Posted in beginning of the year

Details Part II: Unit I Spanish I Introductions and Activities

Details Part II Unit I Spanish I Intro and Activities

This is the third post about my preliminary plans for my first unit in Spanish I this year.  You can find the first post including my final objectives for the unit here and the first days here.

My other objective for this section is:

  • Focusing on how to discuss likes and dislikes

For the next day, I plan on working with likes and dislikes.  When students enter, they will read the following infographic.  (Me gusta mucho)  I will then use PearDeck’s polls to have students vote on which ones they like and do not like.  The nice thing is that I can set PearDeck to student paced mode, so students can move at their own pace throughout the questions.  Once we have done this, I can lock their answers and we can view and discuss everyone’s favorites.  After this, we can go through the date and weather as well.

As I plan to start with interpretive reading, I will provide students a practice reading activity with Yahoo Respuestas.  I will give students the print out to read and mark up.  Then students will move around and write on large papers cognates, words that they have learned in the first week and items that people identify that they like from their reading.  Throughout this unit, students will be able to keep a list of important and useful words that they find.  While we will have a list of main words for them to know, they will be able to put together a list of words that would be important to them.  When they are done, they can move around and include any new words that they learned on their list.  Then, we will answer some questions in English about the reading together.  Finally, we will play a game of Kahoot about the reading.  Once the Kahoot is done, we will continue to work with talking about students in the class.

My goal is to have their interpretive reading quiz the following day.  Of course, I will have to determine how the previous day goes.  I will also provide students a study guide.  The study guide will be another Yahoo Respuestas question.  It will be different from the one that they will eventually get on the quiz.  I realize that many teachers like to have unannounced quizzes and they do not like to give as much information up front as I do.  While that may give you a better idea of the level of your students, I like to build up the confidence in my students.  I have many nervous students (and parents), and I want them to feel capable and able to study for their task.  Also as ALL of you have searched for authentic resources before, you know that there is a very slim chance that students can find the same authentic resource that you have.

After the quiz, we will switch it up to practice some listening with these video clips from Zachary Jones.  I love that he uses clipart to help novice students decipher what the words mean in Spanish.  This also allows me to have a full lesson plan based on how long it takes the students.  There are many different video recordings for students.

The following day, we will start Señor Wooly’s Puedo ir al baño as our input in the beginning.  After the weather, I will give students a list of questions including introductions and likes/preferences.  Each student will get one question and practice using quiz-quiz-trade.  They each ask their question then trade questions with their partner and find a new partner.  I will circulate to note which questions are difficult to students to highlight in the next few days.

Once they are done, they can add another entry to their Seesaw journals using these guiding questions:

  • ¿Prefieres octubre o mayo?
  • ¿Prefieres el océano o las montañas?
  • ¿Prefieres el té o el agua?
  • ¿Prefieres la música pop o rock n roll?

I want them to add a picture to their entry and find someone else in the class that prefers some of the same things that they do.

The next day, we will start with a Quizizz about what students have learned about the likes of their classmates based on our talking with cards/circling with balls at the end of each class.  Then, we will do the weather and date.  Students will then go on a linguacafe talk using some guided questions to again reiterate and practice introductions and likes/dislikes.  We will play a quick glob game before reading.  I made this reading about an Argentinian tennis player who is number one in the world for wheelchair tennis.  I included questions about it and a video that we can watch as a class.  I also included a reading about the Argentinian women’s field hockey team with questions and a video to watch.

The following day, we will complete an interpersonal interview.  I will interview each student.  As I am interviewing each student, the other students will be working on Señor Wooly nuggets from Puedo ir al baño.  At the end of class, we will complete a free write for students to brainstorm everything that they have learned.  Once I look at their free writes in addition to their speaking practice, I will determine how to finish practicing before their final writing assignment.  I will be finishing up this week with more ways to focus on writing in addition to focusing on when events occur.

