Posted in Technology

First VedChat tomorrow night!


Many people participate in Twitter chats.  It is the main reason that I joined Twitter in 2012!  (Whoa- I cannot believe it has been 5 years!)  However, they can be somewhat limiting as tweets are flying fast, and you cannot tell the tone or expression of people.  What would make that better?  A video (and Flipgrid!)

One of my fellow EdCampMetroDC friends Matt Frattali had the genius idea for VedChat.  Each question has a different board in Flipgrid.  You check out the video intro on each board then record your answer in a “flip.” (Stole Matt’s name!)  You can practice recording your flip by recording an intro here.  If you are new to Flipgrid, you hit the green plus button and record a quick video.  Then you have to take a picture and type in your name.  That’s it!  Done!  You don’t need an account or even have to put in an email.  (You don’t even need Twitter or worry about including a hashtag!)  Then, you can record responses to other people and interact with them.

You can sign in to record an intro NOW, but the fun will start Tuesday night (tomorrow!) at 9 pm.  The theme is storytelling- and as one of the question recorders, I can promise that there are some thought-provoking questions.  I cannot wait to go beyond Twitter to #vedchat!

Posted in Link Parties, Uncategorized

Path2Proficiency Blog Post!

Stepping Stones to Interpretive Reading

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I obviously LOVE reading other blogs.  One of my favorite blogs is Path2Proficiency.  I devour every blog that is posted.  When Thomas reached out to me with the possibility to blog for them, I was PUMPED.  Actually that is an understatement!  I have been really excited ever since then.  My first post was just published: Stepping Stones to Interpretive Reading.  I hope that you hop over there to check it out!

Posted in Presentational

Reflections on Presentational Speaking

I finally jumped into presentational speaking, and it worked out SO well.  To be honest, I am not sure that I would ever master the beauty of speaking assessments before my PLN.  First, I found the interpersonal bootcamp, and that was amazing.  I believe that is one of the main reason that my students are starting to speak Spanish outside of the classroom.  I had put off including presentational speaking- for many personal reasons.  I don’t like sitting through a lot of presentations, and most students don’t like giving presentations.  Also, how frequently will students have to give a presentation in the target language?  With that- I was done with presentational speaking!

Then Laura mentioned her small group speaking assessment, and I was sold!  I gave my students a variety of topics around their childhood or past trips to discuss.  They could choose one and get to work.  I gave them about a day and a half to complete the work.  While students were nervous, they did really well on their presentations!  I was impressed!  I put the minimal time limit at one minute.  So far, all of my students have exceeded that time limit.  I ended the presentation at two minutes.  Then after the presentation, students asked questions of the presenter.  It was a great interpersonal experience, and students seemed to come up with some natural questions.  I also allowed students to come up to the presenter circle as they chose-first, second, last etc.  I believe that this choice helps them.

Next time, a student suggested allowing a note card to look at once.  I think that that is a reasonable safety net for the first and maybe second presentation.  After that, I would drop the notecard.  All students expressed that they felt prepared for it, and many wanted to keep talking past the two minutes!  They seemed engaged during their partners’ presentations as well.  This did not typically happen with a whole class dedicated to presentations.  Overall, this gave me the push that I needed to keep working on presentational speaking.  If you are anti presentation like me, check out Laura’s presentation idea and use it!  What are your keys to help with presentational speaking?

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: April 21, 2017

Brillante Viernes: April 21

I would be remiss if I didn’t say Happy Birthday Roma to all of my Latin friends!  It is that time of year when we have comments due, parent teacher conferences, presentations to make AND a dance show to be in!  Is that last one just me?  Next Friday, I will be participating in the MS Dance Show the Wiz and dancing with some of my students.  I cannot wait!  This weekend, I will probably have to break my no work on the weekend rule, but it helps when summer seems so close.  If you have time, you should definitely read these posts:

  • I was reading John’s post, and I felt like yelling ME TOO! the whole time.  Next year for me will be year three… and no textbooks!
  • Check out this crossword train for a fun activity this spring!
  • I really like this application of summarizing and note taking of a story or non-fiction piece.
  • I am reading more and more about homework.  Here is an interesting piece about how to evaluate the homework that we give.

Flashback from 2013-2016!

