PANdemIC & ASSESSMENT

Whether you’re two weeks in or five, you’re probably beginning to think about what assessment looks like in the pandemic classroom. Maybe it even makes you sweaty and short of breath… We just can’t control the environment for a test like we could last year this time.

How do I take these faceless cells in my Zoom and administer a hybrid assessment?? It’s a real conundrum! But I’ve done it once and here are my takeaways:

  1. Set realistic expectations and be clear about what they are. I have been planning using the UbD (Understanding by Design) “backward” model since 2010. I design my assessment before I begin the unit and before I present ANY new content, I share with the kids what their assessment will be. This allows me to spend the entire unit explaining how each piece fits into their inevitable success on the test!
  2. Allow choice. In a normal year, my assessments have often included interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational elements. This year, I am streamlining. My goal is for students to acquire language AND enroll again next year. If I over burden them when they’re already carrying a lot of extra weight, it does not draw people to my program… it scares them away. In our first assessment, I did the interpretive assessment with them as a large group as a completion grade then gave them the option of speaking or writing for their presentational element. I have a WONDERFUL young lady whose biggest concern is always her spelling. She is so afraid of making mistakes because she knows that she doesn’t spell well in English. Offering her the option to speak took the pressure off and let her soar.
  3. Assess less! You’ve heard the cliche a million times in workshops… weighing the pig more often doesn’t make it grow faster. Quit rolling your eyes and weigh that darn pig less.
  4. Set up assessment day expectations in advance. Two weeks ago we did the final assessment for my Bajo la mesa unit. (Bajo la mesa is unit 1 of the Huellas 1 curriculum) I told students in advance that everyone… at home or in class… would need a sheet of paper and a pen/pencil. In class students would write with all of their other materials on the floor and at home students would write with the camera on and at an angle that allowed me to watch them as they wrote. I had two of 90 writings that were suspicious for using a translator (I suspect they pre-wrote). I privately messaged both students and told them that I could only give 1/4 credit for work that was run through Google and offered them the chance to meet for a re-take. I feel like it is important right away to establish that I know when they are using language beyond their proficiency level.
  5. Grade with compassion. This isn’t a normal year. Intermediate language is MESSY. Mistakes are part of even ADVANCED level proficiency. Look for evidence that they’re acquiring the new structures in your unit but don’t expect them to speak and write at the same level as YOU do! They’re still brand new language learners and they need a lot of time with the language to reach the levels we have reached! Grading with the proficiency descriptors in mind can really help keep those expectations realistic AND encourage kids to continue their language study! Check out my proficiency based rubrics here for FREE!

For more information on how and why I assess the way I do, you can watch my Assess with Finesse training session here.

This year is going to be great. It will be different, it will be exhausting, it will have a lot of peaks and valleys, but in the end… if we do it right… we can give our students a lot of positive experiences in the language classroom that will draw them back next year and fill our rooms with students who are confident that they are capable of becoming bilingual!

Stay safe and healthy!

2020 is HARD! Make planning easy.

By this time, many of us have been back to school at least a week and some (like me) are going to be seeing midterm in a couple of days! It has both been surreal and real.

For me, the surreal is looking at ALL the things I love to do with my classes… sing, gesture, act out stories, play cooperative games, read in the lounge… are now OUT THE DOOR. I struggle with being at home and missing being in the classroom when really the classroom isn’t what my mind is missing. It is the normal routine!

It’s a whole new routine this year and it is REAL. REAL(ly) hard. REAL(ly) tiring. REAL(ly) challenging me to be creative. REAL(ly) inspiring. REAL(ly) low some days and REAL(ly) high others.

I have had days when the kids have blown my mind with how well they engaged and I have had days where we soaked in awkward silence during the class discussion and breathed a sigh of relief when the bell rang. I have had the home kids do all the talking while the class stared at me glassy eyed through the webcam and I have had days when the class is carrying the group and I had to ask the “homies” to check in with a thumbs up just so I’d know they haven’t fallen asleep.

