viernes, 14 de abril de 2017

Flipgrid for Interpersonal Speaking... and for reaching outside of classroom walls

Have you heard of Flipgrid? Arianne Dowd recommended it to me (anything she recommends you should check out) and I tried it for the first time yesterday. It was excellent! I am so looking forward to exploring all the possibilities that can be done with it. There are probably blog posts out there about this already... but I haven't seen them yet, so I thought I would share here about this fabulous resources!


  • So what is it?
  • Flipgrid is a website/app that can be used for asynchronous communication. Students get a link to a teacher created "flipgrid". They enter the password and then they can post videos. Other students (or outside "visitors") can respond to those videos. (The subscription costs $65 for students to be able to respond to each other). 


  • What did we do with it?
    • We just finished our También la lluvia unit (unit packet) in my AP class, so in order to "discuss" the movie, all students had to post two questions and answer three or more of their classmates' questions. I emphasized that this is interpersonal, so they are just supposed to answer... not prepare notes!
    • Students did an excellent job and enjoyed it!
    • There were 31 questions posted and 122 responses. That is a lot of verbal exchanges!

  • Why is so great?
    • Interpersonal Speaking without the pressure: Flipgrid takes the pressure of off students. They were in the hallway and in the classroom speaking and listening to each other without the pressure of everyone listening to them at the same time.
    • Interpersonal Speaking: It can be challenging really "do" in the classroom. Flipgrid allows for this to happen in a fun way.
    • Listening: Students not only listened to the questions of their classmates, but also they listened to their classmates' responses to their questions.
    • Choice: Students got to choose which questions they answer.
    • Fun: Students really seemed to enjoy this activity! They especially liked taking the selfie that will be displayed for each video (see pensive selfie above).
  • What else can you do with it?
    • Reach outside the classroom walls! I contacted a reporter via Twitter who wrote one of the articles (Arianne translated it and it is in the unit packet) that we read during this unit and he has agreed to answer some questions from my students. This will be a fantastic and authentic interpretive listening activity for my students.
    • Reach outside the classroom walls! I am repeating this because there are so many possibilities with this, especially because it is asynchronous communication.
    • Obviously interpersonal speaking is much easier to do with AP students because they are top notch students with lots of language ability, but I am planning to use Flipgrid next week with my Spanish 2 students for an interpersonal speaking assessment as well. I hope to share how that goes next week.

lunes, 3 de abril de 2017

Four, actually five, stories for the "Reflexives" unit

Image result for wake up outline
**Update - 4/19/17** I just added a quick fifth story! See the bottom of the post.
I am teaching Spanish 2 and trying to revamp the curriculum (from Realidades chapter 2A). We just finished up a sports unit. For that unit, I pulled together resources from Martina Bex, Adios Textbook, and some of my own and it went pretty well. I will say, without a "story," the unit did not have the same impact.

Now, I am about to start the ole' "Reflexives unit" (chapter 2A from Realidades). So, I gathered four stories in order to make it more compelling and interesting... and so that students will acquire the material in a much more compelling way. It is kinda boring to talk about our own morning routines for two weeks, so with these four stories, we will be talking about ourselves and others! Here is a partial unit packet, which includes Essential Questions, I can statements, and possible evaluaciones (quizzes and a test) and a some activities related to two of the stories. I also linked Elena López's TPT store for three of the stories.

The first story is !No voy a levantarme! This is actually a Sr. Wooly song. I made an embedded reading to slowly "release" the story to students. I may have "released" too much as Sr. Wooly noted when I shared it, so you may want to take out some key parts, particularly the ending. 

When using an embedded reading, students get tons of repetitions. I also created this slideshow (click here so make a copy) using the embedded reading and screenshots (downloaded from Sr. Wooly - he gave permission for me to share here). Students will also do all the nuggets during a week and half time period. The nuggets will be homework. 

If you don't have a subscription to Sr. Wooly, I highly recommend it!! (Note: I do not work for him. I just love his site and really like the idea of a Spanish 1 and 2 Wooly curriculum?!?)


The second story is "Alarma".  I created a slideshow, but then Elena López made this one, which is better! Students will definitely relate to this story.
(Warning: The original video has a fake gun in it. The man uses it to shoot his alarm clock, but I chopped up the video to delete those scenes. The video is in three segments in this slideshow.) 
Click here to buy Elena's resources for this story.

