Online review game for fast finishers

Review Game Zone for Fast Finishers

Typically, I like to have activities ready for students who finish early.  I have had Zondle available, but it recently folded unfortunately.  Last year, I stuck with Quizlet and Quia, but students didn’t play Quia as much.  They also became bored with Quizlet ALL the time.

Recently, I found Review Game Zone.  I like it because you can set up a class to see student progress.  I also like the multiple different games that the site provides (about 15 total).  Teachers can create multiple choice questions, or draw from a bank of multiple choice questions.  Students can choose the game to play.  They answer a question correctly to be able to play.  I feel that it imitates many games that students enjoy playing.  (I enjoyed the tower stacking game myself!)  In the past, I would have students play these games at home as well for fun.  Plus, it is free!

Many Spanish games already exist.  While many of these games focus on grammar or vocabulary, I would encourage teachers to create a game that focused on a novel or a reading.  Teachers could also create a game describing a vocabulary word instead of sticking to translation to practice more circumlocution.  In the end, these games are perfect for students who are done, but many times, students end up “playing” more than answering questions.

Brillante Viernes: August 19, 2016

Brillante Viernes: August 19

Happy Friday!  This week has been full of ups and downs including a broken A/C in this heat wave and finding out that my proposal about using technology in a proficiency classroom was accepted by NECTFL!  NYC here I come (in February!)  Next week, I will start my last week of summer.  I cannot believe it, but I am SO excited for the new school year.  I am also excited to see my colleagues.  Here are some of my favorite recent posts:

Highlighting a few old posts from back in the day on this blog:

Rethinking my feedback for students

Focusing on feedback in a FL class

As I have been using Integrated Performance Assessments, it has been easier to give specific feedback to students.  It is important to have a good rubric, but once you do, it gives you specific points to give feedback to your students.  As I am giving more feedback via these rubrics, I want to continue to work on this aspect.  I read a lot of articles from TeachThought that have helped to guide some points that I want to focus on this year.  I am going to evaluate myself as I evaluate my students and start with the positive then move on to what I want to improve.

  • I always find something positive to say to each student, and I typically can find areas to improve.  I never just focus on what students need to do to improve.
  • I have also focused on one or two specific areas to improve even if the student has more problems in multiple aspects.  If you critique too many things, it leads to students becoming overwhelmed.
  • This year, I want to try to give a bit more “pre” feedback before the assessments.  With interpersonal assessments, the students complete a fishbowl activity.  (They talk about a given topic in two groups.)  I want to use Amy Lenord’s interpersonal feedback.  While I will not have time to add notes, I will be able to give students a few items to concentrate on during their interpersonal assessment.  After the assessment, I will give them more specific details.
  • I created a presentational writing feedback that I modeled after the rubric that my school uses and inspired by Amy’s feedback form.  I want to use this from time to time to give them updates on their journal entries.  (This is included at the end of the post.)
  • I also want to create a folder to collect student’s feedback.  This will allow them to see progress.  This way, they will have something to reference as they are trying to improve.
  • One of the articles mentioned to use the sentence starter “I noticed…”  I like this to use.  Also, Amy shared this great list of positive words, so I don’t become repetitive giving feedback or writing comments!
  • Finally, I want to create an ongoing list of what students can do in class and at home to improve each aspect of the list.  For example, if students want to work on their pronunciation, they can sing along to songs at home and listen to native speaker audio clips.  Or I want to encourage students to ask more questions about the prompt if they are not completing all parts of it.

My goal is to give students specific ways to improve.  As I continue to move away from traditional grammar and vocabulary assessments, I need to provide a path for students to improve.  I cannot assume that my students know how to do it on their own.

presentational writing feedback

Summer Reading: The Language Teacher Toolkit

Summer Reading: The Language Teacher Toolkit

Last week, I just finished The Language Teacher Toolkit by Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti.  I started it earlier in the year but just now had the time to finish it all.  It was a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it for any language educator or soon-to-be educator.  After reading it, I felt validated as a teacher as well as inspired to use many of their ideas.

This book covers almost all aspects of language teaching, and it covers many different styles.  I found that it was well-balanced, and the authors recommend this balanced approach to language teaching.  They mention many popular teaching theories and discuss the merits of these theories.  It also gives examples of many practical ideas to implement into your practice.  All of the suggestions that they provide are backed up by research.  Both Conti and Smith provide this research without getting too bogged down in the details to make it pedantic. As you can see before, I already started using more tongue twisters in class (and my students really enjoyed them!).  I also found a new to me game and ideas for how to use more songs in my class.  I added many sticky notes to the reading section as well as the listening section to shake up my activities with these topics.

This book is beneficial for any new teacher or veteran because there is something that I could use in my class the next day easily.  I did not have to finish the book before I could start using some of the strategies.  I know that I will also keep this book on my bookshelf when I am planning and use it to reference when I feel overwhelmed or my teaching feels monotonous.  It felt like going to a comprehensive conference where I came away with many new ideas- for $35!   Still not sure?  Check out this excerpt from the book!

