Friday, October 19, 2018

Día de muertos Ideas and Resources for Spanish Class

It's that time of the year! Halloween and Dia de muertos are fast approaching. Here are some ideas and resources to get you started!

1. Build your ofrenda! This year I put mine in the hallway so that students can see it every day on their way to their specials classes. The gym teacher overheard a kid calling it the "Coco table!" I only actually teach Day of the Dead to 2nd grade since their focus for the year is Mexico but other students love seeing the table and posters.

I use fake apples and flowers from the craft shop. The papel picado came from Hobby Lobby. The calaveras came from Rite-Aid last year and the posters are from Teacher's Discovery. I like to use butcher paper and label everything so students can easily see what the names for each item are in Spanish.

Mundo de Pepita also has a create your ofrenda that is cute. I saw it on Twitter where someone had magnetized it so students could play around with it. Can't wait to try it!

2. Watch some videos! This first video is great for tying Día de muertos with butterfly migration. I plan on having students listen for the vocab words they learned during that unit - mariposa, invierno, and months of the year. 

This video is in English but it is short and I like that it features kids the same ages as my students. It was a nice introduction this past week to Día de muertos.

3. Read some books! I checked this book out from the library. It's English with lots of Spanish mixed in. My plan is to "read" it in Spanish to my students, where I will just simplify the language and describe the pictures for my students. And then fingers crossed maybe some of them will check it out and read it on their own later.

I also have this book, which will be good to review the family members honored during Día de muertos celebrations. After I use them in second grade, my plan is to put them out on the ofrenda so students can look at them.

4. Have students show what they have learned! I will have students look at the ofrenda, the posters in the hallway, and Día de muertos infographics to label an ofrenda. Then they can color it.

We will also do a compare and contrast activity. I've used hula hoops in the past and my students thought that was super fun. I also just got a new venn diagram pocket chart that I'm dying to try out! 

You can get your own word wall words, labeling and matching worksheets, and links to the infographics in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

What are your favorite Día de muertos activities and resources? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I CANs that promote proficiency

My district has implemented these 5x5 walk-throughs which means my principal pops in from time to time for 5 minutes and one of the things on her checklist is whether or not I have learning objectives posted and if they are rigorous.  I can statements and me have a stormy past. I learned in my university classes that I should be using them but I've written bad ones, forgot to post or refer to them, made them too vague etc. Every year though I get a little better at doing them.

Recently we did a training on Proficiency Based Instructional Outcomes in my district. Here are some thoughts we shared and asked ourselves to reflect on...

Most of the examples are learning objectives I have actually used in the past. 

1. Are they are at the right level? This means you have to know what level you are targeting. If I'm targeting novice mid I shouldn't have I cans that are asking for intermediate or advanced tasks. So "I can talk about what I did this weekend" (advanced) is out for my elementary kiddos but "I can tell you what the weather is today in Lexington, KY and at another famous landmark" (novice) is in.

2. Are they measurable? I used to be really vague. "I can identify colors." It's not horrible but admins are notorious for asking how I will measure it they made it or not. How many colors do they need to identify? Is one enough? 5? 6? "I can identify 4 colors in a Joan Miro painting" is a double whammy because it tells them exactly how many colors they need to identify and brings in the target culture. "I can make a Joan Miro inspired artwork and describe my piece" actually has my kinders doing something with the language.

3.Do they reflect what students can do in a real world context?  Part of the power of learning objectives/instructional outcomes is that students understand what and why they are working towards. If they don't understand the outcome then you lose that power. So "I can use the verb necesitar correctly" is out. "I can list items I need for school" is in. Or if they don't necessarily reflect a real world task like "I can list the days of the week" then they should be a stepping stone to something that is. My first graders start by listing the days of the week so that later they "...can read a weather forecast for the week."

4. Do you refer to them? How? Soooo...I've had several people who've told me to post them in English, point to them, and say them aloud in the target language. That sounds great for middle and high but it's problematic in elementary school for a big reason - a lot of my students are preliterate. They can't read the I can statements so I usually take less than a minute and say them in English. Or sometimes in upper grades I ask a student to read them in English. Referring to them is my biggest weakness although I am getting better.

5. Logistics - I see up to 10 classes a day. I don't have the board space to post the outcomes. And because I like it to be specific to that day not just the end of the unit I have a LOT of outcomes. I like to keep a Google Slides presentation that has a slide for each grade level. Each slide has a graphic with vocab that students can refer to, a bellringer activity for 3rd'5th to start the class, the essential questions for the unit, and the I cans for the unit.

This year I decided to put ALL of them for the unit on the slide and just bold and highlight the ones for the day. That way students can see where they have been, where we are going, and maybe most importantly I don't have to keep editing the slides EVERY single day. Below are some examples from first and fourth grade.

First Grade:

Fourth Grade:

How do I incorporate intercultural competence? With ACTFL's new Can Do statements I am still wrapping my head around this one. The main tenets are Investigate and Interact.

My fourth graders are learning clothing vocabulary. For investigate, we started with I can list 3 clothing items in a school uniform but then moved on to I can compare and contrast what I wear at school to what students in Spain wear. Although according to ACTFL they can't really compare and contrast until the intermediate level, but I think with guidance and scaffolding this definitely possible at a novice level.

