What to do on this roller coaster……..?

Hello blog world! School is finally over for the year here in Maryland.  I believe it is the latest we have been in session in as long as I can remember.  The end of the year was a roller coaster ride, too.  There was an incredible low that I still am trying to wrap my head around.  I have shared my materials freely for years and years and years.  I enjoy sharing and thinking that someone else may benefit from what I’ve created.  I also borrow freely from some wonderfully generous, gifted people.  Kara Jacobs, Martina Bex, Elizabeth Dentlinger, Bethanie Drew, Carrie Toth, Cynthia Hitz, Mike Peto, Dustin Williamson, Crystal Barragan, Allison Weinhold, Laura Sexton  all come quickly to mind.  There are many more! While there have been incidences in the past few years where I have found my work on other people’s sites without crediting me, there was never enough to make me consider stopping.  Until three weeks ago.  That is when I discovered whole units of my work had been taken by more than one person and transformed into “their work”.  Not just one unit, not just two, not just three, but at least ten entire units.  I could not believe the audacity. My immediate reaction was to make my current Spanish III and Spanish IV units private on my wiki. But, after making the pages private, I got multiple requests for access to materials from people who were going to use them properly.  I still don’t know what to do. Some people, via Twitter, have told me that imitation is flattery, but I don’t consider this imitation.I would appreciate any thoughts that you might have.

The high point of the last weeks of school came from the fact that I finally did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  Throughout the year, I wrote stories for Spanish III, IV and my college students.  They were, overall, whopping successes.  The kids loved them and they accomplished my goals while maintaining comprehensible input.  I followed all kinds of models from many of the people I listed in the first paragraph, especially Martina Bex. In both Spanish III and IV, we had read two novels this past school year (Esperanza and Robo en la Noche; La Llorona de Mazatlan and Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha).  I wanted more, my students wanted more, but there was no funding for them. Finally, I got sidelined for days when I developed pneumonia, and, out of boredom, I made an impulse decision to start writing my own novel.  My fellow colleague Megan Matthews and I still had to cover Argentina, travel vocabulary and the present subjunctive (according to our county curriculum).  So, I started writing and before I knew it, three chapters were done! Megan wrote chapter 4 after reading what I had done, I wrote chapter 5, she wrote chapter 6, I followed them with 7 and 8, she wrote 9, and I finished it up with chapters 10 and 11!  It was so easy, and it was done in a matter of a few days.  I added in a multitude of images and mapped out all of the cultural elements that I wanted to include (all of the videos, websites, etc.). The beauty of writing this for our students was that we got to include references to things that we had read and done throughout the year.  I decided to bring back, in a cameo appearance, (at the very end of the ‘novel’), Cecilio Mendez from Robo en la Noche.  From my music and social awareness unit in Colombia, there were references to Escobar and things about Colombia that were left to individual interpretation.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I am thinking about replacing the images that I used, with the drawings that they created, and seeing if it might be able to be published somehow. I called it “Amigos, Abrazos, Aventura:  Argentina”.  It is the story of a local university student who won a trip to Argentina, along with several other students in the U.S., and toured Buenos Aires, Iguazu, the Pampas, and Ushuaia.  Along the way, he took tango lessons, found a romantic interest, mystery and unsolved disappearances.  I would appreciate your thoughts about this, too! un viaje a Argentina cover

Mini Assessments for Robo en la Noche

Time is simply flying by this school year!  We have dealt with some pretty unusual circumstances….9 snow days during the reading of the novel, 16 days of PARCC testing (do not even ask me how I feel about this!), and I have missed some time due to surgeries that I had hoped could wait til summer (wasn’t possible).  Therefore, finishing the novel Robo en la Noche  by Kristy Placido. was a bit chaotic. I opted for 2 mini assessments at the end of the book, both of which were completed by students when I was not in school.  That makes the results, for me, even more amazing.

The first mini assessment was called Análisis de Carácter.  Students had to choose a character from the book and an adjective/noun/emotion that depicted how that character acted or felt: enojado, asustado, tonto, bruto, triste or feliz,. Their task was to find ten supporting sentences or phrases (dialogue or action)  that supported that character and adjective choice.  They had one 45 minute class period to do this.  Here are some examples:

13j 3 adj 1 adj 2 adj 4 adj 5

The second mini assessment that started in class on a Friday, and it was due when I returned on Tuesday.  There were four options for them, and they can be found in this document mini pbt choices revised. Here are some examples of the work that I received, from obviously artistic students as well as others for whom stick figures rock! photo 1 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 photo 10 photo 11 photo 12 photo 13 photo 149

I can not emphasize enough how fulfilling it is to use these novels.  The students enjoy them, they feel good about what they are able to do, they feel successful, and their growth is obvious.  Comprehensible input is definitely, for me, an excellent methodology.  I am going to order the sequel to Robo en la Noche, Noche de Oro, because so many of them want to know what happens to the characters….who DID say Pura Vida at the end of the novel, what happens to Dr. Parker and Ines, what does Makenna do….?.  Because I will have many of them in Spanish IV next year, their opportunity to read the novel as part of our curriculum is not available (we read La Llorona de Mazatlan, Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha, and hopefully La Hija del Sastre in level 4)….but free reading choice is!!! Our thoughts for Level 3 next year include repeating Esperanza and Robo en la Noche as well as adding Blanca nieves y los siete toritos.

Music without the cloze……..