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 18, 2017

Happy Friday!  I am finishing up our last trip to West Virginia and then I have a few days of work next week with our new Chinese teacher.  All of the teachers officially start back the following week.  I am enjoying these last few days while preparing some, so my first two weeks aren’t too crazy.  I have also enjoyed reading a lot of these blogs this week:

  • It has been a difficult week with the aftermath of what happened in Charlottesville.  I went to the University of Virginia and still have many people I care about who live there.  I was so fortunate to have Ricardo Padron as my teacher.  His wife wrote a beautiful post for the Washington Post about how to talk to students about what happened in Charlottesville.  Then Martina had an amazing PPT that she shared with everyone to use to talk to your students in comprehensible Spanish about these events.
  • I had already thought about my lessons then Laura reminded me why I wanted to teach Spanish I and the most important thing to tell students on the first day.
  • Check out how Wendy is going to use the new Flipgrid updates!
  • Annabelle showed some amazing ways to use Google Maps– that I know I will use this year.
  • I keep reading about PACE- and this blog makes a lot of sense to me!

There are a few other posts that I really liked, but I try to limit my posts here (and try to spread the love to many different blogs that aren’t always highlighted everywhere!)  If you want to see more, visit my Facebook page for updates throughout the week.  Here are my other posts from previous years:

  • My summer reading from last year: The Language Teacher Toolkit!
  • Last year my feedback got better for students, and I am going to continue to focus on that this year as well.
  • How to stay productive in your planning period
  • A getting to know you game for novice high and above
  • A story for novice low-mid students about a party
Posted in beginning of the year

Details Part I: Unit I Spanish I Introductions and Activities


Details Part I Unit I Introductions and Activities

Earlier this week, I started to plan for my first unit.  I started to collect a variety of resources to complete it next.  I also had to decide what order made sense to tackle the can do statements.  The first few days I will work on “I can introduce myself and I can identify cognates.”  I will also start to work on weaving in “I can talk about my likes.”  You can find my first day of school plans here.

For the second day, I will start by defining what a cognate is then we can review some of the cognates that they brainstormed the previous day.  Then, I will have students visit this website (or you can take screenshots.) At each table group, I will challenge them to find as many cognates as they can while they explore the website.  We will compare the number of cognates that they can find.  After this, we will start the calendar and weather introduction.  We will have a quick brain break where we introduce ourselves asking what is your name then tossing a soft ball to another classmate and asking his/her name.  At the end, we will continue the circling with balls/card talks that students started the day before.  This starts to reinforce the likes/dislikes ideas.

For the third day, we will continue with these ideas.  First, students will set up their Seesaw account.  Then, students will be able to answer the following questions:

¿Prefieres el parque o el café?
¿Prefieres las hamburguesas o la pasta?
¿Prefieres la televisión o la computadora?
¿Prefieres la clase del arte o la clase de ciencias?

I will provide students with the word “prefiero” to add to the beginning of the sentence.  I also want students to add a picture to their post to play around with using Seesaw.  I will again reiterate that these words are all cognates.  After this, we will start the calendar and weather.  Then, we will watch this video that reviews introductory phrases.  It is an awkward video, but I think we can stop it a few times and ask questions- like if we think that the two characters will finally dance together.  Then, we will do a quick round of rock, paper, scissors a la Maestra Loca.  Finally, we will continue to work through the circling with balls.  I will write up a few of the previous class stories for students to read as well.  These are preliminary plans, so I hope that you can take these ideas and modify them for your own use!

Posted in beginning of the year, Proficiency

Unit I for Spanish I: Introductions and Activities

Unit I Spanish I: Introductions and Activities

I am so excited to teach Spanish I this year!  One reason is because one of my main goals (that Laura reminded me of!) was to let all of the students know that they are capable of learning another language and progressing in that language.  Then the rubber hit the road planning this summer, and I realized that I had to come up with a first unit from scratch… as I am not using a textbook and students are only going to really have the language that I teach them to use on any assessment!  And I had to assess them AND come up with an IPA so soon.  Luckily, I had some ideas and tweeted out for some more!  First, I decided on a few things that I didn’t want:

  • I don’t want to start immediately on the textbook basics: date, time, weather, school, descriptions, greetings, alphabet etc.  It isn’t super engaging and there is only so much that you can do with this language on an IPA.
  • I want to figure out how to intertwine most of these ideas throughout the class as we are progressing throughout the year. I really don’t ever want a full school unit.  So many classes are cognates, and we can discuss the items that we use in class easily without devoting a whole unit to it.
  • Many textbooks make the mistake of isolating some topics and wanting to teach all of the ideas of a topic.  I don’t need a whole unit of descriptions with most of the words when I can intersperse them throughout a variety of units.  Same thing goes with other topics like the weather.  We are lucky in Maryland to have four seasons.  Therefore, I can wait to introduce the word snow until right before a snow day.  It is much more engaging that way.

