Saturday, April 14, 2018

Button Button Brain Break from Sarah Breckley

When I was a little girl, I used to play "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button" with my sisters and my grandparents when we would spend a week at their farm in the summer. (fyi - the grammar in the title  of this old game may make you twitch; similar to PA's license plate motto "You've got a friend in Pennsylvania" - oh my.) It's been decades since I played or even thought about that game. But today, I saw a video by Sarah Breckley, a Spanish teacher from Wisconsin, (more about Sarah later), that brought those memories back in a snap.

Sarah's video title is "Button Button, Who's Got the Button - Direct Object Pronoun Grammar Game". In the video the students play the game with objects, which she varies in order to require students to use all of the direct object pronouns. Some suggestions for objects - coins, balls, pen, Beanie Baby stuffed animal.

The sweet deal about this game is that even though the title claims it is a grammar game, the focus is NOT on grammar. Rather, the focus is on guessing which of the students has the object that is being passed behind their backs. During play, the student that is seated in the middle tries to guess which student has the object by asking his classmates in the TL, "Do you have IT?" and the student that was asked answers "Yes, I have IT" or "No, I don't have IT" (or THEM if more than one object is passed).  

Converting BUTTON, BUTTON to a Brain Break
In Sarah's video, the students play this as a game. It can easily be shortened to be used as a brain break by playing without teams. Tell the students that you will play for X# of minutes, whatever length of time you want for your brain break, and end the activity at the end of the time.

Obviously, the first time you play, it will take longer because you will have to explain it to the students. After the first time, it can serve as an energizing brain break that takes place in the TL.

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button
Watch the video below or directly on YouTube HERE and then check the document below with Sarah's instructions on how to play. 

A pdf of the directions can be found HERE

Sarah Breckley
In 2017 Sarah was recognized as Wisconsin's Teacher of the Year. 
If you are a Spanish teacher that subscribes to Sr. Wooly's site, you may have recognized Sarah from his video "Feo" in which she absolutely nailed her role as Feona.

Sarah has a Vlog HERE, or in the future you can find it on the right panel of my blog on the list of CI/TPRS blogs. On her vlog you can find videos of Sarah teaching using stories through the use of comprehensible input with her students. When watching the videos, it is evident why she was award the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year title and obvious that her students are enjoying acquiring the Spanish language in her classroom. I encourage you to spend time watching her videos and then to "steal" more ideas from Sarah.  :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Brain Break: Apple, Banana, Orange

There are TWO masters of Brain Breaks: 
#1 - Annabelle Allen (@lamaestraloca), for sharing her great ideas for Brain Breaks - HERE; and 
#2 - Krista Kovalchick (@MmeKovalchick) who consistently uses brain breaks throughout her lessons which motivates me to do the same and to search for new brain breaks to use in my class. 

On my ONE day of spring break (yes, sadly, it was only 1 day), I spent the morning searching the internet for Brain Break ideas. I found some goodies, and tried out this gem, "Apple, Banana, Orange" last week. I tried it with my students and it was a success, then I shared it with Krista, and she said her students enjoyed it too!

Apple, Banana, Orange 

This Brain Break is played in the target language. You can explain it in the target language, but if you're using it with a beginning level, I think you are justified in explaining it in English so you can quickly get to the movement!

1. Tell students to form a circle, with students facing in. Then everyone should move 90 degrees to the right, so the person in front of them has their back to them. All students will now be facing the back of the student in front of them.

2. Students should put their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. When all students do this, you will have a complete, attached circle.

3. When the teacher says APPLE in the target language (manzana, for my Spanish students), the whole group must jump one space forward in UNISON. Students may repeat the word together as they jump if they like or they can simply jump forward in unison without saying the word. 

4. Practice the word APPLE several times until the group can jump forward in unison.

5. Next, practice the word BANANA. When the teacher says BANANA, the whole group (still with hands on the shoulder of the person in front of them) jumps one step backward, in unison.  They will probably need more practice on BANANA.

6. Mix the two commands, APPLE and BANANA, and students must wait until you have finished saying the commands before they can move together. (ex: APPLE, APPLE, BANANA)

By this time, everyone in the class will be smiling and having fun.  :-)

7. The final step is with the word ORANGE, (naranja for Spanish students). When the teacher says ORANGE (in TL of course), the students will let go of the shoulders of the person in front of them, jump an 180 degree turn, and put their hands on the person that is in front of them (which before the 180 degree turn was the person behind them). 

8. Combine 4 words and students will jump accordingly. 
- APPLE, ORANGE, BANANA, BANANA  (say it in your target language)
- BANANA, APPLE, BANANA, ORANGE  (say it in your target language)
- ORANGE, APPLE, ORANGE, BANANA  (say it in your target language )

This Brain Break is definitely an ENERGIZER, although one of my honors students said after the Brain Break that his brain was working harder the entire time. Yes, his brain was working, but with a smile on his face.  

OPTION: You don't have to use fruit for the three words. If you want repetition of other words, use those instead of the fruit.