Man! A Friday the 13th in December almost feels unfair. But good news- it isn’t an unlucky day in many Spanish-speaking countries, so I think we are safe. We have about one more week to go!
I want to always have my students make more connections with people who speak Spanish. However, it can seem daunting! It can be difficult logistically. Also, I am a PLANNER. I do not do well with unplanned time, so I am extremely nervous that it won’t happen or it won’t go well, and I feel panicky and nervous. In my head, I think “what will I do with the time? I can’t have a wasted class!” Now all of this is ridiculous, but I say that, so you know that I am far from perfect especially when I can’t steer the class.
Last year, I took the plunge and invited a guest speaker to come to my Spanish 6 class, and it was amazing. My students were thrilled that they could understand a native speaker, and they were engaged and interested. This year, I saw many of my friends tweeting about the Happy World Foundation. I contacted Akash Patel to match us up with people in countries of the books we were reading. We did a Mystery Skype session with them. It went well- and I definitely learned some tricks for the next time.
The first time, the sound was a bit off because Google Hangouts switched the audio to the computer instead of the projector. That made it harder for students to hear. Also, my students were nervous. I needed to prep them a bit more. They had come up with some questions, but they weren’t ready for follow-up questions and they forgot to introduce themselves. I also didn’t tell them to do it. If you haven’t done a Mystery Skype, I felt like it was a steep learning curve! The second time with our fifth graders, it went much better! I gave them the questions because we didn’t have time to prep. This helped a lot! I also reminded them to introduce themselves and that helped as well. Overall, the experiences were great. My students learned that someone who speaks Spanish can understand them, and they could understand what the other people were saying! If you want to do the same, you should contact Akash through the Foundation. I think he works around the clock because he is always emailing me back quickly!
Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:
- I love some of these predictive reading activities!
- Colleen’s posts are always reflective and powerful.
- Check out how AnneMarie prepares for exams and reuses write and discuss.
- I love making infographics and having students make them as well. This post explains a variety of programs to use.
- How I developed a unit around news articles
- Authentic resources for a novice house unit
- Give one get one review strategy