Posted in beginning of the year

Details: Part III, Unit I Spanish I Introductions and Activities

Details Part III, Unit I Spanish I: Introductions and Activities

This is my fourth post about my first unit that I have planned for level 1.  You can find my preliminary post here, the first set of details here, and the third post here.

I am making my way through my first unit.  I just gave my first interpretive assessment on Friday.  It went well!  I want to continue to work on the purpose of the article.  Also, I want to start working with students on identifying where they found information in the article.  I did not do that before, so I am marking that for the next interpretive reading assessment.  I also stuck a free write in the plans to start working on students’ writing.

The last can do focuses on dates and time- while still recycling likes.  We have been discussing the dates throughout this unit.  We also did a quick review of the months with Quizlet Live.  I have a few activities bookmarked to continue to practice dates.  I also found this authentic resource talking about school dates in Argentina  (last few pages).  We will be able to compare when we start school versus the trimester dates of Argentina.  Also, as always Zachary Jones has some great resources about comparing schedules in many different countries including Argentina.  I mentioned this resource about Independence dates that I used years ago.  I like this because it is also timely with Hispanic Heritage Month as a way to explain why it is from September 15-October 15.  Also for times and dates, I like to look at TV schedules like this one.  Students can also discuss what they like or dislike on TV.

Using this awesome MovieTalk database, I found this clip about an annoyed penguin.  I will start the week with this short video.  It is easy to use penguin because it is a cognate.  We can also work on the phrase- No le gusta/n.  Also, this will allow us to work with ¿cómo está?

My outline for the MovieTalk consists of:

Hay un pingüino grande.  Hay tres pingüinos pequeños.  Hace frío.  Está nublado.  Al pingüino grande no le gustan los pingüinos pequeños.  Los pingüinos pequeños saltan mucho.  Saltan muchas veces.  Al pingüino grande no le gusta saltar.  Tampoco le gusta el entusiasmo.  Está mal.  Está frustrado.  Los pingüinos pequeños saltan.  Finalmente, el pingüino grande lanza un pingüino pequeño.  Hay una ballena grande.  Es posible que la ballena coma el pingüino.  ¿Qué hacen los pingüinos pequeños?

I plan on drawing this as I explain it which is a bit more like some of the story listening techniques.  I did the same thing with the first chapter of Frida Kahlo, and it seemed much more engaging for students.

As we continue to work through students’ likes and dislikes, I will do a 1-3-5 free write (a variation of 1-3-10.)  When we do free writes, I like to have students write on a piece of paper then I can have students upload a picture to Seesaw.  Also, to help students improve their writing, I am going to have them read a lot of summaries about their classmates’ likes and dislikes.  Since their final assessment will be a version of a free write, I will focus my efforts here.  Going forward, we can focus more on a variety of aspects of language.  Initially, I just want students to put down what they can.  Their final assessment will involve writing what they like to do based on a schedule (like the TV schedule or class schedule) and also a free write of what their peers like.

As I continue to work with this unit, I will update this and finally, I will reflect on any changes that I want to make at the end of the unit.  Hope this helps you if you are doing a similar unit.  If you have done something similar, also let me know the activities that you planned!


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 15, 2017

Brillante Viernes: September 15

¡Es viernes!  It has been a long week with our back to school night on Thursday night.  This year (and last), I decided to do a Kahoot with parents.  I found this fun Kahoot on cognates and copied it.  Parents seem to enjoy it- and it gives them a different view of how we use technology now in the classroom.  I also pass out the students’ Seesaw codes as well.  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

Flashback Friday from my blog:

  • How it helps me to write down questions before a MovieTalk
  • I tried to project my class objectives, but I found it was easier to remind myself what I was doing by rewriting them
  • Beginning of the year info gap for my level 2
  • How to practice dates using dates of independence for Spanish-speaking countries


Posted in Technology

PearDeck Vocabulary

PearDeck Vocabulary

I have posted about how much I enjoy PearDeck before!  Today, I used it to survey my classes about their likes and dislikes before discussing it as a class.  However, their new addition- PearDeck vocabulary- is great for many classes especially foreign language classes.  It will allow ALL students to engage in creating pictures and creating examples of vocabulary.  Plus, once you copy and paste your Quizlet list into PearDeck- that is all that you need to do for prep!  Instead of starting with a new deck, you can start with the vocabulary.  Then, you can start with any Quizlet list that you have.  Click on the three dots for more then export in Quizlet, then copy the box at the bottom of the page.  It will look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.12.08 PM

