Posted in End of the year, Technology, Uncategorized

End of year video app smash with Flipgrid, Adobe Spark and Goosechase!

end of the year video app smashing

So each year, I have wanted to put together an end-of-the-year video for my students.  But each year, I don’t have enough pictures or videos to make it happen.  When I was at the conference with Tina this past summer, I was committed to make it happen.  I still didn’t take nearly enough pictures this year… but luckily many of the technology tools that we used captured enough for me!  Thanks to both Goosechase and Flipgrid (in addition to just the off chance that I take one or two pictures per class…) I have MORE than enough!  Here are my shortcuts to download these videos and pictures.

On Flipgrid, I can click on “topic details” for each topic in my grid.  All the way to the right, it looks like this with the “activity.”


If you click on “actions,” these options appear including download video and download selfie!


This gives you a great place to start for your video.  You have a wealth of videos and selfies to use to download!  Then, my next stop is Goosechase.  Once you have played a game, you can click on the submissions button on the left side.  Once you are looking at all of your submissions, you can click on the “download submissions” button on the right part of the screen.  It will download it as a ZIP file.  It is organized by teams and their submissions.

So where to make the video?  I used Adobe Spark.  It is free and easy to use.  There are plenty of tutorials that can walk you through how to create a video… like this one!  My only tip is to turn down the music, so it is easier to hear your students.  Also, for me, I teach two classes of the same level.  I organized my video by topics, so I could easily replace the videos and pictures, but I have the same structure of the video which saved me some time.  Hope this inspires you if you have wanted to do a video, but keep forgetting to actually take pictures!

Posted in Brillante Viernes, Flipgrid, Speaking, Uncategorized

Spring Break Saturday!

Spring Break Saturday

Happy Saturday!  (I am trying to keep up the alliteration!)  I am back from Disney, and I wanted to share a resource for you for Monday and a few of my favorite resources that I have seen this week.

First, I have made two new Flipgrids for the month of April.  After some reflection, I think it will work better to try for one a month.  That seems to be more attainable.  (But let me know!  What do you think?)  For Spanish 2, I decided to aim questions about vacations.  Students can discuss what they did over vacation.  While I asked about traveling, I also added mostly questions around what many people do on vacation- sleep, watch TV and eat/go to the mall.  I wanted to make sure there was something for everyone- even the student who insists s/he didn’t do anything.

For my second Flipgrid for level 1, I included some generic questions about spring- what is the weather like where you live, what do you do in the spring, etc.  The other thing that I would encourage everyone to do is to have your students respond to some videos!  Especially for my level 2 students, I make sure my students respond to other videos.  This will help them with interpersonal skills.  Remember, if students just record a response, they are practicing presentational speaking.  Have them ask a question back!

With some more updates (and a plan for Monday), I have been LOVING Kara’s Story Listening resources for songs.  She published a new one this week.  So far, I have used Corazón from Maluma, Bailar by Deorro (such a funny story!) and No soy como tú crees by Ana Mena.  Next time, I can’t wait to try story sequencing with these stories a la Maestra Loca from her blog.  Many of these stories are written in short lines, so they would be easy to cut up and have students put back in order.  (Or change it up with one of her strategies from the Comprehensible Online conference!)

Speaking of which, La Maestra Loca’s Easter themed lesson plan would be great to use if you didn’t have school last week!  I may modify it with some flower pictures instead and use it when it actually gets warmer here.  (It is supposed to snow tomorrow night!  I am ready to pack up and move to Florida right about now…)

Check out how Laura uses Flipgrid to manage #puedos and while you are at it, add some of your puedos activities to the shared Google Drive!  (I just added a new one for La Calaca Alegre.)

Also, Martina’s blog post on assessments is something that every teacher should read!  I believe that assessments should be able to highlight student success and not be a gotcha. Read this post for even more tips!

Finally, I have been sharing my reviews of CI books on my blog to help teachers decide which books may be for them and now on CI Reading, they are focusing on student reviews!  It would be great to print these out and include them in your library to inspire more reviews as well.

