Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 18, 2019

Brillante Viernes: October 18, 2019

Happy Friday!  I hope that you have had a wonderful week!  We are getting away on a fall vacation with family friends this weekend.  I have also been busy with a few other projects pseudo blog related.  I managed to finish the updates for episode four of Go! Vive a tu manera.  (As it is a ton of text, I always appreciate any edits!)  Next up, I plan on extending the extra activities through episode 4 as well.

Check out some of these posts while you are preparing for or enjoying your weekend!

  • Martina wrote an extremely thoughtful post about L1 interference.
  • Julia posted a strong explanation of how to solve problems that students have around intercultural competence.
  • These activities involving a hula hoop Venn Diagram and post reading/watching a video are great!  (AnneMarie also just posted another list of ideas around the Venn Diagram.)
  • Bethanie’s art analysis chart is amazing for upper levels!!

Previous posts on my own blog:

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 11, 2019

Brillante Viernes: October 11

Happy Friday!  Whew!  This week was long and busy!  The French teacher and I took our classes to see the full working rehearsal of Paquita on Tuesday afternoon which was amazing!  (The photo above are the lights at the Kennedy Center!)  I also got to chaperone a field trip to the National Geographic Museum to hear a nature photographer which was also fascinating.  But man- am I ready to kick my feet up!  While you relax this weekend, check out these posts:

  • I love the honesty of this post that explains how to make your classroom a safer place.
  • I want to continue to use more post-unit reflection.
  • This Grid Method looks fascinating!  I might be able to try it with 8th grade…
  • Carrie shared some great ideas to use with songs!  I hadn’t heard of move or keep before!

Previous posts:

Posted in Comprehensible Input

MovieTalk: El mono necesita las bananas

El mono necesita las bananas

I am continuing to develop the curriculum within each of my classes.  In Spanish 5, we started out by discussing the fires in the Amazon.  I introduced Señor Wooly’s song No lo tengo to talk about school and classes.  I wrote up a small summary about schools in the Amazon.  I decided that I wanted to transition to discussing monkeys before starting the book Isabela captura un congo.

I found a great video about a monkey and decided to do a MovieTalk to start it off.  (The website has a ton of other fun monkey videos, and I am hoping to use some of them in the future with the book as well!)  I created this slideshow and this handout to help students take notes as we talked about the video.  You could make the slideshow or discussion longer if you have older students.  My fifth graders loved the video (as did my six year old as I was prepping the lesson!)

After we watched the video, students put the events in order.  I copied and pasted them onto this document.  Then, the next day, students drew some of the sentences first on the third page and we played (St)Rip Bingo with the story.  (FYI- I had heard about it for awhile and just tried it this year.  It is so much fun, and the students and I love it!)  Finally, we ended with a GimKit game!  #highlightreal- I really wanted to turn this into sentences instead of just vocabulary identification, but after all that prep- it just didn’t happen.


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: October 4, 2019

Brillante Viernes: October 4, 2019

Happy Friday!!  I am starting to get into the groove of the school year and there is FINALLY a crisp in the air.  That has made my walk between buildings that much more pleasant.  In 8th grade, we have started to talk about Paquita and we will go see the ballet next Tuesday.  I cannot wait!!  We have also started talking about gypsy culture in general, and I have some great resources to share soon.

Did you get a chance to read my blog over on CI Peek?  I explained how I have used Google Tours with Fluency Matters books!

Check out some of these resources over the weekend, so you are ready for Monday morning!

  • Have you listened to Rebecca’s podcast episode on Cult of Pedagogy?!  Also, make sure to read her follow up post on Rebecca’s blog.
  • Kara wrote some great ideas for a sub day.  Although she used it with Go, these activities could be adapted for any topic.
  • Cecile’s post with five reminders is amazing and what every teacher needs to read.
  • Julia shared her ideas on how to incorporate culture into a novice classroom.  Her reflection is very valuable.

Past posts:

Posted in Comprehensible Input, culture

Comprehensible Ballet: Part I

Comprehensible Ballet- Part I

My colleague Trudy Roddy has been working on a great idea to incorporate both the target language and the ballet.  Teaching in DC, we have opportunities to go to the Kennedy Center to see ballet.  However, as we are working up to this unit, we have made the story comprehensible in Spanish and French.  As the ballet itself has no words, it is a version of a MovieTalk but a live performance!  I danced for almost all of my life, so I knew that I wanted to include this into my 8th grade classes.

(FYI- If you would like to use this lesson, but you cannot go to the ballet, you can use this video of the whole ballet!)

First, we found the story here.  We turned this into a comprehensible story for students focusing on words that we could repeat.  We also divided the story up into chunks.  The Spanish version is here.  The French version is here.  Once we were writing, I realized that this ballet is just like any other story that you would tell your students.

Once we had the story, we made a Quizlet (French here!) to introduce the vocabulary to students and planned our lessons.