Posted in Technology

Triventy: A collaborative online game


As much as I love Kahoot and Quizizz, they are not collaborative.  Triventy is a multiple choice quiz, but students can add questions on their own.  It is very easy to do and add questions.  In order to create a quiz, you can create an account.  Then you click on the green “create a quiz” button:


After this, you can invite others to participate.  You can type a name then click on the yellow button that says “invite others to add questions.”  This box pops up:Triventy 2

After you click on “invite” this box pops up:

Triventy 3

I used the link for my students.  You could also incorporate it into Google Classroom or on Facebook or email.  When students add questions this pops up:

Triventy 4

My students were able to figure out how to add questions without any explicit instruction from me.  They all seemed to figure it out easily.  I like that they can click on “survey question” to see what others would pick instead of awarding points.  Also, I can edit any question before they play it.  Then you can click on play game!  Just like the other games, it generates a code for students to join.  However, you cannot kick inappropriate nicknames out!  I will say that the game itself isn’t as “flashy” as Kahoot or Quizizz, but it was awesome to get each student’s question up there.  The students were also really invested in seeing their questions.  This could be great for an interpretive task or as a survey!  At the end, my results were emailed to me.  Have you tried Triventy in the FL class?

Posted in Simple Sundays

Simple Sundays: A wonderful mentor teacher

Simple Sundays: A wonderful mentor teacher

It may be because I am finishing up 10 years of teaching, but I have started to become sentimental and thankful for everyone who made me into the teacher that I am today.  For awhile, I wanted to start with my mentor teacher and hopefully include some advice that will inspire others who are mentor teachers.

My mentor teacher was Rebecca Smith at Fluvanna County High School.  We taught Spanish 3 for a semester.  I was even luckier because it was a 4×4 block, so I was able to see a whole “year” so to speak in a semester.  She was also pregnant, so I was able to finish out the semester with the students too.  (And she would always bring me the best breakfast biscuits… but that was a side perk!)

She was such a wonderful mentor teacher because she always made everyone feel important.  She would take the time to bond with me and with all of her students.  Throughout the whole process, she validated my ideas and she would try them out even though I was still in college, and she had been teaching a long time.  I would tell her things that I had noticed, and she would answer all of my questions.

Rebecca inspired me to demonstrate my passions to the students.  That semester, we took all of the students on a field trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and to a Spanish restaurant in Richmond.  To this day, I remember how excited the students were to try all of the new foods.  When we got back, another student declared that she too would major in art history.  If I wasn’t already, I was hooked on field trips!  At the end of the year, the students all signed a Picasso book for me that is still on my bookshelf to this day.

Finally, she was always innovative and a model of what a good teacher is.  She was the one who I first saw use Play-doh in the classroom.  She had presented on how to use stations.  We would discuss what I had learned and what she had practiced.  She was always willing to try something new.  She still brings in amazing community members today.  She brought in a local Hispanic dance troupe to her school through grants.  To this day, I am thankful and remember her amazing guidance as my first mentor teacher.


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: April 14, 2017

Brillante Viernes: April 14

Happy Friday!  It is a wonderful spring weekend, and we have a three day weekend for Easter.  I am so excited!  We went up to the Maryland Zoo this weekend, and I believe that the zoo is fun for adults and children equally.  There were some amazing posts this week!  Here are some of my favorites:

And what would a Brillante Viernes be without a flashback?

Posted in Authentic resources, Video

YouTube videos to use in Spanish class

YouTube Videos to use in Spanish class

Recently, I found myself down a YouTube wormhole with a few purposes.  I want to start to find some more videos for my Spanish 1 and Spanish 5 classes next year.  I have also found a ton of female vloggers (including one of my favorites).  I want to find some more videos with males, so they are not all female focused.  Here are some of the videos (and some EdPuzzles that I have created) that I have found to share with you:

