Come Tuesday, I am officially on summer break. I know that many of you finished classes a week or two earlier, but there are still a few of you that have another week or two to go. I’m not sure about you, but I find the last day of class to be a bit awkward. You can’t really teach anything new, but you also don’t want the students just sitting around. Also, my classroom does not have air conditioning and is on the second story of a brick building facing the sun. It gets hot. Really hot. So hot that I don’t want to be in my classroom with 25 sweaty bodies, and they don’t want to be in my classroom with 25 sweaty bodies either. So, what to do? My answer...Goose Chase.
If you have not yet tried Goose Chase, now is the time! I originally learned about this from Maris Hawkins, thank you, Maris! Goose Chase is an app that allows you to create a (wild) “goose chase” for your students. As a teacher, you design tasks (called missions in the game) for them to complete, and they run around to do so. Therefore, 25 sweaty kids out of my classroom, out having fun. I have used this on the last day of school for a couple of years now, and have had great success. The students are able to demonstrate what they have learned, in a fun, creative and competitive way.
Here is how I set it up. First, visit the Goose Chase site and create and account. It takes 30 seconds, and is so worth it! With an account, I am able to create missions for students to complete. I add these missions on the Goose Chase website. I have found that 18 is a pretty decent amount for students to complete in a 30-40 minute period. The missions I create ask students to submit a photo or a video in order to complete the mission. As I am doing a Goose Chase game at the end of the year, I set up my missions to review what we have been doing all year in the classroom. Below are a few examples (I have translated them to English, but students read them in the Target Language):
As I create each mission, I assign a point value to each mission. Honestly, this is completely random number, don’t stress too much when deciding on points.
After I have all the missions in my mission bank on the website, I now have the option to pre-set teams or allow individuals to registers. I set pre-set the teams. Using the EDU version, I can set up to 5 teams. I set them and name them A, B, C, D, and E, just to make things simple on my end. Also, by setting up teams, only one student on each team needs to download the Goose Chase app as opposed to all students downloading the app to their phone. Yes, students do have to download an app to play, but I have never had anyone complain about this at all. Plus, having only one student download the app is more equitable for the students that do not have a smartphone.
The last day of class, when we are ready to play Goose Chase, I tell students that they will be playing a team scavenger hunt game. I run through my behavior expectations - teams MUST stay together, teams must not disrupt classes, be respectful, etc. I put them into teams and ask one person in each group to download the app on their smartphone. Students do not need to create an account to play, they can simply login as a guest. They will have to search for our game - provide them the game code to make this easy - and select a team. The app will then say “Waiting to Start.” Once all teams have reached this point, I choose how long I want the game to be active (usually 30 minutes), click “start game” on my computer, and the students are off to the races.
The best part is that while they are out completing missions, I am getting a live activity feed on my computer of their mission submissions. I can see what team is completing which mission in live time. As the missions come in, I can add bonus points or subtract penalty points from each mission completed. I can also see a leaderboard so I know exactly what team has the most and least points. The students can also see this as well, so they know where they stand, and can make choices about which missions to prioritize per point value, if they want to.
Once the game is over, students report back to my classroom for a quick debrief and (possibly) a prize for the winning team. This year, I made stickers that said “I am a winner!’ from old label stickers I had laying around. The kids were thrilled! If you have a few extra minutes to kill, you could project some of the videos that teams submitted for certain missions and have them vote on which was the best, most creative, silliest, etc.
All in all, this is a great way to end the year. There is teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and a bit of fun competition. It is a positive way to send students off on their summer journeys.
What started as a Fast Finisher activity, has been transformed into something more. It has provided rich texts and colorful illustrations to go along with them that are a rich resource to add to our FVR library. And the best part is that students are using their originality and creativity to do so. I introduce you to: Complete the doodle.
Step One. Find some very simple doodles.
Google search, “complete the drawing” and click on the images that result from this search. You will see a lot of images that look like scribbles, or single lines. That is the beginning of a drawing.
Step Two. Let students create.
Based on the doodle, students will use their imagination to add on to the doodle and flesh out a drawing of something that incorporates the original doodle. For example, I have had students create an elephant, a fairy and a flower from the same initial doodle. The key is to ask students to use their imagination. And color. Bold color. Use lots of color to make memorable pictures.