I’ve lost “control” if you ever really have that in the first place… In the classroom of 2019, they dutifully motioned along with me as we sang or opened their iPad documents when I asked… (were they always checked in? NO. Some kids are GREAT at going through the motions and being mentally checked out.) 2020 has shown me that a kid who is pouring a bowl of cereal can jump right in and answer a question and a kid sitting front and center in the room looking my giant zoom head in the eyes can have no idea what to say! I just have to trust that they’re along for the ride and keep comprehension checks plentiful so we don’t leave anyone behind!

Huellas 1 & 2 have been a dream of mine for a while.

Breakdown of Huellas 1
Breakdown of Huellas 2

I had created a ton of units that I loved using in my classroom but they were created little by little over 3 years and I had not mapped out the best path to move from unit to unit! Over the summer, I asked my former student turned grad student to help me look at the material with a critical eye, fill in the gaps, and organize into a smooth sequence. Over the course of 3 months, we were able to polish each and every unit and add remote plans so that not only would they make MY life easier this fall but so that other teachers could have a curriculum to use in their upper level classes as well.

Huellas is going to be on sale for a surprise EXTRABONUS from TPT! They normally have a Back to School sale in August and that’s it for the fall! It looks like they see that teachers are leaning on resources BEYOND the textbook much more this year because… well, 2020 is hard! I hope that if you have been considering Huellas, you’ll find just what you need in the units I have created and that the EXTRABONUS sale will help it fit your budget!

If you’re already using Huellas, don’t forget to follow Somewhere to Share on Facebook, on Instagram, and join the HUELLAS Curriculum Collab group to share ideas and plans!

Agua es vida Water Walk 2018

I know we can’t wait to get back to THIS ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️. But while we wait, I look forward to working together to find ways to really engage the kids no matter how crazy our schedules!

Re-teaching the Teacher

Six days.

I’ve been teaching for 6 days in the most surreal school year in my 27 years in the classroom.

First, our students are hybrid. We have an A/B schedule. On Monday and Thursday group A attends face to face and group B attends via Zoom. On Tuesday and Friday the groups reverse. Wednesday everyone attends via Zoom.

Our class periods are shortened to 35 minutes so our day ends at 12:40.

My classroom has between 3 and 16 students attending face to face in each period.

It’s got all the germ-X, all the wipes, and all the spray cleaners!

And…

I’m not in it.

I have an arrhythmia that, over time, has caused my heart to weaken.

Oh and yay… I have asthma.

Basically… I can’t play covid roulette.

So I’m teaching hybrid students AND I am also virtual!!!

Maybe it sounds like a recipe for disaster… pandemic, the teacher is a head on the wall like (I’m dating myself here…) Max Headroom. 😂 Look it up all you young ones.

BUT IT ISN’T.

I’m learning some important lessons.

SLOW IS SO GOOD.

I always thought I was taking my time and teaching things very slowly. I thought I was making SURE they were acquiring. But I was not going as slowly as I have to now (because it takes me a minute to type stuff on my whiteboard in Zoom)… and my students have never been as sure of themselves as they have been the last few days.

RELATIONSHIPS COME FIRST

I was scared to death about how I would get to know kids virtually. BUT that was 180 degrees off what I’m finding.

As the virtual talking head at school, they’re still in MY kingdom. All the stuff is mine. They like to look at it, tell stories and use my props, see my pics…

…but as the virtual talking head on Zoom, they’re bringing me into THEIR space.

I’ve met their pets (SO MANY PETS… Guys… I LOVE all the pets), their little siblings, their parents, and even one neighbor’s kid who just thought Spanish sounded fun so she stayed to watch the Zoom).

This is a whole new level of meeting my students. We’ve detoured our conversations to meet Isaac’s hedgehog Chip (we won’t tell mom he was on the table) or for my dog, Sasha to stick her nose in the camera… We’re becoming a community. I wasn’t sure HOW community felt online but 6 days in, I find myself smiling ear to ear about some of the earliest signs that it is there and it will be strong.

I REMEMBERED THE JOY OF TEACHING

Guys… I graded papers yesterday. We’re doing Card Talk in 2, 3, and 4 to get back into the routine and get Spanish back in our brains after a 5 month hiatus.

After having talked about 5 days worth of peers sharing their summer activities, future goals, or plans for a million dollars, I asked them to illustrate 4 things they learned about their classmates and write a sentence or two about each one.

