Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Brujita de Halloween - Partes del Cuerpo

I needed a labelling activity featuring the parts of the body and I wanted something appropriate for the season - not that dreadful blurred-out androgynous body that I so often see on these sorts of activities.  So when I found this adorable little Halloween witch, I decided she would be perfect.

Adorable Halloween witch to label with body parts in Spanish - Free activity from AnneK at Confesiones y Realidades Blog

One thing you will surely notice (if you are as OCD as me) is that the lines are not perfectly horizontal . . . for reasons that continue to elude me, Microsoft Word simply would not let me level them completely.  Heaven knows I tried.  But they are certainly close enough.

There is a word bank at the bottom of the sheet so student will remember their accent marks and tildes over the Ñ.

I hope it is useful to you and, as always, it would be great to hear from you.

PS:  Since I was on the subject of Halloween witches, there is also this fabulous funny I had to translate to Spanish.

Hasta pronto,


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Los Derechos Humanos - Una Actividad

It is that time of year again when I get to chapter 3 with my Spanish IV students and we begin to talk about human rights.  I find that young people often have a hard time knowing what is a right and what is a privilege.  Furthermore, knowing the difference between civil rights and human rights can sometimes be difficult as well - even perhaps for adults.

I happened across this great video that explains clearly and concisely what human rights are in very comprehensible Spanish, and with illustrations to facilitate understanding.

So, you know me . . . I made an activity.

 Understanding human rights - A comprehension activity for intermediate Spanish students. Free from AnneK at Confesiones y Realidades Blog.

I love using these short informational videos with my classes at all levels.  They can learn about something while learning Spanish at the same time.  The illustrations and clear pronunciation (at a reasonable rate of speed!) help students with comprehensibility and build their confidence too.

The questions on my activity are fairly easy, mostly I stay at the bottom of Bloom's Taxonomy since this topic and the vocabulary are still quite fresh.  However, they are asked to express in their own words what human rights are and, at the end, they are asked why it is important that human rights apply equally to all human beings.  Those two tasks require Spanish III (or higher) skills.  But I estimate a student would be able to complete this activity in 15-20 minutes and have a fairly good comprehension of the topic.

Click here to download the activity.  It is free and comes with my love.  If it's useful, it would certainly be great to hear from you.

Hasta pronto,


Friday, October 14, 2016

La Orquesta Sinfónica - Una Lección Aprendida a Golpes

I grew up in a time where the only practice that teachers regularly gave us were worksheets - always in that purple mimeograph ink.  The ubiquitous worksheet was the gold standard of student practice, and remained so for years and years.

So when I became a teacher myself, all those years ago, I brought that mindset with me.  I would have a lesson goal and I would look for the perfect worksheet to accompany my material.  But times change and so did I.  As I grew as a teacher, so did the practice opportunities I offered - worksheets still remained, but I added in conversational pairs practice, creative activities, games, puzzles, readings, reflections, and any number of other ways for students to engage with the language.

 La Orquesta Sinfónica - Creative language activity by AnneK at Confessiones y Realidades Blog

So earlier this week I was contemplating a way for my students to work with the music vocabulary we are learning in Spanish 3.  I made an audio quiz in which they listened to a sound file and identified the instrument; which was great.  (I would share it here with you, but it is in Canvas format and I don't think you could access the content outside the app.)  I also made a vocabulary organization activity where students would identify various instruments, and instrument groupings (strings, percussion, woodwinds, etc.), and organize them according to the layout of a modern symphony.  It should have been fun . . . but it was not.

My original idea had been for them to doodle little pictures of the various instruments in the appropriate spots on the diagram.  But then I imagined myself trying to draw a french horn and decided that maybe the best way to go would be by providing them with clipart and giving them an option to either doodle or to cut-and-paste.  The problem was that, as I'm sure you know, quality clipart is expensive and time-consuming to find.  So I found most of the vocabulary and figured they could doodle the rest.  Additionally, because some clipart images had multiple instruments in them, there were also some pictures that they did not need to use.  Add to that there were two sections for violins and two sections for french horns, and we descended into academic chaos.

The ultimate problem was that the assignment was not cohesive.  I had some clipart but other items were absent.  There were pictures that were not necessary.  This created confusion and I found myself having to explain again and again to a frustrated group of students.

La Orquesta Sinfónica - Creative language activity by AnneK at Confessiones y Realidades Blog

The result?  I learned my lesson.  Creative activities are as good as the planning that goes into them.  Don't give half-baked ideas to your students unless you are willing to do a lot of explaining and re-explaining to get them through it.

I did fix the activity!  I got clipart for the missing items.  I went in and removed the parts of the images that contained the extraneous instruments and all is now well.

I did get the occasional bad attitude, but they are just kids after all and they were frustrated.
"Why do I need to know the names of these instruments in Spanish if I don't even know them in English?" 
"You should learn them in both languages." 
"Because that is what education is all about - learning things, growing, becoming more today than we were yesterday."

Enjoy the (fixed!) lesson, amigos.  Download it by clicking here or on the image of it above.