Posted in noticias

Noticias: October 23, 2017

Noticias 23 de octubre

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!  I put together a shorter group of articles for Monday.  I helped to host EdCampMetroDC on Saturday, so I couldn’t dedicate as much to this edition.  But, I think it will be friendlier for level 1.  In this edition, I included:

  • The sea of plastic off the coast of Honduras
  • The parade of alebrijes in Mexico City
  • The newest baseball stadium in Nicaragua

To extend it, check out some of these alebrijes from the parade!  They would be perfect for a picture talk to discuss what animals they see in each float.  If you notice any mistakes, please tell me, so I can fix them!  I realized a headline was wrong a few weeks ago!  Here is the PDF:

Noticias 23 de octubre

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 20, 2017

Brillante Viernes Oct 20

Happy Friday!  I hope that you have had a wonderful week!  Tomorrow is EdCamp Metro DC, and it isn’t too late to join us.  Plus, it is free, and we provide breakfast.  It is the best deal in the area.  If you don’t live around DC, there are a lot of regional conferences for foreign language.  Don’t forget to check out these following blogs from this week:

  • Arianne has some amazing resources including this blog about a new MovieTalk.
  • So many FL teachers use Google Slides.  Have you seen the newest add-ons?
  • As I am moving away from whole class vocabulary lists, I appreciate this post from Creative Language Class.
  • Have you been listening to the We Teach Languages podcast?  The latest one from Paul Sandrock was great, and he articulated many things that I have noticed.
  • On Facebook, Erica shared this wonderful page of Día de los Muertos materials.

And now some of my posts from previous years:

Posted in No Prep Required, Technology

Quick tip: Google Forms for Stories

Google forms for stories

I am definitely run down.  I have been battling a headache on and off for a bit that has made it difficult to get everything done.  I am sure that you have had weeks that are similar.  I saw Martina’s blog about having students write true/false statements about a storyboard.  I wanted to do this, but I wanted it to be zero prep for me (other than the story!)  I decided to use Google Forms.  I also believe that knowing how to make a Google Form is an important life skill (probably because I love them so much!)

I have students create a five question quiz on the reading that must be either true/false or multiple choice in Google Forms.  In forms to make it a quiz, you can change the settings under the gear.  I also have students keep the option to release scores immediately:

settings- google forms

change form to quiz.png

Then when students add questions, they can choose the correct answer and assign points.  I give them flexibility when they assign points, and some go crazy.

answer key.png

Once they hit answer key, it looks like this, so they can select the correct answer and assign points:

answer key screenshot

Then, they can click back for “edit question” to add more questions.  They sent their forms to everyone in the class, and then they completed the other forms.  Therefore, they were getting more repetitions of the story.  Plus, they would ask some harder questions than I did.  The students enjoyed tricking each other and seeing the results.  In my first block, the students were surprised when class was over!  Also, once I set up the activity, students could run it themselves.


Posted in Review

Review: La Casa de la Dentista

Review of.png

I am obsessed with all blogs- not just foreign language blogs.  I love Pioneer Woman, Cup of Jo, Iowa Girl Eats etc etc.  And, it was fascinating to me that they would be offered amazing items!  Food treats, trips to fun places, slippers- you name it!  I obviously did not expect that being a Spanish teacher blogger.  But then, it happened to me- and I was offered something even better than a free trip.  I was offered an ADVANCED copy of La Casa de la Dentista by Señor Wooly!!!!  And, I ran next door to the Latin teachers and did a happy dance twice.  And, I dragged a girl out of her study hall who I taught last year to tell her about it.  It is that wonderful for multiple reasons.

Last year, I taught Billy y las botas- which was Señor Wooly’s first graphic novel.  It was a game changer for me.  I felt like I finally taught a novel successfully.  Part of it was due to the fact that I watched Señor Wooly’s series on How to teach with a graphic novel.  (There are some awesome ideas there even if you aren’t teaching with a graphic novel!)  The students were engaged, and it became even easier to talk about the pictures in the book because there were a fair amount of pages or boxes that didn’t have words just images.  My students really enjoyed a novel for the first time.  I will say that this was part of my journey learning how to teach a novel successfully, but I believe that the fact that this was a graphic novel helped me and my students.

