posts labeled classroom management. Below are more specific posts on the topic as well. 
    What are your best classroom routines?

    If you ever have ideas about what you would like to see on the blog, please let me know!
    Don't forget to enter the Book Giveaway by midnight Today!
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