Monday, December 21, 2015

La Virgen de Guadalupe - Easy Lesson Plan

This month one evening, when I was lesson planning, I saw a message on my computer for a facebook entry from a teacher that shared a free resource on La Virgen de Guadalupe.  It was a script and comprehension questions written by  Bryce Hedstrom, available for F-R-E-E on his blog. Check out his "Free Stuff" page of his blog for the story on La Virgen de Guadalupe and other "free stuff"!

I used Bryce's script of La Virgen de Guadalupe and other activities for my Spanish 4+ class as listed below: 

1. Copy the script and distribute to students. I have 8 students in this class (a dream class, for sure!) so I assigned each student a section of the text.  They had to read the text and then on construction paper they sketched the main points from that section.  I continue to hear that when we learn it is best if we can picture something in our mind, so I wanted students to hear an explanation and have an image ready for them to connect to it. The example on the right was on the portion of text that said the people go to church to give thanks and to sing.

2.  Each student presented their information using their sketch(es) and a short explanation of their section of text.

3.  To review the new information, I created a Kahoot game for students to play. It is listed as a Public Kahoot which you can find HERE.

4. To end the activity on an artistic note, I gave each student a Sharpie marker and a piece of construction paper. They watched THIS VIDEO and learned how to sketch La Virgen de Guadalupe. 

The sketch above is by one of my students. We didn't have time to watch the end of the how to draw video, but it is a good start.  We'll finish watching the video on Wednesday, and I'll upload her finished sketch.

OPTION: If you have the Akinator app on your mobile device, set the language to Spanish and use La Virgen de Guadalupe as the person that the app needs to guess. If students answer the questions correctly, Akinator will be able to guess it. It is a fun way to review information.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Spanish Stories with the Subjunctive

Story-asking with students is beneficial for students in ALL levels. When students help create the details in a story, they become invested in the story and are active listeners and participants.

Es probable que la Sra. Hitz hornee galletas para nosotros.
I wanted to involve my students in creating a story with me that pulled them into the story development and was packed with examples of the subjunctive. The steps for the storyline and following activity is described below.

1. I started with a story plot from *Bryce Hedstrom (see below for info): Person A has two friends; 1 friend wants Person A to go with her to one place and the 2nd friend wants Person A to go with him to a different place. This creates the subjunctive phrase:  "Ana quiere que Marcos vaya a la playa con ella" (Ana wants Marcos to go to the beach with her - Ana wants that Marcos goes to the beach with her).

2. For the story, I asked which student in the class had a problem (but didn't tell them the storyline yet). After we found the student for the "person A" role mentioned above, we decided which two students wanted Person A to go somewhere with him/her and to where s/he wanted to go with Person A.
(For this example, Person A will be Colin, and the two friends will be Isaac and Megan.)

3. Colin needed to decide if he wanted to go away with Isaac or with Megan.  In order to do that, Colin (the character in the story) needed to think of the pros and cons (ventajas=advantages, desventajas=disadvantages) to going away with each of the two friends.

4. The students gave me ideas and suggestions for the pros and cons of the student going with Isaac or with Megan. Each sentence started with "Es posible que" or "Es probable que", which requires the speaker to end the sentence with the subjunctive.
Las ventajas de ir a Disney World con Isaac:
(a) Es probable que ellos se diviertan mucho en los parques de atracciones.
(b) Es posible que Isaac tenga dos "quick passes" y no necesiten esperar en las lineas largas en los parques.

Las desventajas de ir a Disney World con Isaac:
(a) Es posible que haya muchas personas en el parque.
(b) Es probable que la comida en los parques cueste mucho.

5. Students then suggested ideas for the pros and cons for going away with Megan.

6. In our class story, the students voted with which person and to which destination Colin decided to go. 

7. That evening I typed the story and distributed it the next day in class. We read the story together. I, or a student, read a paragraph in Spanish, and then I chose another student to read the same paragraph in English. This helped to ensure that ALL students understood the story completely.

8. I randomly put the students in groups of 3. Each group had to create their own story, following the format from yesterday's story (which they had the copy).  They wrote the introduction and then the pros and cons.

9.Then each group had to illustrate the pros and cons by sketching a person thinking with two thought bubbles. (For each student story there would be 4 sketches with 2 thought bubbles each.)

10. I put the sketches on the board, or for the Spanish 4+ the students drew directly on the board. A student put a letter on each sketch. Then I read the introduction and the pros and cons and students wrote or said which picture matched the pros or cons.

This activity provided a great deal of repetitions of the subjunctive used in context: creating a class story, reading the class story; creating a group story; sketching the group story; listening to the group story and identifying which sketch belonged to the story.

 *The initial part of this storyline is from Bryce Hedstrom's ebook "Expressing Desire: Teaching the Subjunctive #1" in which Bryce explains how to teach the subjunctive with stories. You absolutely must check out Bryce Hedstrom's website for a long list of FREE Spanish stories and resources for language teachers, as well as resources that are reasonably priced.   


Las ventajas de ir al prom con (name)

  1. Es posible que la chica compre cosas en Gucci para llevar al prom.

2. Es posible que la chica lleva un vestido de muchos colores. 

Update on 1/11/16:  Arianne (@dowd124 on Twitter) shared the following photos that her students made when they used the above story format.  Thanks for sharing Arianne!!!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Flatline - Bad news during story-asking

In teaching, there's not much that takes the wind out of my sails more than when I tell a story with my students and it falls flat. Completely flat, with no chance of reviving it. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened today. I planned a story, I had the targeted structures for the story, but the story started sluggish and went downhill from there. It was a failed attempt, no beating around the bush, I'll call it for what it was.

