5 days, 5 ways- How can I come closer to the 90%? Day 3

You’ve heard it, maybe even said it, a picture says 1000 words… And it does, doesn’t it?? So if that picture says so many words, why not use it to get some good discussion going in class??

Here are 3 ways to use a picture:
1. Back story- project your photo and discuss it with the class. When they know what the photo is, ask them to give you the back story. This activity works really well with pictures of scared or sad people!

2. What comes next- after the class has discussed the photo, ask them what they think will happen next. This works well with photos of people dropping things!

3. Alternate meaning- some pictures seem easy to interpret but what if there were another (more sinister or funny) meaning behind the image? Ask students what is REALLY happening in the photo! Ex: a photo of a couple on a dinner date. Seems obvious, right? Maybe not! Maybe he is a criminal and she is the unsuspecting victim but the man at the next table (who seems to not be paying attention) is an undercover officer…. There are endless possibilities!

Take those 1000 words and use them to create meaningful language with your class!!


5 days, 5 ways- How can I come closer to the 90%? Day 2

I read about movie talk online and attended a workshop at NTPRS in 2011 as well. What a great way to engage students and use the TL in context!

From this video: http://youtu.be/irbFBgI0jhM that I use with my intermediates as part of a unit on the supernatural to any of the birdbox studio videos (wildebeest is great) http://youtu.be/JMJXvsCLu6s, this technique is a wonderful, stress free way to provide input and encourage discussion!

I play the video, pausing every few seconds, asking students questions, getting predictions, and describing the action. Some movie talks we have done have lasted 20 minutes or even an entire period! The kids do a great job keeping the conversation rolling!!

In videos like Alma with a surprise ending, I always stop just before the secret is revealed and then let them watch the whole video without interruption! They discuss the ending after they have seen the whole video!

Give it a try this week! Just remember to go slowly, pause, and enjoy the time chatting with your kids!!

5 days, 5 ways- How can I come closer to the 90% Day 1

As language teachers we all know how high the bar is set with the 90% target language guideline, so now how to we reach the goal? For the next five days I will post an idea per day to encourage TL communication even in the novice classroom.

Day one, let’s look at authentic resources. In level one I wouldn’t dream of bringing a copy of a Spanish language newspaper and asking them to read it but I can still use authentic materials that meet their needs!

Consider these three ways to make authentic resources accessible to your novice, intermediate, or advanced students:

1. Bring in a commercial. The level of your student should be the deciding factor in the type of commercial you use. For example, novices can easily discuss this commercial ( http://youtu.be/erhsuXTyDww ) using familiar vocabulary- plus it has good culture for the Spanish teachers! While intermediate or advanced students would be able to decode a lot of the language (Spanish here, sorry) in a commercial like this one ( http://youtu.be/9KhGbMViGkQ ).

Suggestion for commercial use: watch te commercial together two or three times and then use accessible language to discuss what students have seen.
My lessons:
La Llorona commercial- we watched the commercial after studying walks, cries, and has. In this early novice level class, I re-told the events of the commercial and asked students to do the same for a writing assessment with a rubric focused on their ability to communicate the message.
Coca Cola para todos commercial: after listening to the commercial once, intermediate students tried to list “who is coca cola for?” They watched two additional times and then we created a class list. By the end they had caught nearly all of the references in the commercial and had enjoyed the way coca cola uses different bottles to represent different people.

2. Bring in a meme! Pinterest has thousands of great pictures with just a few words in the TL but a deep message! Use memes that go well with what you’re doing in class each week! Discuss each meme in the TL. Make inferences about the meme. In a higher level class, ask students to develop a story about what happened before or after the meme!

3. Infographics are very visual! Whatever you’re studying, there is sure to be an Infographic that would provide you the opportunity to get that common core reading of charts and graphs in your lesson! Many Infographics are heavy on visual and light on language so they are perfect even at novice levels! Again, Pinterest is my go-to source for Infographics!

The music whisperer

I love to listen to music. It doesn’t matter what group or style, I love music. I honestly think that if I had to pinpoint the connection I have with my students, it is this. I know their music and through this I know them.

This summer I read the book “the Book Whisperer” and as I have begun to match my students with books that they will love, I have realized that I’m sitting on a gold mine of comprehensible input. You see, I also love Latino music…

I’ve always taught a lot of songs in class, not just my favorites. I seek out bands that will appeal to my kids’ different tastes. We listen to pop, rock, reggaeton, tribal… Everything!

I’ve begun to suggest bands and songs to students based on their musical interests and do you know what?? They’re downloading new music, listening to language outside of my classroom, and even finding and suggesting music to me!

Music in my classroom is not tested. We listen, fill in a cloze, watch the video, we just enjoy it together. We discuss why we like and don’t like certain songs… We bond over our common love.

This week our Spanish 1 story was about a sad girl who was listening to music. It turned out that I was the girl and I was sad because I was listening to “don’t drop that thun thun thun” and I was sad because I couldn’t drop that thun thun thun! A girl asked if I knew that song and before I could say yes, another student said “of course! She knows every good song.” A very happy moment for me! We have common ground even though I’m 25 years older than they are!

If you aren’t a music whisperer yet, consider starting w what’s popular in your kids’ world to give yourself a point of reference as you try to match TL music with their interests!!

Some favorites of my kids: los Rakas, Sie7e, Tito el Bambino, Sonny Monreal, Reik, Ana Tijoux, Juan Magan, Wisin y Yandel, 3Ball MTY