Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flamenco Resources

For Hispanic Heritage Month I am planning a collaborative unit focusing on Flamenco, integrating the Arts & Humanities standards with my World Language standards. At the end of the month we will have a Family Night where students can bring their families in and show off what they've learned. Below are some of the resources I'll be using and sharing with my team members and classroom teachers. If you know of any other Flamenco resources please share!

Photo by Kentucky Country Day

Videos: A field trip to a flamenco dance studio - great for K-3. English with some Spanish vocabulary Basic Spanish vocabulary for dance classes  El Camarón - a great example of el cante and la musica Sara Baras - a great example of el baile Joaquin Cortes - men dance flamenco too! Sesame Street - a video counting to 9. Unfortunately they count in English but the music and dancing is flamenco. Toy Story - Buzz and Jessie dance flamenco. Would be great for introducing students to flamenco and then showing the more authentic videos after. Story - In this one the theme song is sung in Spanish "Hay un amigo en mí.


 There aren't a lot of books out there for flamenco but here are a few good options.

        ¡Olé flamenco!  This is a great resource for older students. My kids will be doing a research project in Library class and this is one book I will have available for them.
El fandango de Lola This book comes in English and Spanish with a CD. Spanish Playground has some great resources to go along with the Spanish version here.
Spain booklet A great booklet your students can color and read from Teacher Pay Teachers. It has 11 pages with facts about geography, flamenco, football, bullfighting, and the Conquistador. It's in English so I will probably share with my classroom teachers and let them decide if they want to use this resource or not. 

Craft Ideas

I still need to talk to my Art teacher about how we might combine her standards with something flamenco related but here a few pages with ideas for flamenco crafts. These could be done with the classroom teachers as well.

How to make castanets These are cooler than the ones we made last year in Spanish Club with paper plates and pennies (although my kids loved their paper plate/penny castanets!)

Fans, paper dolls, and collages Several craft ideas here.

A box guitar How to make a box guitar. 

Now I just need to get some costumes and I'll be set!We'll be dancing and learning the jaleos in my class. Happy planning for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The first days of school

I know some teachers want to use the target language from day one. I understand the sentiment but I just can't endorse the practice, at least in elementary school (although I suspect it's the same in high school.)  My students need lots and lots of practice doing basic routines so that we can go 90%-100% TL later on. Or as they said in my APL training this summer - "Go slow to go fast."  Here is a list of things I've been modeling and practicing with kids in the first specials rotation.

How to come in quietly
How to sit on the carpet
My quiet signal
How the scoreboard works
How to go to timeout and calm yourself down
How to line up
How to stand in line
How to turn and talk to a partner (smiling, eye contact, and using school talk)
The rules of Spanish class
My signal that it's time to repeat after me
My signal that it's time to talk to your partner
My signal that it's time to switch during partner talk
My signal that they can shout out an answer vs. when they should raise their hands

Here's a video that shows how I model. I don't do it with every procedure but definitely for lining up, going to timeout, and talking with a partner.

That's a lot for only 50 minutes!  Although it helps that a lot of things haven't changed from last year so many of the kids just need a quick refresher. Those students that need extra practice get "retraining" either during a fun activity during class or lunch if I have a free period.

So no Spanish yet - other than Hola and 1, 2 adios. My sign won't switch over for another rotation or two (because we also need to get folders organized and talk about room procedures like getting out supplies and cleaning up.) But once we're ready, we'll be ready to fly and operate totally in the target language.

Do you start in the TL? Feel free to vehemently disagree with me, but if you do I'd like to know how you manage behavior in the TL from day one.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Goals for the new school year

Alas, summer is almost over. So my room is decorated. I've got lesson plans ready for the first week and my first day outfit is picked out. Now it's time to set some goals for the year.

1. Use the APL strategies I learned this summer in training. Specifically putting the kids "on the clock" as in I give specific time limits for every activity and then use a timer to make sure I stick to it. Other strategies like teaching the behaviors I want and reteaching students who need more practice to get it right. And status reports during group work. And, and, and....this is a great training if you ever get a chance to take it. I have a list of action items from the four day class posted next to my desk to remind me.

2. 90%+ is always a goal. I'm going to have the students keep me honest by challenging them to make me stay in Spanish. The class with the most class periods in 90+ Spanish will earn some sort of prize.

3. Hispanic Heritage Month we are doing a Family Night with flamenco dancing. I'm hoping to get a LOT more participation from the teachers since I will have very specific things to give them to do.

4. Send more stuff home - coloring sheets with links to the youtube videos we watch in class; optional homework; letters/certificates to communicate the good things that students do in class. 

5. Do projects that personalize the learning for my students. We're going to write books for their classrooms in Spanish, make ¿Cómo estás hoy? posters, and write pen pals in Mexico.  I also decided to not print out flags to decorate my room. Instead I'll have older students color them and then I'll hang them up.

What are your goals for the year?

Thursday, August 7, 2014



Although, I'm trying to be circumspect since technically I had a room last year too. I only got to keep it for 7 days before getting pushed back onto the cart (my principal felt so bad that she bought me the Cadillac of carts AND the Calico Spanish curriculum so I was only slightly bummed.)

They swear to me I should get to keep it this year. Like 99% sure.

So here is a before pic...


And after...

The view from the hallway door - the other door leads to the 3rd grade complex.
This is the board I'll put useful phrases. The bookcase below has all of the supplies students can get out for different projects.

I'll teach from my rocking chair with students on the carpet facing me and the whiteboard easel. Then when it's time to watch a video (with the signal ¡muevénse los cuerpos!) we'll turn and face the SMART board.

I have another word wall on another wall in the room but I wanted the question words front and center so students can use them more often. I have some questions already up and we'll add to it throughout the year.

I get computers! Here are two of the five (I gave up my teacher desktop so I'd have an extra student computer. I'll use the laptop connected to the SMART board as my main computer this year.)

My reading/working nook. I don't have too many books yet but I'm slowly building my class library thanks to Half Price Books. The box there contains puppets. I'm hoping to transform a cardboard box into a tabletop puppet theater.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting ready - Unit Plans

School starts soon - less than two weeks now. I just finished a week's worth of APL training (a system of classroom management we will be implementing school-wide.) Here are the units we will be working on in the 2nd-5th grade (K-1 will be doing the Calico Spanish curriculum.) Not sure we'll make it through everything -  I don't have a good track record of getting through things quickly. But that's because I want to make sure that my students can really do what I'm asking plus the inevitable field trips, assemblies, and other disruptions that almost always take place during Specials.  But a change in the schedule for next year does mean that band and orchestra won't be pulled from my class any longer - WOOHOO!

Classroom rules & Procedures
Unit One - Hola (Greetings)

Unit Two - How are you?
Hispanic Heritage Month - Flamenco

Unit Three - Nice to meet you

Unit Four - Please, Thank you (& Numbers)

Unit Five - Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar (Food & days of week)

Review - restaurant simulation where students have to greet each other, get their name, seat them, order using please and thank you, and pay.