This was my first year of teaching Spanish VI. As with any class, at the end of the year, I am ready to redo half of it! I have found with myself as I constantly want to keep improving, I come up with things that I wanted to do different. But at times, I forget what my original goal was. Therefore, it is easier to think about how I would improve things for my students, but a lot of good really did happen. So first, I will start with what I am happy about:
- I brought a local organization to my class to talk about the current immigration situation going on. She spoke almost exclusively in Spanish, and my students were proud of themselves that they could understand her. They also all asked her a question in Spanish. That made me happy because they realized that she could understand them and respond to them. I have done the same thing when we tour the National Gallery of Art, but my hope again is to show them that there are other Spanish speakers who are not their teacher that can understand them.
- We successfully read a novel for adults. By the end, I felt like it helped students acquire language, and they felt more comfortable reading a book aimed toward native speakers which they will have to do next year.
- Their projects had mixed results, but one student volunteered at an immigrant research center in our library. She had to use her Spanish to communicate with them, and she did it! She had been hesitant to use her Spanish outside of the classroom overall. The person that she spoke with even complimented her Spanish!
- We watched Ocho Apellidos Catalanes via Kara Jacobs- and it was a big hit!
- Overall, I keep seeing students’ development in their Spanish proficiency. I hear students’ increasing accuracy when they speak in multiple tenses, I see students starting to use more tenses in their writing, and I can see them speaking a bit faster each time. I consider myself fortunate to teach students for multiple years over multiple levels to truly see their acquisition take place. It has allowed me to be more trusting in the actual acquisition. I have also had more and more stories of students feeling comfortable using their Spanish outside the classroom. This is one of my biggest goals that I continue to have for all of my classes.
Many of these topics were my goals for the year. I wanted students to find a connection to next year, and I wanted them to continue to feel more confident in their abilities. So mostly, I am happy with the results. However, I would want to change a few things.
- Making the jump from leveled reader to full on adult novel was a bit too high. I didn’t get to do as many extension activities that I feel like really help cement the vocabulary and topics in my students’ heads with Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. We really had to sprint through to read the whole novel before the end of the year. (Seniors end two weeks earlier than the rest of the school.) Someone asked for a more of a transition book. Martina suggested a YA novel. That would have done the trick!
- While some of my students’ year-long projects were great, some weren’t as successful. I think the difference was how connected they were to the community. Especially after reading Sara-Elizabeth’s post, I would have them connect their project to the community somehow. I want them to get out and use their Spanish in some capacity.
- I also should have made the project due earlier. When I wait too long with any seniors, senioritis kicks in. The projects aren’t as good. If I had students finish this by the end of second trimester, we could have dedicated the third trimester just to the book.
As you reflect, remember to take in account your original goals. It can be easy to set newer goals based on what your students have done throughout the year, but that isn’t where they were at the beginning.