Saturday, October 17, 2015

¡Soy un artista!

After spending a month in Spain this summer and seeing SOOO much great art at the Museu Picasso and the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona as well as the Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid, I decided I needed to add more art to my curriculum.

Works by Joan Miró in Barcelona

I always start the year off with kindergarten with the learning targets of "I can describe things using colors." and "I can introduce myself." I kept El gusano Tutu but added postcards of Miró paintings that I got in Barcelona as well as the book El arte tiene colores.

First we learned the colors two at a time. We would practice by playing the Color Point game (I say ¿Dónde está rojo? and students have to find it in the room and point.) We would describe each other's clothes by saying Es rojo. No es rojo. And we would read the page from El arte tiene colores for that color. 

Once we had all the colors learned we looked at el arte. I showed students a picture of Joan Miró and we described the colors that we saw and if we liked the picture or not. We also learned that "Joan Miró era un artista. ¡Yo soy un artista!" This tied into our other learning target of introducing ourselves. We did this for several classes in a row. I can walk in and say ¿Hay artistas en esta clase? ¿Dónde están los artistas? and the students will raise their hands and say ¡Soy artista! or ¡Artista, artista! 

Then we colored a picture of one of Miró's works. Students colored the bottom shapes with the correct color and then found those shapes in the pictures and colored them the same color (I found this worksheet in an image search but it wasn't usable so I re-created it. You can get it for free by clicking on the link below.)

Finally, we created our own Miró inspired arte. We started out by chanting, blanco, blanco el papel es blanco. Negra, negra, la linea es negra. Rojo, rojo, el circulo es rojo. Verde, verde, el triangulo es verde (or whatever color we decided as a class) while I drew on the board. Then I handed out the papers and the students created their own versions while I walked around and asked them to describe their pictures. 

I think the results came out really well. And the best part is that students not only know their colors and how to introduce themselves but they know a little more of the culture as well. We will continue our study of artists and their works with Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas. 

Do you teach works of art in your classes? I'd love to hear from you and get ideas on how to use more art in my classroom! Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang.

Friday, October 9, 2015

¡Sí, se puede!

I have been looking for a way to monitor my students' participation and progress in class but have never found anything that hasn't completely overwhelmed me (even when I was just trying to focus on 4th & 5th grade - who get letter grades in Specials classes.)  Last spring at SCOLT, I met Nadine Jacobsen-McLean, former elementary school Spanish teacher and current president of NNELL - National Network of Early Language Learners.  She explained how she gave grades to ALL 600+ kindergarteners-5th graders every 9 weeks by using ¡Sí, se puede! bubbles. The beauty of the system is that it can be tailored a hundred different ways depending on your needs. 

I use this picture as my binder cover. 

So how does it work?

I have a binder with class lists with 10 bubbles by each kid's name. When I hear them using Spanish relating to our I can statements or I call on them in class I tell them Si se puede and they go up to the front of the room and color in a bubble by their name. I LOVE it for several reasons.

1. THEY are the ones doing the record keeping for me. I don't have to stop, find their name, or write anything.

2. They love getting up in front of everyone and coloring in their bubble. Kids who used to never raise their hands are now straining to be called on. And the few who aren't are getting used to be called on anyway because...

3. No one falls through the crack because I can quickly scan the sheet to see who hasn't talked in awhile and I make to sure to call on them.  

A screenshot of my Si, se puede sheets. I keep them in a binder at the front of the class.

Right now I'm just using it for participation and they can use any color they want but you can have them use specific colors for different things (Si se puede con verde for meets expectations, con azul for exceeding expectations, and con amarillo for not quite there but trying.) Or you could use colors to distinguish I cans (con amarillo for I can introduce myself, con verde for I can talk about my feelings, etc.) 

I've told the students that they will get a small treat when they reach their 10 bubbles, which will be a Hershey kiss so that I don't break the bank. I have started the year with just 3rd-5th to see how it would go but it's been so easy for both me and the students that I am going to add the rest of the grades very soon (although I'm hoping the littler ones won't need the treat as a bribe and the bubbles will be enough of a reward.)

Get a free bubble template here!

How do you keep track of your students' participation and progress? Share in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #earlylang!

UPDATE! I've moved to tracking students performance levels in class. Yellow means Novice Low. Green is Novice Mid. And blue is Novice High. I tell students they should have a few yellow, lots of green, and a few blues since Novice Mid is our target. I've had students tell me they wanted to get blue and ask how they can get there. Other students are encouraged that even though they are making mistakes or need help they can still get a yellow bubble for trying.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Kagan Structures in Spanish

I went through Day 1 of Kagan training this summer before school starts and it's amazing how much more my students are engaged. They can't hide! If you haven't used Kagan structures before I highly recommend googling cooperative learning strategies or Rally Robin, Rally Coach, and Mix, Pair, Share. They are not subject specific and can easily be adapted for the World Language classroom.

For example, I love to use Rally Robin for a bellringer. Students come in and take turns practicing what we are working on. Here are some samples of what I have on the board for kids when they come in my room.

With your face partner Rally Robin foods that you like. Below is an example.
A - Me gusta el chocolate.
B - Me gusta la pizza.
A - Me gusta el sushi.
B - Me gusta ______.

With your shoulder partner Rally Robin parts of the body. Below is an example.
A - cabeza
B - brazos
A - piernas
B - ojos

Because I literally have one class leaving through one door and another class coming in another door, this helps them come in and get right into speaking Spanish and lets me get the other class out or change my set up if I need to.

Mix, Pair, and Share is something I've used for years - I play music, the students walk around, when the music stops they find a partner and have a conversation. Sometimes I mix it up and shout out a number and they have to make a group with that many kids, or I say a vocab word and they have to give me the gesture that goes with it. The music starts and we do it again.

And Because I like to keep to the 90% target language as much as I can I wanted partner mats in Spanish. Thanks to my colleague (and NNELL-KY Teacher of the Year) Melissa Willing for sharing her resources. You can use them at tables or even on the carpet.

On the carpet my students sit looking at each other with me to the side (so red sits looking at green and green looking at red) - that way they can quickly interact with their face or shoulder partner but can also see me and my white board. 

Do you use Kagan at your school? What is your favorite structure for the elementary school World Language classroom? Share in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #earlylang.

Get the partner mats here!