The third story is "El Monstruo del armario," also created by Elena López. This is a fun story  to teach with. Click here to purchase Elena's resources for this story.

The fourth story is Destino, also created by Elena López. The first slideshow is an easier version of the story. Elena has a more advanced version of this story and you can click here to purchase Elena's resources for this story.


Students will also see a variety of related commercials (#authres). Each day students will watch one commercial. After they see it one, they will read the transcript aloud with their group (or chorally as a class). I will then translate it. They will do a cloze activity with the transcript and then write two sentences about each. This will be how we start class each day during this unit. This is good because they are hearing short audio of an authentic resources. Here is a doc with the transcripts and links to the commercials.

Included in the packet, I will have Martina Bex's Reflexive Notes as well.

sábado, 25 de marzo de 2017

Movie slideshows as CI illustrated "books"

There are so many good movies out there for us Spanish teachers! Students (and teachers!) get so much from watching movies:
  • Engagement is high! Everyone loves watching movies.
  • Students see people, places and things of the Spanish speaking world. I teach in rural New Hampshire, so this is important!
  • Students get to see the diversity from the Spanish speaking world.
  • Students see tons of authentic cultural products, practices, and perspectives
  • Students hear authentic Spanish with a wide variety of accents.
  • Sometimes, students are reading authentic Spanish as well if the subtitles are in Spanish
In the past, I have always done comprehension questions. Students would watch parts of a movie and then answer questions for homework; and that always went well. But during the last two years, I have started to do much more with the movie and students are getting a lot more comprehensible input this way.

I (along with Elena López for Canela (sadly not available anywhere anymore) and Arianne Dowd for Diamantes Negros and 3 Bellezas) have created slideshows with screenshots and written what happens in each scene in comprehensible Spanish.

I view these big slideshows as "illustrated books" with comprehensible Spanish... but, instead of just reading and seeing images, students get the reward of seeing the video and hearing the authentic language! 

Here is part of the slideshow for Diamantes Negros:


Is this a lot of work? Heck yeah!! But if you get someone to help you, it is much easier. (Thanks Arianne and Elena!)

So far, I have done this for four movies. I have also done it for some cortometrajes, commercials, and songs, but here are the movies:

So, what does a unit like this look like? To start the unit, we go over the Essential Questions of the unit and I explain what the evaluaciones will be. During the unit, students will do lot of activities related to the theme of the movie, including: vocabulary related activities, singing songs or doing song-related activities, reading articles about related real-world issues (immigration, human trafficking in soccer, or la escasez in Venezuela), and/or watching real videos related to the movie.

Here is what we do with the slideshow and the text from the slideshow (it is pretty basic and not that revolutionary):
  • In my class, students sit in groups of 3-4. (I decide on the groupings and change them every 2 weeks.)
  • I project the slideshow on the big screen and designate one student to be the slide changer. S/he clicks when the talking stops or when I say, "clic."
  • Each day, in their groups, students take turns reading the "story" aloud. 15-20 (sometimes more) slides. This is really good, particularly for upper level students, because I want them talking a lot! 
  • For my lower level students, I start by reading the slideshow to them and then might gradually have them read in groups, depending on the level and the culture of the class.
  • There are also discussion questions embedded in the slideshows, so they talk about those. 
  • As they read, I might check for comprehension and/or ask questions that are not on the slideshow.
  • If there is new vocabulary and/or grammatical structures, I talk about those to make sure everyone understands. Some would call this pop-up grammar (still teaching grammar, just in a different way).
  • Then we watch that segment of the movie. Subtitles would be in English or Spanish, depending on the level and the movie.
  • We continue to do this over the course of 5-7 (or more) days until we finish the movie. I should mention that I have 84 minutes classes.
  • For homework, students have to reread what we read in class, but have to fill in the blanks (see pages 27-35 of this También la lluvia unit packet for an example). The point of this is to review what we read and to acquire and/or review vocabulary and/or grammatical structures.
I have had a lot of success with this style unit and I hope to create more... or use similar units created by other teachers, like Arianne's También la lluvia unit! Here is my unit packet for my AP class. I compiled some of her resources, along with some from Karen Goering and Lindsey Camacho, and I created some interpretive reading activities with related articles.

