Simple Sundays: Appreciation Walk

Simple Sundays Appreciation Walk

As I mentioned on Friday, my friend Matt Frattali has a series on YouTube called Friend Friday where he talks to different educators every week.  Jonathan mentioned two weeks ago that he goes on an appreciation walk.  I loved that idea and decided to implement it this week- with a little spin!

Last year, I was fortunate to teach my blended class in with my Latin friend Kristin who made the awesome bulletin board on my blog.  She was great to bounce ideas off of and just talk to about life.  Now that I don’t get to teach in her room, I don’t see her as much.  She was my perfect partner in crime for this appreciation walk!

During the walk, we talked about positive things that were happening in our classes.  She is implementing a new Latin curriculum with more talking, and her students were reacting very positively to it!  I am excited about my new proficiency based curriculum and being able to continually increase my use of comprehensible input.

Then, we talked to all of the other teachers we ran into.  We offered a piece of chocolate and asked them to share their best part of their week.  It ranged from the weather, to the insights of 7th graders to a new video up on our website!  Our walk only took half of a class, so you could easily implement this in your day and still have time to plan!  And I bet you will be much more productive after your walk and fresh air.  What was the best part of your week?

Brillante Viernes: September 23, 2016

Brillante Viernes Sept 23

Happy Friday!!  It has been a long week, but I am happy with a lot of new things this week.  Check out my Friend Friday video with Matt Frattali!  Here are some of more of my favorite blog posts this week:

Wayback machine for my blog!

Back to School Night 2016

Back to School Night!

This year, I wanted to shake up my back to school night routine.  I always give parents access to their child’s Seesaw account.  This allows them to see what their child is doing in class.  However, I believe that many parents cannot realize how school is for their child now that our school is one to one.  As I have discussions with my mom and my husband, they cannot believe the educational technology that exists now.

Therefore, I decided to have my parents play a game of Kahoot!  It is fun and interactive and gives parents an idea of what students are doing in class.  We complete this after I review the class content and introduce myself.  This year, I used a Spanish cognate Kahoot since it is easy for everyone to play.  It would also be fun to do a Geography Kahoot.  My friend who teaches math created a Kahoot based on what she explained earlier in the class.  I tried this last week with the Upper School Back to School Night, and it went well!  One parent even said- what happened to just raising your hand?!  I could explain how now ALL students were answering instead of just the one who raised his or her hand.  Have you used technology for Back to School night?  What works for you?

Netflix Unit: Continued Reflection

Netflix Unit: Continued Reflection

I am enjoying my Netflix unit, and it seems that my students are as well.  I wanted to post a few highlights and ideas that I have enjoyed:

  • If you have not checked out Kara Jacobs’ information with the Soy Yo video by Bomba Estereo, you need to look at it!  It is fabulous!  It works with descriptions, and she has a lot of embedded readings as well.
  • Since De que te quiero, te quiero is off Netflix (boo!), I have decided to show Miss XV this year.  The kids are happy with it so far, and this is the sheet that I used for the first part of the show.  We were practicing the structures: “bajan las escaleras, quiere and novio.”
  • For my interpretive reading practice, I had students looking at movies from this website.  Students had to fill out a form based on the information that they read.
  • Finally, I created a study guide that will be similar to the interpretive reading quiz.  This will be very similar to our quiz.

Overall, I have been enjoying “reviewing” my year so far in this manner.  We are able to review different topics and themes all within the topic.  If you missed my previous posts, here there are Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Brillante Viernes: September 16, 2016

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Happy Friday!  Whew!  The first full week teaching is always hard.  Also, we had a back to school night last night.  I am looking forward to some downtime this weekend and doing laundry.  (You realize that you are an adult when you look forward to laundry time.)  What are you looking forward to this weekend?  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • This post by Laura about winners, losers and participation trophies is straight up brilliant and speaks so much about what I believe as a teacher.  Let’s work to reward the progress!
  • Do you want to participate in a HUGE collaboration with Sara-Elizabeth?!
  • This idea about stations and Aurasma looks pretty cool!  (Plus my department chair shared it out!)
  • This is another great post about how to do MovieTalk!  (And as I have found, more preparation is so much better!)