On the first day, we will have students complete a KWL chart about what they know about gypsies and gypsy culture.  Then, we will introduce the characters.  I plan on showing a description and allowing students to sketch them on whiteboards.  After that, we will play Quizlet Live to learn more of the vocabulary.  I also had students make a kit in GimKit from the words as well.

After that, we will introduce the Prologue and Act I.  We will give each student a piece of paper that has one chunk/detail from the Act.  They will organize themselves in order.  Once they have completed this, we will review if they are in the correct order.  Then, we will give each student a NEW chunk/detail and they will display it as a picture on a whiteboard.  I will give students the full Act I, and students will guess which picture matches the chunk.

For day 3, we will complete a similar activity.  Students will work in pairs and put together the order of the new act.  (Act II, Part I)  They can also draw a picture to represent each detail.  Then, for act II, part II, students will create a freeze frame in groups to recreate details of Act II.  We will go around and guess what each group is doing.  Finally, students will create a comic strip or splash page to explain the events in Act III, Part I (example of splash page).

For day 4, we will do a gallery walk of the comics and splash pages.  We will read the last part aloud and discuss it as it is very short.  In order to demonstrate understanding, students will complete a meme in Spanish or English about any part of the story.

For the day of the field trip, students will have a checklist of the story to see what parts they have seen during the performance.  When we return the next day, we will talk about what we saw and noticed in the ballet.  We will also start to address the culture in the ballet.  We will talk about gypsies and flamenco music.  I also hope to tie in some ideas about Rosalía- stay tuned for Part II!


Posted in Listening, Novel, Presentational, Reading, writing

Stations in the World Language Classroom

Stations in the World Language Classroom

I realized the other day that I had never blogged about how I do stations!  I try to have students do stations at least once per unit.  I also have found that they work well on days that my students aren’t as motivated to really keep them moving throughout class.  One year, I planned many station activities on Fridays for my Spanish I students when we met in the middle of the day.  Although they CAN be overwhelming to plan, I have done a few things to streamline them.

First, I like to divide stations into the four modes: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  This helps me only have to decide on what I want to do in each station, and I already have it set up.

For speaking, I keep this easy, they have a conversation with me on the topic.  I ask them questions in small groups about our theme.  (Also, it is one less thing to prep!)  If this isn’t feasible for you, you could have students record their answers to your prompt on Flipgrid.

For reading, I typically try to find either a short story on our topic or an infographic.  Since my classes are short and students only have about 7-8 minutes per station, I only will write about 5-6 questions for the reading.  However, if you want to keep it even easier, you can plan a no-prep activity after you find the story or infographic.  Some ideas are:

  • Have students highlight all of the words that indicate people in one color, places in another color and actions in another color.
  • Give students a who, what, when and where chart and have them fill it out with as many details from the story/article as possible.
  • Focus on having students identify the main idea and two to three supporting details.
  • If you use a story, have students create a timeline of the story.
  • Have students think of a color, symbol and image that represents the infographic and story and explain why.  (I love this idea from NECTFL!)

For listening, I will have my students complete an EdPuzzle on the topic.  If I have a video that I know I want to use that is great, but many times, I will search within EdPuzzle to find a great one that a teacher has already made to lessen my prep time.  Another idea is to assign students an EdPuzzle video and have them annotate what they understand through EdPuzzle project.  However because this can be tricky at first, make sure you have done this previously.  If not, you will constantly be running back and forth between groups (which will be difficult if you plan on working with the speaking group!)  If you have Señor Wooly, you could also consider assigning one nugget.

Finally, for writing, I will leave them a prompt or two.  It can instruct them to summarize a story in Spanish that we had discussed in class.  For earlier in the year, I have also given students a link to an online magazine in the target language and have them search for a picture they like and write a few sentences describing it.  To minimize their search time, you could also leave a few pictures for them to describe.  Find some compelling pictures from a country that speaks Spanish through Instagram.  I also personally ask students to upload their writing to Seesaw, so I have fewer pages to collect (just reading!)

Some other things that I consider when I am doing stations:

  • If I am doing the speaking station, I start it a little later because I rotate to each station to make sure that each group is ready before we begin.  That can minimize the interruption.
  • On the first few station days, I give students a few minutes to wrap up at the end of the day in case they didn’t finish one activity.  Students tend to need this time less and less as the year goes on.  Some teachers also build this into the rotation.  I prefer to do this at the end, so if a few people finish, I can chat with them about what they liked and didn’t like about stations.
  • Another way to minimize questions is to review each station at the beginning of the class then also post instructions at each station.

You could also try this general structure with novels! My variation would include:

I would swap out a reading station for a game station!  (If I can’t find one of the stations that I wrote above, this is normally my first swap.)  I have students complete a Quizizz and earn a certain percentage.  They can also complete a GimKit activity if you have a paid subscription.  If you want to make this without technology, have students take 3 minutes to write 2 tricky questions and see if the rest of the group can answer them.

In speaking, I like to set it up as a book club.  We can discuss which characters we like and do not like and why.  We can also talk about the most important parts of the book or our favorite parts.  Finally, we can add what we would like to change or make predictions for the rest of the book.

