Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: November 17, 2017

Brillante Viernes November 17

Happy #ACTFL Friday!  I know that even if we are sitting at home, all foreign language teachers are excited by the sharing of ideas that will be happening in Nashville and through Facebook and Twitter this weekend!  If you are going to ACTFL and want to share any takeaways, you can share them in the comments here, and I can collect them and post them as well.  If you are hanging out on your couch, reading tweets like me, check out some of these amazing posts from this week as well:

  • La Maestra Loca is the queen of brain breaks!  Check out her newest PD here!
  • I love Kristy’s ideas to get more input for students.
  • This room is amazing!  I especially love the posters that help with circumlocution.
  • Check out Google’s Arts and Culture section.
  • On Facebook, Angie Dodd shared this AMAZING selection of novice Spanish readers!  I am going to print these off before I start FVR with my level 1.  Now no one has an excuse of not having enough money to get readers in Spanish!!

Flashback to my previous November posts:

  • If you are printing things off the web, use print friendly!
  • How to change slowly (and not drop everything you are doing)
  • My Spanish II class has loved Te mueves tú- so I need to introduce them to Muevete!
  • The Latin Grammys were Thursday night!  Have students do a Fashion Police activity today or Monday!
  • Also, I will do this with my students as well before Thanksgiving.
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Brillante Viernes: November 10, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 1.22.23 PM

Happy Friday and a happy early Veteran’s Day!  I am a proud wife, daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law of many people who have served our country.  Although I saw my husband’s sacrifice up front, I always like to reflect on how much time he gave to our country.  I am so proud of them.  Don’t forget to thank all of our veterans this weekend.

In a professional part, I was the guest moderator for #langchat last night!  We discussed how to prepare for ACTFL, and how to follow along from home.  Some of my favorite tips were:

  • Reflect on what you think that you need the most help with and attend sessions based on that topic.  You will have a more focused view on how to improve when you go home.  This is my favorite post on how to do make a plan.  Also Valerie mentioned that you could do this at home.  It is tempting to read ALL of the sessions when people share them, but many times, I leave the tabs open for too long.  Think about what you want to focus on if you are scrolling through Twitter at home.
  • Don’t be afraid to take breaks and NOT attend a session.  Take a long lunch, sit down on the couch and chat with a friend.  There are PLENTY of sessions, and you are regaining your sanity by taking a break.
  • Also, go and hang out with Noah Geisel at the unconference!  It is called ACTFL Un-Con from 4-6 on Friday and Saturday.  I did that a few times last year.  It gives you a structured place to just talk with your friends.  You can share what you learned at other sessions.  I met a new friend who lived in Maryland that I now have seen at many subsequent conferences.  I also learned how to play around with Snapchat in the classroom via Noah and Laura and Kara Jacobs.  I used that tip within the first few weeks of returning to school.
  • It is HUGE.  Keith Toda mentioned this as well.  I thought that when I attended, I would run into my virtual friends right and left, but you almost have to hunt them down!  I sent SO many PMs to Laura Sexton to finally meet her in person last year.
  • Don’t be afraid to go to a session in another language if it looks interesting- thanks Bethanie!  This will probably be easier if the language is close to your own language- or you could ask a neighbor to help you translate.
  • Also, don’t be afraid to leave a session!  I know you think that you may offend someone, but many times, they don’t notice.  Last year at NECTFL, one of the sessions I left, I went to another session about avoiding Google Translate by Amanda Robustelli-Price.  It was exciting to meet her, and I was able to incorporate the suggestions immediately.
  • In order to implement change or share your ideas, Señor Pardi suggested having a presenter Skype in to your department meeting.  This is an awesome idea, and I was thinking about doing something similar!  (Do you want me to Skype with your department?!  Let me know- I’m in!)
  • John Cadena also shared how he implements change.  He chooses one idea to implement immediately, one idea to work on a bit before using it and one idea to “percolate” and try later.  I think this is a great idea for how to implement small change without going crazy post conference.
  • Also, you can share your ideas on Twitter or in Facebook groups.  I am loving the information that I am getting from the various Facebook groups that I have joined.
  • Señor Pardi also mentioned that you have to take time and reflect that attending a conference can be difficult.  Many times you feel like you are surrounded by all of these AMAZING teachers doing AMAZING things, and you aren’t.  I am here to tell you that you are doing amazing things in your own classroom.  No one is perfect- not even the Teachers of the Year.  Everyone you meet at ACTFL has problems in their classroom and boring days, but you can also learn from everyone there- from the first year teacher to each presenter!
  • Finally, bring your sweater and water bottle!