For interact, they will get on the El Corte Ingles site and shop for a school uniform from a school dress code I found online (yay for authentic resources!) They will also design and describe a school uniform based on what they have learned. I threw in "I can compliment a friend on their clothing" because it makes a good entry activity and it gets them thinking about what they and their friends are wearing. This is my first time teaching this unit so I'm still making tweaks to both the activities and the instructional outcomes.


ACTFL Can Do Statements  - New Can Do statements document
Musicuentos post on new Can Do statements - A run down of the new Can Do document that is really useful
NNELL Archived Webinars - Several of these webinars address Can Do statements. They are free for current NNELL members (only $30!)

So those are my reflections after our training on learning objectives. How do you write and post your learning objectives? How do you share them with your students? How do you incorporate interculturality?  Please share in the comments below!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

No I Won't Say It In English - Motivating Students in a 90% TL Classroom

I literally just got home from another great KWLA conference. I had a great turnout Friday for my presentation - No I Won't Say It In English - Motivating Students in a 90% TL Classroom. Click on the picture below to access the Google Slides presentations. It has links to all the resources I talked about in the session.

How do you motivate your students? Share in the comments below!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

¡Vamos al supermercado!

My kindergartners just "ate up" this thematic unit on the supermercado (haha...I love horrible puns!) We had so much fun that it's become one of my favorite things to teach. Who knew that an annoying weekly chore for adults could be so much for kids? The truth is that the supermarket is a gold mine for one of the big C's - Connections. You can connect it to math, literacy, and basic life skills.

Target Vocabulary:

comida - pan, huevos, leche, frutas, verduras, jamón, jugo, helado, chocolate, tocino
por favor
de nada
numbers 1-10
me gusta/no me gusta
Que rico/guácala

1. First things first we watched Calico Spanish's Chocolate video. This is always a hit no matter the grade and even though it's not wholly traditional, I really like the change from bate bate to a mi, me gusta chocolate at the end because it really gets students using that language chunk correctly. 

I introduced what a supermercado is. We talked about which supermarkets they knew of. Because they're in kindergarten some got confused and gave me restaurant names which led into a sorting activity. Then I introduced the foods with flashcards and students told their shoulder partners if they liked or disliked them. For an added bonus we also said que rico/delicioso or guácala (my kinders favorite thing to say each year.) 

2. To practice the food vocabulary more we looked at my picture dictionaries. I called out a food and they had to find it in the picture. Think Where's Waldo but with los huevos. It was particularly effective because as they looked for it they repeated the word and then repeated it some more with excitement when they had found it.  Next, we looked at real supermarket ads (authentic resources!) and we did the same seek and find game. This game worked a lot better than something like matamoscas because the pictures were more engaging than just flashcards and since there was no competition there were also no tears.

Get a free copy of the supermarket ads here

My Ks freaked out looking at these ads - they were SOOO excited. I thought it was odd until I remembered we live in a digital society now. They probably have seen very few grocery ads. Unlike me who grew up loving to look through the newspaper each week.

3. Then we read the book Peppa Pig va al supermercado. I was able to snag this book last summer when I was in Ibiza. 

4. Since our book was all about grocery shopping with a list we worked on writing our own lists. First we did it in a large group. I bought this gigantic magnet that looks like notebook paper last summer and it was perfect for writing and displaying our list. Students help me decide what to put on my list and we talked about which items we liked and disliked. We also counted how many items we had on the list.

In the next class I continued with whole group instruction. Again we wrote a class list but this time I had play food on my desk. After writing our list, I had volunteers come up and they chose something off my desk. Then I let them cross that item off of our list. As we went along we did math problems in Spanish. We subtracted one each time to get the new number of items on our list. Since adding and subtracting within 10 is a math skill in kindergarten this was a quick and natural way to integrate it into Spanish class. 

5. Finally students were ready to strike out on their own. First they did a matching worksheet where they had a list and they had to draw a line to the correct food. Then they got a chance to write their own lists based on what foods they liked. 

I printed out the grocery ads and put them next to the items. Some shopkeepers just asked for random numbers while others were very conscientious to look at the price advertised. Either way it was an easy way to make it a more text rich environment and students self-differentiated based on what they were ready for.

6. Once they had written their own lists we did a grocery role play. I had plastic food, plush food from Ikea, and laminated food I had printed off the internet. I even had plastic bags from Krogers for them to carry their bought items. This was of course pretty chaotic but they had so much fun. I even had one kiddo tell me that he was "so excited I can't sleep!"

You can get all of the worksheets, role play material, as well as links to other sites and additional videos I used in this unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

While I taught this unit with kindergartners I think it would work well with any age level. For older students I would give them a budget they have to keep as they shop. They could research a recipe from the target culture and shop for the items that they need. I can't take all 100 kindergartners on a field trip to the local Aguascalientes Supermercado but it would be totally doable with a Spanish club or Spanish 1 class. The possibilities are endless! How do you teach food and the supermercado? Share in the comments below!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Back to School - Big List of Links

It's that time of the year! We started last week and my schedule has changed so I'm back in the Specials rotation which means not only the craziness of a new school year but adjusting my lesson plans. Thankfully, I already have a lot that is ready to go from past years.

