domingo, 20 de agosto de 2017

Embedded reading that lead to text with AUDIO and VIDEO

Image result for simplify
I love embedded readings that lead to an authentic text, especially when it has authentic AUDIO and VIDEO! If you want to learn more about embedded readings, click here to go Laurie Clarcq's blog.

I recently created two embedded readings that will lead students to understand the audio in this video below. You can see the second version here in a these activities that Arianne Dowd created (free). You can see the first version and other activities for  the whole thing here (or here in this bigger unit about kichwa in Ecuador).



When creating a embedded readings, here is what I have done (which may not be the exact, correct method, but I am sharing in case it helps anyone):
  • Find an authentic text or an authentic video/audio.
  • If it is a video or audio, transcribe it so that I have a text.
  • I make a table with three (or four) columns. 
  • Put the authentic, final version in the last column.
  • Work backwards and take pieces out to simplify.
  • I make two (or three) other versions in the other two columns. Column one is the simplest version.
  • Simplify the language, but also include some of the authentic langue too.
  • Important: Leave out some of the important details and leave room for predictions! That will help build the anticipation.
  • There are several activities that could be done with each version, depending on the text. Some of the activities could be:
    • basic comprehension questions in English
    • listen and draw
    • listen, write, exchange papers, and draw
    • put in order
    • who said it?
    • cierto/falso
    • matching pics to text
    • read and circle the correct word
    • textivate
    • Quizlet Live with sentences (leave out certain words)
    • retell story with pics
    • cloze activity with final version
These are some of the (free) embedded readings that I have made and used in the past.
Kristy Placido has made some embedded readings for a couple of short stories too:


martes, 15 de agosto de 2017

El Kichwa en el Ecuador

A bilingual (español y kichwa) school in Shuid, Ecuador -
This school visit inspired me to learn more about kichwa.

I traveled to Ecuador this summer with ICTFL (even though I am from New Hampshire). I was fortunate to travel with the wonderful Carrie Toth and we knew that we would have to create something Ecuador-related to use in our classrooms. So, we have been working on a unit based on the video/song "Si tú la ves" and I can't wait to share that soon! 

But, as I have been creating that, I went down a rabbit whole of kichwa (yup "kichwa," not quechua) related resources and I created a unit that could go along with the "Si tú la ves" unit or it could be a stand-alone unit. It is called "El kichwa en el Ecuador" and I am so excited to teach this unit!!

(Or if you just want a new legend to use with a legends unit, click here.)

These are the resources included in the unit:
  • These Essential Questions:
    • ¿Es importante mantener vivos los idiomas y las culturas? ¿Por qué sí o no?
    • ¿Qué es la interculturalidad y cómo y dónde está presente en el mundo?
  • Discussion questions to get students to think about other languages and the concept of interculturality (without really explaining it) 
  • A reading about el kichwa in Ecuador
  • Some short activities to do with Wawa Kichwa videos/activities every day to start class for four days
  • A interpretive reading activity about bilingual (kichwa/español) schools (based on a simplified version of this article). Students could do this alone, in groups or as an entire class.
  • Two embedded readings related to legend "Las guacamayas" with possible assessment ideas
  • A presentation that will lead teachers through the two easier versions and finally to the full audio of the video below
  • A cloze activity with the audio from the video below
  • A short reading about a hip hop band that sings in kichwa
  • Suggestions for a final evaluation on the unit




viernes, 11 de agosto de 2017

Ingredients in the soup

Image result for pozoleDuring the last four days, I have been thinking a lot about all the "ingredients" that we teachers use in our classes. As teachers, we all have our own "soup" that we serve to students. (I'm pretty sure that I read this metaphor on someone else's blog.) Every teacher's "soup" is unique and there is no exact, correct recipe for language teaching. (But yes, some soups definitely "taste" better and are more nourishing!) My soup ingredients have changed a lot and my soup has gotten much better in the six years that I have been sharing on this blog, partially because it is a place of reflection, but just as much, it has helped me to create an amazing PLN that I learn so much from!

I have spent the last four days at the Express Fluency Teacher Training in Brattleboro, VT. During this time, I observed some amazing teachers (Tina Hargaden, Grant BoulangerDustin Williamson, Annabelle Allen -AKA la maestra loca, Elissa McClean, and Justin Slocum Bailey) in classes and learned a ton from them at sessions too. One of the best parts of this conference was observing CI classes (if you can find a conference where you can do that, go!). I spent two days acquiring some French in Tina Hargaden's class. She is an amazingly skilled CI teacher. She made it so easy that at times that I didn't even realize I was sitting in a French class. I feel like I can really implement some of these CI strategies much better now.

Another highlight was that my sons (9 & 12) were able to be in class for four days with Annabelle Allen and Grant Boulanger. They really enjoyed the classes and acquired a lot. My boys even made comments about how this way of learning (really acquiring) Spanish is so easy and fun.

So, as I was at the conference, I got to thinking about what some of the main "ingredients" in my "soup" are, and I came up with these:
After these last four days, I have a some new "ingredients" to add to my soup.
I hope to share more about these new ingredients during the school year!