So, if anyone else is interested in collaborating on taking screenshots ("command + control + shift + 4" on a mac copies a screenshot right to your clipboard and then you can paste it into the slideshow), I recommend reaching out to other teachers and sharing the work! I hope to create something for my level 2 class in the future. I tried to do that with Diamantes Negros, but the language got too complex.

One more thing... a Seminario Socrático has been a fantastic end of unit speaking evaluation. Arianne Dowd also shared some ideas about how she does it on her blog.


sábado, 11 de marzo de 2017

Recursos para 3 Bellezas

Image result for 3 bellezasAs I wrote in a recent post, I am very excited to use the movie 3 Bellezas in my AP class to touch on the theme of Belleza y Estética. I created a 95 slide presentation that summarizes the movie with screenshots (see below) over a period of 5-6 days. I think of the the presentation as a basic "picture book" that summarizes the movie. Students read it aloud in groups (they sit in groups of 3) and then they get to watch and listen to the authentic resource. There are also some personalized questions that students will discuss in their grupitos. Thanks to Arianne Dowd for adding some of those! I did something very similar with the movie Diamantes Negros and that unit went very well! 

The slideshow is written in very comprehensible Spanish; it could probably be used in a level 3 class, but I am not sure if I would use this movie with sophomores. I am sharing it for free here. I also created this doc with the text of the slideshow that students will go over and fill in for homework after watching parts of the movie. 

This is my plan for what I will do with this movie:
  • Ongoing throughout unit- interpretive reading activities for authentic articles (these can be found in the unit packet on TPT). These are the articles:
    • La película que satiriza la "obsesión" de los venezolanos con la belleza
    • ¿Por qué las venezolanas se hacen tanto la cirugía estética?  
    • Venezuela, el país de las reinas de belleza donde escasea hasta el maquillaje
    • Artículo de La Nación (Argentina): Sin corona: los concursos de belleza, cada vez más resistidos
  • Watch some clips of two documentaries (BBC: Extreme Beauty Queens, Netflix: To Be a Miss and Viceland Venezuela) 
  • Do one question a day from this video (the fourth woman gets asked the same question that Estefanía gets in the contest, might be good to watch that right before that scene)
  • Ongoing: In groups of 3-4, students read slideshow aloud (as a preview). Then, we watch segments of movie. Then, students do segments of this doc for homework.
  • Seminario Socrático (this can be found in the unit packet on TPT) as final assessment
  • I also have some resources from our Temas textbook
  • I might use 2-3 songs: Mantra by Pamela Rodríguez, and either Caótica Belleza by Esteman ft. Natalia Lafourcade, Antipatriarca by Ana Tijoux by Ana Tijoux, or Soy yo by Bomba Estéreo. These songs present different perspectives about la belleza than that of the movie. 
Click here to make a copy of the slideshow. If you find this useful, please consider giving back in a Radiohead style way.

Arianne Dowd also made this slideshow that will be  good accompaniment (click here to make a copy):


sábado, 4 de marzo de 2017

La Belleza y La Estética: 3 Bellezas

Image result for 3 bellezasI love it when I find a good movie that fits perfectly into an upcoming unit! I just watched the movie "3 Bellezas" and I am definitely going to use it in my AP class for the "La Belleza y La Estética" unit. It is available for free if you have Amazon Prime. Unfortunately the only subtitles are in English, but I still think there is value in watching it with those subtitles. I am considering watching some segments without any subtitles, but I need to rewatch and choose those carefully.

I bought this guía de preguntas that I will use for class discussion. And I am also coming up with some of my own materials to use with the movie. We will definitely do a Seminario Socrático after watching this movie, because I think my students will have a lot to say about it. I particularly like this discussion question: Compara las perspectivas de la belleza de las canciones "Mantra" y "Soy yo" con las de la película "3 Bellezas."

The movie might not be appropriate for all ages, but I have juniors and seniors in my AP class so they will be fine with it. The movie is mostly appropriate (with one part at 47 minutes that I will definitely skip and maybe a couple of others). Here is the trailer:


This short video will be a good accompaniment.  


jueves, 2 de marzo de 2017

Los Secretos de un Curandero

Artículo de VeinteMundos
As I have mentioned before, I love the articles on VeinteMundos! They cover such a wide variety of cultural products, practices, and perspectives from different countries.

