lunes, 13 de agosto de 2018

Shhhhhh. it's a secret! First day activities!

So, here's my little secret. My first day of class will not consist of me struggling through names, strictly reading my syllabus and rules, or anything else that has to do with "housekeeping," unless it is requested by a student.

Here is what I will be doing on my first day Spanish 1 classes.

First, we do a little movement and input activity. Yes! My goal is always to start my classes in Spanish. So we will start by finding a partner or group.... Here are some of the find a partner sentence ideas (you may have to invent some based on what you see in your classroom). You might want to have a few pictures prepared to demonstrate a word more efficiently. The most important rule of this activity is that no one gets left out ever (oh oops am I sneaking a classroom expectation in here...maybe :)

So here we go:
- Look for a group that has the same color...
-Look for a group that writes with the same hand as you
- Look for a group that writes with the same writing thing you write with (pen or pencil)

- Which do you prefer....
      cats vs. dogs
      pop vs. country music
      plants vs. pets
      being inside vs. being outside
      running vs. swimming

Ok, after this activity, which I will keep snappy, short, and focused we will play a name game, Where students will practice the basic introduction of "my name is" "what is your name." We will practice this phrasing while wandering the room forming groups. Finally, we will go around the classroom and see who can say everybody's name (if there is time).

What will your first day of class look like?

viernes, 10 de agosto de 2018

What's New at my Store?!

So, I most often don't blog about the products on my TPT store. Not because I don't think that they are great products, but for the most part, I feel that they are self-explanatory, and people will find them if they need them. However, my store has two new products that I am really excited about!

Note: I am super careful to respect the work of the clip artists that I use so I am not gong to post pictures here, but you can follow the links to find these products.

Ok, so the first new product is a build a verb ice cream cone! I am really excited to try this one in the classroom because it is something I have been wanting to create for awhile. The goal is to make verb conjugation more friendly for kinesthetic learners. The cone contains the "root" of the verb such as com for comer. Then, the students can put the different ice cream flavors on the cone to conjugate it. So, in my classroom I might say something like "yo como el helado." (I am going to try to use sentences as much as possible to keep conjugation in context). The students would make their cone using the ice cream flavor that has the "o."  I have a few other suggested activities with this product, but I know it's one that will be a time-saver and I can't wait to let students physically manipulate the verb conjugations without having to struggle with the mental load of writing them and conjugating them!

My second new product this month is an ocean animals vocabulary practice. The bulk of the activity is flashcards. Now, I know you may groan, but flashcards are really just task cards in disguise, when used appropriately! I plan on laminating and cutting several sets to do fun things with such as an animal scavenger hunt around the classroom, playing matamoscas, playing "go fish," memory, and I have included an "I have, who has" game. The possibilities are endless! What sort of games do you make out of cards?

As always, if you use these products, let me know what you think!

domingo, 5 de agosto de 2018

Ready, Set, GO!!!

Dear Teachers,

I see you. I see you picking-out your classroom theme, decorating, arranging desks so they're just right.

I see you. Toes tapping through the requisite but boring meetings, eyes lighting when discussing a new idea with an administrator or colleague, frustration mounting that this technology that you loved has now been tweaked.

I see you. Smiles beaming genuinely as students fill the school with sounds. Finally, finally, no more quiet!

I see you. Exhausted after the first week. rearranging desks and seating, worrying over a student, eyes-lighting when you figure-out how to connect with a student.

I see you. Waiting patiently, while launching forward, calmly, patiently, smoothly starting, while in your mind envisioning the end. How you will travel together may not be decided, but the final destination clearly in your mind's eye. I see you.

Good luck to all this school year. I hope it is a joyous and meaningful 2018-2019!

martes, 2 de enero de 2018

Are Your Speaking Prompts Sensitive to Your Learners?

Like most teachers/people, I used to ask my students what they were going to do over the holiday break. I believed it to be an innocuous question. However, one day as I was walking into the school, I asked one of my eighth graders what she was going to do over break, and her response was both heartbreaking and a wake-up call. She simply looked at me and said, "the adults will sit around and get drunk and I will look forward to school starting." I suddenly realized how cruel it is to use  the question prompt: what will you do during the holiday break? This prompt is problematic for two main reasons, it is insensitive to students whose home lives might be difficult already, and it often highlights income disparities between the students.

Instead, I have started asking questions such as, "What was the most fun thing you did over break?", "What was one thing you enjoyed about your break?", Who were the people you got to see over break?". While these questions aren't perfect (and I welcome other suggestions!!!!!), they at least give students who don't travel or have adults who spend time with them, the opportunity to give an answer. Seeing a movie might have been the best thing, or sleeping, or playing video games, listening to music, etc. Yes, these questions can still highlight income and home-life disparities, but I feel like every student can think of something they enjoyed at some moment.

Happy teaching in 2018!!!!!

P.S. If you haven't checked-out my free New Year's Resolution activity, look for it in my TPT store!!!!

viernes, 25 de agosto de 2017

Estatuas: A Vocabulary Activity

So since I wrote about vocabulary and teaching active learning strategies for vocabulary in my last blog post, I decided I will share one of my favorite vocabulary activities with you.

What you need: Your vocabulary list cut into strips so there is only one word per strip (or make index cards, etc.) This activity words best with nouns and verbs, although some other words can work if your students are creative :)

Cooperative students ;)

White boards (or a piece of paper, or a tablet)

White board markers (regular markers or fingers to write on tablet..)

For the lower levels: more than one card with the same word is fine!