How to assess the "Communities: Lifelong Learning" standard?

I love the Communities: Lifelong Learning standard, but how to assess it has always been tricky for me.

I (and many others, like Laura Sexton most recently) have blogged about "choice homework". In my classes, I call it "Tarea Semanal" it has gone through many variations, particularly in how I grade it and what percentage of my students' overall grade it counts for. First semester of this year I will be teaching Cultura y Civilización (Spanish 4/5/+) and Spanish 3, and both of those classes will do Tarea Semanal.

For my Cultura y Civilización class, I am thinking about using a Standards Based Grading approach. In my district, we have true Standard Based Grading in grades K-8. The report cards show each standard and they get a 1-4 for each. There are about 20+ standards on the report card. At the high school, students still get the traditional number grades, but we might be moving towards a more Standards Based System. So, (I think) I am going to use these percentages in my grade book this year:
  • 40% Communication (broken down into the three modes of communication)
  • 20% Cultures
  • 10% Comparisons
  • 10% Connections 
  • 10% Communities
  • 10% Work Habits (not a WL standard, but this is where students will be assessed with school wide rubrics on a variety of things, including: collaboration, time on task, creativity, etc.)
I know that this is not a true standard based grading approach, because if it were, there wouldn't be one grade, but rather several (possibly 11 for the standards and sub-standards)... but this is the best I can do under the system that I am working. There is so much overlap with these standards, but having these categories will make me focus on making sure that I am assessing all of them.

So, anyways, how to does Tarea Semanal fit into all of this? Tarea Semanal will be the way that I am assessing the Communities: Lifelong Learning standard and I have come up with this rubric (click here to see it) to help me assess my students. The rubric (like all rubrics!) will help in several ways: explain my expectations to my students so they can meet "exemplary" in this standard, give them more targeted feedback, and help me to give them a fair grade.

Do you use Standards Based Grading? How do you assess the Communities: Lifelong Standard?


sábado, 5 de agosto de 2017

Robarte un beso

Have you seen the video for "Robarte un beso" by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra? The song is catchy, easy to understand, and appropriate! And the video is sweet and appropriate too!
Arianne Dowd and I spent some serious hours with this video (therefore we are selling the majority of these things on TPT, but there are two freebies at the bottom of this post)! We have created a whole bunch of activities (best for Spanish 3+) to go along with the song including:
  • "I can" statements aligned to the ACTFL Standards to share with students at the beginning of the unit
  • A suggested order of activities for the unit
  • A list of possible assessments aligned to the ACTFL Standards
  • A Movie Talk Slideshow that shows images of the video with the story 
  • A cultural reading about the tradition of serenades with a follow up comprehension activity 
  • A cultural reading about el vallenato with a follow up comprehension activity 
  • A reading about relationships with related PQA for before and discussion questions for after 
  • A prediction activity with some pictures from the video 
  • A reading called "Problemas con el amor" that tells the stories of the four couple in the video with a follow up comprehension activity 
  • A matching activity with pictures from the video and descriptions 
  • An "advertisement" for "los Doctores de Amor" (Carlos Vives y Sebastián Yatra) with a follow up comprehension activity 
  • A sequence of events activity to go along with the video 
  • A ¿Quién lo hizo? activity that goes along with the video Short biographical readings about Carlos Vives y Sebastián Yatra with follow up comprehension activities 
  • A put the song in order activity to do while listening to the song 
  • A classic, basic, cloze activity to do while listening to the song An Instagram activity relating to the story of the characters in the video 
  • A "Grítalo" activity 
  • A "Blind Retell" activity of story gesture reading
You can find them all on Teachers Pay Teachers in Arianne's store.

We are sharing this slideshow (click here for PDF) that tells the story of the video. And here is a basic cloze activity and a "put in order" activity for the song lyrics.

lunes, 31 de julio de 2017

TPT Sale - August 1st and 2nd

Download for your TpT Store Page Leaderboard - 720 × 90

Updated post (8/2)...

In addition to my on-sale materials below, I highly recommend scooping up some resources from these (sale ends today!):
Lots of teachers are having a sale on August 1st and 2nd and I am joining in! Here are some of the items that I have in my store, with links to a more detailed description of them.
  • Diamantes Negros - This is an awesome movie that can be used in upper levels. It shows a different perspective of immigration in the world of professional soccer in Europe. Click here to read more about the unit and click here to read about a socratic seminar that could be done after.
Diamantes Negros - Pre AP or beginning AP unit
  • This movie is also awesome! 3 Bellezas is a dark comedy set in Venezuela. If you are looking to explore the AP topic of Beauty and Aesthetics, this unit is excellent!  Click here to read more about the unit.
3 Bellezas - A unit packet for Spanish 4, 5, or AP
Soy yo - a story/song mini unit for Spanish 1 (or above)
Inmigración para español 1 (The Other Side and La Misma Luna)
A pre-AP unit based around the song Sicario by Rubén Blades
Canela - Movie Guide
  • Free... If  you missed it, Arianne Dowd and I created some awesome stuff to go along with the song, Un besito más by Jesse y Joy. Click here to read more.
Image result for gran hotel

jueves, 20 de julio de 2017

Un besito más...

