Saturday, October 31, 2015

Interactive Reading for 2nd Language Classes - Larry el vampiro

A top priority for me when I plan lessons for my Spanish students, is to find creative ways for students to read a text in the target language.  I was able to accomplish this last week by using a story that I wrote two years ago.  I created an interactive reading by adding dialogue and gestures to the text to involve the students in the reading.  I have done something similar to this in the past (an explanation can be found on the blog post HERE, named Going on a Bear Hunt), or when reading a chapter in Piratas.  However, this interactive reading is modeled after a reading and blog post (read about it HERE and watch the video) shared by the amazing Alina Filipescu, (@FlipescuAlina on Twitter) a creative Spanish teacher in California.  

The structures that I was paying special attention to were:  "le dolía la muela", "quería morder" (because I want them to get used to seeing the verb in the infinitive form after a conjugated verb - btw, I don't use that explanation for the students), and "no la encontró".

There are 5 embedded readings of the story "Larry el vampiro". (I linked them to an earlier post about Larry el vampiro - HERE - click on "Larry el vampiro" written in the first sentence.) If you are unfamiliar with Embedded Readings, please go to Laurie Clarcq's blog HERE for an explanation and many, many embedded readings that teachers of several languages have shared on her blog.

Below is Version 3 of the story that I projected onto the board.  I read the black text, the students read the red text, and the students did the actions in the blue text.  (The powerpoint is also available from my shared GoogleDrive HERE.) 

I have two Spanish 2 classes and I told them that I was going to record them reading the text with the actions and my husband was going to decide which group did the best job.  Amazing how a little competition between classes creates a team atmosphere among the students in each class.

In preparing to record, during the recording, and when watching the recordings, the students read, and/or heard, the story (with the new structures) more than 7 times in one class period; several more in the following class period.
- first we decided the actions/gestures and practiced them individually
- they read the story 2 times to practice before the recording
- 1st recording, they read the story w/ actions
- they watched their recording
- 2nd recording, they read it (with more enthusiasm)
- they watched their second recording
- the 2nd class of the day asked to watch the other class' recording
- the students asked to watch their own recording again

That is a LOT of repetitions in which they're focused on creating a good recording so they were connecting meaning with their actions and dialogue.

I have the winning video of the students which I may upload to my school website AFTER I double-check with the students about posting it.  (They agreed to the recording so I could share it with for a future presentation, but I want to ask them before posting it online.) In the meantime, you can listen to an audio recording of the beginning part of the story HERE.  

We spent several classes on the embedded readings, on sketching, on retelling the stories, etc.  The last activity was a free write and that's where the time invested in the activities for Larry el vampiro was evident. They're writing was better than expected...once again!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Apps for the MFL Classroom

There are three apps that I've been using in my Spanish class lately.  

1. TAP ROULETTE. Sometimes in class I have more students volunteer than I need and at other times not enough students volunteer.  For a fun, easy, and quick way to choose a student, I use Tap Roulette.  The students put one finger on the ipad and when I press go, the roulette begins and the sound of the roulette wheel will eventual end and a bright red mark will appear under the finger of the person that was "chosen".

One day, I was reviewing the story that the class had created with me the previous day. I was prepared with questions about the characters and events in the story that didn't have an answer that we had discussed.  My plan was to ask for volunteers to answer the different questions, but then I decided to use Tap Roulette to do that work for me.  This was my smallest class (8 remarkable students!!) so we gathered our chairs in a tight circle, and I held out the ipad for the students to place their fingers on it.  Whichever person was chosen by Tap Roulette had to create more details to answer the question.  

The students enjoyed this, especially when their classmate was chosen twice before they had even been chosen one time.

The app is free.  It supports up to 11 fingers on the ipad and 5 fingers on the iphone.

2.  Team Shake.  This app provides a quick way to put students in a group.  You can select how many groups you want or how many people you want in each group.  First, you have to upload the list of names of your students.  If a student is absent, there is an online tab to take that person's name out of the draw. Then press shake and your groups will be listed for you.

