Day 2: And some reflection

Day 2 of the conference was also wonderful!  We started out by talking about feedback for creating an IPA.  Namely, you must think about what meeting and exceeding expectations looks like.  You cannot assess students if you have not established what you want students to attain.

We then talked about how to plan a unit.  I was waiting to put my finger on what my lessons are truly missing.  I kept waiting for something today that I never got.  It took me awhile to figure out what I really wanted, but I finally did.  Here is my revelation from today:

I REALLY need to revamp my speaking activities.

I have tried different things, but many times they are not successful or seem forced.  Here are a variety of things that I have not done successfully:

  • Info Gap activities: They are ok.  Some students complete them successfully, and others just tell their partner in English and have them write it down in Spanish.  That defeats the whole purpose!  If I had to boil it down to the root, students really just don’t care what time Ricardo takes English.
  • Describing pictures: I have done this multiple ways.  I posted pictures around the room, and students moved in groups describing the pictures.  Originally, I believed that it would give students a lot of information to talk about and also guide them.  Some students wrote about this as their least favorite activity.  I thought it was because it was difficult.  I was definitely lying to myself.  It was probably extremely boring.
  • Find Someone Who: While I really liked that students were moving about, most of the time they reverted back to English.  Again, that defeated the purpose of the activity.  Even when I milled around, they would speak Spanish when I was next to them and then switch.
  • Personal Questions: I would write down questions and have students interview different students using these questions.  Many times, students would switch to English.

So there you have it!  My list of failed speaking activities.  Some of them I have mentioned on here.  I will say that I believe that Voicethread has been a wonderful addition, but students are only speaking one way.  I want them to have a conversation!  I also have a mission this summer- find effective speaking activities!  I believe that I will find some of this at NTPRS.  I am also going to scour the internets and find activities that I believe will be successful.  If you have an awesome activity, please share.  I am a woman with a mission!

4 thoughts on “Day 2: And some reflection

  1. I have had a lot of success with simulated conversations. For the shopping unit, I had them create their own stores and, after learning about bargaining, they had to negotiate the price down. I made it a contest to see who could get the most stuff for their money and another to see who could earn the most for the stuff they were selling.

    We also do an assessment where they have to prepare different types of scenarios that could actually happen in real life. They are assigned random partners and random scenarios each time they practice so that they can’t just memorize what they are going to say; they actually have to know what they are talking about. I will link you to one for the food unit so you can see what I mean. My Spanish 2 class are open honors so CP and honors students are mixed into one group, but you can feel free to adapt for a homogenous group.

    Let me know if you can’t access and I will change the permissions.

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