How it works:
1) Give 2/3 of the class an index card with a word on it. Have them spread around the classroom and become a statue that represents that word. No moving!!!!

2) Place a white board next to all of the statues

3) Give the remaining students a white board marker, and send them on a statue tour.

4) The students write the vocabulary word that is being represented on the white board. They receive no feedback from the statue.

5) Review the statues and the whiteboards. This can be done as a second tour or using photos that you take and project.

6) Shuffle the vocabulary cards, and the students, erase the white boards and repeat!!!!

**please note any and all photos that I take in my classroom are immediately deleted from any personal device. I am extremely careful in the use of photos and student privacy. If you choose to use photos, make sure you know your school's policy.

For upper level students: Do the above activity with a twist.

Instead of writing just the vocabulary word on the white board, I tell them that if the vocabulary word that is being represented is already on the white board, then it is their job to write a synonym or another word the effectively describes the statue.

You can also have them write antonyms if you want to change things up!

*** As with any activity*** quit while you are ahead. Don't wait until the students are tired of the activity before you move on. Do something else while they are still having fun. I say three rounds max. One or two is probably best. Use this and all activities as part of your tool box :)

The students can also complete the above activities using sentences in order to practice the words in context: lower level students each write a different sentence which incorporates the same vocabulary word, and upper level students write their own creative sentences with synonyms.

viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Study Skills and Strategies: Vocabulary

The school year is just barely gearing-up in many parts of the country, or if you live in a place that doesn't start until after labor day, you have a few more weeks to enjoy summer, planning, professional development, and everything else!

As I start a new year, I always try to incorporate some basic study skills training into my classes and lessons. I firmly believe that the effort and time that I invest in the beginning of the year pays off later on!

So... one of my favorite things to tell my students, especially freshmen is to make sure that they are studying not staring!

Then we practice :)

Every day we take two or three vocabulary words from the unit and try a different method of active studying.

Here are some of my ideas.... I will probably add more in another blog post... and please feel free to share your favorite ideas too! I am always on the hunt for new things to incorporate into my lessons.

Write the word or words several times on paper (on the computer doesn't count)
Look at the word and careful say each syllable out loud-several times in an exaggerated and slow manner, then say the word as fast as possible several times
Act the word
Sing the word
Draw the word (if its a noun or if a verb is easily represented)
Act and sing the word
Write the word in the air several times-use both print and cursive
Listen to a Native speaker or near native speaker say the word and repeat after him/her several times
Use the word in a sentence (or four)
Go around the room and have every student use the same word in a different sentence (level 2+)
Think of words that sound similar and make sure that this word and its meaning are clear: example would be hombre, hombro, hombre, etc.
Quiz each other on the word

One note ** I do have my lower level students learn words in English and Spanish. My upper level students are given words in Spanish with Spanish explanations/definitions.

Ok and a final note*** my vocabulary quizzes contain a huge mix of sections, I try to keep them as Spanish based as possible so students might draw the word, label pictures, use the word in a sentence, complete sentence fill-ins...... and yes.... when I feel like giving them a break (or me) translate a word or two....although I try to avoid translation on quizzes, tests, in life, etc.

Do you teach active studying and strategies? What are your favorites!!!!???

lunes, 24 de julio de 2017

Back to School:Welcome New Teachers!!!

I love back to school time. I admit I love my summers too. Especially when they are hot, sunny, and filled with fun with the family. But, I am always excited for a new school year. Every year, in pretty much every school there will be at least one new teacher. I have been the newbie in three schools so I have a few things that I would like to talk about :).

For the Veteran Teachers!!! 

Be sure to introduce yourself. You are the comfortable one. The one who knows the ropes, the culture, expectations, etc. Don't make the new person do all the work!!!

Offer your ideas in a concrete manner to someone new in your department. Go beyond showing them the curriculum and create a space and forum to discuss lesson plans... first day... when you will try to give first assessments...etc. Remember that when your new colleague succeeds, your department, students, and you succeed.

Be receptive to your new colleagues ideas too! Get excited about their creativity, technological skills, or whatever it is they have to offer.

Ask your new colleague what they need. This simple question can make their life so much easier. Is there anything that you need?

Be a nonjudgemental presence. It is not your job to critique or judge their abilities (unless it is). Welcome them into the school and enjoy working with someone new.

For the New Teacher!!!

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure that you ask the basics: Where does one make copies, obtain supplies, go to the bathroom, etc. The supply question may be particularly important when it comes to obtaining things like markers, or colored pencils, large paper (anything out of the ordinary that you might want to use).

Make sure you apologize if you make a mistake. Say thank you to those who help you. Say hello to everyone.

Don't join in on gossip or complaining. In fact, avoid these circles at all costs.

Don't hesitate to give credit to a veteran teacher who helped you. If the principal complimented your first day lesson that you co-constructed with a colleague, be sure to mention that it was a collaborative effort!

Learn the technology that the school uses. Practice with the technology until you get it right. Have back-up lesson plans in case technology fails you, but always work to incorporate technology.

Ask a veteran teacher for ideas if you are stuck on lesson planning, how to deal with a parent, how to deal with a particular student, or how to incorporate a particular topic.

Ask other teachers if they will share with you: materials, ideas, cross-curricular ideas, etc.

Be sensitive of others' time. Remember that the beginning of the school year is crazy busy for everyone. If a colleague can't help you at a particular moment, realize that they have their own commitments and obligations too.

Good luck to all and I wish for you a wonderful 2017-2018 school year!