You can paste that into your PearDeck set, and you are ready to go!  When you open the PearDeck vocabulary with your class, they will all log in in the same way that they log into a regular PearDeck:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.13.37 PM

After everyone joins, you can click clock in.  Students are divided into groups- night shift and day shift.  Within the groups, they are also paired up.  If a student does not have a pair, it is ok as well.  This is what the screen looks like.  I encourage you to have the pairs sit together to help.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.15.09 PM.png

Once you click on Let’s Play, this screen appears:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.17.07 PM.png

Each student works on a picture of the vocabulary word or a definition in Spanish/example of the word.  You could also have them use it in a sentence accurately depending on the level of the students.  Below you can see my attempts to do so!



Once the partners (or individuals of those working by themselves) finish, they see the finish product and ship it off!


Once you have all of the words finished or you finish for a set period of time, you will get to do quality control.  Each drawing, word and definition pops up, then as a class, the class votes on whether or not it works together.  You can click the check or X for each one.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.21.31 PM

Once you vote on all of them, the ones that you approve are exported to Quizlet!  It is a really neat integration.  Also, a “shift” wins.  I will say that overall, my students really liked it, and I plan on using it throughout the year.  I want to change up the approval process because many people tended to not always pay attention.  I may make signs for them to vote.  I had my students work for about 15 minutes then we voted for about 5-7 minutes.

The only downfall is this is in beta currently… but get on the list!  My fellow teachers moved up the list and got access pretty quickly.  This is the perfect technology tool that enhances instruction, encourages collaboration and involves all students.

Posted in noticias, Textbookless

Two downloads: Unit template and Noticias

Unit template noticias downloads

This weekend, I have been working on two different downloads.  Instead of writing two separate posts, I am including both here!  As I move away from my textbook, I want to have a concrete way to communicate the can do statements for each unit along with key vocabulary.  This also allows for extension vocabulary and students to create their own personalized vocabulary.  I have decided to come up with a unit page for each unit.  This will allow my students (and their parents) to have something to reference.  Here is my unit template page.  This is what my first unit for Spanish I looks like.  I am sure that I will continue to edit it as I go through the year.

In addition, this weekend, I also put together a news page for the news from this past week.  I included articles on Hurricane Irma and its impact on the Caribbean, the earthquake in Mexico, Gustavo Fernandez’s loss in the US Open and a short article on Peruvian Gastronomy Day.  I have included the PDF below.  Hope you can use it this week in your classes!

Noticias 11 de septiembre

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 8, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Sept 8, 2017

I just finished up two days of field trips for the whole 10th grade class where I was in charge of organizing it.  Whew!  I have been looking forward to this weekend!  Everything ended up great- but it is certainly stressful.  In the end, the time that I got to spend with the students was really amazing, and I am impressed with the great attitudes that we had with on the community service trip.  Here are some of my favorite blogs that I got to read this week:

  • Any time Meredith writes something, I read it right away!
  • I am excited to play around with Quizlet Diagram this year.
  • Love this fun food unit that Laura used with her novice students!
  • I want to keep evolving my music ideas to get away from cloze activities.  Here are 10 awesome ideas!

Flashback Friday on my own blog!

Posted in Technology

Mentimeter: Fun presentation tool

Adobe Spark (34)

I have appreciated the time that our principals put into planning back to school meetings that made them innovative.  One of our assistant principals used the tool Mentimeter and I instantly fell in love with it!  I really liked a lot of the features, and they were easily apply to foreign language classes.  Mentimeter is a presentation tool that allows you to interact with all members of your class or audience by using 1:1 devices.  Students could use laptops, tablets, or phones.  They each log in using the code provided by Mentimeter, and then you can get started!  You pace the questions, and the students follow along and reply to your questions.  You can also see what students have said because all students sign in.

Mentimeter has some similar features of other presentation tools where you can ask students multiple choice questions or polls.  Within the questions, you could include a video or picture to ask a question.  You could also allow students to vote on more than one option.  Instead of having words for each choice, you could also have students vote from a variety of pictures.  This would be fun if you are working with an ideal vacation, houses or even just for paintings or sculptures!  While reading a novel, you could have students pick out how they envision the characters from the book.  Or who would play each character in a movie adaption!