Here are my favorite posts from this week:

  • Check out this alternative that will give students’ definitions of words in L1 when they are reading from Noah!
  • I used a variation of this from Laura, and it was AMAZING!  SO many of my students kept talking and the next day, they independently had a 21 minute conversation!!
  • Another thing that I want to try ASAP- this goal reflection sheet!
  • I am addicted to Google Add-ons!  Check out this list of 25!
  • My friend and co-planner for EdCampCIVa Lynne shared this post on Facebook about how to plan a Crime Scene Investigation.

Flashback time!

Whew!  And if you made it this far- thanks for reading it!  🙂

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: November 3, 2017


Brillante Viernes Nov 3Happy Friday!  It was an exciting week for me!  My Spanish II class decided to nominate me for Teacher of the Month in the newest Revista Literal!  I was beyond touched by their words, and I was thrilled.  They are truly a special class, and many times, I feel that I am the lucky one to teach them.  (It sounds cheesy, but it is true!)  Then, my department has been discussing Tea with BVP frequently.  Many times, Thursday afternoon, we get together to listen.  The last time I called for the Diva Challenge, I was third in line, but this time I made it!  And I won the book as well!  I am hoping that my luck continues through my presentation this weekend at GWATFL.  Without further ado, here were some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • I love using FVR, and Allison’s tip about how to introduce it in level 1 is important.
  • Laura’s post on how she is changing her listening assessments may be a game changer!
  • Check out this post on how to incorporate culture into classes (and how NOT to incorporate it.)
  • As I wrote before, I think it is dangerous to constantly compare your classes’ work to that on social media.  It is great that so many people are proud of what their students can do, but many times, they just share the highs, and it is easy to get discouraged.  I believe that posts like this of Erin’s are extremely important to read.
  • Jacque Ann shared this video on Facebook with Saludos and Despedidas.  Although it isn’t “authentic,” it is pretty engaging and entertaining!  Plus, it could be used easily in level 1.  It is a whole sitcom series!

Here are some of my previous posts, too:

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Brillante Viernes: October 27, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Oct 27, 2017

It’s finally Friday!  Hopefully, you had a good week.  I am finally feeling that I have a better pattern in my classes and with my schedule.  Next weekend, I am going to present at GWATFL if you live close to DC!  I will be talking about what I do in class to improve students’ proficiency.  I will also put my presentation on the blog if you cannot attend.  Here is some more of my favorite posts from this week:

  • As I continue to think about our curriculum, I appreciate Allison’s post on how to introduce the past.
  • The internet is rich in a variety of materials, and many times, it is difficult to navigate it.  This post explains how to find a variety of vlogs to use in language teaching.
  • I love this post of Sara-Elizabeth’s on breaking free from the verb chart.
  • Finally, Carol Gaab’s post about the truth behind FL teaching is important for all FL educators to read.
  • On Facebook, Jane Vandeer Beek shared these great lesson plans for Carrot Crazy MovieTalk.

TLDR from previous years posts:

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Brillante Viernes: October 20, 2017

Brillante Viernes Oct 20

Happy Friday!  I hope that you have had a wonderful week!  Tomorrow is EdCamp Metro DC, and it isn’t too late to join us.  Plus, it is free, and we provide breakfast.  It is the best deal in the area.  If you don’t live around DC, there are a lot of regional conferences for foreign language.  Don’t forget to check out these following blogs from this week:

  • Arianne has some amazing resources including this blog about a new MovieTalk.
  • So many FL teachers use Google Slides.  Have you seen the newest add-ons?
  • As I am moving away from whole class vocabulary lists, I appreciate this post from Creative Language Class.
  • Have you been listening to the We Teach Languages podcast?  The latest one from Paul Sandrock was great, and he articulated many things that I have noticed.
  • On Facebook, Erica shared this wonderful page of Día de los Muertos materials.

And now some of my posts from previous years:

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Brillante Viernes: October 13, 2017

Brillante Viernes Oct 13

It’s Friday the 13th- and in October!  For us near DC, it is finally feeling like fall and not that humid.  Also, Homecoming is behind us, and so it seems like we can finally get into a routine.  For my DC Metro readers- we are planning a fall conference!  It is October 21 at Lowell School and free!  In the mean time, here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • Did you see the free ezine that Martina is planning?  I already had my students sign up!
  • These ideas to get students to speak in Spanish are great.  I am going to use #2 next week.
  • I love this idea of a student generated vocabulary list for upper levels.
  • I was listening to the We Teach Languages podcast, and then I heard a similar idea mentioned on Musicuentos that explains how to do mini goals and scaffolding.
  • I found two great tips from Facebook that I am using/have used ASAP!  The amazing Meredith White gives students two different copies of text and has them identify the differences between them.  I love that idea!  Bill Langley also has students make columns for Me gusta/no me gusta then plays recipe videos in Spanish.  The students can add to the list of items that they like and don’t like.  It is a great way to learn more words!  I did this when we had a little extra time today due to schedules.