Therefore, when I saw that Señor Wooly was making another graphic novel, I quickly tweeted my department chair to see if I could order a set.  I had already ordered this set when Señor Wooly reached out to me about his newest graphic novel.  I received it Thursday night and read it right then.  (Sorry to my son who had to play Lego Batman by himself for a little bit while I read it!)  Unlike Billy y las botas novel which follows closer to the story line of the song, the song of La Dentista only occurs in the beginning of the book.  You wouldn’t actually have to know that it was a song to appreciate the novel.

Overall, I was invested in the story throughout the whole novel.  There were some really incredible scenes by the artist Juan Carlos Pinilla. Although he also did the artwork for Billy y las botas, I was really staring at a few pages in La Dentista to take it all in.  The details are pretty amazing- that means more time for you to really talk to your students about the illustrations on each page.  As Señor Wooly mentions in his graphic novel series, the big difference between teaching a graphic novel and a regular novel is that the graphic novel gives you the opportunity to talk about the pictures in addition to the text.  I relied upon the teachers’ guide when I was teaching Billy to really help me talk about all of the pictures.

La casa de la dentista
This is one of my favorite details! My phone doesn’t even do it justice!

In addition, La Dentista is definitely a page turner!  Since the story line is a lot different than the actual music video, I had no clue what would happen on the next page.  In class, I could imagine getting to some of those scenes at the very end of the bell.  Then telling the students to hand back the book.  They will ALL want to know more.  What a great cliffhanger in class!  (Although, this also happened in Billy y las botas!  I would have to pretend be mad at students and tell them- don’t read ahead!!)

I know that some teachers may be worried that it is too scary for their students.  It is geared for 6th grade and up.  I watched some scary movies as a teenager, but overall I don’t watch a lot of scary movies now.  Actually, I sat by the fire the last time I had to chaperone a trip to the Haunted Forest.  I would say that if it wasn’t too scary for me (more page-turning than scary really), it wouldn’t be too scary for the majority of your MS/HS students.

Finally- how will I use this in my class?  I realize that I am lucky to have both Billy y las botas and La Casa de la Dentista.  It is an easy choice if you teach elementary students.  You can just choose Billy y las botas.  For my Spanish II students, I want to teach both graphic novels.  I did think about doing literature circles where students could choose between Billy or Dentista.  This would be a good option if you have some students who really hate horror stories.  However, I would caution you to make sure that you are available to really discuss some of the pictures.  As far as the level, I taught Billy easily in my level 2 class in December last year.  In my opinion, you could teach either book at the end of level 1, during level 2 or at the beginning of level 3.  If you are going to divide it between levels, I would teach Billy in level 1 and Dentista in level 2.  I know that there were a lot of my Spanish 5 students who I taught in MS that were excited to see Billy y las botas for FVR, too.

Want to order it?  You can order it off Señor Wooly’s website!  It is on pre-order, and it will be available by November.  If you have any questions about level, appropriateness etc, feel free to reach out to me.

Disclaimer: I did receive an advance hard copy for this review, but the opinions are all mine.  Jim was VERY clear that he wanted an honest opinion about the book.  I only recommend this book because I love it that much  And I did pay for the subscription and teacher’s guide by myself because I love them that much!