This app cost .99.

3.  Touch Blur.  This app is handy when you have pictures of class activities that you want to share without others being able to identify the students.  Upload the photo into the app and touch the screen to blur faces or other things in the picture to hide its identity.

This app is free.

PSMLA 2015 - 1,2,3 Movie Talk Presentation

Today my colleague, Krista Kovalchick, and I went to PSMLA at Valley Forge, PA, and gave a presentation on Movie Talk.  Below are links to websites that we mentioned in our presentation.

 Additional Resources mentioned in our presentation:

Movie Talk blog posts; find videos and materials to use related to the movie talks from 2011 to present. They include: Alma, El monstruo del armario, Blind Date, Hit & run, El vampiro y la dentista, Sheep in the Island, Toilet paper/ipad commercial, La niña que recuerda, and La Dentista. 

Embedded Reading website by Laurie Clarcq

Pancho Camacho game - explained by Alina Filipescu w/ video demonstration

Movie Talk videos on Pinterest (The link will take you to my Pinterest board, but don't stop there, SEARCH Movie Talk and you'll find a lot of Pinterest boards!)

Movie Talk data base by Christy Miller

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sharing Lesson Plans & Juggling

Recently, I read a world language teacher's comment online in which she said she had changed her curriculum to focus on teaching with comprehensible input.  She had several preps and the amount of work required to prepare new materials and lessons for her classes, along with the mountain of extra tasks that all teachers know too well, was leaving her feeling overwhelmed. She was a mother of 4 children and school demands were overtaking her family time.

Many teachers, possibly all teachers, can relate to her feelings because they are either on that path now or have been in the past. For those World Language teachers that have left the textbook on the shelf and have ventured into the world of planning their own curriculum, scope and sequence, lessons, materials, and activities, they are well aware of the time commitment and energy needed for this task. 

It's been a few years since I started on my "Adiós textbook, Hola Comprehensible Input" journey. I've been adding, changing, deleting, tweaking, improving, etc, my lesson plans ever since.  My focus this year is to be even more diligent in my efforts to recycle previous structures as new structures are added.

Below is a link that I'm sharing that has lessons and materials for teaching several focus structures with my Spanish 2 students.  The structures in the lessons are:

1- quería, había, fue (also puso - needed for class story)
(s/he wanted, there was/there were, s/he went) also (s/he put)

2 - estaba triste, (no) encontró, buscó
(was sad, didn't find, looked for) 
3 - se llamaba (s/he was called)

4 - tenía, vivía, era (had, lived, was)
5 - se llevaba (s/he was wearing)
6 - se sentó, a la derecha de, a la izquierda de
(s/he sat down, to the right of, to the left of)

Follow this LINK to lesson plans and materials for the listed structures. My hope is that you will find something that will be useful to you and your students.

Overhauling your curriculum is a huge task. The more knowledge you have on second language acquisition and the more experience you have in teaching (which includes a compilation of lessons that you learned from both your failures and successes), the farther ahead you will be when planning.

Another thought: Teaching should not be done in isolation.  Sharing materials is related to juggling (which is on my radar now especially since my focus is on recycling structures as new structures are added):

I'm a juggler. 
I begin the school year juggling a few balls (new structures). That's fairly easy. 
Then I add a few more balls while at the same time I have to keep the previous balls in the rotation.
After adding more and more balls, I start to feel a bit overwhelmed...
when I find another juggler and we can share the same amount of balls between us, the task is less daunting.
When I find 2 other jugglers, all 3 of us have an easier task.
Imagine how much easier it is when there are 4, 5, 6, and many, many more juggling at the same time, lessening the amount of balls each of us have to manage.  
It's much easier and the social interaction is amazing.
THANKS to all the other World Language "jugglers" out there that have helped make my task easier throughout the years.  You know who you are. I am grateful to have you as my colleagues and friends.