Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day Idea in the MFL Classroom - Quick and Easy

Comprehensible Input & Food
How is it possible that the date for Valentine's Day never changes but it still manages to sneak up on me and all of a sudden it's two days before February 14? That's what happened to me this year, but I didn't want to completely ignore Valentine's Day. Other years I had planned weeks ahead of time, especially the year I made a bulletin board in the hall from the hearts my students made (see this post), but when I put up a bulletin board in the hall, it stays like that for weeks, oh, what the heck, I'll be totally honest and admit it stays like that for months!

So what to do that isn't a waste of time and has a deeper purpose than simply decorating a card? I simplified my lesson from previous years to 15 minutes.

1. I asked the students to help me list people that are important in their life.  Then I used one as an example, such as "mother". Students gave me examples to write on the board of what they like that their mother does.  
Me gusta que tú me cuides.  
Me gusta que me ayudes con mi tarea. 
Me gusta que limpies mi dormitorio.

In one of my classes I explained that we were starting the Valentine message with a positive message, something I had learned over a decade ago when reading Stephen Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

2. The second sentence was something that you hoped or wanted the person to do. The sentence started:  Quiero que tú... and students once again told me examples that I wrote on the board.

Quick and simple - two sentences!

3. I supplied red, white, pink, and lavender construction paper, markers, scissors, and several containers worth of heart shaped foam pieces to use to decorate the cards.  Students had 15 minutes max to write their sentences and ask me to check them, write them on the card, and decorate the card.

The last optional assignment, was to give the card to the intended recipient and take a photo of the card and the recipient. This had three purposes, 1) it would bring a smile to the recipient, and 2) if the recipient was a parent or family member, it was one way for the parent to see a small glimpse of what we are doing in Spanish class, and 3) fun publicity and "advertising" for the WL department.  Students that showed me the photo the next day in class, or they also had the option to email or tweet the photo, received +1 bonus point that will be added to their next assessment. Bonus points are rare in my classroom, so there was a fair amount of students that shared their photos, and videos, with me the next day. So, the fun lasted beyond the classroom walls and into the second day.

As an unexpected surprise, one of my students gave the Valentine's card to me at the beginning of the post. It says "Anon" but the student gave it to me in class after making it, so I know who made it. I love what it says:  I like that you teach me in different ways. That's lay terms for Teaching with Comprehensible Input.
The second sentence, has to do with food: I want you to make food for me. Short and sweet - CI and food.  That sums it up.

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