Immigration Resources

The following resources can be used during an immigration unit in your Spanish class:

Songs:
“A las Tres” por Enanitos Verdes: A migrant worker missing his family
Pobre Juan by Maná

Videos:
30 Days” Illegal Immigration: A border patrolling minute man lives with an undocumented family for 30 Days.
Drop the “I” Word: What is the meaning behind the word illegal?

Articles:
-This link features some statistics about the number of Hispanics in the US, as well as other foreign-born populations.
-The Children of the Drug Wars: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis.

Images:
number of immigrants die crossing borderActivities:
Have students read novels about Hispanic characters. Some books regarding immigration are Crossing the Wire, Esperanza Rising, and La Linea.

 

More resources to be added. If you have a link, please leave it in the comments or tweet it to us @spanishplans.

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We are all Ayotzinapa

Surely, you have heard something about this story. And hopefully because of you, your students have as well. Because if it’s not taking place in our own borders or in the middle east, the traditional media doesn’t give much attention. But this issue is so important, we must not let it go unnoticed.
Ayotzinapa Students“The 43 Mexican students who disappeared in southern Mexico in September were abducted by police on order of a local mayor, and are believed to have been turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing some remains in a river.

There are plenty of ways to teach this horrific event in your classrooms. The best source is actually from social media, such as twitter and instagram, were you are going to find resounding and powerful images.
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Making a Fortune Teller

Most of us remember these from our childhood.
cootiecatcher

But how many of us remember what they are called. I asked my facebook followers what names they used for this in English or Spanish.
Here’s what we got: Continue reading

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Brain Break Hand Game

My students in Colombia have been playing these hand games and I thought it was would make a good activity for a “brain break” in the Spanish classroom. You can see the example below.


Choco Choco La La
Choco choco te te
choco la choco te
choco la te

mari mari po po
mari mari sa sa
mari po mari sa
mari po sa

 

The first syllable you use your palms, the second syllable you use the back of your hands, and the third syllable you use your knuckles. The idea is to go as fast as you can without messing up.

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Starting at the End

If you are a language teacher, then you know the best night of the week is Thursday evening. This is when some of the best world language teachers come together to collaborative and improve themselves as educators. You don’t even need approval from administration to attend and pay a costly registration fee. This weekly conference Proficiency Based Programis taking place on twitter, using the hashtag #langchat. A recent topic had some great discussion in regards to tips for starting a proficiency based program.
I personally started working towards a proficiency based classroom a few years ago after years of being very comfortable teaching grammar and watching my students memorize verb charts, and singing songs to remember grammar rules. But I don’t want my students to have to stop mid-sentence to sing a song to remember whether to use por or para. From reading tweets and blogs from my fellow colleagues, I decided I needed to make changes in my own classroom to help my students be able to communicate in the language.

For me, the process has been going on the past few years. Every year I learn more and am able to implement better practices into my classroom. My first start was to use more language in the classroom. An important step was letting students know my expectations for their understanding in class.
“Be Comfortable speaking the language. If you can’t do it, your students certainly can’t. -@SrtaJohnson”A key change in my class was to ditch the focus on grammar and focus on the communication. For this, I “started at the end” by deciding what the goal of each unit start at the end backward designwas. Once I came up with these objectives, I could “work to the beginning” and start planning what input my students need and what activities I could plan to help them achieve those objectives. @MmeFarabaugh “Planning Proficiency-based assessments that align with the goals you set for students. And creating instruction after that.”As a teacher, I aim to give my students as much input as possible before I ask them to produce something. I want to make the topic engaging and appeal to my students’ interest. The characters in the textbook certainly were not going to get my students excited about the language. But talking about the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid did. (See: Connecting Vocabulary to our Students)The teacher should aim to get rid of traditional textbooks and move to comprehensible input. -@Mr_Fernietextbooks are written to sell, not to teach

Another change I wanted to make was to have my students’ ability reflected in their grades. In the past I’ve seen students who can’t even respond to a simple question leave class with an A and students who just don’t do anything outside of class leave with low grades. I decided to focus my grades on the students’ proficiency. That means

@SenoraWienhold- “get rid of anything that does not allow students to show what they KNOW” “Ditch fill-in-the-blank, conjugate this, check box grammar stuff.”

I had to make a big change in my tests. No longer would fill in the blanks or verb conjugations punish students for errors in spelling. If the purpose of our class is to communicate I had to assess students ability to communicate and not whether they could memorize a box. (See: Ditching the Verb Chart)
 

Here’s some of our earlier posts about our venture toward a more proficiency based classroom.:
Communication Rubric : assessing student production, and giving students a goal to work towards when communicating.
Proficiency Based Exam: How to create a proficiency based exam using your unit’s objectives.
What students had to say about taking a proficiency based exam.
Authentic Input versus Grammar Drills: If a student can conjugate the verb “to eat” in 3 tenses, does that mean they can order food in a restaurant in the target language?