I decided that I did want to make sure that I covered the basic topics though.  I have heard of many teachers including a review of the calendar, weather and time at the beginning of  each class.  Our classes rotate, so the time review is relevant.  (Otherwise, you would just say the same time- every single day!)  I also want to incorporate one country per unit into this time.  That way, we can discuss a variety of times and weathers.  I want to start with Argentina.  As I wrote in my authentic resource blog post, it can be easy to take a screenshot of the weather that day to use in each class.  I will do this after our introduction activity.

Then I thought about what different units that I wanted to teach throughout the year.  I came to the conclusion that it made sense to me to talk about likes along with activities and sports from the beginning.  I came up with a list of what I wanted them to be able to do by the end of the unit:

  • Interpretive Reading: Students will read a Yahoo! Respuestas (like this) that will be edited about what sports or activities that a variety of people like.  Students will have to identify sports and who likes them in addition to a variety of cognates.  I plan to edit them not only because many of the answers end up with errors but also to minimize the text that my beginning students have to read.  (Also someone on Twitter recommended Yahoo! Respuestas to me, but I can’t find the original tweet!)  I may also add another reading assessment a little later of a TV schedule of ESPN like this to discuss the date and times of different sporting events.  I believe that reading can be assessed much earlier than some of the other skills.
  • Interpersonal Speaking: As much as I love group interviews, I will have to ask all of the questions in the first interpersonal interview because my students would have trouble carrying the conversation.  I plan on asking my students some of the questions that we were reviewing throughout the chapter including how to introduce themselves and which sports/activities they like and do not like.  Also, I will ask them when to continue to work on dates/times.  Wendy helped me learn that I can assess their answers on a smaller scale initially.  I will just give them a score for each question/answer on a scale from 1-4 based on if they were able to answer the question and if they pushed themselves to give a more complex answer.
  • Presentational Writing: Since they are still trying to figure out how to write more, I will provide them with heavy prompts about what they like that they will have to answer in Spanish.  I will leave it open for students to express much of what they have learned in the first few weeks.  It also will imitate a free write where the students can explain what they said about themselves and other students during the first few days.

After I had decided the end goals, I was able to write down some can do statements for my students.  It was a little tricky because at first, I came up with a LOT that students could say about this topic.  I wanted to use the simple future to talk about who will win or lose and teach querer and preferir.  I pared it down to make it easier and more doable for all of us.  I am using these can do statements:

  • I can introduce myself.
  • I can say activities/sports that I like.
  • I can say activities/sports that I do not like.
  • I can tell when an activity takes place.
  • I can identify cognates.

I believe that whatever unit you do, you should include cognates in your first unit.  They will be extremely helpful as students navigate their first authentic resource or reading that I write.  In addition to these can do statement, I also really like how many teachers include some reach objectives for some students.  The three that I have decided upon are:

  • I can say which activities I prefer.
  • I can say what I love to do.
  • I can say if a team will win or lose.

Once I have decided upon these skills and the can do statements, I start fleshing out some activities which I will share in the upcoming week.  I hope that this post helps you understand how I plot out my units and get started without the guide of a textbook.  Have you done something similar?  What is your first unit for the beginning of the year?

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 11, 2017

Brillante Viernes August 11

Happy happy Friday!  If you are back in school, I hope that you have had a successful back to school week.  We are going up to Volga, West Virginia for our annual summer trip.  I go back to work for a few days early because I have a mentee teacher!! (Squee!  I am so excited to work with our new Chinese teacher!)  This is a little longer Brillante Viernes because I wanted to add some technology updates at the beginning!

  • In the past if you wanted to upload a series of pictures to Seesaw, you had to make a collage.  Not anymore!  You can now add an album!  This is perfect for digital storytelling.  Students can upload all of their pictures then retell the story right in the same entry.
  • Have you seen the new Flipgrid that was unveiled last night?  I keep reading about all of the foreign language teachers that are using it and all of the awesome ideas that they have.  Check it out!

