Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reviewing the Basics with a variation of the Name Game

Last week we started our second semester with brand new students. I have students in my Spanish 2 class that had Spanish 1 in the first semester, some that had Spanish 1 in the previous school year in the fall or the winter semester, and a few that have not had Spanish for two years.  Because of the wide variety of time since their Spanish 1 class, I use the first few weeks to review the basics of Spanish 1.  

Today I used a version of the Name Game by Martina Bex.  I wanted to review the structures:

   Voy a...   and     Quiero + infinitive

I followed the pattern below:
1. Randomly select a student by pulling a card w/ a student name.
2. First person says WHERE he is going and WHAT they want to do.
(Ex:  Voy al parque porque quiero correr. I'm going to the park because I want to run.)
3. Pull a 2nd name. The 2nd student repeats what the 1st person said (Ella va al parque porque quiere correr) and adds what that person is going to do (Voy al gimnasio porque quiero jugar al baloncesto.
4. Continue with a few more students.
5. Choose two student names. The 2 students repeat what the previous students have said (they can alternate every other student) and then decide where they are going and why. One student says the first half of the sentence and the 2nd student in the pair says the second half.
  Ex: St1 - Vamos al restaurante porque...   St2 - queremos comer hamburguesas.
6. Choose another student. That student repeats all previous comments and uses "they" form of verb for the pair of students.

I limited the activity to 20 minutes.  The students heard lots of repetitions and were actively engaged in listening because they didn't know if their name was going to be the next one pulled.

A variation of this would be to ask students to sketch their answers and then display them as the students give their answers.   

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Days of School - Additional Materials

Last July I wrote a blog post about activities for the first day (week) of school.  One of the suggestions was to do a MovieTalk of a clip of the video of Mafalda's "Primer día de escuela".

I started with a new group of students last week so I made a few additional materials related to the video clip.  I already had the transcript of the story from last semester, both in the present tense and the past tense, so I added:

- screenshots to help students with a retell or a timed writing
- before/after activity
- correct one or two words in a sentence to make the sentence correct
- match sentences to screenshots
- order the events

Since there are so many activities, I can select and choose which ones are right for each class.

There are screen shots of the activities below.  I uploaded it to Google Drive so I could get a link to share them, but it changed the formatting of the documents.  I'll work on fixing the format changes in Google Drive, but until then if you 'd like any of the files, send me a message on Twitter or leave a message in the comments. If you don't want your email published in the comments, mention that and I will not make the comment public.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My First Published Book!

Several years ago I created the story "El mejor regalo para Pablo".   First I had gone to the local community library and searched the children's books in the Spanish section for a children's story that used the imperfect tense with high frequency vocabulary, but I couldn't find anything that suited me.  Then I found the Storybird website and decided to write my own story to match the illustrations that are available on the website.  (You can find the blog post about the story HERE.)

I use this story every semester with my Spanish 2 students because it has a lot of descriptions of what Pablo used to do (imperfect) and it uses vocabulary that my students already know.

Last month I decided to order a printed copy of the book and today...TA came in the mail!  It's such a cute little book. I can't wait to take it to school and find a permanent place to display it and then read it to my new group of students.

I haven't created anything recently on the Storybird site, but when I checked it a few weeks ago, I noticed that it has an growing collection of artwork just waiting for someone to attach a story to it.  Maybe that will be a project for my next snow day.   

Monday, January 12, 2015

Subjunctive Hearts - in time for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day will be here in a little over a month. Even though the following activity would be a great one to complete in February, I did the activity with one of my classes on January 9, because the last day of the semester is this Friday, and the following week I'll get new rosters of students.

First, my students listened to Victor Muñoz's song, "Mi Princesa". They were familiar with it because I had played it during class changes earlier in the week. After listening to the song one time, I distributed Zachary Jones's cloze activity (found in his Cancionero 2012 book) for them to complete when we listened to the song again. We discussed the lyrics and the multiple examples of the singer wanting someone else to do something - Quiero que tú... (subjunctive indicator) . 

Then the students cut pink and red paper in the shape of hearts, wrote lyrics following the pattern of the song on their hearts, and embellished their hearts with Valentine's shapes.

As a last minute idea, I decided to post the hearts on the bulletin board outside my room. The students helped me to arrange their lyrics hearts in the shape of one big heart.  (My high school doesn't have an Ellison die-cut machine so when I have time to stop at the elementary school, I want to replace the temporary letters with some more polished looking ones.)

Spanish 4 students with their (Subjunctive) Hearts

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reading Spanish Novels Inspires Students to Help Others

HALF of the cookies
Students in my Spanish 4 class read the novels Esperanza by Carol Gaab and Vida y muerte another novel by TPRS Publishing, Inc.  The novels led us into discussions about the living conditions, the unrest and history of civil wars in the countries, immigration, and the challenges that many people in Guatemala and El Salvador face.  (The Teacher's Guides for the books provide a lot of resources for students to investigate. We used Martina Bex's materials  and information about Guatemala from the Aprendemos Juntos website. Side note: The next time I read this novel with students I'm also going to use some of Sharon Birch's amazing ideas - more from her blog HERE.) 

After reading the books, the class decided they wanted to help others in those countries.  Since it was close to Christmas, and since I love to bake, the option of selling cookies to raise funds was an easy decision.

Adding icing to the oatmeal cookies
I distributed cookie order sheets and the students had less than a week to sell the cookies.  I was actually glad that they didn't have much time to take orders because I was afraid that we would be swamped with orders.

Because there was only one remaining weekend before Christmas and we wanted to distribute the cookies in time for Christmas, only four students were available on Sunday, December 21, to help bake the cookies. But those four students were workers! As soon as they finished one job they asked what else needed to be done. Together we baked oatmeal cookies with cream, raisin-filled cookies, and sugar cookies with icing to add to the chocolate chip cookies I had baked the previous day.  The photo at the beginning of the post shows half of the cookies; the chocolate chip cookies are not on the table.

The 100 step Raisin Filled Cookies (well, not quite)
I transported two large boxes of cookies to school on Monday and the students delivered the cookies, the majority of which went to other staff members in school. The students raised $300!  That was a nice amount considering how low-key and last minute idea it was. 

Before Christmas break, the students had searched the KIVA website, an international micro-lending organization, and selected loan proposals from people in Guatemala and El Salvador.  This week I looked at the loan proposals they had suggested and printed out a list of those that were not fully funded yet.  There were 7 options so I gave each student 3 post-it notes.  They used the post-it notes to vote for the loan they wanted.  

We decided to give $100 to 3 different groups.
A. Tejadoras - Guatemala
B. José - El Salvador 
C. Saul - El Salvador 

This was a fun, educational experience for the students and for me that reached far beyond the classroom walls! Because of the educational value of this project, it is something I want to continue this with my Spanish 4 classes in the next semester and in years to come!  

Many THANKS to Kristy Placido and Carrie Toth who have involved their students in several international projects that offer assistance to those in need and who unknowingly inspired me to do the same!  (read about Kristy's KIVA post HERE and 1 of Carrie's projects HERE