Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Night

For the last month my students have been learning about flamenco. They did an ELA lesson in their classrooms. They did a webquest in Computer Lab. They did a research project and informational poster in Library. And they learned a short flamenco choreography in Music and Spanish. The secret to teaching flamenco and staying in the target language is to get OTHER people to teach the bulk of it for you. I have an amazing team and my students learned a lot about flamenco in English in their classes while we focused on jaleos and direction words for the choreography in my class (keeping to 90% while we were at it!)

We wrapped up the month with a family night on October 16th. Students and their families could watch videos of professional flamenco dancers (I tried to book a live dancer but it didn't work out), try some tapas, make a flamenco fan, buy a book at the book fair, and perform their flamenco dance for their parents. I was a little nervous that no one would show up but two flyers, an email blast, and the promise of food ensured that we had at least 100 people. Scheduling the book fair at the same time also really helped attendance. My instructor from the KY Center Academy this summer even showed up with his wife and played an impromptu cajón and flamenco guitar concert for us! It was a great night but I´m really glad it´s over. ;-)

If you are interested in the ELA units they can be viewed here.
If you are interested in the webquest it can be viewed here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Give me five!

Part of my professional development plan last year and this year has included improving assessment strategies in my room, including giving students the opportunity to self-assess and peer assess more often. To that end I've started having students self-assess how they felt about each lesson as they leave the room. How? I have five different "hands" they can high five, each with a different statement including "I was an AMAZING listener today," "I tried my best today," "I learned something new today," "I'm still a little confused," and "I'm going to do better next time." Maybe as the year progresses I will add "I spoke all Spanish today."

I'll admit I directly stole this idea from Lisa Prichard's blog My Adventures in Elementary Spanish. My students absolutely love it and besides me stealing it from Lisa, I've already had a middle school teacher, a fifth grade teacher, and a fourth grade teacher tell me they were stealing it for their classroom. I should really stop saying stealing and go with inspired. The only downside to this quick self-assessment is that you do need to remind students that there is a brick wall behind the hands. I tell them I will not feel at all sorry for them if they tell me their hand hurts...because they just punched a brick wall. And because I model everything, I modeled the "right" way to high five.

How do you do self-assessments in your class? Share in the comments below!