Friday, August 24, 2012

Sharing Resources for Spanish Classrooms

 Are you looking for resources for Spanish audio, information and news, stories, and other information for your classroom?  As I find sites and resources I copy the URL and add them to my account on Only2Clicks, a website that I mentioned a few weeks ago in my blog.  Today I discovered they have a new feature that allows you to share as many of your collections that you choose to share.

Click HERE to find 4 of my collections I am sharing which are: TPRS, Audio, Cuentos, Info/News. Most of the websites are for Spanish classes, but some have links for resources for French, Italian, English, and other languages.

The TPRS tab includes both active and non-active TPRS blogs, many that I go to  regularly to find ideas and resources for my class. If you have a favorite TPRS blog that I don't have listed, PLEASE share it with me so I can add it.

The Audio tab has useful sites, some that also have the corresponding transcript! I use podcasts from iTunes that aren't listed on this page (yet), but I wanted a tab for other audio that isn't found on iTunes.  Also on the Audio page, I included a site that is entirely in English called "Old Radio World".  There are links to audio of radio shows from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.  Not exactly anything I can use in the classroom, but I find it entertaining to listen to (outside of the classroom) from time to time.

The Cuentos tab has a long list of sites with short stories or other reading materials from beginners to more advanced.

The last tab is Info/News which has websites of both English and Spanish news sources.  

Only2Clicks makes it easy for me to add sites to my different categories AND find them again when I need them.  

As I mentioned above, if you have favorite sites that fit into one of these categories that I don't have listed, please share them with me and I will add them to my Only2Clicks collections.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inspirational sayings and Photos is a website where you can find inspirational sayings matched with photos.  The one on the left is one of my favorites.  I may share it with my students when we are talking about El Camino in Spain.

Just a fair warning that not all the photos are ones that are appropriate for school, but if you bypass those, you'll find plenty that will make nice additions to units or used alone for conversational starters.

I found this website when browsing Pinterest.  As I said in a previous post, I'veo only recently started learning how resourceful Pinterest is for teachers. The Pinterest board that I found on, is titled "Soy maestra de español :)" by Jenny Burkholder.

Scrambled Eggs - A Spanish App

I recently purchased the Spanish App "Scrambled Eggs - Spanish" for .99.  The app is compatible with the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch.  

"Scrambled Eggs" is a word scramble in Spanish.  You can change the skill level from easy to hard and there is a Hint key that will place one letter into the word if you need a little help.  Or if you just want to move on to the next word, there is the option to simply Reveal the answer.

If I could make an improvement on the app, I would ask the designers to configure it so you could just tap on the letter that you want to select instead of having to drag them into the spaces.  I also would have a larger word bank because in the little time that I have experimented with it, I have seen some duplicate words.

One way I may use this in class is to have the app projected on the board as the students enter the class.  It will catch their attention and immediately put them in a Spanish frame of mind.  Another option is to play it at the end of class when there are only a few minutes of class time remaining.  Either way, it will be a nice way to keep students in the language at times when they might be tempted to slip back into English. 

Have you stumbled upon any new apps that you plan to use in your classes this year?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pinterest as a Useful Resource

Pinterest is a resource that I have only begun to explore.  Today I found a board named "Spanish" by Spanish Plans.  The title of one of the Pins on the board is "Over 90 Websites with Ideas, Resources,...".  One of those resources is a collection of Plaza Sésamo videos posted on YouTube, like this little gem "Arriba, Abajo, Alrededor y a Través":

You can find other Plaza Sésamo videos on MarshalArchibaldo's channel on YouTube at this link.

The channel for Plaza Sésamo can be found here.

Here is the link to Spanish Plans Pinterest board "Spanish" that is loaded with other useful resources.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Photos - Un Cuento en 6 Palabras

This activity was inspired by the blog, SWSED - Six Word Story Every Day. As the website states, the challenge is to write a story in only six words. When I use the activity in class, I  ask my students to write a title/story in 6 words.  The trick is that it has to be EXACTLY 6 words or their answer is disqualified. My students love this activity and it is a nice way to add variety to the class.  I use the activity two times per school year (level) in Spanish 4 and/or 5, but it can easily be used in lower levels.

First, you will need a collection of photos, or you can use my PowerPoint below:

The students work in groups of 3 and, of course, they have to communicate in the target language during the entire activity.  I tell them to discuss their answers quietly so other groups don't copy their ideas and so I cannot hear their idea.  Then they write their title/story on a paper and hand it in to me.  I mix the papers so I don't know which group wrote each title, and then I read them to the class.  I choose the one I like the most and that group gets a point,  or another option is to give two points for the top title and one point to second place.  We continue with 6 or 7 more photos.  At the end, the group with the most points gets an extra credit point, or whatever prize I may have available.

I enjoy using photos in class because my students react well to visuals.  It seems easier for me to engage them in conversation when they have an interesting photo to grab their attention.