I smiled the WHOLE TIME I WAS GRADING THEM. I love seeing them drop in an inside joke that already happened in their class… or one that happened last year that they still remember… or just writing three sentences instead of one… or a COMPLETE SENTENCE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER… There was so much to smile about.

THIS ISN’T GOING TO BE EASY…

It’s honestly exhausting. I have to be in “extra” mode ALL THE TIME to engage kids in person and online… so I am learning that if I build in a warm up and a wrap up, that “extra” mode can be 25 minutes long instead of 35!

This can’t be about “gotchas” and “covering the curriculum” and “rigor”(mortis)… We have to be flexible or we’re going to end up poisoning the waters we’re trying to keep them afloat in!

SO MY ADVICE TO YOU…

is to:

Be kind.

Be patient.

Love those kids… even the ones who sneak out to get a snack during class.

Ask to see the pets.

Cover less material but dig deep together and enjoy the experience.

Thank your admin.

Pat yourself on the back at the end of every day.

People told us in the spring that they were so impressed that we built the plane as we were flying it. That hasn’t stopped. This is a jumbo jet and we have a lot left to construct. Lean on your co-workers, relax with your family, and most importantly, give yourself grace.

It’s going to be a year of re-teaching ourselves as teachers but I have no doubt that from this crazy experience will come amazing new ideas and techniques that will reshape the next 100 years of education.

Be safe!

It’s a SALE!!!

Today, August 18, 2020, Teachers Pay Teachers is offering the last sale of the summer to get everyone ready to go back to school and Somewhere to Share is participating!

This is your chance to get HUELLAS 1 and 2 for 25% off! And Huellas 2 is still on pre-release discount so this is a GREAT deal!

From movie talks, to unit plans, to songs of the week, Somewhere to Share has the resources you need to go back to school with confidence that your students will be acquiring language and enjoying the time they spend in your classroom!

Don’t miss your last chance for summer savings!

Does the Huellas Curriculum meet my needs?

Starting any new curriculum can be really scary! Especially in a year as upside down as this one!! We are facing time in and out of school, remote students and face to face students, and in many cases, less contact hours!

I’m in it with you!! I wrote all of the units in the Huellas packages to use with my own students and as I reworked them this summer, the goal was to go back to school this year confident that I had lessons planned whether I was face to face or remote!

If you’re just hearing about Huellas, check out this blog post to find out more: Huellas 1 & 2 intro

If you have the units but you’re not quite sure how you will use them this year, I posted my Scope and Sequence (along with some thoughts about how it may look different this year).

If you’re already considering using Huellas 1, 2, or both… THERE’S A BOOSTER SALE ON TPT!!! On August 18, TPT will again offer a site wide sale. My site will be 20% off but using the code BTSBONUS20, you can earn an extra 5%!

Huellas 1 is 10 units, 14+ weeks of material in a NORMAL, face to face environment and is complete with face to face and remote plans. We are ALSO adding fillable google slides for all student forms to make it easier to assign them digitally!

Huellas 2 is still in “Pre-Release” pricing! We have TWO MORE UNITS to update with remote plans (unit 5 – la energía renovable, and unit 7 – los años dorados). When those units are complete, the bundle will go to its regular price of $110 but right now it is only $75 (AND THAT WILL BE EVEN LOWER ON THE 18th).

*Don’t forget that the BTSBONUS20 code does not work until August 18th! You can fill your cart now but the discounts won’t apply until that day.

If you’re looking for support throughout the year as you use Huellas 1 & 2, you can always email info@somewheretoshare.com or visit our Facebook Page. I hope we can have some great collaboration on Facebook!

What do I Need for Remote Learning?

Teaching Level 1 or 2? You need Somos. No kidding. Martina Bex at the Comprehensible Classroom has done so much work getting her curriculum adapted for ANY AND EVERY Remote situation that you will not have a worry in the world! Plug and play! Try Martina’s curriculum match maker to meet your needs!

Teaching Level 3 or 4? You need Huellas 1 and you can even purchase Huellas 2 as a pre-release bundle (It will be getting some updates as we add remote plans to all of the units in the bundle!)

