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!)

Posted in Brillante Viernes, Uncategorized

Brillante Viernes: January 6, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Jan 6 2017

Happy Friday!  We have made it through the first week back to school!  Hopefully, some of yall get some good snow.  We didn’t get much this week, and my son really wants to make Frosty and a snowball.  So come on snow!  I am looking forward to breaking out our hot chocolate soon!  Here are some of my favorite posts from this week:

  • Sra Spanglish aka Laura Sexton found this new to me blog- and I love the 2016 resolutions!  Add this to your Bloglovin!
  • I love Martina’s idea about how to use stories to build empathy.
  • I always listen when Sharon talks about music!  Here is her top list of music from 2016!
  • Finally, I appreciate Thomas’ post about New Year’s goals.  I am definitely guilty of some of these goal infractions.

Flashback Friday to previous posts (including some of my VERY first blog posts!):

  • A great website to see how students struggle with learning difficulties
  • BlendSpace technology
  • Follow-up song activities
  • My problems with bulletin boards and how I tried to fix it
  • A low prep review idea if you are coming back from maternity leave
  • Anagram warm-up (or end of class activity)
  • An authentic resource on celebrities with a graphic organizer (AND my FIRST ever post!)
  • Nota: My girl song- which I still love!
  • How I love to put memes on exams
  • One way I used Today’s Meet
Posted in Novel, Uncategorized

Billy y las botas: Days 1-3

Adobe Spark (27).jpg

Last year, Señor Wooly sent out a request for help on his secret project!  I was lucky enough to respond in time and get a sneak preview of his newest graphic novel Billy y las botas!  I knew that I wanted to use this in my level 2s.  My school bought a class set including the teacher’s guides.  I highly recommend the teacher’s guides!  They are so useful!  You can also watch all of the helpful videos made by Señor Wooly and Carrie Toth here.  Below, I will detail my plans including how I am adapting the graphic novel for my blended class and for my sick child!

For the first day, I had planned to start with the Billy y las botas song on Señor Wooly.  I thought this would be a nice introduction to the book, but you could wait until the end of the novel to show them.  I was planning on using vocabulary introduction and then the cloze song activity from his website.  Then we were going to start with the book.  For homework, I was going to have the students complete a few nuggets from the Señor Wooly website.

THEN! My son woke up sick.  This was going to be my first day back from break, AND I had all of the graphic novels in my car… CUE the teachers’ guide!  Señor Wooly included a PowerPoint with all of the pictures from his book with or without the words.  I was able to cut the PowerPoint to the first three pages and ask students follow-up questions in English.  You could also include some of the questions from the circling guide in Spanish.  I provided these to the students to complete while I was out.

The first few pages introduce Perro’s girlfriend Damita.  As a quick writing activity, I had students make up a short date between Perro and Damita.  For the rest of our class, I was able to have students work on the Señor Wooly nuggets.  These nuggets are wonderful for a sub day!

The next day, I was able to have students start into the next few pages.  I covered a few pages in one class due to my December timeline, but I could afford to go even slower.  I found that it was nice to cover two pages then give my students a minute to describe everything in Spanish.  I have noticed that students are able to speak more about these pages than other topics that I have given.  Also, Señor Wooly includes some brain break ideas with students raising their hands or moving to the room where they stand on an issue.  In addition, I have also allowed students to read a page or two on their own.

After we read about 10 pages, I had my students complete a 1-3-5 free write.  I observed this in another teacher’s class, and it was awesome.  Students write for one minute about what they read.  Then, they count their words.  After, students copy their sentences from the first minute then they keep writing for the full three minutes.  They count their words then for five minutes, copy down their three minute sentences and keep going.  It is pretty motivating for the students and a nice summary activity.

Finally, on my third day, I started with this little chart to recap what my students have read with the characters.  We finished through the section before Billy meets the boots.  Then, I made this Kahoot for my students to play!  Overall, I am enjoying completing this with my students.  They are engaged, and they are having  a lot of fun!  They also are seeming to really understand more Spanish when I am speaking.

Posted in Brillante Viernes, Uncategorized

Brillante Viernes: October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016

Happy Friday!!  I hope that you are enjoying your week and are looking forward to the weekend.  I am headed out to the Halloween train this weekend with my son which combines two of his favorite things.  Also, that laundry still cannot do itself for some reason.  Here are some of my favorite pages from this week:

Maris Hawkins Flashback!