Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summertime Personalized PD at Home

If your schedule or finances don't permit you to attend the great summertime  conferences (such as iFLT and NTPRS) or the new workshop formats such as Camp Musicuentos, don't despair.  There is no reason to abandon hopes of summertime professional development because there are plenty of opportunities to learn from online resources!   Try thinking of it as a summer of PERSONALIZED professional development at home.
Teachers that are searching for training and resources on providing Comprehensible Input to their students are in luck because there are a growing number of teachers that are posting videos to YouTube in which they demonstrate techniques of using the TL language in a comprehensible way with their students.  As you view the videos below, take note on how each teacher connects with the students by keeping the language comprehensible and by interacting with their students. 

1. Leslie Davison's - ¿Quién llegó? lesson

Leslie used the target word, llegó, 76 times in 12 minutes!  She successfully kept it interesting and the students engaged with/by:
- Student actors
- Props
- Comprehension checks: either/or questions; "What does ___ mean?"
- Restating the students' answers to provide more repetition of the target word
- Comparisons and parallel examples/situations
- Her energy, constant movement throughout the classroom, matched the students' energy 

My take-aways: Don't short-change students, even high school students, on the number of repetitions of new vocabulary and structures; involve students as much as possible throughout the lesson 
My summer task: Plan a trip to the dollar store or the local thrift store for props. 

Another video example of introducing vocabulary by Martina Bex can be found HERE.

2. Alina Filipescu's MovieTalk of Oktapodi   Click HERE to see the video.

Alina takes full advantage of the students' interest in the video to provide solid Comprehensible Input with the following techniques:
- Comprehension checks: What does ____ mean?  What did I just say? Who remembers (word)?  What did I just ask you?
- Grammar "pop-ups" (short explanations of grammar)  Examples: ser vs. estar; "What is the original verb before it is changed?"; lo que
- Restates students' answers to provide more repetitions in context
- Plays short clips of video and discuss the action
- Reviews past words with motions
- Refers to vocabulary words on the posted list

My take-aways: I don't need to narrate every single action in the video. Post the list of vocabulary to refer to when it appears in the video.
My summer task: Choose target structures from short films on my Pinterest board and add them to my lesson plans for the fall.

3. Michael Coxon's video of Blaine Ray's "la besadora" lesson


From what I've read, Blaine is a guest for the day and he dives right in with the "la besadora" lesson.  Blaine is THE master of TPRS and a master storyteller because he:
- is prepared with a skeleton story with target structures  
- engages students by asking them for details in the story
- asks "Why?" to develop background information; adds interest
- provides input on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular (I, you, s/he) by turning to the actress and asking her to verify the details
- goes slowly, finds where students break down on understanding and works on that structure before moving on to the next detail in the story

An extra bonus to this video is that Michael added notes on the screen, detailing what skills Blaine uses in the lesson.

My take-aways: Verify details with the actors!  (I've read/heard of this technique but rarely use it. The day after I saw this video on YouTube last week I employed it in class and it worked remarkably well, even though my students were not accustomed to the technique.)
My summer task: Make a poster to hang in my room to remind me next year to verify details. 

4. 'Kindergarten Day' with Carrie Toth (click HERE for video)
This is another way to teach with comprehensible input.  Carrie describes it HERE and Crystal Barragan describes her experience with it HERE. 

In Carrie's Kindergarten Day video:
- It may seem very basic and not "rigorous" enough for a high school class, BUT I assure you the students' minds are constantly negotiating meaning as they hear the children's story told/"read" in another language.  
- She goes beyond the printed story, and engages the students by asking them to suggest names, state what the characters are doing, etc.
- She utilizes comprehension checks throughout the story.
- Carrie makes it an enjoyable experience for the students by permitting them to relax on the floor.

My take-aways: Include more Kindergarten Days in my lessons! I wrote a post mid-year stating that I wanted to include this every 2 or 3 weeks in my classes, but it didn't realize that goal. 
My summer task: Choose a minimum of 3 books per each Spanish level I teach and determine the best place in the curriculum to "read" them to my students. 

This is only the "tip of the iceberg"!  There are many, many videos available on YouTube.  I suggest that when you watch, you mentally take note of what the teacher is doing that makes the lesson successful; then make an action plan to implement those techniques and strategies in your classroom in the next school year.

Meanwhile, in July I'll be constantly checking my Twitter account to read the tweets from the lucky teachers attending the summer conferences.  If that's you, please tweet, tweet, and tweet some more. Note: tweets with photos will be especially appreciated.  Thanks. :-)