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Brillante Viernes: October 6, 2017

Brillante Viernes: October 6

Whew!  This has been a SUPER busy week!  Birthday party weekends are always hectic then we had homecoming week this week.  Luckily, we have Monday off, so I can finish a few posts that I have in mind.  With that- check out these posts that others from this week:

  • I love Tina’s suggestions for when you need a break in class.
  • It is semana de escalofríos on Zachary Jones’ website!
  • If you haven’t seen the updates for Google Slides, check out this post from my colleague with all of the newest features.
  • I love how Laura is adapting her unit to discuss the problems in many Spanish-speaking countries.
  • On Facebook, I plan to use this post that Meredith did with a reading activity!

Flashback to my other posts at this time:

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Brillante Viernes: September 29, 2017

Brillante Viernes Sept 29

Yay for Friday!  My precious son is turning the big FOUR this weekend!  He is the happiest child, and we are so lucky to have him.  He is excited that now he can have two gummy vitamins.  #perksofbeingfour  If you don’t have a weekend full of raucous preschool birthday celebrations, check out these articles:

  • I also published over on Path2Proficiency about how to adjust today!
  • I am fascinated by brain research, and this Edutopia article about brain research and memory is insightful.
  • Fifty crazy things to change about education: #13 ALL DAY! (oh and #20.  Can I have a reality show?!)  Also #24!  So much truth with my own PD now.  Just read it!
  • For Spanish teachers, both Martina and Kara have shared incredible resources to help out Puerto Rico.
  • Kristy’s post is amazingly honest, reflective and also contains a powerful mantra for this year.
  • I felt like I was saving everything this week on Facebook!  But I am particularly excited about this doc that explains a variety of Hispanic celebrations throughout the world (if you have more, add to it!) and this article about a variety of different hot dogs in Latin America.  Also, since this post is about my son, he has had salchipapas!

Some more posts from previous years at my own blog:

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Brillante Viernes: September 22, 2017

Brillante Viernes September 22

Happy Friday!  For me, I have finally gotten into a little groove where I remember most of my tricks to use in class, so lesson planning goes much faster.  Also, since I am teaching Spanish I again this year, I wanted to visit our Latin I class.  I have really appreciated seeing how they apply CI to Latin, and it has helped me apply different techniques to Spanish.  It was so much fun!  I talked about it on Twitter, but I learned a new brain break!  Rich wrote a three digit number on the board when one student had his back to the board. Then, the student guessed numbers.  We would squat down as a class if the number was lower and raise our hands if it was higher.  I loved it!

Also, I wanted to mention that EdCampMetroDC is starting a fall edition on October 21!  I would love to meet many teachers there, and we could even start a foreign language session!  Without further ado- here are some more awesome ideas from this week:

  • I totally agree about the importance of FVR!  It is so valuable to your FL class.
  • I feel like every time I turn around Path2Proficiency has another AMAZING post.  This post by Meredith is not twisted- it is so accurate.
  • Martina’s post about how to write comprehensible texts is perfect for people just starting CI and those who have been using it for many years!
  • Even more greatness from the Latin CI world: Secret Agent Sketch!  This is perfect because ALL students (grades 1-12) like drawing on whiteboards!
  • From Facebook- as I continue to work on my homework policy, I really like this assignment from Taylor Crump.

More posts from Maris Hawkins Blog in previous years:

  • A reflection from my Netflix unit that I am using again with level 2 this year
  • Some of my first notes from using Seesaw (which I still love!)
  • Our MS Latin teacher still does this bulletin board and I love it!
  • This is a fun quick activity about likes that I plan on using with my Spanish I class this week!
Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 15, 2017

Brillante Viernes: September 15

¡Es viernes!  It has been a long week with our back to school night on Thursday night.  This year (and last), I decided to do a Kahoot with parents.  I found this fun Kahoot on cognates and copied it.  Parents seem to enjoy it- and it gives them a different view of how we use technology now in the classroom.  I also pass out the students’ Seesaw codes as well.  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

Flashback Friday from my blog:

  • How it helps me to write down questions before a MovieTalk
  • I tried to project my class objectives, but I found it was easier to remind myself what I was doing by rewriting them
  • Beginning of the year info gap for my level 2
  • How to practice dates using dates of independence for Spanish-speaking countries