Posted in Brillante Viernes

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 Novel

My biggest mistakes using novels (and how I fixed them)

My biggest mistakes using novels and how I fixed them

With my beginning levels, I started teaching novels.  It was going decently, but still many students didn’t enjoy them.  I didn’t feel like I was reaching as many students as I wanted.  However, after studying how more people used novels in class and developing my units, I have realized my biggest mistakes and how I have started to counter them in class.  This has made my novel units much more successful- and now I have at least two novels to read in each level.

My first mistake was almost always reading as a group and translating aloud.  Now this can be valuable, but it also gets tedious as we continued to do this chapter after chapter.  I have found that if you have taught enough of the vocabulary, it is also not always needed.  However, this is typically how I start the first chapter.  This gives students confidence about what they can do.  Then, I change it up.  Instead of reading aloud, I will give them reading guides for a chapter then we can continue to discuss important points.  On my Facebook page, I recently shared a reading guide that I used for chapter 2 with Frida Kahlo.  I also like to have students use whiteboards, and we will pause, so students can illustrate different aspects of the book.  This provides a quick brain break, and I can provide more input- or ask students what they drew!  With my level 5, I am also going to have them read independently and respond to my questions on Flipgrid.  I wouldn’t try this with earlier levels since it may be a bit too difficult.  I have also put some questions on PearDeck which allows students to answer longer questions, multiple choice and also draw.  This provides a nice balance of all of them.  I can put it on student-paced, or we can go through a chapter together with PearDeck.

I have written about this before, but I was also horrible about Reader’s Theater!  I had two main problems- we were reading it WHILE they were trying to act it out.  The actors got antsy.  Reader’s Theater is the best AFTER reading.  This will reinforce the concepts, and students really enjoy it, so they aren’t frustrated that they are hearing the information twice.  Also, my other big mistake was having students reenact the whole chapter!  Even in beginning readers- it was too long.  There were some parts that were not suitable to even reenact.  Again, both readers and actors got antsy.  I suggest keeping it to one page or a page and a half if there is a larger continuous stage.  This year when we reenact it, I will have someone create a video to be included in our year end video.

Also, if you want to include all students in the re-enactment, I suggest digital storytelling!  I have students use Snapchat (although now they could also use Instagram Stories) to take pictures AND edit them.  They can also include a caption in the target language.  It is fun when they also add stickers to explain it more.  Then, they download the picture instead of publishing it.  (Although, they could also publish it.)  This way, they can submit it to you without you even having to be on Snapchat.  Students snapchat so much, they can do this in about 15 minutes.

My last mistake was not incorporating the great culture that is included in the novels.  I tried some, but I could have included much more!  We can listen to music from the country where the novel is written.  In Billy y las botas, we made sure to listen to the song El Burrito Sabanero before the sweater sings it.  Before another chapter in Frida that mentions the Mexican Revolution, I had students complete a short EdPuzzle to give them background before it is mentioned in the unit.  I also put together an EdPuzzle for Chichén Itzá before Billy y las botas go there on a date.  There are so many concepts that could be covered; I encourage you to find some that you know your students will like and you enjoy discussing as well.

Finally, my newest tool to use with novels is Goosechase!  You can come up with a scavenger hunt to give clues throughout the scavenger hunt.  I tried this last year with vocabulary, but Sharon had awesome ideas on how to use it with novels.  If you can, I encourage you to try it!

Originally, I believed that it would be really easy to use novels in class, but it definitely takes some time to figure it out.  How do you incorporate novels?  Were there any lessons that you learned?

Posted in beginning of the year

Details: Part III, Unit I Spanish I Introductions and Activities

Details Part III, Unit I Spanish I: Introductions and Activities

This is my fourth post about my first unit that I have planned for level 1.  You can find my preliminary post here, the first set of details here, and the third post here.

