Saturday, November 11, 2017

¿Flotan o no flotan?

Last year at ACTFL I attended a session titled "Implementing Content Based Instruction: A Tool for Teachers" presented by Heather Hendry and it really changed the way I teach. I came back from ACTFL and observed four different classroom teachers to see how they were doing math, reading, and social studies to see where I could start incorporating more content.

The lesson that Heather presented during her session was all about school supplies and if they floated or not. I did that specific lesson with my kindergartners as part of our Me and My Classroom unit at the beginning of this year. And? It was a huge hit!

Target Vocabulary:

Floats/Doesn't float
Numbers to 5

I just started by introducing the supplies at the beginning of class and having students repeat the names after me. It was the beginning of the year so we were also working on greetings and introductions at the time.

After a few classes, I got a tote with water and made an anchor chart that said ¿Flotan o no flotan? I handed out pieces of paper that said the same thing so that students could make their predictions. I would hope up an item, ask them to identify it, and then predict if it would float or not. 

In the next class I had six totes with water on tables. We quickly reviewed what we had observed in the last class and then we did all over again but this time taking turns with a partner to put the different items in the water. To make it an interpretive listening activity, students had to listen for which supply to put in the water. No putting things in willy-nilly.

I was more than a little worried about letting kindergartners loose with water so early in the school year but I told them they wouldn't get to play if they didn't follow directions. I had a few who had to sit out but no one got soaked so I count it as a win!

We finished up our water project with a cut and paste activity where we got to use all of our different school supplies! We weren't finished though. Because next we weighed them to see which weighed more and which weighed less - my way of introducing the words more and less. The procedure went the same way. We did it as a group with an anchor chart. Then we weighed them in small groups. And then a cut and paste.

The students really enjoyed themselves and so did I. And they got to play and learn some science at the same time. How do you teach school supplies with younger students? Share in the comments below. Get a copy of the worksheets I used as well as flashcards to use with an anchor chart at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Teaching Introverts in a Loud, Active, & Crazy Communicative World Language Class

KWLA conference was over a month ago but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. I didn't actually get to go to a lot of sessions this year because I was presenting 2 workshops and 2 sessions but one session I did attend that really stuck with me was one "Speak up, I can't hear you: Engaging Introverts in Active Learning Classrooms" with R. Brown & H. Campell-Spetz.

I am what I used to call an outgoing introvert. I need a LOT of time by myself but I can talk to just about anyone. I was also a very eager student. I was that kid who always raised her hand and participated enthusiastically in class. I've realized that students most like me - eager to raise their hand, speak up, and aren't shy - are the ones that I pay the most attention to.

But this year I got a  new fifth grader who is new to the school, new to Spanish, ELL, and very very shy. She would answer questions if I called on her but only in a whisper. I literally had to walk across the room and let her whisper in my ear. So teaching introverts was on my mind going into conference.

What I learned:

- Turns out that as an "outgoing introvert" make me an ambivert. Introversion and extroversion is a scale and most people fall somewhere between the two extremes.

- Introverts feel more comfortable with more processing time. Strategies like Think, Pair, Share work really well  because it gives the students time to process and then speak with a partner, making them more likely and comfortable with then speaking in front of the group.

-Introverts like to observe. Just because they aren't raising their hand to answer questions or are shouting out answers like other students doesn't mean they aren't learning. 

- Assigned roles during group work helps make sure that more extroverted students don't take over. 

-It's ok to push people out of their comfort zones. That means pushing introverts to talk more and just as importantly to push extroverts to listen more.

- A lot of what I'm already doing in class is what I should be doing!

What this looks like in my classroom:

-One of my favorite things to do is to make all students answer a question first with their partner before I call on anyone. This gives everyone, but especially my introverts, the processing time that they need. And they need processing time when I'm asking them to answer in the target language! The number of hands that go up goes from a few to almost everyone. I talk more about this in my post getting everyone talking.

-The Si Se Puede bubble sheets help me make sure I'm calling on everyone and not just my more outgoing students. I can see who needs more bubbles and either call on them or in the case of my more shy students I can listen in during an activity so they aren't always speaking in front of the whole group. Now I just need to make sure I'm doing this on a consistent basis!

-I use Kagan partner mats and put my students in groups of 4. I specifically try to make sure that my quietest students are not with my louder students but with someone I think they will be comfortable with. Kagan structures like Hand Up, Pair Up and Mix, Pair, Share lets shyer students talk without being on display as well as choose people they're comfortable with.

-I'm encouraging but I try to not force my shy students to do more than they're comfortable. And while I worried about my new student she is slowly coming out of her shell. She still speaks quietly but she eagerly raises her hand now and participates with a smile. Another quiet student, really shined during a recent shopping role play. I was pleasantly surprised to hear how well she was speaking Spanish.

-I need to remember that interpretive and presentational writing are opportunities for quieter work. Spanish class doesn't always have to be lots of loud conversations.

- After this presentation I realize there are a few other students that should probably be on my radar and who need some extra encouraging and relationship building, especially several of my shyer boys. I will probably always naturally gravitate to those more outgoing students who are like me but my ongoing goal will be to make sure I'm reaching and valuing the learning styles of ALL of my students.

What do you with your shyer students? Share in the comments below!