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 13, 2017

Brillante Viernes Oct 13

It’s Friday the 13th- and in October!  For us near DC, it is finally feeling like fall and not that humid.  Also, Homecoming is behind us, and so it seems like we can finally get into a routine.  For my DC Metro readers- we are planning a fall conference!  It is October 21 at Lowell School and free!  In the mean time, here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • Did you see the free ezine that Martina is planning?  I already had my students sign up!
  • These ideas to get students to speak in Spanish are great.  I am going to use #2 next week.
  • I love this idea of a student generated vocabulary list for upper levels.
  • I was listening to the We Teach Languages podcast, and then I heard a similar idea mentioned on Musicuentos that explains how to do mini goals and scaffolding.
  • I found two great tips from Facebook that I am using/have used ASAP!  The amazing Meredith White gives students two different copies of text and has them identify the differences between them.  I love that idea!  Bill Langley also has students make columns for Me gusta/no me gusta then plays recipe videos in Spanish.  The students can add to the list of items that they like and don’t like.  It is a great way to learn more words!  I did this when we had a little extra time today due to schedules.


Posted in Favorites

Keeping the end in sight

Keeping the end in sight

It can be a rough time of year– DEVOLSON if you follow Love, Teach blog.  It is a time that teachers can get bogged down with smaller details and lose sight of the forest.  I have been there, but this year, I have a larger reminder to see the bigger picture of our language teaching.  Two years ago, I taught Spanish III.  My end goal was for students to enjoy Spanish and feel confident with their abilities.  I had just started to try to teach for proficiency, so I was trying out different ideas.  I still had somewhat of a grammar and vocabulary focus, but I was ever so slightly moving away from traditional tests and quizzes.  At the end of the year, the students completed a final IPA.  All of the sudden, I thought I need to emphasize THESE things!  I should have included THIS more!  Did I progress my students enough through the language?!  As a teacher who had predominantly taught levels 1-3, I frequently did not get to see how much students progressed.

However by the beginning of the next year, I felt confident about one success.  One student was trying to get out of Spanish III before I taught him for various reasons.  But at the end of Spanish III, he decided to take Spanish IV the next year!  I decided that I had convinced at least one student who wanted to quit that he was able to continue in the language that would be a success.  I had to remind myself of my goals for the previous year.

But then there was more! This year, I am teaching Spanish V, and I have one girl from my Spanish III class in my Spanish V class.  I am astounded by her abilities!  She incorporates a great variety of vocabulary in her writing!  She is successfully navigating various tenses.  She participates frequently in class.  Each day that I see her progress, I become more excited about using comprehensible input and teaching for proficiency and this journey.  It can be hard to see the end of the path.  It can be frustrated to lose our old ways and feel like we haven’t covered or taught enough.  It can be tricky at the end of the year when you see SO much more that you could have taught and so much more that you want to teach.

However, it doesn’t have to be always the big things.  I had one student look up David Parejo on Instagram after we listened to his music in class.  I had another mom tell me that after my blended class, her daughter watches a ton of shows in Spanish on Netflix.  I love that students can really get into the culture which is why I got into teaching.

I am here to tell you to keep it up.  Go at the pace that seems to work for your students- not the pace that is dictated by a textbook.  Keep using more comprehensible input to help students succeed.  Use El Internado- or another Spanish-speaking show in class!  (My student didn’t mind that we are rewatching at this point in Spanish V!)  Make students feel confident in the language and with their abilities.  You may not always get to see the end result, but I promise you that you will see the glimmer of what is to come.  In the end, it is worth it and students really will succeed.  What little or big successes have you seen in your program that have motivated you?  This is the perfect time to remember them.

Posted in Favorites, noticias

Noticias and a few of my favorites from the past week

noticias 9 de octubre

Happy Sunday!  I am waking up slowly with a lot of coffee as a result of chaperoning the Homecoming Dance last night.  It is fun to see all of the students dressed up, though.  I wrote a new set of news articles.  I am hoping to complete this on the off weeks of Martina’s El Mundo en Tus Manos.  I HIGHLY suggest that you buy her subscription for all of the other weeks.  This week, I included:

  • Updates on Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • An article on a Bolivian biologist who is working on biodiversity in Gran Chaco
  • Information on Michoacan cuisine
  • A large archeology excavation in Colombia of muisca artifacts
  • Costa Rica’s tie with Honduras to qualify for the World Cup

I would encourage you to have your students look up various aspects to share based on their interests.  Here is the menu that I shared in the article.  You can also visit the website for Gran Chaco in Argentina that has a lot of pictures of the forest and animals.  This website has information on the Muisca culture.  While the text may be too difficult, you could look at the pictures of artifacts with novices.  Also- you can watch the video of the Costa Rican goal here.

