Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What's working - El gusano Tutu

As a first year teacher last year I really struggled with timing and how long to spend on things. I would get frustrated that students couldn't retain anything even though we'd done it for 2-3 weeks. Which was ridiculous because last year I had my kids ONCE every six days. Everyone likes to proclaim that the best time to study a language is when kids are young because they will retain it better. Which is true, BUT the younger they are the longer and more often they need exposure to the language for it to really stick. As my grad professor says, "younger is better but older is faster."

So my goal this year was to really slow down and take my time. We haven't been moving on until I know the students have it. Does that mean that it's almost Christmas and some classes are still on Unit 1? Yes, yes it does. For the littler ones we've been hitting multiple things and adding a little more each month. In kindergarten that means we've been learning our colors, how to say hello, my name is and the months of the year.

For colors I've been using the song El gusano tutu. I used it last year and my first graders still request it. I don't know what it is about that crazy colored worm that they love but they do. Each month I introduced two colors. Then we played Color, colorcito (minus the running) and a sorting game on the SMART board, both of which served as formative assessments since I could see who was getting it and who wasn't fairly easily. We also read the book Sombrero Azul, Sombrero Verde.

Finally this past week we did our summative assessment. Of course they didn't KNOW it was a test but it was. I passed out coloring pages with Tutu and they had to color him in based on the song. I had to help some with reading the words in Spanish but most of them recognized the words from the flashcards I used during our lessons (and yes they were circles and made the shape of Tutu.) Almost everyone was able to get most of the colors correctly with many students getting them all correct. Some are still struggling with blanco, negro and naranja but since those were the last colors introduced they have had less exposure to them so that makes sense. When everyone was done we sang the song again and pointed to the colors on our sheets.

Now that my Calico Spanish curriculum has finally arrived we will start following that which will mean new songs to sing and new games to play. But I'll keep Tutu in my back pocket and use him as a reward. If they are on their best behavior then we might just have time to sing about el gusano Tutu at the end of class. ;-)

How much time do you spend on new content? Does it change depending on the age of your students?

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