Hope these ideas help ease you back into school after break!

Posted in noticias, Speaking, Uncategorized

Noticias and new Flipgrid music topic

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 8.22.35 AM

Happy Sunday!  I have two new activities for you to use in class this week!  First, I have my most recent edition of news from last week.  This week I wrote about:

  • Spain’s fastest goal in soccer
  • Popular restaurants in Chile
  • Spanish fashion chain opens a new type of store
  • Emigrants returning to Cuba
  • Music/comedy festival in Chile

You can find the summaries below to print and distribute to your class.

26 de febrero (1)

In addition, I have 13 pre, during and post reading activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you would like to extend what you are doing with these articles.  There was a lot of great culture that I found I could include this week.

Finally, these articles discuss music and many Spanish teachers are doing March Madness for Music starting this week!  Whether or not you are planning to participate, many of us feature music in our classes.  I decided to create a new Flipgrid topic, so students can share their favorite songs from Spanish class!  I decided to stick with just one Flipgrid topic for both Spanish 1 and 2 since music is something that everyone likes to discuss.  My hope is that as students hear other students talk about their favorite songs, they will be inspired to listen to new music!  (Also, I am hoping to get some new ideas, too!)

I hope these ideas jump start your week!

Posted in Uncategorized, Warm-up activity

Bellringers and I are never getting back together… Like Ever.

Adobe Spark (16)

So earlier this year, I wrote a post about breaking up with my bellringer.  I was nervous about not using it.  It was everything that I had learned was “good pedagogy.”  It was on my teacher observation checklist!  It worked for me… somewhat.  But brain research really wasn’t on my side.  And it was BORING (mostly).  Occasionally, we would start with a interesting game etc, but many times, it was a handout or book activity… that we needed to go over.  So by the time we really started it was far into class.

I realized that I didn’t come back and discuss how it went when we started a Twitter discussion about it.  I ended up keeping a similar schedule from my original blog post.  We would do the special person interview (and later in the year weekend review.)  To keep it fresh, one of my favorite weekend review options was on this blog.  Other days, I would start with Free Voluntary Reading.  To keep some accountability, I would have students find two new words to them to share with a partner.  Or we would do some booksnaps.  I started my level 2s with five minutes of reading then I bumped it up to seven or eight minutes by the end of the year.  In addition, I would either do a song or a MovieTalk as well.  I would also play around with commercials during February and the music mania in March.  I also would mix in some PictureTalk as well.  Because we would typically assess once a week, this would summarize my week of “warm-ups”!

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take attendance or check homework.  I managed to fit that in later in the class.  I rarely forgot to take attendance.  (Although sometimes I would forget to check homework… but that is probably for the best!  I am changing up my homework this year anyway.  Don’t ask me what, but I won’t have a work book to make students complete.)

I was also worried that students wouldn’t know to “get started” or that there would be discipline problems with them getting started.  I found that they settled down just as much as they did before with a bellringer.  They knew that class was starting and they didn’t act any different than they would have with a bellringer.  I like the same flow of my class.  As I wrote in my previous blog, I think this helped me further back away from the textbook as I wasn’t relying upon a textbook activity for my bellringer.  I believe that it made my class more engaging overall.  I encourage you to try to move away from the bellringer this year!  Also- check out how Laura moved away from bellringers this year and how she started her class.

