I wanted to share a bit of a haphazard post about what has been happening in my classes and life recently! First- a podcast update!
- We Teach Languages is back! I work on the podcast team with the absolutely amazing Stacey Margarita Johnson. I have explained why I love this podcast- but I think it really goes back to the philosophy behind Common Ground as well. It connects ALL language teachers from preK-higher ed, and it values all voices. It was one of the first podcasts that really got me hooked onto the whole podcast idea and has taught me so much. Check out the THREE most recent episodes if you haven’t!
- Florencia and I were both interviewed for the most recent episode of Lesson Impossible. We talk about our book and answer some fun questions like what would we do if we had unlimited money and time!
- Also, this month, World Language Classroom podcast is dedicating multiple episodes to discussing Common Ground! Check out the past episodes- and Florencia and I will be interviewed for the last episode.
Last year, I wrote down all of my lessons on Google Drive into folders and LINKED to the resources. It was a breakthrough for me! In the past, that was why I blogged so much. I also wrote down my lesson plans (which of course weren’t linked). And at times, I would need to brainstorm more, so I would write down bigger ideas on a piece of paper that inevitably didn’t get saved. Now, I have been able to focus on refining some of my lessons from last year, and it makes all the difference in the world! Here are some ways that I have modified these lessons. My hope is that you can use these models with your own lessons.
First, I have been focused on making sure I include more pre-reading and post reading activities that can be easily accessed by all learners. I use older articles from El mundo en tus manos frequently. I love level A articles for my novices. Recently, we were looking at how people are portrayed in art or photographs. I used some articles about people’s lives like Yolanda Lopez and Renata Flores. I was mindful about doing more pre-reading, effective during reading and post reading activities.
For our first article, students matched vocabulary words to the definition/synonym in Spanish or the picture. Then, students read the article; however, the article was missing key vocabulary. They put the missing words back into the paragraph. We reviewed this, and I asked a few other questions to check for understanding. Finally, as a post reading follow-up, I rewrote the paragraph with some factual inaccuracies (not grammatical inaccuracies). I told them how many inaccuracies they were looking for to help them identify.
In our second article, we played Quizlet Live to practice the vocabulary. Students really love Quizlet Live, and I love the team aspect. This time, students read the paragraph and highlighted important events in the artist’s life. Then, students also picked out the most important word or phrase and explained why it was important. (They explained why in English). I started using this technique last year, and like the other activities from the beginning of the post, it inspires more critical thinking. I can also use this in all of the grades that I teach. Then students answered questions about each person with partners in order to scaffold to a whole class discussion of both women. I have found that when my students are moving to novice high, it helps to have them practice some questions to be able to participate more in whole class discussions and then later participate in other partner question and answer activities.
I keep thinking- are there ways that my students can continue to show their creativity or critical thinking even as novices. One of my most favorite plans that I learned online last year was a way to have novice students create their own comic strips with lyrics from a song. This could also easily be done with stories which I also did with my fourth graders last year.
As I have said before, sometimes ideas (both big and small) roll around in my head for awhile before I think AHA! This is a great place to use them! Matt Miller has talked about using a caption this activity for years. This year, I finally used it with my fourth graders! We were using Josefina’s Camilia Pérez activity. After they watched the music video, I took a few screenshots of the video and added speech bubbles. I also provided some sentence starters or sentences from last year. I gave each group sticky notes and let them write the captions. They were so creative! This is another activity that I want to use more with song videos and movies/TV shows that we watch in class.
Hopefully these lesson plans can bring some inspiration to your week!