I am making my way through my first unit.  I just gave my first interpretive assessment on Friday.  It went well!  I want to continue to work on the purpose of the article.  Also, I want to start working with students on identifying where they found information in the article.  I did not do that before, so I am marking that for the next interpretive reading assessment.  I also stuck a free write in the plans to start working on students’ writing.

The last can do focuses on dates and time- while still recycling likes.  We have been discussing the dates throughout this unit.  We also did a quick review of the months with Quizlet Live.  I have a few activities bookmarked to continue to practice dates.  I also found this authentic resource talking about school dates in Argentina  (last few pages).  We will be able to compare when we start school versus the trimester dates of Argentina.  Also, as always Zachary Jones has some great resources about comparing schedules in many different countries including Argentina.  I mentioned this resource about Independence dates that I used years ago.  I like this because it is also timely with Hispanic Heritage Month as a way to explain why it is from September 15-October 15.  Also for times and dates, I like to look at TV schedules like this one.  Students can also discuss what they like or dislike on TV.

Using this awesome MovieTalk database, I found this clip about an annoyed penguin.  I will start the week with this short video.  It is easy to use penguin because it is a cognate.  We can also work on the phrase- No le gusta/n.  Also, this will allow us to work with ¿cómo está?

My outline for the MovieTalk consists of:

Hay un pingüino grande.  Hay tres pingüinos pequeños.  Hace frío.  Está nublado.  Al pingüino grande no le gustan los pingüinos pequeños.  Los pingüinos pequeños saltan mucho.  Saltan muchas veces.  Al pingüino grande no le gusta saltar.  Tampoco le gusta el entusiasmo.  Está mal.  Está frustrado.  Los pingüinos pequeños saltan.  Finalmente, el pingüino grande lanza un pingüino pequeño.  Hay una ballena grande.  Es posible que la ballena coma el pingüino.  ¿Qué hacen los pingüinos pequeños?

I plan on drawing this as I explain it which is a bit more like some of the story listening techniques.  I did the same thing with the first chapter of Frida Kahlo, and it seemed much more engaging for students.

As we continue to work through students’ likes and dislikes, I will do a 1-3-5 free write (a variation of 1-3-10.)  When we do free writes, I like to have students write on a piece of paper then I can have students upload a picture to Seesaw.  Also, to help students improve their writing, I am going to have them read a lot of summaries about their classmates’ likes and dislikes.  Since their final assessment will be a version of a free write, I will focus my efforts here.  Going forward, we can focus more on a variety of aspects of language.  Initially, I just want students to put down what they can.  Their final assessment will involve writing what they like to do based on a schedule (like the TV schedule or class schedule) and also a free write of what their peers like.

As I continue to work with this unit, I will update this and finally, I will reflect on any changes that I want to make at the end of the unit.  Hope this helps you if you are doing a similar unit.  If you have done something similar, also let me know the activities that you planned!


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


Posted in Technology

PearDeck Vocabulary

PearDeck Vocabulary

I have posted about how much I enjoy PearDeck before!  Today, I used it to survey my classes about their likes and dislikes before discussing it as a class.  However, their new addition- PearDeck vocabulary- is great for many classes especially foreign language classes.  It will allow ALL students to engage in creating pictures and creating examples of vocabulary.  Plus, once you copy and paste your Quizlet list into PearDeck- that is all that you need to do for prep!  Instead of starting with a new deck, you can start with the vocabulary.  Then, you can start with any Quizlet list that you have.  Click on the three dots for more then export in Quizlet, then copy the box at the bottom of the page.  It will look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.12.08 PM

You can paste that into your PearDeck set, and you are ready to go!  When you open the PearDeck vocabulary with your class, they will all log in in the same way that they log into a regular PearDeck:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.13.37 PM

After everyone joins, you can click clock in.  Students are divided into groups- night shift and day shift.  Within the groups, they are also paired up.  If a student does not have a pair, it is ok as well.  This is what the screen looks like.  I encourage you to have the pairs sit together to help.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.15.09 PM.png

Once you click on Let’s Play, this screen appears:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.17.07 PM.png

Each student works on a picture of the vocabulary word or a definition in Spanish/example of the word.  You could also have them use it in a sentence accurately depending on the level of the students.  Below you can see my attempts to do so!



