Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Speaking Rubric

It's hard sometimes to let parents and families know what we are working on in Spanish class - especially since a lot of what I do is oral activities. This year, however, I have found some success with administering oral assessments, filling out the speaking rubric below, and sending it home in conjunction with my self-assessment stamp pages. (Click the link to learn more and download your own!)

I simply fill in the I can statements to match our unit learning targets, pass them out to students and let them set a goal for what they think they can get, and then walk around the room listening to them have a conversation in Spanish. I usually show them the score but keep the paper until I can record it and then hand it back later. They take home their stamp page and speaking rubric home together with instructions to show both papers to their "mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, dog, cat, fish, neighbors, and friends."

I can do it with confidence means that students are performing at the novice-mid level - with words and memorized phrases. You could add a column for Superbien that would show novice-high level if you wanted. Or if you like to use the ACTFL language with your students just label them with the proficiency level. For me, I say bien and muy bien in class so it's language the students are accustomed to. Bien corresponds more to novice-low. Students need either prompting from me or their notebook or visual aid to help them.

Más practica I save for students who cannot accomplish the task even with my help or by looking at their notebook OR they simply refuse to do the task. I have only given that grade to two fifth grade students and both of them have issues in other classes about completing work. With the exception of those two, all of my students are very good about trying their best. It also helps that I don´t give the formal assessment until I´m sure that they can do it successfully. Does it kill me sometimes to spend 2 months on ¿Cómo estás? Yes, yes it does. But it is worth it when I see my kids succeeding and speaking with confidence. If I had more time I could do more but I have to work with what I'm given.

So that's my speaking rubric. Click here to download a copy. How do you communicate with students/families about how they do on oral assessments? Share in the comments below.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Storytelling-Ricitos de oro y los 3 osos

I have been trying to incorporate more books and storytelling into my lessons. I started Ricitos de oro y los tres osos with my first graders this week and they were totally hooked. We didn't get to finish and every class pouted and then gave me hugs on the way out the door. One little boy exclaimed, "¡Que pena, Ms. K! We didn't get to finish the story!"

To start I am telling them the story using the props from my new favorite website This site has storytelling props for a ton of different books and classic stories. They also have crafts, flashcards, and clip art for a variety of topics.  In addition to Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, I've also made sets for 5 Little Monkeys, Mouse Paint, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Brown Bear Brown Bear. I've been printing the black & white versions (because our color printer at school is dicey) and then copying them onto card stock. I color and laminate them. Then I use magnets to stick them to my whiteboard.

These kiddos have learned emotions before but last year I taught them in isolation. As a consequence most of them still need to look at the poster to answer the question ¿Cómo estás? I decided we needed some additional practice. A story will hopefully help make this vocabulary stickier. Right now we are also doing Me gusta/No me gusta. Ricitos de oro is a perfect story as it's easy to rewrite so that they get several repetitions of the target vocabulary.

I started by telling the story using the props. I repeat each sentence several times and use circling to have students practice the structures. When we get to the parts where Ricitos de oro is speaking, the students act it out with me.  At this point, I usually am more flexible about my raise your hand for permission to speak rule and let them shout out their predictions and their Spanish as I go along.

Ricitos de oro y los tres osos Target Vocabulary:

Hay ____. 
Tengo hambre.
Tengo sed. (In my version Ricitos de oro drinks hot chocolate rather than sits in a chair.)
Estoy cansada. 
Me gusta _____. (la avena, el chocolate, la cama)
No me gusta ______.
Estoy enojado/a. (For papa & mama oso)
Estoy triste. (For bebe oso)

In the next class after we finished the story, we read it together on story strips. The kids thought it would be really hard at first but they surprised me and themselves by doing it (with only a little help from me.) At the end I told them to go home and tell their families they had read a WHOLE story in Spanish. Finally, we acted the story out using cute masks I had made. We had our four main characters but we also had students come up and be the bowls of porridge, cups of hot chocolate, and beds. They LOVED it and asked to do it again in the next class.  It has really helped them remember the different emotions. I get much better answers when I see them in the hallway than I ever did before.

Do you use stories in your classes? Which ones? How do you teach them? Share in the comments below!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Días de la semana

Do you ever plan what you think is a quick throw away lesson has your students begging for more? That happened this week for me. We are getting ready to do a unit on La Oruga Muy Hambrienta but first I wanted to preteach the days of the week to students. I had a song and a quick game for students to practice the days. They went wild for both.

The song: Basho and Friends never disappoints. My students from kindergarten to 5th grade LOVE their songs. The three I use most are El alfabeto, Buenos Dias, and ¿Cómo te llamas?. And now this one! I literally had a third grader break dancing to this song. Fifth graders were doing this weird dance that included squats. (Some of this might be due to the fact that we haven't had outdoor recess in awhile.) As long as they were singing and not hurting themselves I let them break it down however they wanted.

The game: After watching the video twice, we played our game. I had the days of the week out of order up on the SMART board. I split the class into two teams - girls and boys. One person from each team would come up and put the days in the correct order while I timed them. The fastest person won for their team. This got pretty noisy as I allowed their teammates to "help" (ie. yell the answers at them.)

In the next class we played this game again but I handed out cards to each table. Students played in pairs and raced the pair at their table to put the days of the week in the right order. We played with shoulder partner, then face partners, then I switched up table mates and we did it again. They loved it each and every time. Although I think the key was switching partners.

At the end of each class I would use my calendar set and we would go over today, tomorrow, and yesterday. Now that we've practiced the days of the week alone we will read La Oruga Muy Hambrienta. More on that later.

How do you teach the days of the week? Share in the comments below!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What's Working - Noche al museo

We had some extra time at the end of a class and my fifth graders begged me to play Night at the Museum - a game where two kids are guards and the rest of them are statues that move but can't be seen moving by the guards or they are out (Nerd Alert: Sounds more like Weeping Angels would be a better name.) The problem is that there is little to no speaking in this game let alone Spanish. It's one reason our gym teacher likes to play it when he gets kicked out his gym and has to have class in the hall - it's quiet.

But then one my girls, K, got extra creative. The guards would close their eyes and count in Spanish to diez. Then if they caught someone moving they had to ask them ¿Cómo estás? The kid caught moving had to answer but they couldn't repeat an answer someone had already said. If they did then they had to sit out. This way we avoided everyone just saying "Estoy bien" each time.

We renamed it Noche al museo and got started. It was AMAZING! They got to play the game that they love and I got to hear watch them practicing the conversation we've been working on in class. I'll definitely be playing this with other classes.  I also know who to go to for game ideas - K's got my back!

Have you modified the rules to any popular games to make them work for the World Language classroom? Share in the comments below!