Step Three. Create a text.
Once students have completed their drawings, collect them. Redistribute each drawing to a different student so that no one has their own drawing. Now, students create a story for the drawing they have in their possession. This gets interesting because I do not allow students to ask questions of the artist. Students have to imagine what the drawing is for themselves. Sometimes it is pretty obvious, and other times, it is a complete guess.
If your students are familiar with Invisibles, have them create a character sketch when they write. This reinforces high frequency vocabulary such as characteristics, origin, likes and dislikes.
To go further, have students create a story. Using structures such as has, can (or can’t), wants, goes also reinforces high-frequency vocabulary.
Step Four. Follow up.
Once students have written a text, you can choose to collect the text and drawings as-is, have students type them, or type them yourself (correcting any grammatical errors as you go. This is really dependent upon the amount of time you have to dedicate to this activity.)
Once again, collect all the texts and drawings.
Step Five. Create a book for your FVR library.
Finally, put all the drawings and texts into a single bound text. (I use sheet protectors and clear front report folders.) Add the text to your FVR library. Students LOVE reading texts they have created, and these are no exception.
I LOVE PQA - Personalized Question and Answer. It is a genuine way in which to build classroom community and get to know each and everyone of my students in very low-key manner. If you are unsure as to what PQA is, check out this post.
While PQA can be incorporated into almost anything, I use the following ways quite extensively:
All of the ways I incorporate PQA into my classroom is based on student interest. I never force PQA on my students, it has to be compelling and comprehensible.
So what happens after a PQA session? Any number of things! Here are some ways to extend PQA.
I have found an AMAZING, FUN way to infuse life into Free Reading time, thanks to a little post via the MN TCI Facebook group. (Thank you, Lydia Ann!)
Enter: Game of Quotes.
Here’s how it works. After Free Reading time is done, instead of returning their books to the shelf, students hang on to them and game time begins. Students form groups of 4-5 and compete to find the best passage that fits a specific prompt. Basically, a bit like Apples to Apples, but for books!!!
For example, I post the prompt, “Overheard in the teachers’ lounge” and students scour their novels (or other reading material) to find a phrase, sentence or multi-sentence passage from their novel that could fit that prompt. When a student finds a passage, she yells, “Got it!” Now, the race is truly on and students have 2 minutes to find a passage to fit the prompt. At the end of 2 minutes of time, each member reads their passage and group members vote on a winner. The winners of each group share their passage with the class. A much more detailed explanation can be found on The Book Sommelier Blog, where it was originally posted. (The author was inspired by this game...which I secretly can’t wait to play with my nerdy book friends.)
When playing the game, it doesn’t matter if all group members are reading the same novel or not. If they aren’t, students end up asking one another questions about their novels...kids are talking about books!!! If student are all reading the same novel, perhaps as a class, the game is just as fun because rarely do two students in the same group find the same passage. Now, students are asking one other where they found “X” passage...kids are talking about books!!!
I played this game with my Spanish III class recently, and we all had a blast. The slideshow containing the prompts I used can be found here. There are 25 prompts, broken into 5 different “games.” The prompts are in Spanish, but the English translation is in the speaker notes as well. (If you see any grammatical errors, please let me know and I will get them fixed ASAP.) Of course, regardless of the language you teach, you could always write the prompts in English so that students are focused on making meaning of their texts as opposed to deciphering the prompt. If the prompts are given in English (or L1), they could also be more complex, and perhaps more creative, than those I have included.
All in all, this is a powerful, engaging way to showcase student creativity as well as the books in your FVR library.
Every day, I greet students at the door. We say hello to each other, I ask how they are doing, and they tell me the class password to enter. (If you aren’t familiar with this process, check out Bryce Hedstrom’s blog post.) This mean that students are entering the classroom and are unsupervised (EEEEK!!) for a few minutes while I am at the door. What do they do during this time? Roam like pack animals, set the classroom on fire, figure out how to conspire against me for the day? Usually, no. (However, some days it seems like it.) While it is loud and bit chaotic, there is a method to this madness.
First, my classroom is deskless. At the end of each period, students “reset” the classroom by putting away their chairs so the room is empty for the next class. Therefore, if students want a place to sit, they need to take out a chair and set it down in the correct spot. (Yes, I have a seating chart.) By its very nature, this is loud and chaotic.
