Tuesday, April 26, 2016

¿Qué es esto?

Elementary kids LOVE to talk about animals and with Calico Spanish each chapter focuses on one animal. Recently we did a review of all the animals we had learned so far - fish, monkey, frog, bear, dog, butterfly, and elephant. We also added the question ¿Qué es esto?

First, we started by playing charades. I modeled and we played in a large group a few times and then they broke into pairs to play. They had to say ¿Qué es esto? before acting out anything or they lost their turn.

Next, we started giving oral clues and our partners had to guess what we were talking about. They already knew the song Vengan Ya so we sang it and again practiced in a large group using the conjugated verbs on the board. Some of the students never quite internalized the difference and still used the infinitive but as long as I could get their meaning I didn't push it too much.  Once they were comfortable I let them break off into pairs and again they guessed what animal their partner was describing.

Then we wrote out our clues and drew a picture. They covered their pictures with construction paper that said ¿Qué es esto?  After collecting their writing pieces I put them out on the tables around the room. Students did a gallery walk, reading and guessing. They wrote their guess down and then put a check if they got it right and an X if the missed it.

We finished up with me selecting a few of the best and using it as a more formal formative assessment (My summative assessments include all 3 modes of communication and I only do 1 a year per grade level because they take forever.) Just like in the gallery walk they read them and made their guess.

At the end they got to take home their writing pieces to show off to their families. Assignments like these are great for sending home and go a long way for advocating for your program since parents can see what their kids are doing in Spanish class.

My third graders are doing something similar except we are focusing on pets - dogs, cats, and fish. They are making Lost Pet posters. What do you do with animals? What are your students' favorite animals to talk about? Share in the comments below!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Global Competency Matrices - Getting kids ready for a global world

We live in a global society where learning a second language is becoming more and more important. I haven't yet seen the ACTFL's Global Readiness Standards but I do know that whatever you call it - Global Readiness, Intercultural Competencies, or Global Competency - our students need it.  The best quote I have heard so far (and by golly I can't remember who said it so I can give credit) is that, "You can learn a World Language and not be globally competent but you can't be globally competent without learning World Languages."

In Kentucky we have the Kentucky World Language Standard, which has Intercultural Competencies for each proficiency level. In these there are the 4 Ps - products, practices, perspectives, and participation. We also have the Global Competency Matrices from EdSteps that we are also supposed to be using. While the Intercultural Competencies are specifically for World Languages, the GC Matrices are for EVERY subject - Math, Science, Language Arts, Arts & Humanities, and World Language. In these students Investigate the World, Recognize Perspectives, Communicate Ideas, and Take Action.

I recently attended two trainings on the Global Competency Matrices - one designed specifically for WL teachers and another that was attended for elementary school teachers and administrators that don't teach WL. Here are my main take aways:

1. Global competency is EVERYONE's responsibility in the building - not just mine as the Spanish teacher! You can teach it in Math, in Science, in Social Studies etc. etc.

2. Think of it as Real World application. How can you apply what you learn in Math, Science, Social Studies, English, and Spanish class to the real world to make it a better place? That is essentially what Global Competency is.

3. As WL teachers we are already teaching culture, but using the Global Readiness or GC matrices we can refine our practice to make it more meaningful and an integral part of each unit of study rather than just a special class on Friday featuring "culture!"

4. When it comes to the GC Matrices, everything we do in WL class falls under Communicate Ideas, as long as we are teaching proficiency.  But it is the Take Action or Participation part that can be tricky to integrate (especially at the elementary school level.)

5. While the Take Action piece is probably the hardest, it doesn't have to be done for every unit. It can be something small but it can also be something larger and more ambitious. I'll post separately on ideas on how to incorporate this one.

The training I took was through my district but if you're interested in learning more and are in Kentucky check out KWLA's Spring PD (and if you're not in Kentucky it will be a webinar before long!) www.kwla.org/pd/

What do you in regards to global competence, interculturality, or global readiness? Share in the comments below!