Sunday, December 15, 2013

20 Ideas for Navidad activities for Spanish class

I received an email from a colleague asking me for ideas for class on the last day before Christmas vacation.  I responded with five ideas, and then decided to write a last minute list of resources on my blog in case others are looking for ideas too.  There are so many choices available in addition to what is listed below that you could have several days of activities. Just make sure to keep it comprehensible!

The first suggestion has to be to let the students help you create a story via TPRS style.  If Santa Claus is something your students want to talk about, tell about the problems he encounters in different houses or choose your structures, start the story, and the students will take it from there, under your guidance of course.

Commercials (can use with MovieTalk):
- Santa vs. Los Reyes (thank you @mryedinak for sending me this link)

- Los padres no existen

- The Journey - The link will take you to Kieran Donaghy's blog, Film English. There is a video about snowmen, along with lesson plans in English that you can change to your language.  As always, his blog is PACKED with great lessons, so I suggest you free up some time and explore his website fully.

The Journey is a John Lewis advertisement from a previous year.  Find Christmas advertisements from this year and other years that are just as endearing HERE.

Stories in Spanish
- the app Bookbox (or find it online at Bookbox) has two audio stories with subtitles.  They are "La Navidad de Santa", and "La Primera Navida"

Víctor - making buñuelos & snacking on Oreos
- Why not make buñuelos with your students? I made these with several times with my students because they're easy and delicious. This linked recipe uses a frypan but I also make them with my deep fryer.
 HERE is a variation with cheese.

- Ensalada de Buenanoche - I've never made this before but I saw it mentioned on a teaching forum last week.

- Rosca de Reyes - Click HERE to see a blog post by Carrie Toth that explains how she made this with her students last year.  Included especially for all the super ambitious teachers out there like Carrie.  :-)

Songs and Podcasts
 There are several versions of Juanes' El burrito de Belén on YouTube; or search for other traditional songs/villancicos.  One song my students enjoy when I take the Spanish club Christmas caroling (cancelled twice this year due to snow) is "Gatatumba". I did a google search and couldn't find a version with the words.  I have an old cassette tape from teacher's discovery from years ago that maybe, by chance, the previous Spanish teacher has stashed in a closet somewhere that you can listen to.

Most students have already heard the song Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano so it might be fun to sing along with a video of it. 

- Notes in Spanish podcasts, by Ben and Marina, have an several episodes related to Christmas:
Inspired Beginners: ¡Feliz Navidad! found HERE
Intermediate: La Lotería found HERE.
Advanced: Feliz Navidad found HERE.

- Audiria - Cómo celebran la Navidad los españoles, script included

- You may want to wait until January to show a video on The Three Kings Day/Día de los reyes magos.  HERE is a short clip in English.  I used a Spanish clip last year but I'm not sure which one.
- A few years ago I made a Powerpoint with multiple choice questions about Christmas time traditions in Spanish countries.  I put the students in groups of 3 and they discuss the answers among them and write them down.  After they have answered all the questions on the powerpoint, they switch their papers with another group. As I tell them the correct answers, I add information about the traditions.  It is a fun way to share a lot of information such as el gordo (la lotería), las posadas, new year's eve traditions (such as eating grapes or sweeping the house clean), and others.

BINGO - I'm not a big fan of Bingo because it is usually played with vocabulary only, out of context.  However, if it the last day before Christmas vacation, keeping students' attention can be extra challenging and this activity may fit the bill. You can personalize the vocabulary first by first teaching the words with TPR.

One word: PINTEREST!  Go to Pinterest and google Navidad and you'll find more than you can digest.  I suggest starting with Martina Bex's Navidad board found HERE.  

Other Activities
 - Years ago I printed pictures on cardstock and laminated them to represent the last words in each line of the "spanglish" version of Twas the Night Before Christmas that you can find HERE. Sometimes I take my class to the office or to a Spanish 1 class to perform the poem for them.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Having fun with IF Clauses

Through reading a novel in Spanish class, my students have seen the imperfect subjunctive many times.  To give them more exposure with the imperfect subjunctive, we did a quick activity with IF CLAUSES.

1. I wrote the typical sentence on the board...Si tuviera 5 millones de dólares, yo... and wrote possible answers.  I continued by writing the verbs only of other examples as I said the sentences, hablara cinco idiomas, yo trabajaría...

- we discussed the second part of the sentence (the conditional) because they already had learned this the previous year of Spanish. Then I showed them how fuera, tuviera, hablara, durmiera, was formed, which took only a minute or two. Resist the temptation to show umpteen examples of irregular verbs - they don't need it know, nor do they want to hear it at this point. Keep the emphasis on communicating meaning.

