Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Let's Start the School Year! An Activity that Works for Virtual Classes or In Person or Hybrid Models

 I'm five days away from the first day with students for the 2020-2021 school year. Currently, we are planning on seeing half of our students on alternating days, and the days they are not in school they will login and view the lesson synchronously. I will have several students in each class that are learning 100% synchronously online, and several that are attending school every day.

My goal for my Spanish 2 students was to create a lesson in which students will learn about their classmates (build community) while listening to the conversation that I will have with each student based on the information (photos) that they have provided. I wanted a lesson that would work for both virtual classes and in-person classes because if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that change happens very quickly!

For Spanish 2, I usually do "card talk" in which students sketch a few things about themselves on construction paper and I discuss their sketches while I share it with the class. For my Spanish 4 students, I usually have them send me a photo of them that was taken over the summer and add it to a google doc. My plans for Spanish 4 are only slightly different this year, but Spanish 2 has changed completely.

I wanted to make their work as easy as possible so I created a Google Slides presentation, shared it with students, and students have an assignment to add photos on their slide before the first class.  I could have given them instructions and have them write their name, but, again, I was going for super easy, so I created all the slides, copied the directions on each slide, and completed a slide of myself as a model.

I know many of you have already started school, in fact tonight in my Spanish class for Spanish Teachers, taught by Adriana Ramirez 🙂,one of the teachers said he was already on his third week with students! But even if you have already started school, maybe this activity will still be useful for you or it may spark a new idea for something you can do with your students that centers around them AND provides a great deal of opportunities for comprehensible input.


SLIDE 2 - with instructions

Slide 3 - My example to model what students should do.

When I discuss my slide with the students, I will tell them my name, that I have a farm, which involves a lot of work, that I like to travel, and, No, I don't want a zebra. I want to go somewhere to see them in their natural habitat. COVID-19 destroyed my plans for doing that this summer, but I'm hopeful it will happen next year.)

Slides 4-?, one for each student with instructions for students. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

More Social Distancing = More Social Networks

While we are social distancing when we are in person, Social Networks are the exact opposite especially when it comes to announcing offers for bundles of online books and FVR libraries

With COVID-19 concerns, the procedures for sharing materials (books) are more restrictive and not permitted. Publishers have seen this need and responding with what feels like a new offer popping up each week (in fact I had to update this post before I even published it!) My school has made it clear that there is no money for purchases, so at this point, anything I buy for the students will be out of my ow pocket. I’m still trying to determine which is the best option, or if I need to change up my curriculum and format for FVR and make it work with the books I already have. (Option: I have class sets of various books so I could have each class read a different book, but oh, the extra planning, time, and energy needed for that exhausts me just thinking about it.) 

E-book, and FVR libraries, and good deals - oh boy! 

Over the years I have spent much of my school department money on books for my students - class sets and books for my FVR library. I’ve also spent an untold amount of my personal money buying new books at conferences, from publishers, and from Amazon.

These are the offers that I know of for online FVR books and for class novels. They are listed in alphabetical order. If you know of others (appropriate for the needs and levels of non-native learners in a K-12 setting) and want me to add them to the list, let me know. 

E-lit App - Combination of French, Spanish, & Japanese titles
*Unable to verify when this app will be available. 

Check the website for the current number of texts and novels included in the offer.
Digital subscription library with leveled texts and novels, states more texts/novels are being/will be added; online access through August 31, 2021, $199 for 180 students’ $249 for 250 students; $299 for 350 students
Price available through August 31, 2020

Fluency Matters - online FVR library - French, Spanish, & German novels
Various choices depending on the target language and number of books in the offer. Order in multiples of 25.

Baker’s dozen, 13 pre-selected Spanish novels, 1 year online access,  $50 for 25 students
Six pre-selected Spanish novels,1 year online access,  $25 for 25 students
Current price available through Sept 30, 2020

Mira Canion - online FVR library or individual books - Spanish novels 
Each package below is for 1 teacher, up to 300 students, for one full year from date of activation (“renting” the books online)
1) A Single title written by Mira: $68. 
2) 8 Spanish books written by Mira; online access for up to 300 students for one full year, $258 thought August 31, 2020; $298 after 8/31/2020
3) Elementary FVR Library - 4 book titles, $108 through August 31
4) 10 titles - Mira’s books and other authors, Spanish 1/2 FVR Library - $298 through 8/31/2020
5) 10 titles - Mira’s books and other authors, Spanish 2/3 FVR Library - $298 through 8/31/2020

- Mike Peto - purchase individual online books - Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese & Latin
The online access to the books you purchase is available through July 1, 2021. It appears as though there is a sale currently going on with book prices of $24.99 for up to 300 students and 1 teacher. 

Storylabs - Spanish, French, Latin, and English novels & stories
You’ll have to check this website yourself because there are many different price points. For example, one book is listed at $249 for 180 students and with Teacher resources available; while another book is listed at $60 for 175 students. My guess is that each author set the price, but I don’t know that for sure.

It appears as Storylabs doesn’t offer anything similar to other publishers in which you can have a collection of texts/novels for a set price. If Storylabs does indeed offer a collection for a set price, I was unable to find it on the website.  

Two years ago, the blog “Spanish mama” posted a list of free online resources. I have not checked if all of these are available still today, but it may be worthwhile to check out the post HERE.


Note, there are other online resources available at different price points but I am not going to list them here because there are many and, for sure, I will end of making an incomplete list. What I suggest you do, is check the Facebook groups listed above and scroll through the posts. When people find resources, or when they are introducing and/or “advertising” their resources, they generally post it on a Facebook group where others will see it.