Encouraging student participation

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This is “El Bigote.”
The day after the Oscars, my kids were a little drowsy and not too engaged in the story we were creating and in one of those weird “an idea just hit me” moments, I grabbed a red solo cup and my roll of mustache duct tape to create an Oscar of my own. I added a mustache (inside joke for all of my Spanish 1s this year since the mysterious man in all of their early stories had a mustache on his finger) and named the award “El Bigote.”

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El Bigote doesn’t go home with the kids, it stays in our room where it can be re-awarded daily. This is Bella. She won the Bigote for mejor criminal en un carro nuevo. Like all other winners, I took her picture and will add it to our wall of fame.

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This is Victor who won best hungry cat in a McFalafel in Saudi Arabia! The award is really perking up both engagement and enthusiasm! Everyone wants to win! They are loving the acceptance speeches best of all!

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This is Artística, who won best leprechaun protecting a rainbow. I have gotten so much mileage out of this stupid red cup already! I wish I ha thought of it years ago!!!

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

8 thoughts

  1. This is really cool! What book would help me know what they are doing to get el bigote? Is it just reading the stories or is it creating stories. Remember I know no more than what you both taught me in that 3 hour workshop.

    1. We just made up the Bigote in class. It is an award for acting! In level 1&2 we tell a lot of stories. When acting is flat, the Bigote perks them up! Who doesn’t want to win that beauty! Lol

    1. The first couple of times I modeled with them and now the majority just ham it up!!! 🙂 a few are shy so I might offer suggestions to get them started!!

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