Do you use photos in to teach your language?  Would you be willing to share how you use then in class for interactive and communicative activities.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My News (Noticias) Folder

At times when I'm reading the newspaper, I come across an article that I think my students would find interesting and enjoy discussing.  After finding two articles that fall into this category on two consecutive days earlier this summer, I decided to make a permanent folder for them so I know where to find them when the topic arises in class or when my students are ready for a change in the regular routine (as if I actually had a "regular" routine).  

 I admit that organization can be challenging for me at times, but I've discovered that once I make a folder or a file for materials, my organizational challenges are gone.  For my news articles, I took a plain folder with 3 rings inside, added clear protector sheets, asked my daughter to label it for me, and it was ready for my newspaper articles.

One example of an article I added in the last few weeks is "Living small in the big city", about "New York City planners who are creating mockups of tiny apartments to accommodate a growing population of singles and two-person households". Can you imagine living in only 300 square feet? That is a question I intend to ask my students in Spanish 4 or 5, and then let the conversation continue from that point.

The second article shown in the photo on the left is titled "Singles try to sniff out love", which is about a trend in which participants sleep in a shirt for a few nights and then put it in a plastic bag and bring it to a "pheromone party".  Each bag is numbered and the object is to pick your partner based on scent.  The whole idea of finding a mate by smelling their shirt is a little out of the ordinary in my opinion, but it sure will make for a great conversation in Spanish class.  Originally, I thought I would use it for my Spanish 4 or 5 class, because I can imagine the fun we'll have discussing this.  But, since I introduce the word "smell" (huele) in Spanish 1 in the second week or so, I could easily work this idea into a mini-story.  No doubt the students will think I came up with this idea to make the story bizarre, so after the story I'll show the article to them.

Yesterday my husband read a short, two paragraph article to me about an 1873 dime that sold for $1.6 million at Stack's Bowers Galleries.  Needless to say, I added that article to my Noticias folder.

These articles just prove that the strange and bizarre stories that TPRS teachers and their students create may not be as far-fetched as we think they are compared to real life situations.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Argentina - One Day on Earth

In 2010, there was a project in which people throughout the world were invited to film their every day activities on 10.10.10.  The films were then sent to a group of people that combined them to depict what happens in different parts of the world on any given day.  The video below was submitted by the Bertona Family from Argentina.

This video shows how the Bertona family usually spends their Sundays.  The only thing I don't like about the video is that it is in English, but, the up side to that is that ALL my students will be able to understand it, regardless of which level of Spanish they are in.  Enjoy the video and then continue reading to learn about my idea on how I can use this in my classes this year.

I'll use this movie for an introduction about family life in Argentina.  Below is a draft form of two ideas for lessons.  

Spanish 3 or higher (all discussion should be in Spanish)

1.  Ask students what they think are some things in a family's life in the United States that may be similar to a family that lives in Argentina.  You can tell them you are comparing one day of the week - Sunday.  

2.  Watch the video and pause it at times to point out or hint about some of the similarities and students will say what they are. Several that I noticed are:  
- Chevrolet; vegetables - peppers, garlic, tomatoes; eat together at dinner table; clothing; kids take naps; pizza w/ friends; decorations on walls; etc

3.  Discuss differences. One difference is: mate is a tea that is common in Argentina.  After naming the difference, I suggest that you continue the discussion by asking What are common drinks in the US?  in other hispanic countries?  If you had a visitor from Argentina, what drinks or foods would be new to them?  What drinks do you think we have in common with Argentina?  (café, sodas, té,)

some other differences:  awaken early to go to carnicería before best roasts have all been bought; separate food stores with specific products - carnicería for meat, verdulería for vegetables; wine sold in carnicería; streets fairly empty w/ few cars parked along curb; money; the green vegetable in the verdulería; visits to the cemetery; not a graveyard; shrines at graves; cooking outside on open fire; flan; no handrails on steps; mate; afternoon women w/ children and man playing sports; 11:52 - young children still awake; 
As with the discussion about mate, I would strive to encourage group participation to discuss the differences and relate them to the students' lives.

For levels 1 or 2, do not mention to the students that the vocabulary you will introduce is related to a movie they will see later in class. 
1. Choose a few details from the story and pull out vocabulary words from those sections of the film.  Introduce the new vocabulary in TPRS format (w/ CI and circling), gradually adding more information.   
2. Take screenshots of the sections of the video that you have talked about (do this before class).  
3.  Add screenshots to IWB program. (I use Notebook.)  Students order the events; teacher helps by asking yes/no, either/or and questions with short answers.
4.  Retell the event OR listen to the teacher retell the events of the day.  The teacher will purposely add new events or make errors in the story to allow students to be active participants in the retell.

THE TPRS lesson idea isn't super creative so I welcome any ideas you may be willing to share with me on how to use this lesson plan.