Found Poems

I saw a GREAT pin on Pinterest last week from an English teacher who did “found poems” with his classes.  They were beautiful!  And it made me think that they would be a great way to recycle our songs!!! 

The idea of a found poem is that you take an existing print source (article, story, song, poem) and select words that make a new poem! 


This one is one of my favorites!  The song Todo Cambió by Camila talks about changing from black and white to color… So she drew the change in the eyes and flower!  

One thing I would do differently is proof the lyrics better before printing them.  I pulled them of in a hurry and there were some spelling errors… Not a huge deal but something to consider!  

Peligro by Reik makes a great poem, but honestly they were all pretty creative!  Here are some more examples







La hija del sastre- Chapter 5 (personality quiz)

Yesterday after school my colleague, who teaches English I and Spanish II, told me that she was trying to get her students to make personal connections with characters in the novel “And Then There Were None.” I loved the idea and knew it would be a great adaptation to our current Spanish 3 read, La hija del sastre!

On Monday we will be reading Chapter 5, the chapter when readers meet Ignacio, the antagonist. Ignacio’s plan is to win the heart of the protagonist, Emilia, and get her to reveal the secret of her father’s hiding place. As more and more characters enter the novel, I thought it would be a great time to use the same idea that Paige used in her level 1 class… A personality quiz!

They’re all over facebook! Which Disney Character are you? Where should you live? The kids are so familiar with this type of interpretive reading task!

It took a few times of quizzing my family to get the point spreads right at the end! The personality summaries, like in popular magazines, have a little bit of a sassy edge so they may not be appropriate for all classrooms…

El personaje perfecto sastre

CSCTFL 15: Global Giving session

I global giving project started 3 years ago with one idea from one freshman girl! It led to an awesome snack shop fundraiser that has helped us donate more than $6000 to charities so far!

Here is how our snack shop works. I use Spanish club funds for our opening inventory. I buy 3 cases of soda per day, 5 dozen donuts, a 24 pack of chips, individual pringles, mini donuts, and rice krispy treats. (Anything that we can sell for $1 per unit and make at least .50 on the item…) Soda and donuts give us the highest margin and the pringles the lowest but they’re really popular.

The first week was our learning curve. We hung posters around the school and advertised on the announcements every day. I spent the first couple of days teaching them how to shop (stop at the basket, drop in dollar…make change if necessary…pick up your items, exit on the opposite side). If I couldn’t be at my desk, a student would fill in for me (or if a class came down at the end of the hour and we hadn’t finished our lesson, they went by the honor system and it worked well because they knew it was to help charities!)

Every day, we deposited part of the money and kept out enough to buy the next day’s supplies. We average 100-115 per day but have had weeks that topped $700! It was a quick and easy fundraiser that beat the HECK out of selling from a booklet!

Here is the slide show in case you want to look at our projects again!

Global Giving

Storytelling in the 1 iPad classroom: Session notes CSCTFL 15

My top 3 apps for creating presentations to retell, to prompt writing or listening activities, or to “App Smash” for a workshop are Educreations, Explain Everything, and Doodlecast.

Educreations is the easiest and the most colorful. The app is so fast to use that there is zero learning curve and the free version has been great for all my needs! It is easy to use apps like Tellagami with my photo library to create a short prompt for an assessment. With three Minnesota pics and a Tellagami avatar, I can describe my trip in the recording and ask them to tell me how they spent their weekend!

It’s about the NOVELTY that the iPad brings, not the need for “techifying” the classroom! I don’t use it because I think tech makes the stories better, I use it to get more CI without boring them with repetition!

Explain Everything is user friendly, it allows you to export to the camera roll, and it works great to smash together features that you love from photo apps like Aviary and Skitch. This app also allows you to record one slide at a time so if you make a mistake, you don’t have to re-record your whole project.

Doodlecast is sleek and professional looking! It also allows you to record slide by slide! It is a great app for recording lessons to review the story/reading/culture from the day before!

My favorite “cute” apps to smash in for creative presentations are Skit, FeltBoard, Puppet Pals HD (director’s cut), and Sock Puppets! These all allow me to retell stories in a little bit different way!

Tellagami is great (even the free version) for making a little avatar of yourself to give student prompts! It allows you to use your voice (or the voice of a native speaker who is willing to record for you) to make a 30 second recording!

Check out the tech links at For a great list of apps and links to purchase from the great Catherine Ousselin!

Literacy through visualizing

One of the things that has stuck with me about readers is that good readers “see” the novel like a movie in their heads where emerging readers are so focused on the words that they don’t form mental images.  It’s true!  When I see a movie, I get mad if the characters don’t look like they did in my mind!  So how can I make that kind of a connection with a novel we are reading in Spanish class??

We are starting La Hija del Sastre from today in Spanish 3.  To practice visualizing, I am using this anchor chart:

I found the idea by searching literacy on Pinterest!!

So I selected quotes from the novel that I thought would elicit strong feelings from my emerging readers (don’t forget that as language learners, they are ALL focused more on meaning than on comprehension!).  I posted these lines and as we read the chapter I stopped and asked them to become Emilia.  How was she feeling, what did this look like?  

We added their thoughts on the master poster (it did not get as deep as I’d hoped BUT it was their first time so we have a starting point for the next round!)

The chapter went so well!  They were really focused on the details!!! I give it 1.5 thumbs up!  A two next time when they start to dig deeper!

All ready to go for my next group!  Will update with their thoughts!  They can be very deep….  *update MUCH better the second class!  I think I guided better!


in Spanish 3 we are about to tackle the Spanish Civil War.  My class knows a lot about war from our study of El Salvador so I wanted to activate some prior knowledge.  This collaborative brainstorm (out train-storm) seemed like a good way to start ignite their thinking!

1st buzzer (8 minutes) brainstorm a list of 5-10 things you remember about the war in El Salvador, its causes, and its lasting effects. Sign your name.

Pass paper left (thus the train)

2nd buzzer (5 minutes- read the facts listed and add as many more as you can) and sign your name.

3rd buzzer (3 minutes)- read the facts and add anything else you can and sign your name.

At this point I collected the papers and asked table groups to create a master list of causes/events/effects of the war.  They could only use TL at their tables.  I kept them honest by having them use a phone to record a voice memo of their discussion!

My students are playing amazing race this year and this was one of their tasks!  Their ranks in the race were based on both quantity and quality of train-stormed facts!

What I liked about the activity was that seeing what others had written often jarred students memories and led to further development of the lists!  In addition, slower processors were able to contribute because they could read and write at their own pace! Sometimes they get left behind in the upper level classes because by now the fastest processors are so very very fast!

Kiva Projects

Last year my friend, Kristy Placido, did an amazing service learning project. Her kids used their BYOD devices to research borrowers on Kiva for a video project. The coolest part of the whole thing was that Kristy put up $200 of her own money to give the top 3 video makers the ability to really help their borrower fund the loan!! Talk about walking the walk! I was inspired!

So this year I decided to do the project in my class. My students did a reading of some authentic sites to learn about microfinance and then we headed to to find people who were seeking loans! I gave them a full class day just to read bios of people and to choose the person they want to help. They get a second full day to work on putting the pictures and audio together into a video presentation! Having Kristy’s student vids as an example was a great way for my kids to visualize what I expected!

I have offered $100 to the top video, $75 to the second place and $25 to the third place. Kristy has generously offered to match that amount so I can award two of each prize! How exciting!!! I’ll be asking for votes next week so keep your eyes on Twitter for the links if you have time to help us pick the winners! Kristy’s class is going to vote as well! Why not have your class vote too! Great interpretive listening! 🙂 

This is the playlist of my top 10 (well 11 because it was tough to cut it down. Top 6 like getters win the monetary prizes!

Please keep in mind that these are language learners and if you have any type of criticism of their language skills, email me at senoracmt at gmail dot com and do not insult their video. Being an intermediate is difficult and they take it very personally when they are flamed. (this happened, can you believe it?) As teachers, I want us to lift UP students who are trying to use language and not tear our own or other people’s students down!!

The yellow Brick Road review!

we’re finished!  We listened to the audio book chapter 10 of El Nuevo Houdini and it was time to review for tomorrow’s test!  I already know that my goal is for them to get inside the mind of one of the characters so I want them to be very solid on the details of the novel!


First I made yellow cards that represented events throughout the novel.  I tried not to give too much away and I recycled important structures from the novel! Some examples: se quedó con, se fueron de vacaciones, un beso o un choque! Get a printable copy you can use with ANY reader and in almost any language here.

Then I divided the class into pairs (and a group of 3 first hour)…

I spread them out along the yellow brick roads (I made 2 for my classes of 20-21 and it was very manageable to keep track of both!)


I gave them 90 seconds at each paper to discuss in Spanish what happened at that point in the novel!  They were amazing!  TL was flowing!  Being in groups of 2-3 really made the affective filters low!

My trip of boys got so into it that they even argued about when it was time to move on!

Classroom environment is highly influential when it comes to engagement!  Leaving the room for the hallway was a huge success!  It felt more like fun than learning and they stayed on task so well!

We are all reviewed and ready for the assessment tomorrow!  I give the yellow brick road a big 👍👍!

Musical Chairs Retell

We are almost at the end of Brandon Brown El Nuevo Houdini!  We will read chapter 10 tomorrow and I will assess on Thursday!  In the meantime I needed a quick formative assessment to see what structures are sticking with the students and what I need to circle tomorrow as we finish the book! 

On Pinterest I found the idea of musical chair writing.  Each student gets a piece of paper and begins writing the story when they hear the music, when the music stops, they move to the next paper!

So we began.  I asked them to retell the novel from chapter 1 in as much detail as possible and started the music.  After about 90 seconds I stopped the song (Cuando Me Enamoro- Enrique Iglesias and Juan Luis Guerra) and they moved on.  It becomes trickier as the game goes on because they have to read what others have written before them and continue from where they left off.  I gave a little more time to account for the reading and moved them after 2 minutes.  

We were able to fit about 7 changes in 15 minutes and the stories were great!  I saw a lot of good vocabulary and structures and I know where we are going tomorrow! 

For the kids, it didn’t feel like a boring written assessment because they got to move around the classroom!  I give it two 👍👍!