Next, students direct their attention to the Daily Dashboard. This is not a warm-up activity, but information about what is coming up during the class period. (I have decided to break up with my bell ringer for various reasons.)
By this time, I enter the room and we begin class. But what does that look like if some students are still getting their chairs, not yet seated, chatting with their BFs? Well, I start singing. I first saw Grant Boulanger do this in his classroom and was absolutely blown away by its effectiveness! Singing is the cue that students need to get settled because we will be starting class by the time the song is finished. It works like a charm. EVERY. Time.
I sing a few lines of a song, and students join in singing the last few. By then I have their attention and we go right into our daily calendar and class calendar discuss. Class has begun and we are on our way!
In Spanish I, I start the year with the rhyme “Bate, bate chocolate.” I start chanting the rhyme and students join my be the 3rd line and we all end together. In Spanish II, I start the year with the traditional children’s song, “Mi gallo se murio.” (This is the one I saw Grant using.) I sing a few lines and students join in by the end.
When students seem to be getting bored with the song we are currently singing, I simply choose a different one to open class with. (It usually takes at least a month for this to happen.) I choose the opening song in a variety of ways; for the season, popular tunes, traditional children’s songs, etc. Sra. Chase often sings with her students; here are the song, chants, rhymes she uses.
Now, everyone singing together doesn’t just happen. It takes purposeful instruction and I set the expectation that ALL students will participate. When I introduce the song (or chant or rhyme), we spend some time as a class learning the song, learning the meaning of the song, learning about the artist, learning about the country of origin, etc. Then we listen to the song (or just perhaps the chorus) and practice, practice, practice and sing, sing, sing!
Below are a few examples of what I have used successfully in class. Each song sheet has the lyrics we will be singing (the students sing the bolded lines). I try to add cultural information and a personal connection as well, but sometimes I just introduce the song and off we go.
Traditional Spanish Round: Mi Gallo Se Murio
Spooky Mexican Rhyme
Day of the Dead Song: Chumbalaca
Children's Game/Chant: A La Lata
Traditional Christmas Song: Mi Burrito Sabanero
How many of you could use “just one more day” of vacation after the Thanksgiving break? Me too. And this year I took the day. Since I won’t be in school on Cyber Monday, but still want to capture the enthusiasm and energy of Thanksgiving, here is what my students in Spanish I will be doing. You may notice that these lesson plans are heavily drawn from inspiration provided by Martina Bex, thank you, Martina! Students will read a story, a non-fiction text, and then combine the two in a manner they see fit. Because we have 83 minute classes, my students will also complete a glyph about the foods they ate on Thanksgiving day. (Students will do a gallery walk using the glyphs they created the next day they come to class.) For support with holiday specific vocabulary (food), I will also share Señora Chase’s awesome google slide show with students. Hopefully, this will help keep them away from online translators.
If you still need more inspiration to “take a sub day” while you are in the building, check out these resources posted by Spanish Mama. Or try out another Thanksgiving glyph posted on TpT by Sol Azucar. Or try story asking using Jim Tripps’ Nappy Nap script.
At any rate, enjoy Cyber Monday with your students!
This was by far the best MCTLC I have attended! There were more breakout sessions available as a whole, and the sessions were divided into 4 different strands. Needless to say, it made choosing which sessions to attend both easier and more difficult as there were so many amazing options. Here is how I spent my time and what I took away.
The Highlight Reel or Highlight the Real with Meredith White
This session was all about getting real in the classroom. Meredith shared a number of tips and strategies to streamline teacher efficiency in the classroom. My takeaway: use pre-made stamps (or stickers) to offer feedback. Meredith had a number of stamps that provide instant feedback for students. For example, one stamp had 4 proficiency levels on it. Meredith could simply stamp a student’s paper and check/circle the proficiency level they were demonstrating. Another stamp had an arrow with the commentary “my favorite part.” So simple, and still providing feedback to students. As an additional bonus, I ended up sitting next to the amazing Kara Parker of the Creative Language Class blog. #starstruck
Playing to Proficiency with Brooke K Carlson
This is the second time I have attended one of Brooke’s sessions, and she never disappoints. Brooke uses OWL strategies in her classroom and she shared simple ways to get learners to engage in the TL. My favorite was her use of a continuum line. Here is what she tells students - in the TL, “If you love, love, love dogs, head to the [north] side of the room. If you love, love, love cats move to the [south] side of the room. If you are okay with either, move the center. If you like dogs more than cats, but don’t love, love, love dogs, stand somewhere in between the [north] side and the center.” Students form a line and you can instantly tell how they feel about cats or dogs. From here, you can do some great PQA. However, Brooke follows this up by having students turn and talk to the person standing next to them in regards to why they are standing where they are.