If you've already started or you're getting your classroom ready here are some of my posts that are the most useful this time of the year!

1. Bulletin Board ideas 

2. Classroom decorations including Question word posters to get your students asking questions.

3. Get organized - everything from extra glue caps to notebooks color coded by class and grade level.

4. Get student input on what they want to learn this year with a student interest survey.

5. Chichen Itza Proficiency Pyramid - teach your students what it means to be a novice mid vs. a novice high.

6. Have students set their own proficiency goals with this goal setting sheet. 

7. Have students track their progress using a Si se puede bubble sheet.

8. Send home newsletters with I can statements and links to videos so students can practice at home.

9. Plan your lessons using this free curriculum.

10. Teach your procedures and routines first so you can go 90%-100% target language later.

11. Start by teaching about school supplies or places around the school.

12. Remember these things if you're a new teacher!

What are your favorite back to school resources? Share in the comments below and have a great year!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

La Familia activities and 2 FREE Resources!

La Familia is a fun unit and I always learn a ton about my students - mostly who is related to who because even though I can remember all 500+ names I never realize who is whose brother or sister.  Here are some songs and activities that my students really enjoyed. 

My students love the following 2 songs. They're super catchy and you might find yourself singing them in the shower. 

I also love love love the interactive activities on the website Victoria Languages Online. Their family module is perfect for novice learners of any age. Since I don't have enough computers we rotated and did them with centers. The other two centers were a magnet center where students spelled out the different family members and a book center where I had different books that they could read about families.

And because I love to integrate math we also graphed who had brothers and sisters. We did it first in whole group using an anchor chart. (I recommend laminating it so you can write on it, then wipe it off, and do it again for the next class.)

Next, we did it again but students filled out their own graphs. Get a FREE copy of the graphing page here.

So yeah this graph came out looking interesting. Jajaja - luckily my friends just saw an upside down T. 

But my favorite set of activities came from Gap Minder. Have you guys heard of the website Gap Minder? It is seriously  awesome. I discovered it in a Facebook group this past school year and me and my students had a great time looking at how people lived around the world. 

Julie from Mundo de Pepita gave me the idea of looking at the different families and counting the different family members. First, students traced the different family members. Then we looked at pictures of families from different continents (which we had studied during our weather unit.) 

I had checked with one of the classroom teachers beforehand and she told me that they were working on and needed practice with tally marks so we kept a running tally of the different family members we saw in each picture. Later we counted by 5s and wrote the numeral next to our tally marks. This part was actually pretty difficult for most of my English speaking students but was a quick way to hit some core content with my heritage speakers and gifted students. 

In the next class I had students write out the members of their own family. Then we did the Kagan structure Hand Up, Pair Up and they walked around and described their families to each other. Get your FREE copy here!

Finally, students drew family portraits. I had them listen and draw the different body parts as I said them in Spanish (great throwback to our body parts unit in kindergarten) and then they labeled their pictures and again shared them with each other and the class. Fun for Spanish Teachers has a great La Familia Activity Set that I got the frame from. I also printed her cards and gave them to my first grade classroom teachers. They put them in their morning boxes so kids could practice outside of  class.

What are your favorite familia activities? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

FCPS K-5 World Language Curriculum

I realized I keep mentioning having a new curriculum this year but I haven't actually gone into much detail. So here are some details!

- You can find it here

- It is a formal curriculum which means it's big picture and is an overall guide rather than being an operational curriculum that gives you more specifics. It's written with the hope that the program has 90 minutes a week but is adaptable to programs that don't (like mine!)

-Every subject area in our district had to use the same template -  the different sections pull from ACTFL's national standards, the KY World Language Standard, and FCPS's Student Growth Goal Rubrics. (The rubric link takes you to the KWLA Resources page. You can find the rubrics for all 3 modes of communication from there.)

- I'm learning to go bigger in my themes and use performance based assessments rather than just building a theme around a book. That's not a bad way to do things but a lot of times those smaller themes I was doing fit well into the larger ones.

- The curriculum lends itself easily to performance based assessments and they have been life changing. My students are SO motivated when I tell them at the beginning of a unit that we will be creating something or doing a dramatic role play that they stay engaged throughout the unit. I often will get, "when are we doing the shopping game?" I answer, "When you're ready. You have to learn all the Spanish you need first." They easily accept this answer and it works for classroom management because they know if they're not behaving they don't get to participate. I used to do this in my doctor unit but scaling it up to nearly all of my units has really made a huge difference.

- One of the amazing things has been discovering new units that I can't believe I never taught before. Like Me and My School in first grade or Me and My Home in third grade. The themes are high student interest.

If you are without a curriculum (a common theme among FLES teachers!) then I highly recommend looking at the FCPS curriculum. It's free and is a great guide on what to teach when. It's super adaptable to different needs. I won't say it hasn't been an adjustment this year but overall it's been a positive change to my classroom.

What curriculum do you use? How do you decide what to teach when? Share in the comments below!