Now onto the blog posts (and more!)

  • I typically don’t listen to a ton of podcasts (I mean with all of my blog reading, I have to sleep SOMETIME!)  But this summer, I have been listening to some on road trips, and I am SO excited for We Teach Languages.  The most recent podcasts have included two amazing WL teachers- Noah Geisel and Lisa Shepard (of Madame’s Musings!)
  • Sara-Elizabeth asks the hard questions… and finds that there is more than one answer about authentic resources.
  • This is a perfect follow-up about language advocacy and other skills that you learn in a FL class.
  • As I continue to make free voluntary reading a part of my class, I really appreciate Mike’s reflections and learn so much from him. He is honest about what works and what doesn’t in his own classes, and I always admire his risk-taking.
  • Finally- I blogged over at Path2Proficiency about how I want to become more of a language advocate this year in and out of my classes.

Finally- here are some of my older (but still useful!) posts:

Posted in Technology

Tips for teaching with technology

Tips for teaching with technology

I am a huge advocate of using technology in any classroom but in particular in the foreign language classroom.  I frequently blog about my blended class, and I have presented twice about technology tools that facilitate my foreign language class.  However, using technology can be daunting, and I keep seeing a lot of questions pop up in various teaching groups about how to teach with technology!  I wanted to offer some tips that I have learned in the past few years.

First, don’t be afraid to tell students to put away their technology!  (I know, I just told you how great technology is- and I am telling you to put it away!)  Just because your school is 1:1 or your students have iPads does NOT mean that they have to always use their computer.  I believe that teachers think that once their students get a computer or iPad that everything MUST be done with technology.  That is not true.  There have been many studies done saying that if a student is just using a computer throughout class to take notes, he or she will likely get distracted easily.  I struggle like many teachers to encourage students to use an online dictionary and not to rely on Google Translate.  Typically, my students blog and do a lot of writing on Seesaw, but many times, I would have them write on paper.  I gave my students a topic, we brainstormed important words as a group on the whiteboard, then I let them look up 5-6 words that they personally wanted to use.  Then, the students put their computers away and wrote.  Also, I make sure that all students put away their technology in the beginning and end of class when I am introducing/reviewing topics.  You are the teacher, and you know when they are using their technology effectively by using the programs below or if they are watching YouTube videos.

In addition, think about the value of working on an assignment individually versus full class.  Will technology ALWAYS make things better or is it nice to just interact with one another in the class?  For example, I am a huge EdPuzzle fan.  It is great for listening to videos, and it allows students to replay sections as many times as they need to really differentiate for each learner.  However, I rarely have students listen to music or watch music videos on EdPuzzle- even though they easily could.  I like this to be a whole class activity- especially watching the music videos.  I enjoy seeing the reactions by students for videos such as Soy Yo or my C Block’s personal favorite .  Same thing goes for Flipgrid.  I am excited to continue to use Flipgrid next year to have students record themselves speaking in Spanish, but many times, my students need to talk to each other face to face.  Just because it can be done with technology doesn’t mean that it always should.

Be choosy about what you use with technology as many pre made materials for teachers are not necessarily made by teachers with the most recent pedagogy in mind.  I have been playing around with Duolingo to learn some Greek.  I have completed the first lesson, and I don’t think that I have learned much.  Luckily, I was in a sorority in college which helped me eke through the alphabet unit (barely)!  In the program, you can hover over each of the words that you have to translate, and it displays the English translation for you!  Then you just type that into the box.  Also, I HAD to do that when as I have been learning Greek because I barely remember any words from the previous units.  Is this really the most effective way to learn a language?

With that being said- let’s get into the great aspects of using technology!  If you are going to use pre-made materials via technology (and I totally suggest it and use it myself!), use pre-made materials from other teachers.  You can typically find these in many programs that I have included below.  To use teacher made materials, do a search on EdPuzzle for MANY teacher edited videos.  You can find videos on any topic that you want to teach!  And you can still edit their questions- so save the ones that you want and change the others.  It is easy and quick!  Or, use Quizizz to search for pre-made questions on a variety of topics or novels in Spanish.  I was able to create Quizizz practices for homework in about 5 minutes max.

