Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Short Films & CI - El Vampiro y la Dentista
On the fourth day of Spanish 2, I introduced the following set of focus words: olía mal, comía ajo, tenía miedo

For each new set of vocabulary, I had a skeleton story, and the students helped to fill in the details..  My skeleton story for the above words (day 4 of the new semester) there was a guy that ate garlic all the time & everywhere because he was afraid of vampires. Then we worked on how to solve the person's bad breath problem.  (click HERE for the students' story & my story) In one class, a boy said, "He went to the dentist".  That comment reminded me of a short film that I saw several months ago but had never used in class.   
     The following day I chose new vocabulary that was used in the video. (era = he was, quería ayudar = she wanted to help, and no sabía que = he didn't know that.  Instead of telling another story, I used the new vocabulary as I narrated the film, pausing throughout the video to ask students questions. 
     Below is the list of activities that I used in conjunction with the video:

1. The students watched THIS VIDEO (found on YouTube, "Vampire's Crown" by HM3DAnimation) and I asked many, many questions about it.

2.  The second day we watched the video the second time, but without sound, and I asked questions again.

3.  I used three embedded readings to ease the students into reading the full version.  (see Laurie Clarcq's site for an explanation of Embedded Readings)  
Click HERE to download a copy of the embedded readings.
Version A - I read version A in Spanish and after each sentence the students verbally translated the sentence to English. 
Version B - Students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to read the story. They had to stand (no sitting!) with their partner somewhere in the room to read.
Version C - Before I gave them the last version, I instructed them to move with their partner to make a large circle around the circumference of the room.  Then one person in each group had to move counterclockwise to the next group.  (This provided them an opportunity to work with someone they may have not otherwise chosen.)  They read the story in English with their new partner.  I was in the middle of the room so I could easily help anyone with a word they did not know.

Inserted new message from March 2017 - I share these materials without cost to my readers. When you download my work and it is labeled "CC" that means you are free to use them but you must keep my name on the documents. I googled the script today and found PDFs that teachers made of the script and NO credit was properly given. I even found a Prezi by a teacher that put my story on different slides, as well as the follow activities. So please, show your appreciation by leaving my name on the materials that I have created that you use in your classrooms and ESPECIALLY when you use my materials in a presentation.

4. Collage - I said a sentence from the story and the students said which number matched the sentence, or if it happened before (antes de) or after (después de) the photo.  (Download the collage HERE.).

5. Notebook activity (available through email only) w/ the Epson Smart Projector.  Students put the pictures in order.  After placing each one, the student or someone the student chose, had to say a sentence in Spanish that matched the picture. Students were permitted to look at their Embedded Readings if they didn't know what to say.

6.  I gave students in groups of 3 a copy of the Collage used in #4.  A member of the group pointed to one of the 9 photos and the other two students said a sentence in Spanish.

7. Antes de/Después de worksheet.  (to download)

8. Group writing activity.  (click on link for explanation - scroll to #3 at that post) 

9. Freeze frame activity - as per Carol Gaab's session at ACTFL.  (click on link for explanation of how I used this activity in the previous semester.)

10. CLOZE activity  (found HERE or use Laura Avila's version below)

11.  At the end of the week I will give the students a 5 minute timed writing in which they can choose to write about this video.

As a follow up, I may decide to show the Señor Wooley's "La Dentista" video.  There is a lot of vocabulary in that video that my students don't know yet and haven't been exposed to, but I think the music, animation, and story will grab their attention.  It will be a nice reward for sticking with me for all the above activities!  

Update: Elisabeth Hayles shares her FRENCH resources for this video:
Embedded Readings HERE
Quizlet activity HERE 

Update: For information and materials on an interactive reading of the story that I used to prepare for this video (in Fall 2015), check the blog post HERE

UPDATE: In August 2013, Laura Avila contacted me to say she had also made two readings (which can be used for level 3) based on the reading I created for my Spanish 2 students.  She has generously offered to share her work on my blog so others can benefit from her efforts.  THANK YOU Laura!!!
Below are the two readings. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What's your QPH (questions per hour)?

Did you ever wonder how many questions you ask in the TL throughout the class period?  I should ask a student to track my questions for several classes to see what the range is.  

