Saturday, September 27, 2014

90% Target Language Contest

I've hinted to a couple of my kids that this year we are going to have a 90%+ contest. The more time we all spend in Spanish the better and what better way to motivate them to try and negotiate meaning than through mean a little extrinsic motivation. Of course we want kids to have intrinsic motivation but I have found that a little extrinsic motivation helps get them started. After awhile they see that it's not that bad, maybe even fun and then their extrinsic motivation turns intrinsic.

After my challenge with M's third grade class this year to speak 100% Spanish I decided to expand on it this year. All 3-5 classes and the winner gets a pinata party at the end of the year. I've set up Class Dojo with a monster for each class. One thing I love about Class Dojo is that it has a timer. We set the timer when class starts and we pause it when I have to change the sign to English. It goes back on when I switch back to Spanish.

You can also decide certain tasks to reward and how many points. I've given 100% Spanish 5 points and 90% 3 points. There are also a few other things I can reward for 1 point each - maybe working really hard or helping each other out. I'm not sure if I'll do that or not but I kept it as an option.

Since I set up the contest as a class, with a monster for each teacher, students can easily see where their class stands and what they need to do to get ahead. We haven't started yet - I'm thinking after this rotation with flamenco (because I do need a few extra minutes in English to explain jaleos to them.)  The few classes I've mentioned it to seem pretty excited (about the pinata mostly but we'll also address how awesome this is for their Spanish learning when I formally introduce it.)

Do you use Class Dojo? I've thought about using it for individual students but I'm not sure the set up is worth it and I still really like my Whole Brain Teaching scoreboard. Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

KWLA wrap-up

KWLA conference as usual was fantastic. It's always nice to hang out with other World Language teachers to share ideas and re-inspire each other. Here's my wrap-up for 2014's conference!

I presented my own session first thing this year on Classroom Management in the Target Language (click the link to view the prezi.) It was so crowded we had to ask for extra chairs and there was still people standing.

My first session other than my own was the "NNELL session: New JCPS Elem WL Curriculum" with Jacque Van Houten and other presenters. They went over how they put together the curriculum and how they envision it in use. What I really liked was how they specifically addressed the question of students coming in and out of your program. And while it is designed with 90 minutes of instruction in mind (key to making proficiency gains) there are easy ways to adjust it for schools that get less than that (which is nearly all of us!) They recycle the same units each year but go deeper each time. AND they also incorporate the new interculturality standards that are now a part of the Kentucky WL standards. If you haven't checked these documents out definitely do so!

I finished Friday out with "Teach Really Well land Still Have Time for a Life." This session was full of great ideas for using technology in the class but a lot of them were geared towards high school or schools that have BYOD. I did decide during this session that my upcoming 90% And More Challenge between classes in 3rd-5th grade could be tracked using ClassDojo.

I ended Friday at the Wine and Cheese reception and then dinner with my northern KY peeps at Shakespeare & Co.

Saturday I was up early and had to decide between "Integration of Arts & Humanities & WL" with Alfonso De Torres or "Student Projects in the Target Language." After a game of janken, Japanese teacher and friend Eric and I ended in Student Projects. (Also I had already seen Alfonso's presentation this summer during my week of flamenco PD with the Kentucky Center.) Most of their ideas were also high school centric (the woes of being an elementary teacher!) but a lot of them could be adapted. I remembered my idea to do something with post cards this year.

Next up was "Teach Bell to Bell not Yell to Yell" with @TNSpanish aka Meredith White. It was another classroom management session and just like mine it was packed. Clearly management is an issue for us all. She had great ideas on organization and classroom set up. For example, put all of your supplies in the BACK of the class so you aren't having students constantly up front with you interrupting your instruction. She also advised us to think about our "hot spots" or what makes us crazy and then figure out a solution and fix it. We deserve to teach peacefully and our students deserve a peaceful atmosphere in which to learn.

I finished the conference with Meredith again in "What's the Story? Creating Engaging and Reusable Strategies for Vocabulary Input." This workshop was all about how to use story telling to introduce and reinforce vocabulary. She also showed the technical side on how to find pictures, crop them, and photo shop them into power point to make engaging and personalized stories for your classes. Did I write a story for my upcoming feelings unit? Why yes, yes I did.

I also love being on social media during the conference. I found a bunch of new people to follow on Twitter and even discussed sessions with people in my session and sometimes with people not present. If you aren't on Twitter I highly suggest trying it out. You can follow me @sra_kennedy and/or use #FLESchat and #langchat to find new ideas and colleagues to collaborate with.

So that's it! Another great conference. I came back on Monday ready to teach to proficiency and in the target language - and some classes have already gotten up to 100%!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Classroom Management in the Target Language

The KWLA 2014 Conference started Thursday night. I've been the last two years and always come away with great ideas. Plus, it's always refreshing to talk/brainstorm/gripe with other language teachers. The teachers I work with every day are awesome but only another language teacher can really get me sometimes!

This year I presented a session of my own (click the link to see it!) - Classroom Management in 90% Target Language.

I'll post a sum up of the conference later this week!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Free Resources for the beginning of the year!

I've been in school a month now and we're finally getting rolling into some content and switching over to Spanish. In that time I've been doing lots of administrative tasks and getting my new room up and going. Here are a few of the freebie products I've found and used in the last month.Just click on the pictures and follow the link to Teachers Pay Teachers.

Free Resources!!!

Magic Passwords in Spanish {Freebie}

Magic Passwords or Survival Phrases with adorable pictures from Fun for Spanish Teachers.

I haven't printed these out because I already have a board for new phrases (two Day of the Dead skeletons talking to each other) but I plan on using many of the phrases in this pack. If you need ideas for a bulletin board to last all year this is a great resource.

Flags to Fold of Spanish Speaking Countries

Foldable flags from Spanish speaking countries to decorate your room. 

My kids love these cute rhymes and we use them in our beginning of class routine. 

Another freebie from Fun for Spanish Teachers. I have the Puedo ir al bano sign front and center. If students ask me in English the answer is no. If they ask in Spanish I generally say yes (or yes in just a minute because I've found most of them forget a few minutes later.)

Enjoy and be sure to check out these ladies paid products as well!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Spanish Club - Virtual Field Trip to Mexico!

So Spanish Club has started again! The spring semester last year we did a virtual field trip to Madrid, Spain. This semester we are "visiting" Mexico. Our first meeting we found Mexico on the map and learned about its flag. 

We made cool flags that reminded us of pinatas - really we just tore up tissue paper, crumpled it, and then glued it down. And because you can't have a good club without a snack we ate Mexican flag snacks with grapes, marshmallows, and strawberries (I took this idea from Zapatitoingles- a great blog with lots of ideas.)

We also watched this cool video and paid attention to how we salute our flag versus how they salute the flag in Mexico.

All in all it was a pretty successful start for the new club. I've got a great bunch of kids this time around. Next time we'll make passports and "fly" to Mexico City. We will also be making some metal crafts, learning cumbia, and making a Day of the Dead altar (and possibly entering it in a local exhibition.)