Additionally, make sure that you try the program before you assign it to your students.  Although your students may be digital natives and can figure out how to add filters to their snaps that does not mean that they know how to edit a video in EdPuzzle that you assign them as a project.  (I particularly like this article on EdSurge that debunks some of the myths that we have about our students and technology.)  I practiced on Flipgrid before I assigned it to students.  That does not mean that I can troubleshoot everything that happens to them, but I have SOME idea of how it works.  Once you can give students the basics, they can normally trouble shoot on their own.  If not, I like tweeting to ask for help because so many tech companies respond quickly on Twitter.

Finally, find some basic programs that you like to reuse and can be used in multiple ways, so students are used to them.  While I will throw a wild card at them from time to time (like Triventy when we have played too much Kahoot or a fun Goosechase scavenger hunt!), stick with similar programs, so students do not have to worry about the technology side of things too much.  Also, I like these programs because they enhance my lessons.  Technology should make your life easier- don’t use it because it is fancy or flashy.  Below is a brief overview of my go to resources and why they enhance my classroom:

  • Seesaw is an online learning journal for writing/some speaking: students can upload their writing, and then others in the class can leave comments for some nice interpersonal writing.  This is one BIG reason why it is better than traditional paper writing.  Students have an audience (the class) and can practice both interpersonal and presentational writing.  Or students can upload a picture and talk about it.  They can also leave voice comments or listen to my voice comment.  Again, this is a more efficient way to provide feedback than traditional feedback.
  • Flipgrid is a quick and easy way for students to record speaking videos or interviews with their classmates.  It is really fast to record, and it does not require a log-in which I really like.  I am also hoping to connect with other classes this year to have students communicate in this way.  While face to face speaking is a big goal in our class, some students feel more confident speaking to a video instead of each other.  This can support students to feel more comfortable.
  • EdPuzzle allows teachers to embed questions within a video, and as I have mentioned before is great for differentiation of videos.  When we would watch videos as a class and students needed to listen one more time to a certain section, we had to rewatch the whole video, and many students were already done (and bored).  This way, everyone can listen as many times as he or she needs.  Also, it is easy to grade to give feedback.  If you choose a few multiple choice questions, students can get instant feedback.
  • PearDeck allows you to embed various questions/drawing etc into a presentation and is great to jazz up my presentations.  Students can see others responses if we go through a presentation as a class.  I am able to see where everyone is with the material, and it is anonymous for the students.  Again, PearDeck is a great tool for students who typically would not always speak out in class as it allows everyone to participate at the same time instead of having one student give an answer.
  • Finally, ActivelyLearn is great for interpretive reading.  Students submit their answers to questions or polls that I have embedded throughout the document, PDF or website then the class answers are displayed.  Students can resubmit their answers and learn from their errors (instead of waiting for me to go over it).  By inserting the questions throughout the reading, you can also support students who struggle with reading.

With these programs, I encourage you to choose ONE to start.  Think about what you use most in class: reading?  Choose ActivelyLearn!  Videos?  Try out EdPuzzle.  Again, remember while technology is a great support for the classroom, as the teacher, you know and understand what would help your students.

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 4, 2017

Brillante Viernes (4)

Happy Friday!  I know so many people are starting back to school.  We don’t start until after Labor Day, but I am obviously starting to get ready.  BUT I know as much as I feel like it is AUGUST and I have to get all the things done or they won’t get done for a long time… it is still summer for me!  I want to make the most of it.  I took my son to an amazing art and technology exhibit in DC (see above picture), and I certainly plan more days in the sun before it is up.  As everyone is back in school mode, there have been SO many great posts this week!  Here are my favorites:

  • I am SO glad that Amy is blogging again!  I shared her post on Facebook, Twitter and NOW here!  The most important paragraph is the last one.
  • The seasons of teaching is another valuable post to read.
  • I always admire Sara-Elizabeth’s honesty, and I appreciate the boundaries that she has drawn.  It is so important for us as teachers to realize our limits.
  • I have been loving using Flipgrid recently.  Check out this post for many more ideas that I hadn’t even thought of!