  • Cocinemos juntos has some great cooking videos.  He speaks slowly and clearly and the visuals are wonderful.  He also has some Nicaraguan food videos including one on tacos.  It would be great to have students compare Nicaraguan tacos with Mexican tacos.
  • I really like this fashion vlog for men.  I watched a video about different trends for men.  It is easy to come across these for women, so I would like to assign two different videos for the girls and boys in my class.  I also found this video about outfits to wear when you return to classes when it is cold for boys.
  • This YouTube channel has a lot of pop culture (which I love!)  I could see this video about 9 movies to see to be perfect to inspire a conversation about what students want to see or not.  They also have a who wore it best after awards ceremonies.
  • I love some of the themes that many of the vloggers start.  I would use clips of the 50 things about me to get my students started with authentic resources in the beginning of the year (Spanish 2).  I love Tag 20 canciones.  They have some really great conversation topics.  It would be fun to start with two questions each day in the beginning of the year- like what song do you love in secret and what song do you know all of the words to.  The good thing about these themes is that many vloggers post about them, so you have many choices.
  • Kevin Karla y la Banda has some great covers of English songs.  Check out Laura who covers other English songs including Beauty and the Beast! (My son loves this Maroon 5 song!)
  • My students love Starbucks!  This would be perfect for a more advanced group– tips on what to order and what not to order in Starbucks.
  • Looking to spice up your technology unit and not talk about fax machines?  This girl talks about what is on her iPhone and how to edit photos on Instagram.  Maybe it is just because I love technology, but I really enjoy hearing what apps others use.  This is another topic that includes a TON of videos about what teens have on their iPhone.

Hope my journey on YouTube has helped you find some new videos to try in class.

Posted in Favorites, Proficiency

My NOT to do when switching to proficiency

Not to do list

Mistakes, I’ve made a few- according to Queen.  As I have been switching from a more traditional approach to teaching foreign language to teaching towards proficiency, I have definitely grown.  However, here are some “mistakes” that I have made that hopefully you can avoid… or at least learn from my mistakes!

  1. Not switching my grade book categories: Traditional grading allowed me to have tests and quizzes categories.  Now, I would rather have: speaking, reading, writing and listening sections.  This way, I don’t have to jam two parts of an IPA on one day to call it a “test” to distinguish between tests and quizzes.  I just want to be able to call it a “listening assessment” and put it with the other listening assessments.  I believe that this will also hold me accountable to have enough in each category and balance it all.
  2. In an interpersonal assessment, not inserting myself enough: I love have the students talk to each other in an interpersonal assessment.  It pushes my level 2 students to maintain a conversation; however, they do not push the vocabulary level like I do.  They will stick to the same types of questions that their peers can understand.  I need to ask questions to push their understanding and gage what they can understand.
  3. Not really knowing where your students are: I have heard this from numerous people when they switch to proficiency.  You assume that your students have a greater proficiency level than they do.  Once you figure that out, you will be able to develop appropriate assessments and rubrics for your students.
  4. Not reassessing your rubrics: As a department, we designed the rubrics for our IPAs last year.  They served their purpose, and they were a great start.  However, after working with them for a year and further reassessing where our students are, we need to rework them.  However, I would encourage you to give your rubrics a few tries before you change it.  That will help you design a better rubric.  There is no way for you to design a rubric perfectly the first time.
  5. Not shortening my authentic resources to help students: I have recently posted on this, but I have decided especially for novices to delete sections of the text that is not helpful for students.  This will make authentic resources easier for students especially in the beginning levels.  As I switch to teaching level 1 next year, I want to be even more cognizant of the overwhelming nature of authentic resources.
  6. Not NOT having a textbook: I have finally decided that two years after moving in this direction, I am ready to drop the textbook.  I will say that it is easier to shape IPAs around existing textbook units instead of the other way around.  Two years in, I feel that I am using the textbook in small doses that it makes sense to drop it.  I would have been in over my head if I had dropped it sooner.  Also, if you never drop the textbook, that isn’t a problem either.  I think it can become a hot button topic, and you have to do what works for you.  You can find success by adapting a textbook to meet this need.
Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: April 7, 2017

Brillante Viernes: April 7

Happy FriYAY!  I am excited because this Saturday is EdCampMetroDC.  As it has become a yearly tradition, I appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with familiar faces and meet new people.  We still have space if you are in the area!  Here are some other of my favorite posts from this week:

  • I am planning on doing this small group speaking assessment that Laura crafted.  It is great!
  • I love these ideas to “techify” a novel especially because next year, I am going to be focusing on novels.
  • Richard writes the wildly popular blog Free Tech 4 Teachers.  Recently he has been posting about how to start a blog.  This is one of my favorite posts where he explained what he learned.
  • This is a new to me blog in French, but I like these ideas for teaching the weather.  You could complete similar activities in any language class.

And for some posts from me in the past few years…