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Dropbox

If you don’t have a dropbox by now, you are missing out. This is essential for any teacher who does work at home. I remember the days of working on something at home, putting it on a travel drive (USB stick) and taking it to school to continue working on it or printingdropbox. Of course, that only worked if you didn’t forget it!
Thankfully, life has been much easier the past few years with dropbox. And the best part: it’s free! I install the dropbox program on my computer and it creates a folder which stores all my documents. I can create a document at home, save it in the dropbox folder and access the same document anywhere by signing into the website or having the program installed on my work computer.

Also, I installed drop box on my smartphone and I use the app to upload pictures from my phone to my folder so I can easily access it on a PC.

Start with 2 GBs or get an extra 500MB by signing up with my link. So what are you waiting for? Make your life easier!

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Resources: Day of the Dead and Halloween

It’s October, and if you’re a Spanish teacher that means getting ready for Halloween and the Day of the Dead. We’ve compiled some of the best resources around to give you a one stop shop for great teaching materials.

Readings

We’ve recently added 2 products featuring excerpts from a Colombian magazine. The first one talks about Hollywood stars such as Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga’s experiences with ghosts. The second one features teen asking questions about their fears with responses from the magazine. Each features questions so you can use print them and use them in your classes right away.

Spanish Halloween Activity      Phobias
example:
Miedos Fobias Preview

This twiccionario de Zachary Jones features authentic tweets in Spanish about fears.

tengomiedotuits

Our favorite reading has been this article from Univision that compares Halloween and Day of the Dead titled Calaveras contra calabazas.

This reading is in English, but it discusses Disney’s request to copyright the name “Day of the Dead” which may provoke some interesting discussion in class.

Chistes Graficos e Imagenes:

Dibuuuujo joke

The blog Confesiones y Realidades has composed a post of 15 comics including the one to

terapia para zombis

the right.

Day of the Dead Galleries: Look at pictures taken in Mexican cemeteries as people practice the traditions of Día de los Muertos.

2 Infographics, including one which compares Day of the Dead with Halloween.

Videos:

Día de los Muertos video from misCositas.com (Download the script of this video).
Muertos Vivientes

Links:

Language Teachers’ Cafe blog has a post of 5 Ways to Celebrate Día de los Muertos.

The blog Teaching Spanish w/ Comprehensible Input has a list of 23+ Activities for Halloween and Day of the Dead

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Macanudo Comics

We’ve written numerous times about using comic strips in your foreign language class. It is such a great authentic resource for students to read in context and the text is short enough that you can use it at even beginning levels. Our favorite authentic comic strip, is Macanudo by Liniers, an Argentina strip that is extremely original and creative. Read our previous post about Macanudo and how to use comics in your class.
If you are looking for comics for specific topics, check out our resource page.

Today we bring you 14 examples of this talent.
Continue reading

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Top Secret Posts

We usually see quite a lot of traffic to our blog, most brought from sources such as Pinterest or google searches.

HowSpanish Teacher Blogever, we wanted to highlight some of the posts that have not seem substantial hits, that you may have missed! Today we bring you our Top 5 “Hidden Gems” posts that may be worth taking a look at. And if you enjoy the post, please share it on pinterest, facebook, or twitter so that others may benefit and it doesn’t remain so hidden. Check out our “secret” posts.

Continue reading

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Top 10 Spanish Blog Posts

You’ve seen the bottom 5 blog posts (6-10) that we’ve ever written and today we unveil the Top 5! These posts have received the most page visits since we started the blog over 6 years ago.

Emergency Spanish Sub Plans5. Spanish Sub Plans
We all need a backup plan. We get sick. Our children get sick. Something comes up. But we are prepared with this emergency sub lesson plans for our Spanish class.

 

Spanish Verb Charts4. Graphic Organizers
If you’re looking for a way to organize students, check out some of these graphic organizers. Besides the traditional verb chart, using an outline of a hand to write the forms and explains who they reflect is a great way to help students.

Projects for Spanish Class3. Spanish Projects
This post highlights 7 Ready-to-Use projects for the Spanish 1 classroom. These projects can be used as assessments during or at the end of the chapter. Save your time for the important stuff and let us do your planning. Includes our popular product, Facebook Profile Project.

Spanish Communication Activities2. Spanish Speaking Activities
The whole point of learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate. Our students need to be practicing speaking as often in possible in Spanish classes, so we’ve prepared 8 ready to use activities that help your students practice communicating.

And now…. the most visited post on spanishplans.org goes to…..

Family Tree Lesson Plans for Spanish 11. Family Tree
For some reason, “family tree” is the most searched term that brings visitors to our site, especially the Simpsons family tree and the family tree of Modern Family. If you teach la familia in a traditional manner, enjoy our free árbol geneological

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