Brillante Viernes: August 12, 2016

Brillante Viernes: August 12

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone back is having great first weeks!  I have a few more weeks, and I feel like I am “nesting!”  I am fixing a few freezer meals and doing all my laundry because it won’t get done the first two weeks back!  Plus I try to set some time aside to really relax and take time to appreciate the last week.  What is your “must do” activity to get ready for the school year?  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

A flashback to this time in previous years on my blog…

Netflix Unit: Part III

Netflix Unit for Novices: Part 3

This is the last part of my unit before my students complete the final IPA.  I have given the details of my final IPA here as well as the first part of my unit.  The second part of my unit is listed here.

The last part of my unit will consist of reviewing how to say likes and dislikes.  I will finish the week with an interpersonal bootcamp using likes and dislikes.  In order to prepare my students for the bootcamp, I will complete these following activities:

I like to talk about likes and dislikes because we can talk about movies, but we can also discuss other topics from previous years.  After all of this, I feel that my students should be ready to complete the final IPA.

Noticias: Los Juegos Olímpicos

Noticias: Los Juegos Olímpicos

I wanted to share my most recent take on “noticias” when I wrote up a few articles about the Olympic games for teachers who are back in school, and can talk about the Olympics!  I discussed Honduras’ hope for a gold medal, the first person from Latin America to win a gold medal in these Olympics as well as a pretty awesome motocross Olympian from Colombia!  I also gave a bit of information about some of the Latino athletes competing for the United States.  I tried Adobe Spark this time for my presentation.

I also wanted to share a few authentic sites that you can use in your class for further conversation:

  • Here is the official Olympic website in Spanish.
  • Colombia has good coverage of the Olympics as well.
  • Telemundo Deportes also has excellent video coverage of the games.

Enjoy and go USA!

Netflix Unit: Part II

Netflix Unit: Part 2

The next week, I want to focus on describing what is happening and focus on action verbs.  I also want students to be able to classify different movies/TV shows.  At the end of the week, I will have an interpretive reading assessment.  Students will be interpreting movie and/or TV reviews.  They will also have a shorter writing piece where they describe what is happening in a clip.

I plan on doing the following activities to prepare them:

  • I will either use the guide that I created for De que te quiero te quiero or create a new one for another telenovela.  My goal is to have students understanding clips from actual shows, and I create a reading type guide to do so.  I also plan to have students also describing some parts to their partner.
  • Zachary Jones has a lot of great resources where students plan out their trip to the movie theater.
  • This webpage from Bolivia lists current movies with summaries.  It would be easy to give generic interpretive questions (who, what etc) and allow students to choose their movie (within reason!).  You could also create specific questions and have all students read the same review.
  • Also, I found a few video clips of vloggers discussing what to watch on Netflix.  One girl covers her favorite make-up, food and programs, and this man covers his favorite programs.

You can see my previous week plans here as well as my final IPA which serves as my final goal for my students.  I will be publishing the final week before the IPA tomorrow.

Brillante Viernes: August 5, 2016

Brillante Viernes: Aug 5

Happy Friday!  I hope you had a good week!  My son and I are in Virginia Beach for our last big summer trip.  I have a lot of teacher reading to catch up on, so I can do so on the beach!  How is your summer ending?  Here are some of my favorite posts that I read this week:

  • I am so happy that Mike Peto started a website with comprehensible input books!  I recently saw a tweet filled with books that I hadn’t heard of and didn’t know where to find.  I will be adding some of these to my FVR library.
  • Check out this Amazing Race– it is so AWESOME!
  • This is an interesting post about how our teaching should adjust to the “Google generation.”
  • If you aren’t following along, here are some #AuthResAugust posts!  Don’t forget to share yours!

#fbf to some of my previous posts:

Beginning of the Year Unit for Novices: NETFLIX!

Netflix Unit for Novices: Part I

I have been trying to decide where to begin my year with Spanish 2.  I wanted to do some sort of pop culture unit because I love pop culture!  Plus, I believe that pop culture easily lends itself to culture comparisons as well.  After mulling over a couple of ideas, I determined to use Netflix/movies and TV as my beginning unit.  I can cover many of the grammar topics that my fellow colleagues cover as a review unit as well.

I will share my final assessment for my students as well as breaking down how I will build up to the final IPA:

My final IPA will consist of:

  • Interpretive: Read two descriptions of shows on Netflix and analyze them.
  • Interpersonal Writing: Compare with a partner via table texting which show you would like to see and why (from the previous two shows.)
  • Presentational Writing: Write a review of a show that you watched on Netflix.  Give a brief summary, describe a character and why you liked it or did not like it.

My first week will revolve around describing characters in different series.  Their first assessment will be a presentational writing assignment.  They will have to describe the characters in a series that they choose as their final goal.

In the first unit, I want to do the following activities:

  • I need to spend some time reviewing the presentational rubric and where students should be writing.  I want to give examples as well.
  • I also will start with La Persona Especial.
  • Students will also read some of the fichas on their favorite celebrities.  They will answer questions about each celebrity.
  • Students will practice writing by journaling in Seesaw.
  • I also create a PearDeck (an interactive slideshow) with celebrities for students to describe.  You could also just create a powerpoint and have students speak or use whiteboards.
  • Thanks to Musicuentos’ #AuthResAugust, I found this Twitter account that highlights different Mexicans.  It is so awesome!  (This week is Isaac Hernández a dancer.)