Here is the whole newsletter:

9 de octubre 2017 noticias (1)

Also, there are two ideas that I have done this week that are quickly becoming some of my favorite activities.  I LOVE this idea that Arianne explained from Cynthia about using play-doh to recreate scenes from novels or stories before a gallery walk.  I used this while reading Frida and also after two stories from my Spanish I class.

My other favorite new website is Photos for class.  I found this from the website Ditch that Textbook.  It sorts through all of Flickr pictures AND puts the correct citation on it, so you can attribute them correctly.  It is so easy- dare I say even easier than Google Images?!  Hope these ideas help you in the upcoming week!

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 6, 2017

Brillante Viernes: October 6

Whew!  This has been a SUPER busy week!  Birthday party weekends are always hectic then we had homecoming week this week.  Luckily, we have Monday off, so I can finish a few posts that I have in mind.  With that- check out these posts that others from this week:

  • I love Tina’s suggestions for when you need a break in class.
  • It is semana de escalofríos on Zachary Jones’ website!
  • If you haven’t seen the updates for Google Slides, check out this post from my colleague with all of the newest features.
  • I love how Laura is adapting her unit to discuss the problems in many Spanish-speaking countries.
  • On Facebook, I plan to use this post that Meredith did with a reading activity!

Flashback to my other posts at this time:

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 29, 2017

Brillante Viernes Sept 29

Yay for Friday!  My precious son is turning the big FOUR this weekend!  He is the happiest child, and we are so lucky to have him.  He is excited that now he can have two gummy vitamins.  #perksofbeingfour  If you don’t have a weekend full of raucous preschool birthday celebrations, check out these articles:

  • I also published over on Path2Proficiency about how to adjust today!
  • I am fascinated by brain research, and this Edutopia article about brain research and memory is insightful.
  • Fifty crazy things to change about education: #13 ALL DAY! (oh and #20.  Can I have a reality show?!)  Also #24!  So much truth with my own PD now.  Just read it!
  • For Spanish teachers, both Martina and Kara have shared incredible resources to help out Puerto Rico.
  • Kristy’s post is amazingly honest, reflective and also contains a powerful mantra for this year.
  • I felt like I was saving everything this week on Facebook!  But I am particularly excited about this doc that explains a variety of Hispanic celebrations throughout the world (if you have more, add to it!) and this article about a variety of different hot dogs in Latin America.  Also, since this post is about my son, he has had salchipapas!

Some more posts from previous years at my own blog:

Posted in noticias

Noticias: 24 de septiembre

Noticias 24 de septiembre

I have put together another edition of Noticias for this week.  I included:

  • The earthquake in Mexico and the dogs who are helping rescue people
  • The indigenous Kulla Raymi celebration in Ecuador
  • The RefugiArte exhibition that is now in Panama
  • The newest cafeteria to open in Costa Rica where people of all abilities can work
  • A brief biography of Michael Peña from the Lego Ninjago movie

There are also some videos that you could show in class to discuss any news article.  This video is from Facebook, and it highlights the dogs in Mexico.  This is the original article about the new cafeteria in Costa Rica.  In it, they interview the owner of the café.  He speaks both in Spanish and uses sign language.  Finally, Zachary Jones has a great activity to compare both trailers of the Lego Ninjago movie.  If it is too advanced for your students, you could watch the trailer like a MovieTalk and just describe what is happening.

Hope you can use these in your classes this week!

(Edited to add- if you have not checked out Martina’s Correcaca news article from last week- do it!  My students LOVED it.)

Also edited to add- the first caption of the date had the incorrect date!  I have updated it!

Noticias 24 de septiembre (1)