Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Building Community in the FLES Classroom

Every year I try to pick one goal area and focus on that. I've had classroom management, 90% target language usage, and improving my assessments. I don't forget these goals in the next year but I try to fine tune them. Last year my goal was more culture and community - 2 of the 5 Cs. (This year's goal is to figure out our new curriculum but more on that later.)


So what are the standards relating to Community?

School and Global Communities: Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.

Lifelong Learning: Learners set goals and reflect on their progress in using languages for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement. 

In order to get students to set goals and use the language outside the classroom is to find them authentic audiences to share their work with. With that in mind I've come up with a list of ideas I've implemented (or plan to implement) in the classroom.

What I've done and has worked:

Readers Theater - I've done this for the last several years. Older students practiced and performed readers theater for younger students. By participating within their school community, my students were MUCH more engaged in practicing reading their scripts until they were performance ready.  Read more about it here.

Butterfly conservation - My fourth graders last year are participating in Journey North's Symbolic Migration which automatically connects them to the global community by sharing with a class in Mexico and another in the US or Canada. They also did some research on how to help the butterfly population in Library class and then are creating informational posters in Computer Lab. Some  of the posters were displayed at the public library in the spring.  Read more about it here

Guatemalan worry dolls - I found this idea on another blogger's site. We made these dolls while practicing numbers and estimation and learning to say Tengo miedo and No tengo miedo. We will also made some extra dolls and donated them the Children's Hospital. Read more about it here. 

Fundraising for Heifer International - Students voted for which animal they liked best by dropping their change into a cup and using the phrase Me gusta ___. We raised over $90 and even got a fancy certificate in the mail. Read more about it here.

Interactive Notebooks - Sometimes I debate whether our notebooks are worth the time spent on them but then I see how excited the students are when they get them back at the beginning of the year, flipping through them, reading them, practicing the chants, etc and that's when I know they are totally worth it and are helping to cultivate lifelong learners. Students also write their goals for learning Spanish in their notebooks and I've added self-assessments at the end of the units. Read more about it here.

What I'd like to implement in the future:

Kindergarten art projects - We make different art projects in kindergarten that I'd love to turn into greeting cards that we can send to a nursing home or some other facility where there might be Spanish speakers - or just people who'd love a card to cheer them up.

School maps - My first grader are doing a unit called Me and My School. As part of learning about the different places in school the students will label a map in Spanish. I'm hoping to have those placed in the front office for any Spanish speaking visitors to our school.

Healthy food posters - My second graders are in the middle of a unit called My Food Choices. At the end they are going to make posters showing healthy and unhealthy food choices. My plan is to talk to the local Krogers and see if we can have them displayed. Or maybe they could make them on the brown bags that customers use since I've seen other schools do something similar. It's just a matter of finding the right person to agree to it now.

How do you incorporate the community C? What authentic audiences have you given your students? Share in the comments below!

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