Monday, February 1, 2021
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Ordering events is a good way to have students REREAD a text. Before the pandemic, I used to print copies of text and my students ordered the events using the paper copies. For teaching during the pandemic, I digitized the activity on a Google Presentation and assigned it through Schoology.
The first ordering activity I made this fall on Google Slides was for Mira Canion's El escape Cubano. I learned a few ways to improve upon it which are reflected on the ordering activity for Mira Canion's Tumba novel.
1. Limit each slide to 4 events. More than increases the chances of students not getting the order correct.
2. Use at least two different colors for the text boxes. If you make this activity a graded assignment, it makes it much easier for you to know if the order is correct with a quick glance at each slide. (But don't have the same pattern on each slide or the students will catch onto that quickly.)
If you're interested in having a copy of the ordering activity on google slides for the first five chapters of Tumba, you can find them HERE.
FYI: I checked with Mira Canion to get her written consent to post this. (It's a must to check with an author before posting materials you created related to the author's book!)
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Here is a simple strategy that online teachers can employ to help students that are learning synchronously from home to stay engaged.
At my school, we are teaching to students physically in the classroom and at the same time we are teaching to students synchronously joining the class from their homes. I tried this technique last week and it definitely made a difference in how quickly students at home unmuted their mics and responded.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
I'm a few days away from starting the novel "El escape cubano" written by Mira Canion. In my classroom, it's all about front loading the vocabulary before opening the pages of a novel so students sail through the reading with ease, making the reading more enjoyable.
For several years I've been using the story "La novia se queda en el ascensor". This year, with the need to revamp the formats of my story scripts in order to make the material available to those four different groups that meet at the SAME TIME each day: (1) those that are in my class on A/B days, (2) those learning at home on A/B days, (3) the 100% synchronous students, and (4) for those students in the classroom every day.Here is an outline of how I presented the story and provided extension activities for the story "La novia se queda en el ascensor".
1. Using a document camera so students at home can see and projecting onto my board for students at school to see, students and I filled in the vocabulary sheet below. Students already KNOW most of the words. The new words are the ones I highlighted in yellow. This shows the students that they already know most of the word, plus they are introduced to the new ones in the upcoming story.
2. I told the story using illustrations on Google Slides for visual support for both students in class and at home.
It's a good day when you create a new game and it goes over well with each class that you play it. I created and played FLIP THE SCRIPT with three of my Spanish 2 classes today and since it worked so well I wanted to share it with others.
I'm preparing my students to read "El escape cubano" by Mira Canion, which will be their first novel that they read this year. Before we read this novel, I usually tell a story that I wrote about a bride and groom that encounter a problem when they go to their wedding reception. The goal is to provide a "boatload" of comprehensible input for the words se escapa and se queda, which are words found in the first few chapters.
FLIP THE SCRIPT explanation
1. You need a story script in which the students are familiar.
The story I used is titled: La novia se queda en el ascensor. I've read the story with my students and they participated in other writing and listening tasks using the same story script before playing FLIP THE SCRIPT.
2. Choose words/phrases in the text for students to translate from English to the TL and change those words to another color. Assign point values to the words/phrases with higher point values for the more challenging words/phrases.
Notice in the photo below, that some words are worth 1 point. The one point words are those that are used elsewhere in the text; the two points are ones that are not used in the text but I felt confident most teams would know them. There are some 3-point, 4-point, even a 6-point words.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Today I'm sharing a lesson that will engage students and provide you, the teacher, with a load of possibilities to comprehensible input related to the students' responses. My example is today's lesson with repetitions of the verb GUSTAR, but you can switch out the vocabulary and keep the same type of format for any structures.
As background, at my school students with last names beginning with A-K on come to school on "A" days and the rest of the students login from home and watch/participate in the lesson synchronously. The next day students L-Z are at school while the A-K students learn online synchronously. There are a handful of students that are 100% synchronous. What that means, is that everyday I am working simultaneously with students in person and students online. I created this activity so students could participate regardless of their physical location. (For another activity for hybrid classes or for regular classes too, see THIS POST.)
Don't forget to add your name too!
Then I made several slides that asked students if they liked something and gave them two options (yes, I like.... or no I don't like....). To prevent students from accidentally (or purposefully) clicking on the text boxes and photos on each slide, I saved the slide as a PNG and then uploaded the PNG as a background.
You can go over the slides before you instruct the students how to respond, but I added some translations to the slides so I wouldn't have to do that.
Share the Google Slide Presentation. I shared the document with the students by placing it on Schoology, our LMS. I shared it so they did NOT have to make a copy because I want all of the students answering on one presentation.
Demonstrate how to add your name to the slides. I demonstrated how to click on my name, press COMMAND + C to copy my name, and then move to another slide to paste their name with COMMAND + V (on a MAC). To add my name to other slides, I continued to press COMMAND + V.
Then I told the students to do the same and to add their names to the appropriate spot on each slide. Yes, it DID get tricky at times for students to add their names and then move it to the correct side, but everyone managed. For the second class that I had for the day, I told students to go to another slide that wasn't as busy with other students.
Discussion of the students' answers. After the students at school and at home had added their names to the slides, I asked personalized questions in Spanish about their answers, i.e. What flavor of ice cream do you like? Do you like to swim in the ocean or in a swimming pool? You said you like the city better than the country, what are two cities that you like?
Write and discuss. I asked a student to name one of the students in the class and then we wrote several sentences about that student, and then additional sentences to describe how many students liked or didn't like something on the slides. I split my computer screen with the slide presentation on one side and the paper on which I was writing with the help of the document camera on the other side.
Another use for the Google Slide Presentation. Take screenshots of four slides after the names are added. Put those on one slide and then ask true/false questions about the information as a closing activity.
The good and the bad: (similar to what Keith Toda does on his blog, Todally Comprehensible, that I really like. He names it "observations".)
- The activity provided both reading input (when they read to answer the questions) and listening input
- With only a few slides, there is a lot of information to work with.
- Students were engaged not only when adding their names to the slides, but also when anticipating that I may ask them about their response.
- It can be tricky when students move their name to one column or the other. Some students may be tempted to delete other's answers or move them.
- After one class's google slide presentation is finished, it was easy to copy the entire presentation and change only the names on slide 2.
- If group work is possible in your setting, you can assign one slide to a group and working with their group members, they can write additional sentences.
- The students' answers on the slides can be used the following day with short answer questions.
If you want a copy which you can edit, click HERE.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Let's Start the School Year! An Activity that Works for Virtual Classes or In Person or Hybrid Models
I'm five days away from the first day with students for the 2020-2021 school year. Currently, we are planning on seeing half of our students on alternating days, and the days they are not in school they will login and view the lesson synchronously. I will have several students in each class that are learning 100% synchronously online, and several that are attending school every day.
My goal for my Spanish 2 students was to create a lesson in which students will learn about their classmates (build community) while listening to the conversation that I will have with each student based on the information (photos) that they have provided. I wanted a lesson that would work for both virtual classes and in-person classes because if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that change happens very quickly!
For Spanish 2, I usually do "card talk" in which students sketch a few things about themselves on construction paper and I discuss their sketches while I share it with the class. For my Spanish 4 students, I usually have them send me a photo of them that was taken over the summer and add it to a google doc. My plans for Spanish 4 are only slightly different this year, but Spanish 2 has changed completely.
I wanted to make their work as easy as possible so I created a Google Slides presentation, shared it with students, and students have an assignment to add photos on their slide before the first class. I could have given them instructions and have them write their name, but, again, I was going for super easy, so I created all the slides, copied the directions on each slide, and completed a slide of myself as a model.
I know many of you have already started school, in fact tonight in my Spanish class for Spanish Teachers, taught by Adriana Ramirez 🙂,one of the teachers said he was already on his third week with students! But even if you have already started school, maybe this activity will still be useful for you or it may spark a new idea for something you can do with your students that centers around them AND provides a great deal of opportunities for comprehensible input.
Slide 1 - TITLE SLIDE
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
If so...READ ON!
The time is ripe for a fun activity that will allow your students to show their creativity and enjoy their classmates' creativity. I have an idea on how to make that happen for your students!
This week my daughter, (in-law.. but she's way too precious to officially add that to her name), who, by the way, is the most amazing elementary art teacher that exists ❤️, shared pictures of an art assignment in Facebook that she made for her students. When I saw the pictures I immediately started thinking about how I could use this with my students.
On the right is a screenshot of her post from Facebook.
For the assignment, her students need to find a famous artwork, or one that they like, and recreate it in photo form using the materials they have at home.
Currently my Sp4/5 students are reading a book as an ecourse on Fluency Matter's website. They are reading Bananas, written by Carrie Toth. I grabbed my hard copy of the book and paged through it, looking at the illustrations and BINGO!...the idea of Distance Learning Photo Reader's Theater started to formulate in my mind.
What is Distance Learning Photo Reader's Theater? Whatever book you are reading with your students, ask them to recreate one of the illustrations that are in the book. I was careful to instruct them NOT to ask their friends to help, but they could have family members join in.
(Reminder: Don't post the illustrations from the book unless you have written expressed consent from Fluency Matters! I checked with Fluency Matters before publishing this post on my blog to make sure I could use the illustrations.)
The first photo I received is a recreation of an illustration from Bananas in which the younger brother is chasing after his older brother. The student's photo is of him chasing his older brother.
Other photos are rolling in this morning and, I have to say, this is making my day! I love that the students have the chance to do something super easy and creative and fun related to the text. This is exactly what both they and I needed after 3 1/2 weeks of online teaching.
Here are some other photos from today. This is from chapter 2 of Bananas.
This next photo is from chapter 8 of Bananas. I like how well the dogs are cooperating in the student photos!
If you live in an urban area, tell the students the pictures do NOT have to be outside. For example, they could replicate the illustration from Bananas (on the right) INSIDE their homes and it gives the parents a chance to get involved in the assignment too. If they don't have a younger sibling for the picture, use a teddy bear!
There are several ways the teacher can then use the photos after they receive them. (But Remember: You have to get the parents' permission to share the photos!)
1) Share them on your Learning Management System and let the students SIMPLY ENJOY the photos of their classmates!
As far as I'm concerned, that's as far as you need to go, but...if you want other ideas or your administration will want more than that, you could...
2) Put the photos on Google Slides or PowerPoint and during a live online class using Zoom or something similar, use the photos to retell parts of the story and provide additional comprehensible input about the story.
3) Make a matching activities with the student photos and sentences from the book or sentences that you create.
4) Upload the photos to Kahoot and use them during a live session on Zoom. For example, the Kahoot page will show a photo and you can have the students choose which answer..
- correctly describes the photo
- is the only sentences that does NOT describe the photo
- is the thoughts of one of the characters
- is an event that happened immediately before or after the photo
4) UPDATE: Here is a photo of my zoom Kahoot game with students on Thursday. Some ideas for questions:
Upload the student photo in the question box and..
- type the titles of 4 chapters from the book; ask which chapter title best matches the photo
- type four events in the book; ask which ONE event happened before (or after) the photo
- (this can be a photo as pictured below with thought bubbles); ask which is the most logical thought that the character has at that moment OR which answer would NOT be a logical thought
- type four events related to the photo; ask students to order the events
- write four descriptions; ask which description best describes the photo
- write four names; ask which person(s) are shown in the photo
- make 4 captions of the photo (new ones that YOU create); ask which would be a good caption for the photo
AGAIN...so many possibilities 😀
5) UPDATE 4/20/20: I made a google slide presentation and assigned it through Schoology (similar to those that have Google Classroom). Students click on the word “text” and a text box appears for them to write what they think are the characters’ thoughts. See examples below:
You don't have to limit the student created photos to the illustrations in the book. You could direct students to the page number of one of the illustrations and ask students to create a photo of an event that happened after that illustration; or give them a chapter and ask them to create their own photo.
The goal is to give your students the freedom to be creative and share that with your classmates. It will be a fun assignment for them and they will appreciate it. Some...may even thank you. 😊
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
It’s quick, no-frills, no prep nor props needed, and relaxing. You decide how much of the target language you want to incorporate during the brain break.
1. Students close their eyes.
2. The teacher says, “Piensa en (think about)...” followed by a location.
3. Ask students what they see, hear, smell, how they feel, or anything that requires a short answer.
4. With their eyes still closed, students call out their answers in L1 or in the TL.
5. Name another location and ask the same or similar questions.
Depending on the level, you can ask the entire question in the TL. The students can answer in English or the TL, again, depending on the level of language the students have available to them.
Examples in English:
Think about the beach. What do you hear? What do you see? How do you feel? What do you smell?
Other locations: mountains, restaurant, math class, a concert, etc.
I did this today with my level 1 students. To snap them back into classroom mode, the last place I asked them to think about was a physical education class and then said, ¿Qué hueles? (What do you smell?) In unison, they all said “sweat!” and were ready to continue with the lesson.
Sunday, October 20, 2019
After students submit their stories, Martina invites native Spanish speakers to proof the stories and then she adds glossaries for the stories and volunteers add the English translations to the glossaries. After the stories are proofed and have glossaries, Martina places the stories in an online format, creates a title page listing the stories for the month, and adds graphics to the stories. She credits the writers of the stories using the students' first name and town and state, and credits the volunteer proofers and glossary writers. Then she publishes the stories online as a free resource for Spanish teachers.
Then, voila, you have a free resource that comes to you each month to use with your students. Some of the stories are written in the present tense and others in the past.
Here are 10 ways to add the stories to your lesson plans.
1. Partner Reading. Students pair up with a partner and read the stories to each other for X number of minutes. This even works for your novice readers because of those beautiful glossaries for each story.
2. Extra Reading Resources. If you have students or parents asking what is available for a student that is struggling, or on the other end of the spectrum, a student that wants to continue learning beyond the classroom, tell them about Revista Literal. I download the resource (yes, you can download it if you prefer to read it on paper) and add it to our learning managagement system so it is always available to students.
3. Bell-ringer. Project a story from Revista Literal and ask comprehension questions for students to answer. Last week I projected the story "EL LABORATORIO" and alongside where it was projected I wrote the following questions for my Spanish 1 students to answer in English.
ANSWER IN ENGLISH:
1. Write 2 descriptions for Dave.
2. Write 3 facts about his job.
3. List 4 things about Karen.
Although I only asked for 2 descriptions for Dave, when I went over the answers with the class and a student responded with 2 of the descriptions, I asked what other descriptions were mentioned. I did the same with #2 and #2, Then we read the end of the story together.
4. Sub Plans! Use your imagination on how you can make your life easier when you need to be absent from work. Revista Literal will continue to provide comprehensible input to your students during your absence.
5. Running Dictation. Read Martina's explanation of Running Dictation here. If you want to put a new spin onto running dictation, use an online crossword puzzle creator and make a crossword puzzle of information from the story. You'll get double-whammy of reading out of the story because students read the story from Revista Literal (in the hall or wherever you have it posted) and then have to read the crossword clues at their "home base" in the classroom.
6. Chronological Order. Pull some sentences out of the story that can easily conform to a timeline and have the students predict the order of the story. Obviously, do not read the story with the students before this. If you want to do this as a group, show (tape to the board) 2 of the sentences and ask students which one is first in the story, then add another sentence and students decide the placement of the third sentence. Add another and continue; students can change the order as new sentences are added and the story order becomes clearer (or they think it becomes clearer).
7. Find It. Project the story, read it together with the students, then play Find It with flyswatters as explained here.
8. Mosaic Story(a). Do this before reading the stories with the students. Pull sentences from 3 different stories from Revista Literal and list the sentences on one paper in random order. Write a brief description of each of the stories (brief!-brief!-brief!) in English (don't mention any of the characters in the story by their name in the story), and the students' task is to determine which sentences go with which story.
9. Mosaic Story (b). Again, do not read the story with the students before completing this task. Pull sentences from several stories and have the students create a story using the sentences. You could tell students they can omit X number of sentences and/or you can tell students to add sentences to make the story flow. The Mosaic Story (b) activity will provide your novice high and intermediate students an opportunity to create with the language.
10. Go crazy! Students use any sentences from the entire monthly issue to create a short story. Limit the students to 10 sentences or whatever number works best for you. Come to think of it, THIS would be a good emergency sub plan to have available when you need it.
Obviously, since Revista Literal has stories, there are a boatload of possibilities.
Thank you Martina for making teaching a bit easier. ❤️
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
My Spanish 1 students have watched Sr. Wooly's GUAPO video and completed a few of the extra activities that he provides on his website. One of those activities was the cloze activity. I printed the "fácil" version on one side of a paper and the "difícil" version of the cloze activity on the other side. (This is perfect for differentiating instruction in the classroom!)
After we went over the lyrics, students got an iPad and I instructed them to chose one of the lines in the story and to sketch it on the charlala.com webpage. If you know the GUAPO song, you know that the lyrics are repeated many times, which means there weren't many things for the students to draw. (But, this can be a good thing! Read on.)
After the students submitted their sketches, I projected many of them onto the board. First, students had to identify which line of the song the sketch represented and then we described more details about the sketches. It didn't matter that there were five sketches of a man with green eyes and brown hair. The students heard a huge amount of comprehensible input on high frequency structures (tiene, es, soy) plus useful adjectives, nouns, and expressions (guapo, feo, mujeres, alto, no es necesario).
If you use songs with your students and want a new way to re-use the song for more comprehensible input, give this a try! If your song is a story, after viewing the sketches, you could ask students to put the song in order using the sketches.