"My Spanish 1 students LOVED this story! They best one all year! We did a few extension activities, including a comic-strip style rewrite where they changed a little bit of the story to make it their own. I got 3 days out of this story, but could have gotten 5." - Jessica, teacher
"My students and I absolutely loved this story! They were so engaged they almost forgot they were reading in another language. - Julie S., teacher
Below are my original lesson plans for this unit, as well as some BRAND NEW lesson plans adapted for e-learning!
If your school uses a traditional Spanish textbook, then you will be required to teach grammar. For most students, grammar is something they memorize for a test, but never truly retain because they haven't had enough repetition in context. No matter how much rote practice you provide through games, worksheets and homework, it is very unlikely that it will be something they use naturally. How do we fix that?
Convert GRAMMAR into VOCABULARY!
What do I mean? Take a look at this picture. What do you see?
As language teachers we are always looking for fun and engaging ways to boost proficiency! I know that the most successful tool I have used in my own classroom has been incorporating reading spanish stories. One short reading passage or story can give us a week's worth of content that is engaging and memorable.
It's so important for students to hear a variety of speakers and accents when learning a new language, because that's what they will encounter during authentic communication. In my classroom, I want students to develop their listening skills as soon as possible. And with YouTube and other resources so readily available, there are millions of ways to introduce students to native speakers from all over the world! And now with distance learning, it's more important than ever to provide them with continual comprehensible input.
I used to photocopy a new set each time we played - so wasteful! Now I invested in several boxes of plastic sheet protectors. I put the game board in the plastic sleeve...
You wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, but you seriously contemplate dragging yourself into work anyway because it’s going to require more effort to write sub plans than to just show up. Let me take off some of that stress and guilt: STAY HOME and focus on getting well rather than writing plans, because ---News flash --- :
The kids don’t actually learn anything when you’re gone. Even if you planned to be out for a conference and you secured an experienced Spanish-speaking sub (like me) well in advance. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Here’s what actually happens and what you can do about it:
For the past 7 months I have been out of the classroom and working with asylum seekers near the California - Mexico border. While I was always aware the students enter our classrooms with their own stories and baggage, the depth of those stories has now taken on a new meaning to me. The following article shares some of those experiences and aims to provide some practical getting-to-know-you games that take into consideration the difficulties faced by so many kids that we can never truly understand.
recognize that every situation and teacher is different and others may claim the opposite based on their own experiences, but here is what I have learned.
Each year there is one class that just has the perfect combination of kids who should never be put together, but somehow wound up all the same class. No matter what you accomplished in all your other classes that day, be ready to only get through half of it during period X because that class is 90% management and only 10% teaching.
I've been feeling really stressed about my period X this year because I'm in a new school, so my reputation doesn't precede me here, and I've been feeling like no learning is happening whatsoever. Above all else, I just feel really badly for the few quiet, well-behaved students who don't get an ounce of my attention, as I am putting out fires in every other corner of the room. So today, I decided to celebrate those kids by sending them a quick little email after class. Before the end of the day, I had responses from 3 of the 6 I contacted. Here is my original email:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am teaching heritage Spanish all day long this year in a new state. Connecting to my students has been a bit of a challenge, and although everyone tells me to give it time, it's hard for me not to feel like a bit of a phony as a non-native speaker. I have read lots of other blog articles about this, encouraging me that it gets better and telling me what to expect, but it still stings when you stand in front of a room, being your usual goofy self that has always charmed kids in the past, and now they just stare at you in creepy silence.
I'm at a new school this year and experiencing some management issues that are new to me, even after 12 years in the classroom. I have a particularly needy class, with whom I can't do a lot of the whole class oral questioning I have done in the past. Here is my solution.
This July I gave a Webinar that I will link below. It includes 7 game ideas, as well as some ways to differentiate if you teach heritage learners or native speakers. Enjoy!
Classroom management procedures are what make class run smoothly, and you have to have control over the class before you can teach anything. Your classroom management procedures can (and should) change if they are not working, but make sure you are deliberate and explain why you are going to change it so you don't look wishy-washy to your students. Students crave routine and order, so make sure you have procedures in place for them. I will write a future post about my procedures.
#3. Under-plan your lessons
It's that time again: summer is over and everyone is thinking about going back to school. For me, this will be an extra exciting year. In July I moved across the country to escape the winters of Chicago and see if I was better suited for the California sunshine. In packing, I think I may have had just as many boxes labeled "classroom" as I did for my house, so I was happy when I could unload them and start setting up.
Numbers and counting in Spanish is one of the very first units that comes up in almost any language curriculum. It's generally included in the preliminary chapter along with 6 other topics that you are recommended to cover in two weeks time. No way!
My co-workers and I have given ourselves the entire first quarter for this - a whopping 9 weeks. I spend two whole weeks just on numbers and counting in Spanish! I do this because I know most of my students will use their Spanish while traveling, and they will
need to communicate about time, date, and prices in their real-life use.