Posted in Uncategorized

Part II of CI Liftoff

CI Liftoff Day 2

On the second day of the CI Liftoff workshop, we continued to work on one word images and telling a story with an outline for a story instead of starting with specific targets.  Tina shared a great amount of knowledge, and I am excited to watch more on her YouTube channel.  You should check it out to see even more live examples!  Here are some of my take-aways from the second day:

  • For one word images when you are creating characters, avoid any predetermined character such as Spongebob or Princess Poppy.  (I am watching Trolls for the 50th time this summer it seems…)  They already have personalities, so students wouldn’t be inventing anything.  Tina suggests talking food that is always a hit.
  • I noticed that both Ben and Tina would add a few details as they wrote a story.  This would help make the story more complex and to me helped to keep the story engaging.
  • One of my absolute favorite things that I learned was the role of the videographer!  (Seriously- if you take ONE thing from this post, I think this is the BEST!)  Ben and Tina suggest having someone film all of the recreation of the stories with actors.  It is always their role to record everything.  Then at the end, they put together the video for the class to see at the end of the year.  What a wonderful way to end the year!!!  I am obsessed (and bummed that I didn’t think of it sooner when I seriously had one of the most amazing videographers in my class!)
  • Lynne (from EdCampCIVa!) suggested keeping all of the stories and then having students illustrate them at the end of the year as a form of review of all of the topics.  I thought this idea was wonderful especially for teachers who need to teach topically and align with other textbook teachers.
  • I want to explore more about story listening/telling.  Tina did a wonderful example where she drew on the board while describing what is happening.  She suggests retelling a story that students already know in the beginning in level 1 such as the Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks.  Then, you could expand to non-fiction.  I think that this would incorporate nicely with the news that I like to use in class.
  • Next year, I also want to look into Project GLAD.  Project GLAD is a strategy for ESL students to teach them non-fiction topics.  I think this will incorporate nicely with upper level classes instead of more basic story listening.  (If you use it, let me know other resources to look up!)
  • In addition, Tina suggested some great ideas about upper level FVR.  She mentioned having students take notes on sticky notes to prepare for a scaffolded writing assignment.  I have found that light accountability helps for my FVR (booksnaps or even talking to a partner.)
  • Finally, I learned some great ideas to help students when they get stuck writing: they can use a brand name instead of a word that they don’t know, add a new character to their writing, start describing the weather or personality etc that has been practiced extensively and finally- making sure students can hear the sentence all the way to the end before writing it.

I realize that the whole targeted-untargeted debate still continues.  I enjoyed learning that it was feasible for me to do more untargeted stories and still be successful.  I also think that for me this can be a good addition to my program.  I will continue to update how it goes as my year starts.

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 Favorites, Uncategorized

Spring 2017: Favorite things!

Spring 2017 Favorites

One blog post that I love to read is a review of the blogger’s favorite things.  I have a few that I have been using recently that I hope you can try too!

  • Google Keep:  This is a great to do list tool.  I normally love checking things off my to do list.  I use it on my laptop and iPad.  If I had space on my phone, I would add it there, too (#mompictureproblems!)
  • Flipgrid:  I have started to incorporate this into my classes, and I love it!  I can record a video and all of my students can respond.  They have 90 seconds to respond.  My students like it, and they do not need an account.  Another great point: it is free to have one board.  On the board, you can create subtopics.
  • Idea: As I wrote on Twitter, I had my students share how they used the target language when they traveled.  Many students were excited to share how they used it.  Two students mentioned that they had to give directions to their Uber driver.  I thought this would be a perfect twist to the usual “directions” unit.
  • Assessment: I finally put together an assessment that I planned two summers ago.  Students read a Yelp review then they also read the menu from the Yelp review.  Finally, they left a Yelp review of their own.  My favorite review was below:FullSizeRender (1)
  • Textbooks: Or lack thereof! I have finally decided to make the plunge and go textbookless next year!  One of my big reasons was I ended up having to find ways to use the textbook instead of not using it.  When the balance tipped for me, I was ready to ditch it.  This is clearly not a decision for everyone, but I am excited to try it.  We will see how that journey goes next year!  Also- my favorite is clearly my PLN who always responded to my requests about what novels to incorporate.

What are your current spring favorites?  I love to add to my list!