And some more posts of mine from about this same time:

  • Some of the ways that I use the app Seesaw in my classes
  • Over 70 #authres that I have used in class! (Hopefully I will update this soon!)
  • Some reflections from NTPRS
  • How to use Pinterest for teachers (or craft projects!)
Posted in beginning of the year

First Day of School activities (and my goal!)

First day of school plans (and a goal)

Now that August has hit, it seems like everything is falling back into place.  As usual, I have been inspired with a lot of back to school resources by other bloggers, and I have been inspired by taking a shower (as per usual!)  The first day of school we have shortened classes.  Our schedule hasn’t been released yet, but I have tentative plans that I can lengthen or shorten based on our actual schedule.  Here are my ideas so far:

For all of my classes, I plan to be by the door with Spanish music playing in my class.  I also will be able to make sure that they are all in the correct place- especially my freshmen students!  I also always want to reiterate that even though I RARELY orally take attendance especially as the first thing, that is ALWAYS the first thing I do on the first day of school.  I would hate for a student to sit through the majority of my class to find out that they had me for a different block or were supposed to be next door!  I always explain this to them at the beginning of class, and I believe that it goes a long way to establish that I care about them.

For Spanish I, I want to start with the presentation from Creative Language Class.  After that, I will have a few big pieces of paper for them to brainstorm in small groups any words that they already know in Spanish.  This will give them a nice break from listening to me (and all of their other teachers on the first day!)  After this, I will have them make name tags with a few items that they like, so we can start discussing this.  This is based on Ben Slavic’s circling with balls that Scott Benedict also does a good job of explaining.

For Spanish II, I plan on keeping most of my same plan from last year.  I will do the Soy Yo activity along with the play doh activity on Seesaw.  It was a lot of fun, and it sets a good tone for the class.

I will be honest.  Spanish V was a hard one to tackle.  Everyone discusses the early levels because that is what most teachers teach.  In addition, I have taught the majority of my students before, so I didn’t want to do anything too much like an icebreaker either.  Most of these students know each other as well since I will not have any new to our school students.  Finally, it hit me!  I plan on creating a Pear Deck with the following information.  I want to show a picture of me when I was a junior/senior in high school which is their current age.  That always breaks the ice because everyone likes to see old pictures.  I plan on sharing why I started taking Spanish (it was the only foreign language that they would let me take in 7th grade… I really wanted to take Latin!) and why I kept taking it (pretty much, so I could major in Spanish in college, so I could study abroad for a semester in Spain.)  Sometimes, it would seem that we are so different from our students.  While I definitely loved speaking a foreign language, I didn’t keep taking it for the pure love of grammar structures.  Also, I can share that awkward feeling of when your parents try to force you to speak Spanish in any restaurant that they believe has someone else who speaks Spanish in it.

After explaining that, I want to give them the opportunity to anonymously share why they decided to take the course via Pear Deck and what they hope to get out of the class.  Pear Deck is great because I can see why all of the students are taking the class, but their responses are anonymous.  Also, this gives them some think time to start writing in Spanish instead of expecting them to speak right away.  Spanish V is obviously an elective for all students as they could have stopped taking a language a long time ago.  I want to know why they decided to sign up for it when they had a lot of options.  Finally, I plan on giving each student a sticky note to write one goal that they have for the end of the year or something that they want to improve.  I want them to display this on the bulletin board.  This can serve as a reminder why they are in the class throughout the year.  The second day, I want them to craft an introduction to me via Seesaw.  I am interested in learning their proficiency levels of Spanish as many students are coming to me from different classes.  By looking at their writing, I can start crafting ways for them to improve.

Finally, while I have a lot of goals for my school year, I have a BIG one for my first day of school.  Even though this will be my 11th year teaching, I always get really nervous before my first day of school.  I have crazy nightmares (starting in July) where I cannot find my own class.  I also do not sleep well the night before school starts.  My goal this year is to focus on relaxing and looking forward to seeing my students.  I am really excited to teach some of my same students as juniors and seniors that I taught when they were in 8th grade!  I want to focus on my excitement with being able to work with these amazing students again and not worry too much about the details!  Hopefully if I am conscious about it, it will happen for me!  Do you have any first day of school goals?  Plans?  Share away!  I can’t wait to hear them.