Do you teach about immigration? Want to address immigration reform? The video for "Un besito más" by Jesse y Joy is excellent, and heart wrenching. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out below! 


I will be teaching an immigration unit in my Cultura y Civiliación (4/5) class this semester and I think I will use this on the very first day before I even tell them what the unit is about. It will be an excellent "hook"

The amazing Arianne Dowd and I created some activities to use with the song/video. We are sharing them for free. They are all linked here in this doc (free on TPT). And here is a possible order to use them:
  • The first presentation (linked in doc, feel free to make a copy and adapt) can be used to introduce the song without revealing what it is about (immigration). The presentation is meant to be a teacher-facilitated discussion and a great way to review some basic structures. Students should also be encouraged to be creative in their answers, hence the "Imaginemos y hablemos" slide.



  • The second presentation (linked in doc, feel free to make a copy and adapt) can be used before and/or after seeing the video. With this presentation, students can do several things: put the pictures in order and discuss, listen to the teacher and identify the picture, and/or retell the story with the pictures. It can also be used as a final writing activity or assessment.


  • Listen to song and put it in order.
  • Two short reading activities related to the video.
    • "¿Quién lo dijo, la madre o el padre?" to review what is said when the fire is happening.
    • "¿Probable o improbable?" This activity will help to clarify some things for students.
  • A cloze activity to hear and read the song.
  • Put the lyrics in order and reveal an important message.
  • Draw illustrations of parts of the song.
  • A short Kahoot to review the factual information presented in the video.
  • A few short answer questions about the song/video. These could be used as an assessment.
  • And again, the activities in the second slideshow could also be used as an assessment.
  • Teachers - Please feel free to make a copy of any of this and adapt as you want, but please give us credit and don't sell our work! (Yup, this has happened.)

I will also be using the song ICE El Hielo by La Santa Cecilia. But the major part of the immigration unit is the movie "Ladrón que roba a ladrón". It will be a bit lighter than some of the other immigration movies out there! And these two songs (with a couple of others) will be the heavier parts of the unit. I am using these two resources from Arianne Dowd: her film guide and her Breakout EDU activity. 

Side-note: I am a runner; I love to run; I think a lot when I run. My parents supported me tremendously in that sport; and my mom still goes to my races to this day! (I am 41 years old, haha!) I think that is one of the reasons that when I saw this video, I immediately had to create something to use with it in class. If you have any runners in your class, they might really be able to identify with this girl (as would anyone who thinks about not having their parents or loved-ones there when they are working hard and achieving their goals).


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miércoles, 7 de junio de 2017

One of my favorite stories: Ferdinando el Toro


You may have seen that Ferdinando el toro is being made into a movie. I am very excited about that and will definitely use it in the future, but in the meantime, I love using the Disney short film to start my unit about Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos, a novel by Carrie Toth. I blogged about it a couple of years ago, but wanted to share the Ferdinando materials again because I just used them and it went to well with my Spanish 2 students. Also, I LOVE this story!! And I think students do too!

This slideshow is basically what I did during one and a half days of class (85 minute class periods). And this is the quiz they took the third day. I have taken a TPRS/CI approach to Spanish 2 this year, so I have been working hard all semester to pull it all together. When I previously taught Spanish 2 (three or four years ago), my students would have had a very hard time with this lesson, but now we breezed right through it with success and confidence, mostly because my version of the story is told with lots of high frequency vocabulary that they know! I have not "taught" them the imperfect yet, but they are very comfortable with it because they have seen it in stories. I have "taught" them the preterite, and by that, I mean: I used it in stories, used verbs in the preterite as "vocabulary words," then used Martina Bex's guided notes.

So, here is what we did (click here to make a copy of the slideshow):
  • Reviewed previously learned vocab (slides 2-3)
  • New vocab: repeated and acted out new vocab, played Quizlet Live (best way to introduce new vocabulary!) with it, answer questions with images, and translated sentences with new vocab  (slides 4-8)
  • The Story, Questions, and Watch segments: I told them the story of Ferdinando with the slides. Students saw pictures and listened as I read to them. After 1-4 slides, there are questions about what I said. Students answer on white boards. They could answer in English, Spanglish, or Spanish. They could answer in complete sentences or in one word answers. Students held up white as they finished. (This is great fantastic differentiation and formative assessment.) Throughout this process, I am writing words on the board as well. (slides 9-74). Students also got to watch short segments as I told the story.
  • For homework, students did rewrote the new vocabulary and re-read the story and drew images to represent each segment (pages 2-5 in the unit packet). I also recommended some textivate activites (slide 76).
  • Before the quiz, we did a dictado activity (slides 75-86). Students did so well during this activity!
  • There is another listen and draw activity in the unit packet on page 7, but we did not do that.

  • If you are looking to use this story with a higher level class, here is the transcript.