Posted in Uncategorized

Music Video Story: Te Veo

Music Video Story: Te Veo

I have really enjoyed checking out Adriene’s post on music talks.  One of my favorite music videos is Lasso’s Te Veo.  I decided to make a slideshow to go over the details of the music video.  I noticed that my students were much more invested in the video than they had been in the past when they went from listening to the song to watching the video.  I left a little cliff hanger at the end.  I also made a new Jumble Kahoot to play!  It was a little difficult for my students, but this was the first time that many of them played the Jumble version.  I liked that Jumble continues to recycle the words from the video.

At the end of class, I drew inspiration from Laura’s recent music post.  I had students recreate four pictures from the music video and caption them.  They could upload a collage to Seesaw with the captions!  If we had more time, I would have students retell the story over the picture also in Seesaw.  In Seesaw, they can record up to 5 minutes!  It was great to take time to really listen to the song and the video.  I am excited to continue to break down good music videos like this!

Posted in Assessments, Uncategorized

How I try to decrease anxiety on assessments

How I decrease anxiety on assessments

Assessments alone can be daunting.  As any teacher, I want to assess my students with what they know and can do, but I want all of my students to be successful.  While I keep changing, there are a few things that I do to decrease anxiety.

  • Overall, I have noticed that with a switch to proficiency based grading, my students are able to show what they can do instead of getting caught up with what they do not know.  This has significantly decreased anxiety.
  • I always provide a study guide with sample problems.  If I will have students complete an interpretive reading or listening, I give them a smaller sample of types of questions and readings or listenings.  If it is a writing, I will give them some topics to think about.  I go over the style of the quiz before they see it.  I do not like to have any surprises on the assessment.
  • I like to give students options.  In my level 2, I like for students to work on writing Spanish definitions for words because I believe it will help them use circumlocution in the target language.  However, I give my students extra words to choose from.  They are still proving that they know the words and can define them, but this gives them wiggle room.  With presentational writing, I try to give them two options if possible.
  • I never give pop quizzes.  I know this was a big point at ACTFL this year with different presenters, and many people said that unannounced quizzes give a better look at proficiency.  I believe that; however, I also teach in a high school where students’ grades count when they apply to college.  I don’t want them to come to class every day worrying that I will give them a pop quiz.
  • This may be the most obvious, but I make sure that our assessment is our end goal and that the activities that we complete support that end goal.  I will talk about it early on, so students know what they have to do to reach that goal.  We discuss the rubrics as well.
  • In addition, there is one aspect that I am excited to try.  Post assessment, I want to ask students what they need to know to do better next time.  I analyze the data, but this will help me look more at what students need.  Plus, I think any time that you can get more input from students is best!

I would love to hear how you decrease anxiety with assessments!  Share in the comments!

Posted in Authentic resources, Reading, Uncategorized

Evolving my interpretive reading

Evolving my Interpretive Reading

After ACTFL, I was really reflecting on how I used authentic resources.  As I said before, I really need to make sure that I am doing PRE- almost everything.  Pre reading, pre teaching vocabulary before stories.  (Maybe that will be my #oneprefix this year 🙂  I used this infographic which I have used many times.  This time, I zoomed in on the man sneezing.  Then, I had students brainstorm relevant vocabulary as well as a possible theme.  We could complete a quick think-pair-share before we started with the questions.  I really liked using the think-pair-share because it gave students an easy quick way to talk in Spanish.  If a student didn’t know a word, they would check with their partner for confirmation.

As I continue to delve into using more authentic resources, I find myself teaching more about how to use each resource.  For example, we discussed what an infographic was.  I told students how to use a picture in an infographic.  I could also give hints such as read the headlines of each topic.  It can seem overwhelming when a student cannot tell how the infographic is organized.  I am hoping that as I continue to work with these authentic resources, students will become more savvy.  I also hope that I become more savvy into how to work with each infographic!  Many times, I just assume that I only want students to get a superficial knowledge of each resource; however, I am starting to want more from my students as we continue to work with them!

In the future, I am excited to try Seesaw’s new labeling feature.  It would be great to either create something of a “book snap” about what is happening or labeling words throughout.  You could look at Seesaw as a type of Snapchat (without disappearing!)