In my AP class, we are about to start our unit called "El cuidado de la salud y la medicina," so I have created this cloze and comprehension guide (feel free to make a copy and make changes) to go along with the article/audio "Los Secretos de un Curandero" from VeinteMundos. Previously, I had students read the article and answer questions, but now they will have to listen, read along, and answer questions. I like this article because it shows lots of cultural products, practices, and perspectives that students may not be familiar with. It will be interesting to see the comparisons that they make.

The song of the week will be "La Curandera" by Elastic Bond (and here is a quick little slideshow to illustrate some of the vocabulary in the song). 


In addition to using two articles from VeinteMundos (el cuy and los curanderos) as resources for specific units in my AP class, every other week my students have to read/listen to an article of their choice from that site, fill in this form (created by Ann Mar), and give a two minute cultural comparison. This is to prepare them for the cultural comparison part of the AP exam. They are doing an excellent job comparing and contrasting the cultural topics with aspects of their own culture. 

lunes, 27 de febrero de 2017

Another interpretive listening act. with Radio Ambulante


I have created another interpretive listening guide for the Radio Ambulante podcast titled "Recién llegados." Click here to see it (feel free to make a copy and make changes). I am going to use this with my AP class, but this would work well with a level 4 class or above. Here is a summary from the Radio Ambulante site:


This podcast goes along very well with the theme of immigration, a theme that is very relevant today. If you use the Fluency Matters novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha, this would be a fantastic authentic listening accompaniment as well.

It is wonderful that Radio Ambulante provides the transcript for many of its episodes! With that transcript, I created a fill in the blanks listening guide, along with 22 questions throughout that will help break up this podcast into parts. To listen to this in its entirety in one chunk would be a bit challenging for students.

Before listening, students will read infografía that Radio Ambulante created to go along with the episode and do a cierto/falso activity to go along with it.

I am considering adding the song "Prepárame la cena" (probably my all time favorite song by them) by Calle 13 to go along with this. Read here about the campaign that they did with UNICEF against human trafficking. Here is the video:

miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2017

Radio Ambulante... Interpretive Listening for AP

I have an excellent group of AP students this semester, but it is still definitely a challenge to get them prepared to take the test with only 11 weeks of class (not including our two weeks of vacation). One particular challenge is the authentic listening that is all over the AP exam (multiple choice, persuasive essay, and interpersonal conversation).

So, in order to give them more listening practice, I created this 18 page cloze packet to go along with the latest episode of Radio Ambulante. There is no word bank, but the words that they have to fill in should be relatively easy. Thankfully, Radio Ambulante shares transcripts for many of their episodes; so, no, I did not transcribe all of this! Along with filling in the blanks, students will have to answer questions as they listen.

They will also have to fill out this grid related to the Essential Questions (all taken from AP). I envision giving this for homework, probably in 6-8 minute chunks over four nights. I really like having students do authentic listening outside of class because they can take their time and go at their own pace. I encourage students to listen 2-3 times when doing authentic listening assignments.

I absolutely loved the latest episode about Nélida. Here is the summary from the Radio Ambulante website:
It touched upon so many AP themes and, to me, was a fascinating story. Even if you don't use this with your students, I highly recommend getting hooked on this podcast! There are so many interesting and thought-provoking stories. I also loved this one (among many others). 

This is the second time I have used Radio Ambulante to create a lesson/unit. Check out this one about Puerto Rico.


lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Seminario Socrático para discutir una película


I am finally going to try a Seminario Socrático. My AP class is just finishing this wonderful unit based around the movie "Diamantes Negros". Karen Goering's resources really helped students understand the movie and the problem on a much deeper level (scroll through here or Ctrl F "Diamantes Negros" to find activities for two articles and an interview).

Image result for diamantes negros películaPictureStudents did a lot of talking (one of my main goals) about the movie and have reviewed some grammatical structures. On Friday, they did their first Presentational Writing assessment (create by Karen Goering and adapted by me) and tomorrow (today is a snow day), they are going to discuss the movie using the Seminario Socrático format. There is so much to talk about in this movie! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. I am really looking forward to hearing my students' thoughts and opinions about the movie.

I found this doc from AVID that explains (very thoroughly) what a Socratic Seminar is and I adapted it and translated it into Spanish. Click here to see it. I used it to explain to students what they will be doing and why. I also used the amazing Arianne Dowd's ideas to prepare students for the discussion. This document could easily be adapted to a variety of texts or movies, so feel free to make a copy and adapt.