Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fin De Semana Largo

Amigos, I can't speak for you but I am really looking forward to this coming long weekend.  Not the way you normally look forward to a long weekend, but with the sort of desperate instability that comes from weeks of having fit too many responsibilities into too few hours in the day.

I'm stressed and I'm not handling it as well as I usually do . . . something about not having my daily work routine down yet.  Usually by week two or three I know exactly what needs to be done and when so that everything runs as it is supposed to, but my schedule this year just isn't conforming to my attempts to regulate it.  I feel like this cat . . .

I thought a long weekend picture might put a smile on my students' faces tomorrow, so I went online to find one.  I actually found quite a few, so I thought I would share them here.  These were all found in the wilds of the Internet and none of them are of my own making.

I do hate when people fail to use the opening exclamation mark.

 I also happened across a page or two of advertizements for excursions and hotels.  Here are a couple, just in case you want them as realia for a long weekend lesson.

And last but not least, a poster from what looks to be the worst movie ever.  I cannot imagine what educative purpose there could be for such a thing.  Maybe students can talk about what they don't want to do on their long weekend . . . or what the heck is depicted on this poster . . . or maybe what the plot of this movie could possibly be?  (Fun vocabulary: attack buzzard, crazed expression, faces aglow with radiation, talons of death . . . )

Have a great long weekend, mis amigos.  I hope you take advantage of every moment, and don't let the hovering vulture of doom get you.

Hasta pronto,


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Circuíto de Aprendizaje

We had a big test in Spanish II yesterday and it was one of those things that you either got an A or an F on.  I wanted to go over it with the students but I knew that doing it in the large group would be a bore to most of them.  Furthermore, going over the test with the whole class invariably results in a lot of little questions that are best addressed one-on-one . . . so what to do?

It occurred to me this morning during 1st period planning actually.  I threw my lesson plan out the window and scurried around to put a new plan together at the last minute - learning stations!  This way I could work in small groups on test corrections while the other students were busy at various stations I put up around my room.

Station 1 - Test Corrections and Optional Extra Credit
Station 2 - Vocabulary Picture Drawing
Station 3 - Vocabulary Memory Matching Game
Station 4 - Listening Practice
Station 5 - Vocabulary Pantomime

As you can probably guess, we just learned some new vocabulary and it was time to start playing around with it.  But they weren't quite ready enough for me to turn them loose on some communicative practice without some scaffolding either, so the games, sketches, and pantomiming were a good choice.  And since listening is a receptive (as opposed to a productive) skill, it is also a good choice when first practicing with new vocabulary too.

So after we did a warmup activity and reviewed the vocabulary on Power Point, I introduced the stations and told the students to go stand at the station where they wanted to begin.  I kept the group maximum to four people since I am blessed with relatively small class sizes this year.  Then I started a timer on my iPad and I dove in to work with the group at the Test Corrections Station.

For those folks who had As on their tests and didn't need much help, I had an extra credit option and I also suggested that they might like to help a fellow student.  Some preferred working with others and some wanted to do extra credit, but all were amenable regardless.

All around the room students were engaged and learning - using their creative right brains to draw and act, and using their analytical left brains to play matching and to analyze the listening passages.  Honestly, what could be better?  I'm so glad I ditched the boring Let's-All-Review-The-Test-Together-Then-Make-Corrections plan!

Hasta pronto,


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Explorando El Vocabulario Con Los Sentidos

Getting the senses involved in learning makes a lot of sense and can be a lot of fun!  Recently my students had a vocabulary list with a lot of food items on it: naranja, limón, dátil, uvas, aceite, aceitunas, pipas, cidra, etc.  Someone suggested that we have a fiesta and sample all these foods, but I had a better idea.  Why not do more than just eat?  After all, the more senses you get involved, the more memorable the learning.

So I made a list and had the students sign up to bring in various foods.  I used Sign Up Genius, which is an amazing tool because it allows people to sign up online and sends them reminder emails.

I then put together a lesson that involved experiencing the vocabulary with all of the five senses.  We started by watching a little video with a song about the senses.  The video was for children but my high school students were not offended when I showed it to them.  Then students worked in groups and took turns trying to identify their vocabulary words with their sight (easy), smell, touch, taste, and hearing.  That last one was difficult but I had the students put food samples in a plastic cup and rattle it around so that they could hear a sound.  What sound does wheat bread make?  Not much, as it turns out.

I created an activity sheet to guide the students through the activity and help keep them focused and on task.  If you click the image below, it will link to the sheet so you can print it and use it in your classroom too if you would like.

 The beautiful thing was all the smiles and laughter I heard around the room as they participated in the activity.  They had a great time while they were learning and I had a great time just watching them!  I hope that your students have a good time doing this too.  It will really bring the food unit to life.

If you do decide to do this in your classroom, please drop me a line and let me know how it goes.  I'd love to hear from you.

Hasta pronto,


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lo Estás Haciendo Mal . . .

You're doing it wrong.  It's a favorite meme and a gotcha with kids currently so, when I saw this picture, I couldn't resist.

I had a great summer vacation and I'm ready to get back to blogging and sharing with you now that August is waning . . . .  *sideways glance and nervous shuffling of feet*  Okay, so I actually teach at a year-round school and we're in Week 6. . . But who's counting, right? 

Honestly, the beginning of the year is such a pressure cooker that I didn't have much time to think about blogging and even less to actually do it.  Oh, and did I mention that the entire domain is blocked at school currently?  *sad sigh*  This means that I won't be blogging from school, even after hours.

Hope is not lost though.  Our IT guy is a superhero and my principal actually listens to me . . . (It's true; don't be jealous.), so maybe we'll figure something out.

In the meantime, accept my good wishes for a great start to your school year and don't forget to leave comments and encouragement - not just on your students' papers, but also on the blogs you read. 

Hasta pronto,