Once the partners (or individuals of those working by themselves) finish, they see the finish product and ship it off!


Once you have all of the words finished or you finish for a set period of time, you will get to do quality control.  Each drawing, word and definition pops up, then as a class, the class votes on whether or not it works together.  You can click the check or X for each one.

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 12.21.31 PM

Once you vote on all of them, the ones that you approve are exported to Quizlet!  It is a really neat integration.  Also, a “shift” wins.  I will say that overall, my students really liked it, and I plan on using it throughout the year.  I want to change up the approval process because many people tended to not always pay attention.  I may make signs for them to vote.  I had my students work for about 15 minutes then we voted for about 5-7 minutes.

The only downfall is this is in beta currently… but get on the list!  My fellow teachers moved up the list and got access pretty quickly.  This is the perfect technology tool that enhances instruction, encourages collaboration and involves all students.

Posted in noticias, Textbookless

Two downloads: Unit template and Noticias

Unit template noticias downloads

This weekend, I have been working on two different downloads.  Instead of writing two separate posts, I am including both here!  As I move away from my textbook, I want to have a concrete way to communicate the can do statements for each unit along with key vocabulary.  This also allows for extension vocabulary and students to create their own personalized vocabulary.  I have decided to come up with a unit page for each unit.  This will allow my students (and their parents) to have something to reference.  Here is my unit template page.  This is what my first unit for Spanish I looks like.  I am sure that I will continue to edit it as I go through the year.

In addition, this weekend, I also put together a news page for the news from this past week.  I included articles on Hurricane Irma and its impact on the Caribbean, the earthquake in Mexico, Gustavo Fernandez’s loss in the US Open and a short article on Peruvian Gastronomy Day.  I have included the PDF below.  Hope you can use it this week in your classes!

Noticias 11 de septiembre

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 8, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Sept 8, 2017

I just finished up two days of field trips for the whole 10th grade class where I was in charge of organizing it.  Whew!  I have been looking forward to this weekend!  Everything ended up great- but it is certainly stressful.  In the end, the time that I got to spend with the students was really amazing, and I am impressed with the great attitudes that we had with on the community service trip.  Here are some of my favorite blogs that I got to read this week:

  • Any time Meredith writes something, I read it right away!
  • I am excited to play around with Quizlet Diagram this year.
  • Love this fun food unit that Laura used with her novice students!
  • I want to keep evolving my music ideas to get away from cloze activities.  Here are 10 awesome ideas!

Flashback Friday on my own blog!

Posted in Technology

Mentimeter: Fun presentation tool

Adobe Spark (34)

I have appreciated the time that our principals put into planning back to school meetings that made them innovative.  One of our assistant principals used the tool Mentimeter and I instantly fell in love with it!  I really liked a lot of the features, and they were easily apply to foreign language classes.  Mentimeter is a presentation tool that allows you to interact with all members of your class or audience by using 1:1 devices.  Students could use laptops, tablets, or phones.  They each log in using the code provided by Mentimeter, and then you can get started!  You pace the questions, and the students follow along and reply to your questions.  You can also see what students have said because all students sign in.

Mentimeter has some similar features of other presentation tools where you can ask students multiple choice questions or polls.  Within the questions, you could include a video or picture to ask a question.  You could also allow students to vote on more than one option.  Instead of having words for each choice, you could also have students vote from a variety of pictures.  This would be fun if you are working with an ideal vacation, houses or even just for paintings or sculptures!  While reading a novel, you could have students pick out how they envision the characters from the book.  Or who would play each character in a movie adaption!

