Whew! It has definitely been an adjustment to teaching ALL of my classes face to face. Even though I returned at the end of the year, some of my classes were still virtual. Plus, my son is back into his activities with vigor. Blogging continues to be something I want to do- but I don’t have the chance to do it as much as I want. Also, many of the units that I use, I have used for a year or two. So instead of creating, I am doing more refining. However based on a conversation with my department yesterday, I wanted to highlight what was working:
- I am pushing my sixth graders to speak more. After a year of pulling teeth to get many students to speak over Zoom, speaking in Spanish seemed equally as daunting. We are working on Heather Sherrow’s novice description unit. We have played games such as Guess Who and the circumlocution game. In the circumlocution game, I write a word on the board behind students and their peers describe it to them in Spanish. I also give the student in the seat the option of saying it in English if their brain freezes.
- In addition to the games, I am also loving using Bethanie’s Retrieval Grid idea. I have loved puedos for years (a way for students to circulate and practice speaking.). However, as we are trying to get kids not walking around as much, I have had them complete retrieval grids with a partner or two. I have walked around and heard SO MUCH Spanish. Plus, it is pretty fast, so they can accomplish it quickly. Sometimes, my puedos activity would last forever. This example is from after watching the Señor Wooly videos Guapo and La Confesión de Victor.
- The Lucky Reading Game has been successful in both 6th and 8th grade for old articles in El Mundo en Tus Manos. In eighth grade, we are studying various protests throughout Latin America and how they use both art to express their beliefs and music as well. I chose an article about the protests in Chile. When we talk about representation in media in sixth grade, we read articles about Yalitza Aparicio.
- Speaking of art- our field trips this year are BACK. My school encourages us to take field trips all the time. We have a colleague who sets up all of the field trips which makes it even easier. We are also lucky to be located in the middle of DC. But in the past, we have gone to see a ballet at the Kennedy Center and turned it into a story. We have visited the Mexican Cultural Institute to see their Day of the Dead alter. We went to Ten Thousand Villages to learn about free trade. This year, our current field trips are all outside. We went to the DC Walls festival to see the murals being painted. We even got to talk to some of the artists. It was so much fun to be able to go out again and interact with students in this way.
- SCAFFOLDING has been an amazing success at all levels. Which we know but sometimes forget. In fourth grade, I had students do a quick matching activity before reading to identify cognates. They think it is so easy, but it makes the actual paragraph MUCH less daunting. Also, I have been using a lot of write and discuss to model what I want my students to write. I am also continuing to use sentence builders with third and fourth grade as they are learning how to put together sentences.
- Since we are here- a quick #highlightreal, I also planned a fun activity where students decided which school supplies they would buy and others would write down prices they found on an online store with fifth grade. That went well and they had fun exploring the website. The subsequent activity was NOT well scaffolded and was not a hit.
- Finally, there are some things that I think make a lot of sense, but they have never worked for me. That is how I felt about Calendar Talk. Our students work on a routine that is similar to what many students in elementary school do. (Can I say: when my son who is in immersion said qué día fue ayer? the other day, my heart melted!). But I wanted to evolve this as students get older. To me, Calendar Talk made sense, but it was never that compelling. Claudia Elliott has changed that! I love the questions she comes up with and the cultural elements she includes.
I hope that these give you some ideas as you are planning!