Posted in beginning of the year

Syllabi changes and tentative plans

Adobe Spark (21)

I have been mulling over this post all summer.  Now that August hits, I finally kick into high gear (and hopefully this burst of energy will keep me going throughout the month).  Luckily for me, we do not go back until after Labor Day.  I wanted to share a few things that I have been getting together.  While I will not start with the syllabus on the first day, I like to decide on that first before I make my first day plans (although these are coming together nicely as well recently.)

First, I have updated my syllabi.  (This was my syllabus from last year inspired heavily by Wendy.)  I have used Piktochart again because I liked it so much last year.  Next year, I am teaching Spanish I, Spanish II and Spanish V.  I updated a few things.  First, I changed my grading policy.  Last year, I felt too much pressure to turn certain parts of an IPA into a test to put it in that traditional category.  It was also hard to always discern an area where a student was struggling due to having only categories like quiz and test.  I decided to make three separate categories for interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.  In addition this year, I minimized my homework and classwork percentage.  I cannot completely distance myself from giving a portion of the grade for these assignments, but it was too big of a portion of their grade in previous years.  For both Spanish I and Spanish II, I did:

  • Homework and classwork 15%
  • Exam 20% (department policy)
  • Interpersonal 21%
  • Presentational 22%
  • Interpretive 22%

I believe that interpersonal is the hardest for novice students, so that is how I ended up with a slightly lower percentage.  I dropped the homework and classwork percentage for Spanish V.  The percentages will look like this:

  • Homework and classwork 10%
  • Exam 20%
  • Interpretive 23%
  • Presentational 23%
  • Interpersonal 24%

Since they are older and many of them really want to work on their ability to speak spontaneously in Spanish, I upped the interpersonal category slightly.  I am excited to see how it works out.  I thought about lumping them all into one category, but I worry that that may be more intimidating.  I know that it will force me to make sure that I balance out all modes when I am assessing.  I also won’t have to grade as much at once when I had to give a “test.”  This will allow me to give better feedback each time.

In addition to updating my grading policy, I provided a list of topics to cover since we will be textbookless.  I think this will give them a better idea of what to expect and to see that we do have a plan and a guide that I plan on covering.  I did leave it slightly open since that is the beauty of not having a textbook.  We can afford the liberty of not having to make it to chapter 10 or the like.  Here is my rough outline of topics for each class.

In Spanish I, my plan is:

  • Sports and activities
  • Clothes/descriptions
  • Family/descriptions
  • Piratas y el mapa secreto novel
  • Food
  • House
  • El ekeko un misterio boliviano novel

I am hoping to weave both weather and time in the beginning of class as well as school unit because the classes are all cognates.  I figure that I can sprinkle the objects in the class throughout with a little TPR as well.  My rough end of the year IPA idea is to have some sort of introduction to a family during a study abroad.

In Spanish II, my plan is:

  • Netflix unit from last year (somewhat of a review)
  • Daily routine
  • City
  • Billy y las botas graphic novel
  • Vacation
  • Restaurant
  • Airport
  • Blanca Nieves

I am hoping to find some time to teach Señor Wooly’s newest graphic novel, too!  The end of the year IPA will involve planning a trip as well.  I also may put Blanca Nieves a bit earlier in the year if it ends up working that way.

Finally, my Spanish V is the most loose plan because I am going to go with some of the students’ ideas for topics.  I do know that we will start with the novel Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido and art then move from there.  My tentative list is:

  • Frida Kahlo and art
  • Legends
  • Lucha libre
  • La calaca alegre
  • Gastronomy
  • News

Whew!  I am exhausted and excited thinking about all of this planning for the upcoming year!  I love any feedback that you have with your classes as well or any changes about your grading policy.

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: July 28, 2017

Brillante Viernes July 28

It is the last Friday in July!  I know this summer is flying by, and some teachers are already going back to school.  I am still at the beach, but I am also starting to focus on back to school and will have some posts coming in the next few weeks to help people who start in early August.  Also, I hope to have an updated syllabus for my levels 1, 2, and 5.  If you are looking for a free template, check this out!

  • I love this post on how to get going especially when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Kristy’s post about how she uses discussion is great.  I especially relate to her second paragraph.
  • Laura attended the same workshop that I did!  Here are her takeaways and questions.
  • How one school transitioned to an oral proficiency based program

Flashback Friday!