When the teacher asks a lot of comprehensible questions it requires student participation to answer those questions.  Sometimes I want the students to call out the answers and other times I tell them to raise their hands to give me an idea of who knows the answer.  There are always 2 or 3 students that I can count on to raise their hands, which makes it easy for me to assess their understanding.

But what about the students that don't raise their hand?  What is the best way to assess their understanding throughout the period?  I know there are students that know the answer, but are either too shy to answer or they second guess themselves and choose to let someone else answer.  Many times I'll ask the students, "Who knows what I just said?" or ask them to hold up 1-5 fingers to show me what they understood.  But, sometimes I just want to HEAR what they can do.  I know the experts say you shouldn't force output, but...sometimes I can't resist.   

Yesterday, after circling the beginning sentences of a story that we had started the previous day and then added a few more sentences, I told the whole class to stand up.  I split the class in two and said that one of the sides would stand for an additional five minutes if the other side out-shined or out-played them. 

The object: one student at a time had to say a sentence in Spanish about the story.  After a student on side A answered, I repeated the sentence, pointed to the structure if it was one that was still on the board, and said "excelente" or something similar. Then I turned to the other side and a volunteer from that side said a sentence.

At first, the same students that usually answer in class answered. I expected that and said what I often say in class, "you're making one person do all the work for you" (yes, I said that in English) But something interesting happened after a few rounds. Students that haven't said anything in the first 3 days were raising their hands to say full sentences in the TL.  Some were even using their imaginations to use previously learned vocabulary to come up with logical sentences that went along with the story.  Later that day, I tried to analyze why they answered so easily and what was their motivation.

1- They really didn't want to be on the side that had to stand an additional 5 minutes.  (Students want to stay seated.)
2-They had plenty of "think" time and no pressure because ANYONE on their side was permitted to answer.
3-I have a long wait time so if I know the students know the answer but are waiting me out, I don't become uncomfortable with the wait time and a student eventually answers.  (Looking in their eyes and smiling goes a long way.)
4-They wanted to help their "team" and make their contribution.

Whatever the reason, I was amazed, again, at the powerful effect TPRS has on helping the students to acquire the language.  Overall, they did such a great job that I declared both sides victorious and we gave ourselves a round of applause.

Personal Goal for the Week: Find out my QPH with the help of students to track my questions!!!

New Option for Digital Storytelling

Have you heard about the new website for digital storytelling?  It is called uTellStory and was created by the same person that previously ran the site

Below is an story that I just recorded.  It was a story that my Spanish 1 students wrote at the end of the semester, but I made some changes to the story so I can use it for my Spanish 2 classes.  The students drew the illustrations on the board and I took photos of their illustrations and uploaded them to my iPhone to possibly use at a later date (now).



Many times when students help to create a story using a set of 3 new vocabulary words or structures I post the new story on their class account of Edmodo.  In that way, students that are absent have access to the story that we created in class, plus the story is then available for any student to view and listen to outside of the classroom.

For teachers that don't have an iPad available for classroom use or who want their students to create a digital story in class and don't have access to a classroom set of iPads, this site is an alternative.  One thing I like about the site is the ability to edit any page of the story, even after it is published.  The private settings are useful also. 

For those that do have iPads available, some of the many options for digital storytelling are:
  • Educreations (the one I'm currently using most frequently)
  • ScreenChomp
  • ShowMe
  • My Story
  • StoryMaker
  • Sock Puppets
  • SonicPics
  • LittleStoryMaker
  • DoodlecastPro
  • Explain Everything
  • Felt Board
  • & others

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Love the Educreations App!

I am making a conscientious effort to s-l-o-w-l-y add new vocabulary in my Spanish 2 classes.  The first focus words on Day 1 and 2 were: quería, había, and fue.  Today I added the words encontró, tenía, and estaba triste

Instead of writing a new story with the 3 new words/structures, I retold the original story but expanded it by saying what Dan did/didn't find a cat at the 3 stores; said what he had or didn't have; and what the stores had and didn't have; and how he felt each time when he left each store.  

One of my service learners this semester (a senior that comes to my class every other day to assist me), created an 11-page story w/ sketches and photos from the internet.  I reviewed the story with the students and added the new vocabulary at the appropriate places, and then circled the new sentences.  Following the review w/ the new vocabulary, I used the Educreations sketches for a partner retell activity.  First, the students listed the above 6 structures. As I  showed the first sketch on the Educreations and students worked in groups of two and had to take turns with their partner saying a sentence about the sketch in Spanish.  Each time they said one of the focus words, they put a tally mark behind it.  As soon as I went to a new sketch in the story, they had to stop immediately and say a sentence for the next sketch.  

