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.