For the writing station, students could create a time line of the novel or a chapter, use some key vocabulary in new sentences or create a mind map where they can connect key characters or events.  They could also write a variation of the story or they could discuss why they like a certain character.  You could also have them summarize the actions around a certain picture that they have already seen in the book.

With a listening activity, you can find an EdPuzzle that takes place in the same country.  You could also find one about a similar topic or festival that takes place in the book.  I would ask fewer questions then at the end ask students to compare the video with the book to concretely tie it back to the novel.

How do you streamline stations?  What are your favorite stations to incorporate?

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 27, 2019

Brillante Viernes: September 27

Happy Friday!  I hope that you have had a wonderful week!  Can you believe that September is almost over?!  I feel like I am getting back into the groove, but some things still seem fresh and new.  Next week, I am excited to share a BALLET CI activity that I have been working on with my colleague!  As a former dancer, I cannot wait!  Here are some other things that are inspiring me:

  • Have you seen Justin’s tuned in teacher mantras?  This is one of my favorites.  Sometimes, I find myself distracted in class, but I think of this mantra and I refocus.
  • I want to check out this Mira Señala brain break!
  • Have you seen Sara-Elizabeth’s blog series about steps to improve as a foreign language teacher?  It is practical and feasible to do.
  • I love these ideas for attention grabbers and improved listening strategies!

My previous posts:

Posted in beginning of the year, culture

Hispanic Heritage Month Bulletin Board


Bulletin Board: Hispanic Heritage MonthIt has to be somewhat of a miracle because I ended up putting together a bulletin board with my colleague!  (It is also because she is so wonderful!)  I always feel like school starts after Labor Day and then Hispanic Heritage Month is here.  I wanted to share some of our resources that we used.

  • For the border, we printed out flags from each Spanish-speaking country.
  • We used some of the information from Teaching Tolerance on Becoming Hispanic.
  • I also wrote a few summaries of a few famous Hispanic people.  We are going to rotate by including two people every week.  We also included a picture from the country of each person.
  • Since we are in DC, we are also going to print out events for Hispanic Heritage Month that are happening in our city.
  • Finally, we are going to post our recommendations for books, shows on Netflix and local Hispanic restaurants.

What do you like to post for Hispanic Heritage Month?

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 20, 2019

Brillante Viernes: Sept 20

Happy Friday!  I feel like we are in the thick of the school year already even though it has only been three weeks.  This week featured some great class discussions as well as more relationship building.  One thing that never gets old is walking around the hallways and hearing “¡hola!”  We are also getting cooler weather finally.  I love walking around DC this time of year.

This week, I have enjoyed reading and reflecting on these posts:

  • I love this post about the words we choose.  I think we can frame some of our thoughts about student actions by being curious about it instead of assuming.
  • This Salta game looks like fun!
  • These emoji ideas are great for middle and high school- just make sure you know which ones are inappropriate before you start!
  • I am looking forward to trying this Jenga game, too.

Past posts:

Posted in reflection

Adjusting to elementary school

As I have mentioned before, this year I am going back to teaching both elementary and middle school.  I am starting to learn some tips and changing some of my practices:

  • Remember when I ditched my bellringers for a few years?  Well we are off our break- kind of.  I don’t need them for my early childhood class or 8th grade.  I am also starting off 3rd grade with some TPR.  But for my fourth and sixth grade classes, bellringers it is!  However, I am making some adjustments based on what I know about primacy and recency, I am starting to work more with readings at the beginning of class.
  • However, I have added in a smaller routine worksheet to my third grade class.  After we sit on the floor to do TPR, students return to their seats and fill out the form with the date, weather, how they are feeling etc.
  • I am switching back to more either or questions or yes or no questions.  With my fourth and fifth grades, I was asking too many open-ended questions.  While a few students were able to participate, I am engaging more students by asking more either or/yes- no questions.  This has also allowed me to sustain attention for longer.
  • Some of my students may need movement, but some of the classes need small movements.  Thumbs up/thumbs down or small TPR has been more successful with them.
  • I have incorporated some Senor Wooly songs, but I am remembering how much elementary and middle school students LOVE Senor Wooly!!  Currently, we are working on Me Duele in 3rd grade, No lo tengo in 4th grade, and Guapo in 6th grade.
  • My Venezuelan unit is going really well with 8th grade!  We did the MovieTalk yesterday, and it was really engaging.
  • I am also loving incorporating Heather Sherrow’s unit for descriptions with 6th grade.
  • I am also trying to be more cognizant to give students more support as they transition to writing more.  I like to give them sentence starters or a word bank to help them transition.
  • I am using more emojis when I write stories!  While I saw this on Twitter, I have found it helpful to support all of my students.  I just wrote this story to discuss schools in the Amazon in fifth grade as we talk about the fires in the Amazon.  I am using an article from Mary Glasgow magazines (Que tal).  At the end, students can compare the schools.

I am enjoying my students and figuring out how to make each topic work for them.