If this has happened to you, you know the feeling. I could actually hear an echo inside my head saying, "abort, abort, move on", but as strange as it may sound, aborting a story that is flatlining and moving onto something new, can be even more scarier than forging ahead with a deadbeat story. (By the way, Why is it called deadbeat? If it's dead, there isn't a beat, right?)

Well, there was no life in the story, and hoping it would revive was a utter waste of my time. Wishful thinking, but no chance of revival. The clear signs were:

Glazed eyes.
Slowed pulse. 
Contagious yawns.
Glances at the clock.

(That's describing the students, by the way, not me, or at least I hope it didn't describe me.)

It was the last period of the day, so after students left, my first instinct was to talk to my trusty colleague for some feedback, but unfortunately she had another commitment at the end of the day. So tomorrow, I will try again. I'll review the basics of story-asking and look for the missing link, and hopefully, this situation doesn't repeat itself tomorrow.

We all have an bad day, an off day, a day where striving to provide the "compelling" in Compelling Comprehensible Input feels way out of reach. I'm going to view this as evidence that there is a lot of room for growth and learning on my part. And that may explain the expression "growing pains", it's a it of a painful experience.

Friday, December 4, 2015

En 2016 espero que... A Bulletin Board for the New Year

Hall bulletin board display
If there is one thing I've learned when adding a display on a bulletin board, especially when it is original and requires creativity and making sketches, die-cut letters, etc, (more work than simply buying pre-made bulletin board sets from a catalog), it's to make sure what I put on the board is something that I can leave there for at least two months.

My plans were to make a bulletin board for the coming Christmas holidays, but with only 17 school days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I ruled out a Christmas bulletin board for this year (at least for the large bulletin board in the hall). 

I had been waiting to be inspired and f-i-n-a-l-l-y it happened. (Which is a good thing because the bulletin board in the hall had only red fabric on it for several weeks!) I decided to have the students write what they wish for in the new year. 

Students' wishes/hopes for the new year.  (names of students covered)
Students started their sentences with: Espero que..; Deseo que..; or Quiero que...
 I shared my photos with Nelly Hughes (@nellyanhug), and she immediately replied that the sentences they wrote for the bulletin board provides me with even more information for PQA.  Killing two birds with one stone is always a good thing!
To the left is a collage of a few examples from the board.

 If you are interested in the pdf files of the people, please send me an email, leave a comment below, or contact me on Twitter (@sonrisadelcampo).       

Update:  Emily Long sent me a photo of the bulletin board that she made with her students (below).  Thanks for sharing the photo, Emily!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

El Gordo - Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad

The month of December is filled with opportunities for Spanish teachers to include culture. These celebrations include:
- Dec. 8 The Immaculate Conception
- Dec. 12 Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe 
- Dec. 16-24 Las Posadas
- Dec. 22 The Winter Solstice
- Dec. 24025 La Noche Buena y la Navidad
One celebration that is HUGE in Spain, in fact it's "fat", is "El Gordo", el Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad. It is Spain's, and the world's, largest lottery when you take into account the number and amount of prizes that are distributed.

In order to help the students experience (in a very small way) the excitement of El Gordo, I created billetes from an image of the lottery ticket from 2011.  At the bottom of the ticket, I added spaces for the students to write a number and their name.  

Today, as students entered the classroom, I gave each student a ticket. I explained the lottery system and that the tickets were sold as décimos.  At the bottom, the students had to write 5 numbers, and they were not allowed to write the same number twice, and their name.  They had to record the number they wrote on their tablet or on their phone because they will need to know that later.  (This will be my way of practicing numbers later in December - sneaky, I know.) Each class had their own container in which they put their billetes.

From now until December 21, the students will have to "buy" additional billetes by...suggesting cute answers to class stories, exceptional participation, showing kindness to another student, helping me distribute papers, or anything that deserves an extra billete. When they receive additional billetes they will write a 5 digit number (not the same as before), their name, and then place it in their class container.

On December 22, the day that Spain holds the drawing for El Gordo, we will hold our drawing.  Either I, or a student, will draw a ticket, and then s-i-n-g the number, in Spanish of course.  Students will look at their list of numbers and if they hear their number, they will have to repeat the number in order to claim their prize.  (The reason I have them write their name on the bottom of the ticket is in case they don't recognize the number, I will know whose ticket it is.)

The prizes consist of Spanish pens, homework passes, a small jar of my homemade jelly, baked goods (oatmeal cookies with cream are one of my students' favorites), free choice to sit where you want or to sit on the cushioned chair, small gift certificate to Dairy Queen, etc.

We will also watch several of Spain's great advertisements and film shorts on the national lottery.  Below are links to the clips from 2014 and 2015:

Anuncio Lotería de Navidad 2015 - Justino
Check Martina Bex's blog HERE for amazing & free materials for this short film.
Anuncio Lotería de Navidad 2014 - El Mayor Premio es Compartirlo

Another gem for Christmas: Mejor anuncio Navideño 2014/15 - Sainsbury's Christmas. 

I plan to be generous with handing out additional billetes to build the excitement and to give some extra encouragement for class participation. 
I'm looking forward to December 22!