After that we had a practice pop quiz.  In all three classes, there was only one student that didn't get at least 8/10.  

If you have an iPad and haven't used the Educreations app in the MFL classroom yet, I strongly recommend it to you!

Here is the link to the storyDan quería un gato   

SHOUT OUT to "Juan" Stovall for the putting the sketches and photos together on Educreations.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First day of class - Spanish 2

Today is the first day of the second semester.  I have three Spanish 2 classes and one Spanish 5 class.  I looked at my list of students for Spanish 2 and then checked to see which students had Spanish 1 last semester.  One of the classes most of the students had Spanish 1 last semester, and the other classes it's about half and half.

When I wrote my lesson plans for the first Spanish 2 class of the semester, I considered telling/asking a story with the class to review some of the words they learned last semester in the present tense. (Our department as a whole is fairly new to the TPRS method so in our level 1 classes we focus on teaching the present tense.)  But then I decided that I wanted to dive right into stories with the past tense.  After all, if I limit the vocabulary and keep the lesson comprehensible, it shouldn't matter what tense I use.

I decided on the words s/he wanted, there was/there were, and s/he went.

1. I handed out paper and told the students to write their name on the top in bold letters.  They drew a line in the middle of the paper and then on the left side drew something they wanted for Christmas last year, and on the right they drew somewhere they went during Christmas last year.

2. They copied the Spanish words quería, había, and fue into their journals and then I wrote the meanings in English for each of the words.  (I also added estornudó = s/he sneezed because I needed it for the end of the story.)

3.  I chose a student's paper and talked about what the person wanted for Christmas.  Since it was the first class, I keep reminding myself to go slowly; to pause and point at the words on the board; to point at the drawing; and to write any "out of bound" words on the boardAfter yes/no and either/or questions and short answer questions, I turned to the student that drew the sketch and asked them, "Ana, ¿querías tú una cámara para Navidad?"  I did pop-up grammar on why there was an "s" at the end. Then I chose another student's sketch and continued the PQA, eventually moving on to where the students went during Christmas vacation.  This is a variation of what Ben Slavic does (or was it Bryce) on the first few days of class to get to know the students.

4.  Since many of the students did not have me as a teacher for Spanish 1, I needed to teach them to give me the signal when they didn't understand something.  I use the signal of passing your hand over the top of your head.  During my comprehension checks, when I asked "What did I just say?", or "Raise your hand if you know what I just asked Ana", if every student didn't have their hand up, I said the sentence again and reminded anyone that didn't know to do the "I don't know that word/phrase" motion.  "Slow Slow Slow" is what I kept repeating to myself to keep from moving beyond comprehension.

5.  We had a break in the middle to stand up and do some TPR to get the students up and moving.  

6.  Then we started the story.  My skeleton of the story was someone wanted something, went somewhere, but there wasn't any of what he wanted there.  The students added the details of the name of the person, what the person wanted, and the 3 places the person went.

7.  I could have used another 10-15 minutes in class because I really wanted to have the students sketch it on the board, but we didn't have time for that.

8.  I wrote the story on the board and the students copied it into their journals.  We read it in English sentence by sentence on the board.  Then I projected on the board the story about Dan that I had written.  We read that in English together too.

9.  I distributed the story about Dan and their homework is to read the story to their parents tonight.

10.  For the second period, one of my service learning students (a senior that comes to my class every other day to help), sketched the class story on the iPad with the Educreations app.  I recorded the story and attached that to Edmodo for the students to access.  It is embedded below.

11.  I also remembered to give one student in the class a list of the 3 main structures and asked them to make a tally mark each time I said it.  (The totals were:  Period 1 - había 28; quería 84; fue 63; Period 2 - había 38; quer ía 71; fue 83).  This is helpful information for me and reminds me how often we need to hear a new word before it is acquired.


As a side note, two students that were in my Spanish 1 pilot TPRS class fall 2011 suggested the name "Edgardo", which was a character that appeared in many of our Spanish 1 stories - but "Edgardo" was an elephant.  Funny how one name or object sticks and appears in many of the stories for a particular class.