A flashback to previous times of a younger Maris Hawkins’ blog…

Where I remind myself again that I am much better when I write things down


I am in the current transition out of bellringers.  (And not ready to post QUITE yet.)  If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this is quite the heartbreaker for me!  During the bellringer, I had time to check in with kids individually, check their homework and take attendance.  However, I have noticed that students are MUCH more attentive at the beginning of class since I eliminated bellringers, so I am still running with it.

Today, I wanted to do a MovieTalk with the video Tú by David Pareja that I found thanks to Zachary Jones.  I decided to use MovieTalk because I could recycle the video, and the students could listen to the lyrics again.  In the morning before class, I wrote out ALL of the questions that I could.  I feel that I come up with so many more questions that way!  I can always add questions in, but at least I have a reliable source to fall back on if I forget.  It also helps me to remember what I want students to remember.

I also like these types of chats because the questions are scattered throughout.  I gave each student 2-3 jewels to represent the amount of times that they had to talk.  Kids cannot tell if they answered an “easy” question or a “harder” question because the questions are scattered throughout the video.  They are excited that they answered it!  (And probably excited that they had some pretty jewels in their hands!)  I encourage everyone who struggles to sometimes come up with a follow up question or to focus on what they are saying to write down your questions.  It can seem overwhelming, but I am always glad when I do.  I also like this as I am transitioning into more interpersonal activities.

Brillante Viernes: September 9, 2016


Happy Friday!  I have just gotten back (and recovered from) an overnight camp with the 9th grade students in Western Maryland.  It is certainly gorgeous up there, but an overnight camping trip is exhausting!  I am looking forward to having time to really plan for next week to start more of my Netflix unit!  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • I really enjoyed reading this post about how to enhance students’ listening skills.
  • Even though I have enjoyed completing cloze activities with my students, I want to change things up more this year.  I appreciated Dustin’s post about how to go beyond the traditional activities.
  • I don’t have a ton of information about the OWL language method, and I appreciated learning more about it.
  • I love this poster about ways to say goodbye!  It would be perfect to put by the door!

Back in the day…

Interpretive reading: Fichas from Superpop

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I am starting to develop more resources for my Netflix Unit as the year starts.  I really like these fichas for the beginning of the year resources.  They have very short phrases at the beginning with a few sentences later.  For my reading activity, I used the interview with Dani Martín and Blanca Suárez  (Yay El Internado!)

During the edcamp that I attended this summer, some teachers lamented that authentic resources really intimidate students.  I believe that it is important to start out relatively easy, so students are not overwhelmed.  I started with multiple choice questions for the most part.  My goal is to boost student confidence and show students that they are capable of tackling an article like this.  I also saw Sara-Elizabeth talk about on Twitter that she leaves space for students to write anything else that they understand.  I added this question as well.  Here is the link for the Google Form that I set up.

How do you help students adjust to using authentic resources at the beginning of the year?

Brillante Viernes: September 2, 2016


Brillante Viernes: September 2Happy Friday!  Whew- what a week!  I managed to lock myself out of the house AND jam the laminator… amongst other things.  I am looking forward to the weekend and to recharging next week.  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • This post by Carrie Toth on CI Peek was excellent reading especially for the beginning of the year.
  • Martina shares a breakdown of MovieTalks that is helpful for anyone who would like to start or has already done some.
  • Kara added El Sombrerón onto her unit!  I used this a few years ago, and I am looking forward to using some of her activities.
  • Also, this post about how to achieve your goals is so valuable at this point of the year.

From this time on the blog in previous years:

Take three icebreaker/brain break


Take Three IcebreakerToday, our wonderful Assistant Principal shared an awesome icebreaker.  I enjoyed it, and it could easily be done in levels 2-3 or higher in the target language.  Here is how it worked:

  • Students are in groups of 3-4 people.
  • Everyone says “take three.”
  • One person gives a category to another person in the group.  For example, they could say “favorite foods.”
  • The next person lists their top three foods.
  • Everyone says “take three.”  Then the person who lists his favorite foods gives another category like “favorite classes” to a new group mate.  That person will list their top three classes.

This would keep going until you call time.  For earlier levels, you could put categories on the board to help keep kids in the target language.  That will also give students time to think about their answers.  You could also combine this with Zachary Jones’ Como eres activity where musicians describe themselves in three words.