One of my favorite question types was that you could have students enter individual words on their device, and Mentimeter will display a word cloud on the projector of all of the words combined.  As more students enter their words, words that are frequently mentioned appear larger and larger.  This would be amazing to brainstorm previous vocabulary to activate before a new unit.  You could have students pick out key words from an authentic resource reading or story.  Students could also describe characters as well.  The possibilities are endless- and it is fun to watch the words appear.  Also, they have a profanity filter which is always reassuring.

Another fun feature that I saw on Mentimeter that I haven’t seen on other presentation tools is “who will win.”  You can give students multiple choices, and they can vote on who they think will win.  Then only the “winner” is displayed with a trophy and some confetti.  This would be fun before a big game like the Super Bowl or local sporting events.  You could also use this before the big celebrity events like the Latin Grammys.  Or at the beginning of the week- everyone could vote on their favorite lunch menu for the week.

Finally, my other favorite feature is that students can react to the slides that you include with type or images.  You can choose the reactions that the students can use, but they include a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, a question mark or a cat (just for fun!)  You could have students react to quotes or memes in the target language.  You could also have students react with just a question to see if anyone was confused.  I would caution you that once the students react, the reaction is animated.  If you want students to really focus on the slide, you might want to take off the reactions for that particular slide.  But they are fun to include on some slides!

In addition, the program has a variety of typical presentational questions: open-ended questions that display all students’ responses,  scales, and quiz questions that provide a question for all students to answer with a countdown timer.  However, many of your questions can also include a picture or a video (in Beta) which is awesome for FL classes.

I think that it is pretty intuitive to use, but I wanted to include a few screenshots to get you started.  When you log-in, your screen will look like this.  You can choose the teal button that says “new presentation.”

Mentimeter opening screen

The next screen includes all of the different types of slides that you can include in your presentation.

Mentimeter slide 2

You can choose a theme, and as you create the slides they will appear in the section on the left.  Once you choose a specific type of slide such as quiz, you will switch from type to content.  Within the content side, you can choose specific settings to that type of question.  To get back to the options, you can click on type for question type.

Content question

This is the zoomed in version of the quiz questions.  Once you are done, you can click on present!  I highly encourage you to check out this program!  I am excited to integrate it into my classes this year, and I would enjoy hearing how you have used it as well. Edited to add (thanks to Wendy!) on the free plan you could only add two questions per free edition. You could create multiple presentations if you want to add more questions!


Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: September 1, 2017

Brillante Viernes: Sept 1, 2017

Whew!  Happy Friday!  This week was really rough for me.  I felt like I was working so hard yet overlooking a lot of details no matter how many times I checked things.  But then… we welcomed new students to our school, and it went amazing.  And my mentee teacher who is teaching Chinese (and is also amazing) this year offered to put the bulletin board paper up which was pretty much one item that I was dreading!  Also, our CPR group started dancing disco to the song Stayin Alive.  And even with all of the craziness and my hectic schedule, I was constantly reminded that I didn’t have to do all of it alone and that I have some really amazing people to help me.  So clearly, I did not finish my blog posts for this week (except for this one!) But I can’t wait to finish my first unit next week and talk about another cool technology tool that one of our Assistant Principals used.  Without further ado… some great posts for your long weekend!

  • I completely agree with Courtney’s post about stopping the shame game.
  • I love Matt’s first post on Path2Proficiency and even though it is about Chinese, so many other teachers can learn from it!  (And he is from Maryland!!)
  • I can completely relate to Valerie’s post about the vocabulary list and sounds very similar to my plan this year.
  • If you aren’t going back until next week- check out this first day stations!  It could also be used throughout the year for station ideas.

My posts from previous years:

Posted in Brillante Viernes

Brillante Viernes: August 25, 2017

Brillante Viernes August 25

Happy Friday!!  Congratulations to everyone who has made it through another school week!  I went back part time to help with my new mentee teacher and tie up some loose ends with our beginning of the year experiential education trips… and I was SO exhausted!  My husband and son were literally running around me as I lay on the couch useless.  Hope you have time this weekend to catch up on your favorite blogs and relax!

And a flashback to previous years here on the blog: