Sunday, November 4, 2012

BrainPOP Español - App for Spanish Class

App - Brain POP Español
One of my goals this year is to increase the amount of exposure my students have to listening to native Spanish speakers in order to better prepare them to understand native speakers in the future whether it is in their college Spanish classes, in the community, listening to Spanish programs on TV, or in future travels.

In March of this year, I found the app BrainPOP Español.  There is a free version and a paid version. Most of the recordings are around 5 minutes in length.  The categories are Ciencia, Ciencias Sociales, Matemáticas, Salud, Technología, Arte y Música, and Inglés y Español.  Some videos in the free version specific to Spanish themes are "Revolución Mexicana I", "Simón Bolivar", and "Frida Kahlo".  Using the videos from other categories is a way to incorporate the 'Connections' component of the Standards for Foreign Language Learning if you are doing a unit such a health and fitness.  (The paid version has a much larger selection of videos but it is expensive.  There is an English version of this app that some schools are using in the elementary schools so ask your tech support department what is involved in adding you to the subscription.)

After watching the video, click on a tab that takes you to a 10 point quiz of the material. There are ten questions and four multiple-choice options for answers.

This is how I use the BrainPOP Español app with my upper level classes

1. I put the students in groups of 3.
2. I project the video onto the whiteboard and students watch the video 2 times.  The first time they watch the video most of them are busy reading the Spanish script written at the bottom of the screen. 
3.  The second time they watch it, I encourage them to not look at the words, but rather to LISTEN for comprehension and only use the script as a backup if they start feeling lost because there are several words they didn't understand.
4.  After the video, we go through the questions on the quiz.  Each group has a mini-whiteboard.  They read the options and discuss them with their group member.  At times I have to clarify the question or possible answers because I don't want them answering incorrectly because they don't understand the meaning.  Then they write their answer and wait until I tell them to hold up their whiteboards at the same time.  
5.  I use different strategies as we go over the answers.  If everyone answers correctly, we may go through the wrong possibilities in the quiz and explain why they are incorrect.  Other times, I ask groups why they chose their answer.  
6.  I keep track of their points for the 10 questions and the team with the most points after 10 questions is the winner.  Sometimes winners receive the standby "fireworks clap". Other times, if the team answered all of the 10 questions correctly, I may add a point to their next assessment.

On average, I use BrainPOP Español every 2 or 3 weeks.  I'm also including more podcasts and other news sites that include audio to incorporate even more listening activities.

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