A failure and a successful start


We had an awesome meeting with Sara-Elizabeth- even though it was brief.  As I mentioned before, many times I do not blog about my failures.  Here we go- a failure on my part…  Recently, I tried to get my students to speak Spanish more in class.  I gave them a homework pass and candy if they (and I) spoke in Spanish the entire class.  I thought if they could be successful then they would continue to speak more Spanish in subsequent classes.  While some students started to speak Spanish more, it did not happen exactly as I wanted.

THEN! We had the PD with Sara-Elizabeth.  One of her suggestions was so easy to start.  Today, I looked up a few pictures on Google Image.  I showed them in between activities, and students were so excited to participate!  They wanted to speak in Spanish.  They were not always speaking in complete sentences as many teachers want, but they understood what I was saying, and they responded back correctly.  I encourage you to do the same- find some quick images about what you are practicing and project them in between activities.  It is easy to think of questions, and it helps the students respond in Spanish.  It is also a quick brain break for the students.


10 thoughts on “A failure and a successful start

  1. I’m very interested in this idea for my class. Can you share an example or tell me how it worked in your class? Did you ask them to describe the picture, name what they could see, etc.?

    1. I asked questions about it- to describe it or a person. What each person had etc. I want to develop personalized questions with it too- like what do they have or what their favorite restaurant or class is. Does that help/make sense?

  2. Thanks for the reminder for this activity. I haven’t done it for a good while. I need to bring it back. Today, my first year students did what I call “speed dating” We’ve been working on question words. I wrote up 26 questions, copied them off, and then cut them apart. I put 13 questions in a bag labeled A and 13 in a bag labeled B. I made 18 total packages and passed them out A then B. Next my students turn their desks to face each other and take turns asking the questions. After a minute or so, I ring the bell and they rotate one person to the left and start asking the next bag of questions. We rotate about 4-6 times. It gets them talking.

    1. This is a great idea! I have tried a similar activity with one question, and I think the reason it failed was because there was only one question. I will have to try it with more.

  3. SE always brings the simple brilliance! (Did she give you that hug I sent with her?) I should really do more like this too. Also, extrinsic rewards always backfired on me too. Between Alfie Kohn and Daniel Pink, I’ve had to almost abandon “goodies” (except for surprise erasers. I love erasers.)

    1. Yes she did! I give stickers, and they have become a thing. I should really give pens or pencils because what student can ever have enough pens or pencils?! I can’t wait for us to finish our session soon… or for it to stop snowing soon. Really soon!

  4. We started doing this with novels and it has worked so well! Prior to reading a chapter, we preview it looking at the text features (mainly images, footnoted words and chapter titles). Students share what they see in the images using the target structures that we have reviewed throughout the novel. At the start of the novel most students were still just uttering words in the target language, and now the majority are using full sentences including information such as who, what, when, where, why, etc. to describe the images.

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