Using the AAPPL Test for the MN Seal of Biliteracy by Krista Picha AND
Answers to Your Questions about Bilingual Seals and World Language Proficiency Certificates by Ursula Lentz
These sessions were ones I was waiting for, as I am hoping to offer my students the chance to earn the Seal of Biliteracy this year. Krista’s school has implemented this for a number of years and she shared her journey. My takeaway from this session was to be sure to get students speaking the TL, as they usually have the lowest proficiency in the Interpersonal mode. Ursula works for the Minnesota Department of Education and presented so much factual information about the Seals. What really surprised me was the number of districts that are currently offerings Seals of Biliteracy. The number is lower than I expected, and while Ursula did not have the exact data in front of her, she put the number at around 30.
Inspiring and Acquiring through Music by Carol Gaab
When is a Carol Gaab presentation ever NOT engaging? This was no exception. Carol shared numerous strategies to help students repeatedly engage with a song and its lyrics. My favorite was probably a pre-listening activity. Simply put song lyrics in a word cloud and have students make predictions as to what the song is about. Also, be sure to have them justify their predictions based on what is in the word cloud.I have heard/learned about this activity numerous times, and this year, I am vowing to actually do it in my classroom.
Unwrapping Proficiency by Paul Sandrock
This was a full day session on Saturday, presented by ACTFL Director of Education, Paul Sandrock. This session was amazing! Paul explained the different modes of communication and the ACTFL proficiency levels with precise clarity. My takeaway from this training was students need feedback. They need to know what their proficiency level is, and what they can do to “level up.” However, feedback does not need to be in the form of a summative assessment. It can be in the form of multiple, simple formative or even informal assessments.
Thank you so much to our MCTLC Executive Board for the many hours they volunteered to offer World Language educators a fantastic conference this year! If you did not have the chance to attend, you can still get valuable snippets from the presenter resources found here. Enjoy!
If you are not housing texts in a google shared folder, accessible to your students, now is the time to do so. In doing so, students have access to comprehensible texts at the touch of a button. By housing all class created texts in one common place, students are able to do any number of things with them. They can easily open a previous text and translate or illustrate it. Or read a text from a different class (I teach 3 sections of Spanish I) and find similarities and differences between students in that class and their class. Or they can highlight specific target structures or vocabulary structures. Or add X number of details to the text (if they use conjunctions and connecting words this helps students level up on proficiency levels as well!). Or any number of other post-reading activities. Or build your FVR library with these texts. A shared folder full of comprehensible texts is also great for emergency (or non-emergency) sub plans.
At the end of each class period, I do a Write & Discuss with my students. Basically, the students and I co-create a text about what we discussed in class that day. In my situation, I use a doc cam, so I have a physical copy of the text on paper. You can also write the text directly on an interactive whiteboard and save it, or on a traditional whiteboard and take a picture of it. Whatever your situation is, just make sure you have a record of what you created during Write & Discuss.
During my prep period, or at the end of the day, I spend about 10 minutes typing each class’s Write & Discuss in a new google doc in the appropriate shared google folder. The majority of texts in the shared folder are these - comprehensible texts that the students and I have created.
However, the shared folder doesn’t need to be limited to Write & Discuss texts. Any text you create with your students can be placed in the shared folder. Mine houses our Persona Especial facts (Persona Especial is from Bryce Hedstrom), slideshows from songs we listen to and artists we learn about (Kara Jacobs is the inspiration for this. Check out her examples here and here), and stories about our Invisible characters (Tina Hargaden & Ben Slavic are the creators of this great idea).
File and document organization is key!
First, create a new folder in your google drive. Mine is labeled as Student Shared Folders.