No matter if you’re teaching level 2, 3, 4, or AP, I also recommend the “All the Cultural Readings Bundle”. This bundle contains readings with follow up questions that can be used with units you already do, as sub plans, or as Free Choice Readings!

Kristy Placido from Placido Language Resources has amazing songs and commercials and has spent the summer getting her curriculum digital world ready! Kristy is ALSO the guru of classroom decor! My llama question word and keyword posters are from her shop!

Jade Collins at La Secundaria is a pro with the level 1 students and she has some amazing cognate bundles and even BOOM CARD bundles!

Nelly Hughes at Comprendes Méndez Spanish Shop writes amazing cultural readings that are available through the Comprehensible classroom and her digital break out rooms on Comprendes Méndez are PERFECT for the remote learning environment!

Alicia Quintero at Teaching Spanish made Easy is offering her short stories in a bundle called Dreaming in Spanish! 17 stories with follow up activities! Alicia says they’re perfect for levels 1-3!

Don’t miss this TPT Sale August 4 and 5! Use the code BTS20 to get 25% off your purchase at all of our stores!

Huellas 2!!!

This morning we did a Somewhere to Share live on Facebook. A lot of teachers have been asking about Huellas and we wanted to be sure that their questions got answered. You can find the live video on our page or on Youtube.

During the live, one of our participants asked if we could create a TPT bundle with all of the units in the Huellas 2 curriculum so that they could take advantage of the Back to School sale. This was a tricky question because we have already updated units 1 and 2, 9 and 10 with remote plans and activities but we have not yet worked on the middle 6 units… but we realized that the discount on the bundle price is really important right now for teachers on tight budgets so here is what we decided to do.

  1. We put the bundle on sale at a deep discount. The regular price will be $110 and we are going to have it on sale for $75 until we get the last of the units updated with remote plans. UPDATE: It’s ready! All units have remote plans.
  2. We are going to include this bundle in the TPT sale the 4th and 5th of August, 2020. That means you get up to 25% off of the already discounted price!
  3. We are going to update the units in order. We are actually working on unit 6 right now but after that, we will do 3-5 then 7-8. That way as you move through the plans, you should have what you need ready when you need it!
  4. We are going to work as quickly as possible. We initially planned to release the 10 Huellas 2 units in November but… MAN… you guys surprised us with your interest. We’ve gotten 4 updated already and we are hoping to be able to finish much sooner. As you know, the upcoming school year is going to be insane. From our proofer to our social media chair… we’re all going back to school… so we can’t make any promises but it looks good for an earlier date. UPDATE: We finished in AUGUST!!!
  5. We are so excited to share these plans with you and to be implementing them alongside you this fall. We look forward to your feedback. Thank you for taking the Huellas journey with us and for helping students leave their mark on the planet! (or less of a mark in terms of carbon footprint, we hope!)
  6. We want to connect with you on Social Media. Follow us on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, and on TPT.

Check out our bundles here and don’t forget that code! BTS20 gets you an extra 5% off from TPT!

Huellas 1

Huellas 2 (PRE-RELEASE)

Scope and Sequence and Questions

It has been awhile since I shared my scope and sequence and as I sat down to plan this summer, I realized that many things had changed! New readers have come out and I’ve written new units to share with my students.

As Somewhere to Share has released the Huellas 1 curriculum, my Spanish 3 class has changed! I’ve revamped a lot of units and added a couple new ones. My new readers Bananas and Vector have made their way into the line up. I am so excited to start the year.

UPDATED: Huellas 2 is complete!

Huellas 2 is deep into production (units 1-4, 6, and 8-10 are all ready and the other 2 are available already but their remote plans and additions are coming SOON!). My Spanish 4 class will be following the Huellas 2 curriculum this year.

Here is the dilemma… I won’t get everything done that I love to do. While my school IS planning a “Return to Learn” beginning August 20th, unfortunately, I am almost certain that we will be back to remote learning in very little time. I would LOVE for life to be normal and for me to be able to be in class, with ALLLLLL the students. But it isn’t going to be normal.

My plan is to move as slowly as I need to and just not worry. We will love every unit we get to study and hopefully by next year, we will be back to our regular routine but for now, I am going to plan for 25 minutes of instruction per day and make the most out of every one of those 25 minutes!

Check out my updated scope and sequence level by level here and remember that it is ok in Spanish 3 and 4 to pick and choose your “can’t miss” units!

With the TPT sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, it is the perfect opportunity to adopt Huellas 1. The units in Huellas 2 are all going to be on sale as well. When you purchase the unit, you will get all of the future updates for free so if you want to add them to your library now, you’ll have access to them as we upload the improved versions!

Enjoy the end of your summer and I hope that our planning this summer at Somewhere to Share helps make your transition to this surreal new world easier!

What is Huellas 1?

Deja tu huella en el mundo

If you’re looking at the upcoming school year with a mix of dread and fear… and excitement about finally seeing your students again… we are in the same boat. I’ve spent the summer trying to plan for the possibility of being face to face OR being remote.

Huellas 1 is the result of this summer planning.

By combining some of the units I’ve already used with students, adding some new features, and adding new lessons to round out the learning, I hope that Huellas 1 will help both me and YOU face the new year with confidence!

If you are teaching level 3, 4, or AP, Huellas might be just what you’re looking for. It reinforces students basic skills while also exposing them to the higher level structures they need to boost their proficiency! And it’s wrapped in a comprehensible set of units that will help students learn more about sustainability, current events, world issues, and their own self and community.

To learn more about what is inside the Huellas covers, take a look at our units one by one.

Huellas 1 and 2

For the last few years, I’ve been creating units to use with the students in my classroom. I wanted them to learn Spanish, but as they reached level 3+, I wanted them to learn in through the lens of global challenges. These units have been so rewarding for me both in my classroom, and as I have seen them in YOUR classrooms. Thank you so much for all the ways you’ve shared your students’ work with me.

The units, created one by one, had some overlap and flow, but because I was seeing them from inside my own classroom experience, I could not see the areas where they needed to be developed. This summer, I invited my former student, Kayla VonBurg, to intern at Somewhere to Share. I asked her to put her critical eye on the content and tell me where it wasn’t clear, consistent, and concise.

Kayla has done an amazing job. We have worked to develop new vocabulary lists, grammar focus points in each unit, overlap from one to the next, lesson plans for both face to face and remote learning situations, and a smooth flow of content. Using 10 independent units, we have created what we think is a very solid level 3 curriculum that covers at LEAST 14 weeks in a face to face environment and likely 21+ weeks in a remote context.

Here is the link to the FULL Huellas 1 bundle: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Huellas-1-curriculum-5796371

Coming July 27

I’m buying the 4 Ecourse pack plus free FVR library from Fluency Matters since I am not sure students can share resources this year. Between 4 readers (Frida, Testigo, Bananas, and Vector) and the Huellas 1 curriculum, my level 3 is planned for the year!

Now that Huellas 1 is ready, Kayla is hard at work putting together the connections in our Huellas 2 resources! We have a basic map already but there’s still MUCH to be done to smooth the resources into a steady flow! We will be reading Noche de oro, 48 horas, Minerva, and Esmeralda alongside these units. The units alone are 22 weeks in an upper level classroom!

You may be asking “What if I already own some of these”? You’re in luck! The units will still work as stand alone items but if you have some already, you’ll be able to download the new package for no extra charge! A free upgrade!

If you’re not familiar with my work, I encourage you to download these free units to get a taste for my style.

Orangután en mi habitación

Viviendas del mundo

This is my Scope and Sequence for Huellas 1. It includes the readers I plan to use. The 4 I picked fit perfectly into the Huellas curriculum themes!

This year, I will use it in Spanish 3 AND 4. The great thing about these units is that you can absolutely use them independently OR as a curriculum. You can use Huellas 2 (when it is ready) before Huellas 1. You can mix them together! It is very flexible although it flows really well the way we have worked to lay it out!

I KNOW that this new year is going to be unusual and I anticipate that I may not even cover half of this Scope and Sequence. If I were face to face every day, I would use all the units but… without that face to face time, I know I will have to slow way down. You’ll see in each unit plan that I have laid out the number of days the unit MAY take face to face vs remote… but it still may take more! Just go with the flow of the kids in your room!