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:

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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 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 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 Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 13, 2019

Brillante Viernes Sept 13

Happy Friday the 13th!  And a full moon!  Hope you are surviving this day- and just remember that Friday the 13th isn’t a bad day in various Spanish-speaking cultures.  So maybe your class won’t be that bad! 😉  For us, we have been back for two weeks and it seems both really short and like we have done this for awhile.  Catch up on these posts and enjoy your weekend:

  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE Brett’s immediate goal and this post that is a call to action for all teachers.
  • I have done a little picture talk, but I haven’t been able to milk it as much.  Check out this post for more ideas on how to implement it.
  • Inspired Proficiency podcast is back!  The episode with Allison and Sarah was excellent.
  • This post on thematic units is excellent.

Previous posts:

  • I have reposted this a ton, but I love Write and Discuss– and I just started using it last year.
  • Another way that I improved when I switched to more CI was writing things down more!
Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 30, 2019

Brillante Viernes: August 30

Whew!  Starting at a brand new school is pretty much all the feelings!  First off, the above picture is my view from my classroom.  Even after living near DC for many years, every time I see the monuments, I can’t help but feel amazed.  Overall, I cannot express how happy I am to be in my new school, how inspired I feel and how much I look forward to meeting the students on Tuesday.  I moved to a new room with my new and wonderful Spanish colleague, so that kept us plenty busy throughout the week.  (Although it is done and I will share pictures later!) Also, overall, I have been focusing on what Amy has talked about for her change as well.  I chose this school because I believe that it will make me better as a teacher.  The foreign language team has taught me so much already, and I can tell how much we will collaborate.  I cannot wait to see what will happen!

In other big news, one of my new interviews from We Teach Languages will come out with my colleague from my former school Kristin Kvasnyuk.  She is the amazing teacher behind the medieval bestiary unit.  She is also the one who told me about GimKit wayyyyyy before it was the thing.  Not only does she inspire me by finding amazing things to share with me (and a lot of that we talk about on the show!), but I am always truly impressed with the relationships she develops with her students.  I could see day in and day out the impact that she had on these students.  My hope for the interview is that you can hear some ways of how she does it.

That was much longer than normal!  I think this is my way of pseudo continuing my regular blogging, but on Friday.  Here are some posts to catch up on over the long weekend:

  • I love AnneMarie’s idea on how to include students’ pictures for PictureTalk.  If you are looking for another free resource, you can check out linoit.
  • Cecile wrote a helpful round-up of if you are interested in Special Person Interviews.
  • Keith Toda discusses how he modifies Story Listening to work for his students.  I have tried some of the tips, but I like the activities that he has done for the second day.
  • This is a long post and full of links- but I always enjoy reading about updates for Google!

If you are catching up on some of my posts, you can check these out:


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 23, 2019

Brillante Viernes: August 23

Happy Friday!  I hope that everyone has had a wonderful week of school or last week of summer.  In true Maris fashion, I did work around the house and read some extra books, but I always take off time from school planning things the week before we are back.  I also FINALLY took my car to get it cleaned- which I have been saying that I would do all summer long.  I had my first introduction day at my new school, and I am so excited to get started!  Check out some of these posts over the weekend:

If you are interested in some of my previous posts at this time, check out:

  • Supplemental CI and authentic resources for units
  • A few songs that I have used for level 3
  • My first unit in Spanish I for introductions and activities
Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 16, 2019

Brillante Viernes August 19

Happy Friday!  Yesterday and today I am learning a lot about proficiency from ACTFL workshops.  Although I have read a lot about a variety of levels, each time I hear something new, it continues to shape my instruction and how I think about each proficiency level.  I have found that since I was taught more by grammar and vocabulary, I originally expected more of a variety of levels.  It has taken awhile to shake these ideas and some of my expectations are still forming.

I love August when everyone starts blogging even more again!  Check out these posts:

  • If you haven’t listened to the most recent episode of We Teach Languages (we are back from the summer!), DO IT!  Gianfranco Conti discusses listening.  Part II comes out today!
  • There is a new Sarah Breckley video about how to be comprehensible!  Sarah always inspires me and makes me happy.
  • I am saving all of the elementary Spanish (like these beginning day by Señor Fernie) posts for next year.  I cannot wait!
  • Zachary Jones has been sharing some awesome authentic resources- like this one for school supplies and this video about healthy food from Ecuador.
Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 9, 2019

Brillante Viernes: August 9, 2019

Happy Friday!  I hope all of the schools that have started already had a wonderful back to school week!  I have personally found that my productivity and self-care ebb and flow throughout the summer.  In the beginning, I try to take as much time off as I can with a five year old to relax and read a TON.  I have some blips of activity like edcamp, but overall, I am able to take it easy.  Throughout most of July, I don’t get too much done school wise, but that is the beauty of it!  I can work when I feel inspired and stop when I do not- and go back to reading or Netflixing.  Late July and early August, I get bursts of energy to work and get many things on my to do list accomplished.  (Thus the flurry of blog posts you see from me!)  Then, the last week, I soak up even more summer time and son time knowing that the busyness of the first week will be here soon.

Frequently, I read about people worrying about not enough self care because of working too much in the summer.  I believe that it is all about balance.  During the summer, I finally have time to work on some of the longer projects that I cannot accomplish during the school year.  I am also able to take long vacations to both Virginia Beach and South Carolina.  Learn to listen to yourself- if you aren’t feeling inspired, take some extra time to lay by the pool or get a pedicure where they offer you a free mimosa!  (This is evidently a thing in my new town!)  Don’t beat yourself up if you spend extra time one day working on a school project.  It will all balance itself out in the end!

To add one more thing to my much more wordy than normal BV intro- EdPuzzle has AMAZING NEWS!!  You can now PROJECT a video and all students can submit their own answers!  It is similar to a video and PearDeck combined!  I used to love using this feature with Zaption.  While I love EdPuzzle for its ability to differentiate, I like to use the project version the first time we watch a video and at times before an assessment.  That way, we can discuss the answers as we go.

With ALL of that- here are my favorite blog posts from the week: