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!