One of my favorite question types was that you could have students enter individual words on their device, and Mentimeter will display a word cloud on the projector of all of the words combined.  As more students enter their words, words that are frequently mentioned appear larger and larger.  This would be amazing to brainstorm previous vocabulary to activate before a new unit.  You could have students pick out key words from an authentic resource reading or story.  Students could also describe characters as well.  The possibilities are endless- and it is fun to watch the words appear.  Also, they have a profanity filter which is always reassuring.

Another fun feature that I saw on Mentimeter that I haven’t seen on other presentation tools is “who will win.”  You can give students multiple choices, and they can vote on who they think will win.  Then only the “winner” is displayed with a trophy and some confetti.  This would be fun before a big game like the Super Bowl or local sporting events.  You could also use this before the big celebrity events like the Latin Grammys.  Or at the beginning of the week- everyone could vote on their favorite lunch menu for the week.

Finally, my other favorite feature is that students can react to the slides that you include with type or images.  You can choose the reactions that the students can use, but they include a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, a question mark or a cat (just for fun!)  You could have students react to quotes or memes in the target language.  You could also have students react with just a question to see if anyone was confused.  I would caution you that once the students react, the reaction is animated.  If you want students to really focus on the slide, you might want to take off the reactions for that particular slide.  But they are fun to include on some slides!

In addition, the program has a variety of typical presentational questions: open-ended questions that display all students’ responses,  scales, and quiz questions that provide a question for all students to answer with a countdown timer.  However, many of your questions can also include a picture or a video (in Beta) which is awesome for FL classes.

I think that it is pretty intuitive to use, but I wanted to include a few screenshots to get you started.  When you log-in, your screen will look like this.  You can choose the teal button that says “new presentation.”

Mentimeter opening screen

The next screen includes all of the different types of slides that you can include in your presentation.

Mentimeter slide 2

You can choose a theme, and as you create the slides they will appear in the section on the left.  Once you choose a specific type of slide such as quiz, you will switch from type to content.  Within the content side, you can choose specific settings to that type of question.  To get back to the options, you can click on type for question type.

Content question

This is the zoomed in version of the quiz questions.  Once you are done, you can click on present!  I highly encourage you to check out this program!  I am excited to integrate it into my classes this year, and I would enjoy hearing how you have used it as well. Edited to add (thanks to Wendy!) on the free plan you could only add two questions per free edition. You could create multiple presentations if you want to add more questions!


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 1, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Sept 1, 2017

Whew!  Happy Friday!  This week was really rough for me.  I felt like I was working so hard yet overlooking a lot of details no matter how many times I checked things.  But then… we welcomed new students to our school, and it went amazing.  And my mentee teacher who is teaching Chinese (and is also amazing) this year offered to put the bulletin board paper up which was pretty much one item that I was dreading!  Also, our CPR group started dancing disco to the song Stayin Alive.  And even with all of the craziness and my hectic schedule, I was constantly reminded that I didn’t have to do all of it alone and that I have some really amazing people to help me.  So clearly, I did not finish my blog posts for this week (except for this one!) But I can’t wait to finish my first unit next week and talk about another cool technology tool that one of our Assistant Principals used.  Without further ado… some great posts for your long weekend!

  • I completely agree with Courtney’s post about stopping the shame game.
  • I love Matt’s first post on Path2Proficiency and even though it is about Chinese, so many other teachers can learn from it!  (And he is from Maryland!!)
  • I can completely relate to Valerie’s post about the vocabulary list and sounds very similar to my plan this year.
  • If you aren’t going back until next week- check out this first day stations!  It could also be used throughout the year for station ideas.

My posts from previous years:

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 25, 2017

Brillante Viernes August 25

Happy Friday!!  Congratulations to everyone who has made it through another school week!  I went back part time to help with my new mentee teacher and tie up some loose ends with our beginning of the year experiential education trips… and I was SO exhausted!  My husband and son were literally running around me as I lay on the couch useless.  Hope you have time this weekend to catch up on your favorite blogs and relax!

And a flashback to previous years here on the blog:

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