Essay in Spanish with Rubric

This past week we finally watched the 3rd video of Senor Wooly’s epic Victor Trilogy (Guapo, La Confesión de Victor, Feo). I also needed to get a summative-type assessment grade in the gradebook, so I decided to try something new and see what my students could do. After sharing the results on twitter, I’ve had several requests for the rubric, which I will share below. Continue reading

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March Music Madness 2019

Are you ready for this year’s March Music Madness? As one of the first teacher bloggers to write about the idea of March Music Madness, we are excited for our sixth annual tournament. This year we have teamed up with Senor Ashby who has assembled hundreds and hundreds of teachers nationwide to partipcate in a Locura de Marzo bracket.

This year’s bracket is as follows: Continue reading

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Leveling up

When a gamer beats a level of a game and moves on to the next level, it is called “Leveling up”. In certain games, you can increase your chances by earning more points, collecting coins, or obtaining specific weapons to help you defeat the opponent.  Gamers have their strategies on what they need to do to level up. Our students also need to know what strategies they have as language students so that they too can “level up” on the ACTFL proficiency levels. Does a novice student know what they need to do to work their way up to the intermediate level?

My initial inspiration for this posted started many months ago when I saw a tweet by Bethanie Drew (@lovemysummer) when she posted a link to her blog with placemats for “Weekend Chats“. In her document, she included this:
levelupsbybethaniedrew

This encouraged students who were ready to add to their simple sentence by adding more details. I realized that students don’t know how to level up their language. In order to show higher proficiency, students must realize what that looks like. A few months into the school year, I went over the ACTFL proficiency ratings and its cone shape and that the more input a student has the more advanced their language will be. Then we went over this presentation.

levelingupinworldlanguages
Then I gave students sample sentences and had them work with partners to come up with the extra details.
You can download a copy of the presentation or the student handout sheets, which includes the as pictures above or a blank copy if you wish to fill it out as a class.

Another way to talk about proficiency is to use the ice cream cone imagery, to encourage students to “Add an extra scoop” of language. See our previous post “Get a scoop of proficiency” which includes a free download of posters explaining the different proficiency levels.

Leave it to Bethanie, who also would go on to blog about this later as well. Look at her strategy to encourage better writing in her students, in her blog post “Level Up Language Framework (Structures to support student learning and teacher sanity, part 6)

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FVR Reading Log

One new thing that I implemented this year with FVR was a reading log. On one side of the sheet of paper I have all the books listed and on the other side is a chart that students can use to keep track of what page number they left off on. The following week, they can check their log and pick up on the page they left off, and when they are done, they can put a checkmark or write the date they finish.

As we come back from winter break, I have a new updated sheet for my students. This includes a tracking of the number of books they read each trimester as well as a place to count the number of words they read in Spanish.

I am posting what it looks like. You are welcome to make a copy of this document and edit it based on the books in your classroom. (Click on image, and then make a copy). This sheet is the only “accountability” factor that needs to result from FVR. But I think it also serves as a way for students to track their growth in reading. Continue reading

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Online timer as CI

I was recently doing a write/pass/draw activity where I wanted to use a timer to give the class a limit. I usually just use google timer or the regular classroom timer where it counts down on a clock. Previously, I had used another fun timer where you can change the music to the Pink Panther, Mission Impossible, or Indiana Jones among others.

But today as I was looking at the online classroom timers, it sparked a CI idea. They offer races such as a bicycle race, a sack-race, truck-race, robots and many more! I thought that this would be an interesting discussion in the target language: Who do you think is going to win the race?

You could talk about colors, numbers (ordinal), and even descriptions.

Take a look at this example:

Do you think the boy with the blue shirt will win? Do you think the 3rd person will win? Right now, the red-haired girl is in 2nd place? Will the boy with the blue bike pass her? Will the boy with the blue helmet finish last? Will he go faster?  Who is in first place right now? All of these questions can be asked and answered in the TARGET LANGUAGE. You can then ask students if they agree or disagree with their classmates. And the end, you can discuss which student was right.  Check out the timers here. Continue reading

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Proficiency Mindset Presentation

 

 

 

This past month, at the Illinois Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL) annual fall conference, I gave my first presentation in a session titled “Proficiency Mindset”. To view the presentation click: http://bit.ly/ProfMindset

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

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An output activity

Partner Retell story swap

Over the past two weeks, we have done several stories: including Senor Wooly’s La Invitación, La Confesión de Víctor, a movietalk for El Gato con Café, a Movietalk and Story for Bomba’s Estereo Soy Yo video, and a PictureTalk for Biblioburro.

In addition to the class story, students have also practiced on quizlet and answered comprehension questions while watching the video on Edpuzzle.com. They have had sufficient input and this allowed us to move to the next step…. output.

I took screen shots of important parts from each story and created a page for each story. This serves as a reference sheet for students. You can view that here: StoryRetell_PicturePrompt. Then I had the students get with a partner. Each group had 1 sheet of paper to write on and I passed out the picture prompts of the stories. The student rotated roles: One student was the writer and the other student was the storyteller. Continue reading

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Top 10 Novels for Spanish 1

One of my favorite things in my Spanish 1 class is implementing Free Voluntary Reading time (FVR) aka SSR. It is probably the most important thing we do in class. If you need convincing of that, then you need to read The Power of Reading by Dr. Stephen Krashen or read any of his free articles about the topic.

Many teachers are overwhelmed by the number of choices. If you are able to, start building your library. Whatever you can get your hands on. Buy as much as you can each year if you have department money or write whatever grants you can. In the meantime, I can going to post my personal favorites.

Again, these books are the ones that appeal to me or to my students. I encourage you to share your own lists of your favorites. (Pssst…That’s the best part about free reading is that students have a choice!)
Top 10 Spanish Novels FVR

Justin’s 10 Favorite Spanish learner Novels

1. Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro by Carol Gaab, FluencyMatters

Continue reading

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Story with 5 Phrases

I was going through some old blog posts the other day and happened upon one that reminded me of an activity that I learned from Carol Gaab at the first annual Comprehensible Midwest. I ended up using it as a lesson on Friday and it was one of the most fun days I’ve had this year so far!

How to do a 5 Phrase Story in a CI classroomI started with 5 phrases. We had alread finished the book Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro and just done a story using the song Fotografia so I selected these 5 phrases to incorporate some of the key verbs we’ve been using lately and continued to expose my students to direct object pronouns in context (don’t worry, no grammar explanation was needed).

The 5 phrases were:
Continue reading

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Chapter Recaps with Images

This year I hit the gates running with a class read of the Fluency Matters novel “Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro”, a super easy and fun reader.

I usually like to act the chapter out before having the students read it. I narrate as I tell the student actors what to do and what they say. The class can see what is happening and it makes it easier when they read it by themselves, or when we follow along as we listen to the audiobook.

But I do like mixing it up and doing different activities. So for chapter 6, before students read the chapter, Continue reading

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