Within this folder, create a separate folder for each level you teach. Name each folder with the school year and level. As students move from level I-II, the folder stays with them; simply rename the folder to include the current school year and the new level. Change the color of the folder to green. When a level “graduates,” change the color of the folder to gray. This allows a quick visual reference as to which folders are active.
When you are ready to create a new text, open the folder where you would like to house the text FIRST. Doing so avoids moving it later. Open a new google doc (or slide presentation, etc) and type your text.
Here is where file organization is a must!! The way in which I name each of my texts corresponds with class period and date of creation (year, month, day). For example doc 3-180906 was created by 3rd period on September 9, 2018. However you decide to name your texts, be sure to share the way in which you do so with your students so they know how to access texts when needed.
Once a class folder has been created, with a couple of texts housed inside, share the folder with your students so they have access. From the drop down menu on the name of the folder, select “Share…”
Choose who has access and make sure they can VIEW ONLY. Use the “Copy Link” button to copy the link of the shared folder. You can post/e-mail this link to your students so they can access the folder.
I post the link to Google Classroom as that is the most efficient in my situation. Additionally, I ask that students add the shared folder to their Google Drive so it is even more accessible. (No scrolling through Classroom to find a random post.) To have students add the folder to their drive, they select “Add to My Drive” from the drop down menu on the folder’s name.
Students now have access to all the texts we create and use in class.
Happy comprehensible reading!
Calling all Señor Wooly fans. I created a breakout that mashes together five of his songs: No Voy a Levantarme, Puedo Ir al Baño, No Lo Tengo, La Dentista, Pan.
The inspiration for creating this breakout is from my amazing Spanish III students. Before the last month of school, I asked my Spanish III students how they would like to spend our time together in May. They were all seniors, so I felt that giving them some choice in what we did in the classroom would help alleviate the senior slide. All the students said they would like to watch more Sr. Wooly videos and many said they would like to do a breakout box. Great, I thought, I can combine the two. Needless to say, my students and I had a blast as the end of the year was nearing, and we were still acquiring language, but doing so in a way that was meaningful and enjoyable to all.
Before the seniors left to embark on their new adventures, they did one more breakout box...with great success. They truly enjoyed it , and I hope your students will as well. You can find the google drive folder with everything you need here.
I am currently using Martina Bex’s SOMOS curriculum in my classroom (which I love!). This year, during Unit 4: La Universidad I chose not to storyask, because I felt my students had already acquired 2 of the 3 structures. Instead, I chose to do a few supplemental activities to get in the necessary reps of the target structures, and spiral the others. One activity that I did is called Sentence Diagrams. I learned about this activity years ago when I attended a workshop with Barbara Snyder. She was presenting a workshop centered around interactive, learner-centered activities.
Sentence Diagrams is designed to get students talking with one another. It also helps to create the repetitions of vocabulary needed for acquisition. The caveat is that the conversation is canned, and not spontaneous. However, I like to use this activity sparingly in my classroom because it does provide a nice break for me. I can take a 10 minute break from providing constant CI to the students, and get them to listen to each other.
There is some prep involved, as you must create the sentences diagrams. Basically, it consists of three columns of text and/or images. The example I used for this unit is here.
Here’s how it works. First, each student needs their own paper. They fold the paper down the middle so that there are now two identical sides. On one side, students draw lines connecting each column. In the Universidad example, students connect a name to a class image to a profession image. There is no correct way to connect columns; students can and should connect columns that do not “make sense.” For example Student A draws a line connecting Paco to Spanish class to veterinarian. (This may or may not be considered a logical connection.)
Now, students pair up. Student A will “read” the sentences they “wrote” to Student B. Student B will listen and on the side of their paper where they have not drawn lines, they will draw the lines their partner reads to them. Student A reads all of their sentences while Student B draws lines. So, in the example above, Student A would read/say: “Paco toma la clase de español porque quiere ser un veterinario.” When Student A has read all their sentences, Students A & B can compare. Their lines should be identically drawn. Repeat with Student B. They now “read” their sentences and Student A “draws” the sentences.
As a follow up, together, students can find the most logical or illogical sentence. Students can actually write out a few sentences. To increase proficiency level, students can add “because” to their sentences. Students could draw their sentences and complete a gallery walk, etc.
The sentence diagram activity can be used in varying contexts also. Here are few that I have used throughout the years:
#deptofone providing compelling and comprehensible input
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