2.  Then I gave each student two pieces of paper. On one paper they wrote the first part of the phrase using IF + imperfect subjunctive (but I didn't call if by that name); on the second paper that said what they WOULD do if the first part of the sentence were true or were to happen. I reminded them that I wanted interesting and creative sentences; boring sentences were not an option.

3. I collected the papers as two separate piles and redistributed them, making sure the original match was not together.

4. Students read their new sentences and we discussed or commented on each. It wasn't necessary for me to call on students to read their sentences - they wanted to read them to their classmates.

I'll let that activity digest a little and then approach the imperfect subjunctive from a different angle.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Now that's a good story....

I saw this commercial (see below) for the first time last night and my first thought was of the similarities to co-creating a story with students in a second language class.  As a teacher you have no idea of the outcome, but you know the students will be engaged to see how it all comes together...exactly like I was when watching the commercial.
Somebody at droid had their creative juices flowing freely. 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Robo en la noche - capítulo 4

Completed activity mentioned in #4-6 below.
My Spanish 2 students are currently reading Robo en la noche, a book written by Kristy Placido.  I've read this book before with my level 2 students, but this time I noticed that the students were struggling a bit, (a problem that I take the blame for due to the way I introduced the first two chapters - see the end of the post for more details).  

In order to give the students more exposure to the setting and the characters, I made an activity to complete after reading chapter 4.  Below is a brief detail of my plans for chapter 4.

1. Before reading chapter 4, review the characters in chapters 1-3 by completing and/or talking about the information the graphic organizer (found HERE).
2. Students copy a list on the board (see below) in order to read with a purpose (to find the listed information in chapter 4 as we are reading it together):
    A. 2 lugares donde ocurre la acción en el capítulo
    B. 4 hechos/información sobre Cecilio
    C. 2 hechos sobre las aves
    D. 2 hechos sobre Costa Rica
    E. 2 dichos (sayings and/or slang) en Costa Rica
As I read the chapter, students raised their hand when they found information listed in A,B,C,D or E and then they all wrote the information in their composition books.
3.  PQA and discussion of different parts of the chapter
4.  After completing the chapter I distributed page 1 and 2 on the file attached below.  Students had to cut out the squares and put the events in the correct order.  I checked them before they glued them to sheet #1.

5. Give students the 3rd sheet, printed on a different color.  They cut the squares with the sentence dialogues and matched them to the 11 different events in the chapter.  Note: The exact dialogue on the small squares is NOT taken from the book.  Students had to read the sentences and decide which person may have said that.  They glued these to the paper after I checked them.
6. Finally, on the small squares with the sentence dialogues, they needed to write the name of the person that would have said the statement.
7. As students finished the  activity, they decided when they were ready to take a comprehension quiz on the chapter.  It was a 10 point multiple choice quiz which I graded with my new app Quick Key.  (22 quizzes graded in less than a minute - not too shabby).

I'm not a big advocate of taking class time to do a cut and paste activity, but when students order events, it's helpful to be able to physically move the events around to order them.

A huge plus with this activity today was when I arrived at school and realized it was the first day of Keystone testing.  My first class was scheduled to be in my classroom for 2 hours.  Cutting and pasting helped to break up the long class period and allowed the students to work at their own pace.

The main reason why students may be having more difficulty with the book this time is that I was went to ACTFL in Orlando and in an attempt to leave behind lesson plans that were productive...I had the students read the first two chapters with the substitute.  Now I know not to do that in a level 2 or below class.  They definitely need the guidance when reading, especially for the first few chapters of the book. 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Quick Key App - a Time-Saver

Two words that can save you time with your school work are:

Quick Key

Quick Key is an app created by Walter O. Duncan IV (@4_teachers) to help teachers quickly grade short assessments like Ticket Out the Door or quizzes.

I found the app in a round-about way from Twitter (just another reason why Twitter is a key part of my PLN). After I downloaded the app, I printed a few QK Tickets, (scantron sheets), and started working with the app. I added a list of names, assigned them to a class, made the answer key on the app, and filled in several student answer sheets. (Thanks to @4_teachers for sending me a direct link to the Quick Key Tickets; find them HERE)

I used my iPad to scan the QK tickets, but initially I had problems because my printout of the scantron sheet was not good quality.  My printer at home is set to conserve ink and it did not print dark enough for the app to work.  I mentioned this on Twitter to @4_teachers (Walter O. Duncan IV) and it was not long until he responded, confirming that the scantron sheet needs to be good quality.   

After I reset the printer settings, I printed two new QK Tickets, filled in the bubbles, and this time used my iPhone to scan the sheets, and voila, in seconds the app had graded the scantron sheets. 

Quick Key can be used in the Ci-based classes to ask information about the story students helped to create, to check reading comprehension when using mini-novels, match statements to sketches of the story, or even include questions related to pop-up grammar that was explained in the story or chapter.

One thing I failed to mention, the app is FREE! (at least for the time being)