Yesterday, one of my Twitter colleagues remarked how much she enjoys using music in her Spanish classroom.  She continued by asking what else could she do with a song other than have students complete a cloze activity.  It’s very hard to give an answer to that question within the 140 character limit. Therefore I am going to share some of the ways that I have used a song recently. My Spanish III classes have just begun a Colombia/Juanes/Social Awareness unit and my Spanish IV classes have just finished the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.

An oldie, but a goodie…..La Historia de Juan (Juanes).  Everyone has heard this song and knows that it is filled with preterite verbs.  There are several activities that I do with this song, but one of the newest is this document La Historia de Juan que representan las fotos (see the pictures below).  After we have worked with the songLa Historia de Juan retell, I will have the students first identify what the pictures mean in relationship to the song; next I will have them attempt to recreate a line from the song; finally, they will have to attempt to put the pictures in some order, with lyrics, that will make sense.  It may not necessarily be the same order as the song.

For another old song, A Dios le Pido, BEFORE my students had any exposure to it, I gave them 12 strips for the first part of the song.  Working with a partner, they read through the lyrics, in whatever order they got them, and tried to understand as much as possible.  We shared this in class and then made guesses as to what the song might be about. A Dios 1 A Dios 2

Their guesses ran basically along these lines:  someone is in love, someone is sick, someone has Alzheimers, etc.  Without watching the video while we listenend, they next tried to put the 12 strips in order.  I recommend having the students derive some meaning before ordering, otherwise trying to order an unfamiliar song can be a bit daunting.  It took two times listening, and they had the order.  Then we watched that part of the video.  It didn’t take much discussion to determine that the song was about more than they had originally thought.  The second day with the song I did a type of go/stop activity (similar to MovieTalk) with the video as we identified what it was that we were seeing.  We then listened again, identifying, by circling, which word was in the song (despertar, despiertan, despierten; recuerde, recuerda, recordar) A Dios part 2. A Dios le pido day 2 Next, I had them,without looking, attempt to write down 5 things that Juanes had asked for in the song.  They shared with a partner, and together, as a class, we listed as many as we could.  We looked at the lyrics again and I asked them if they noticed anything different about the verbs that we had circled (brief foray into the world of present subjunctive, and I do mean brief: they have “opposite endings” and there is a “que” before them). Finally, the students determined what three things they might ask for.

Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam released the official video for “El Perdon” last Wednesday.  It was a song that had been on my radar for about a month, as I waited to see what the video would be like to determine if I was going to use it.  The video is mostly decent, there are a few things that might be inappropriate depending on your school situation and level. I played it for my students as the opening music last Thursday, and predictably, they really liked it.  Sara Elizabeth Cottrell posted some wonderful ideas for this song on her blog Musicuentos and I strongly encourage you to explore her blog!  I did something else with the song. First, we identified every word that they knew after only listening once.  We listened again, and added to the list. It was great because we have certainly been working with “estaba buscando, gritando, matando, tomando etc.”  They really felt good about what they understood after just those two times. Then, I had them listen to the way Enrique and Nicky pronounced words, asking if they were the same.  Of course, they are not.  This led to a good discussion about the difference in Spanish from Spain and Spanish from the United States (Nicky Jam was born in Boston) when your parents are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Their listening was intense as the picked up on the “decir” of Enrique Iglesias; the e’taba bu’cando of Nicky Jam, etc.

Finally, one of the songs that I used with the book Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha (from TPRSPublishing, was Tu Carcel. I had read about the song in another blog, and I’m really sorry that I can’t remember where (if you know, please tell me and I will credit that source).  In the book, the anonymous author will eventually go to jail, but even before that happens, he is imprisoned in a jail that is of his own making/or of the gang.  While the song is technically a love song, it was really easy to reinterpret the lyrics so that they applied to the narrator, the disappearance of his father, the death of his mother, etc.  And that is exactly what we did with those lyrics.

So, there you have it, 4 different activities that are not cloze activities, that I have used in the past 2-3 weeks.

Whoops…updating…..

Spanish IV started the Immigration unit three days ago.  I introduced it with the very popular song, Wake Me Up, from last year.  It was done originally by Aloe Blacc and Avicci.  Aloe Blacc (whose parents are from Panama), made an acoustic version of the song with Immigration as the video context.  It was an immediate hook for my students because it was a song in ENGLISH that they already knew quite well…..but, they had never seen it from the perspective of immigration.  The lyrics are the same as the original version, but they take on a completely different meaning in the context of the song.

We also work very early in the unit with the Statue of Liberty. I adapted an English article to Spanish Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad 2015, added the poem by Emma Lazarus, and finished our brief survey with this music:

The novel: Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13

Oh my!! Can I just say again how much I absolutely LOVE the novels from tprstorytelling? In Spanish IV, we are now finishing Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.  . For additional resources, I have been using the teachers guide (great activities) and also the incredible Carrie Toth’s (@senoraCMT) blog, Somewhere to Share. This is my first time teaching this novel, and the conversations it has prompted in class have been beyond my expectations.  I’ve been using a variety of picture prompts to encourage individual response, partner responses, and small group responses.  Sometimes I have listened to each group, sometimes they have recorded their sessions, and sometimes we have talked as a class.  I’m posting 4 different examples here.

chapters 8 - 10 vocabulary Chapters 8 – 10 pictures and words   chapters 8 - 10These are pictures that I laminated, cut out and put in a baggie for each group.  The words were also laminated and cut out, but in a separate baggie. In groups of two, the students first looked at the pictures, identifying what the pictures represented for the chapters. Next they matched the words with the pictures (multiple correct ways to do it), and retold the story of those chapters. Then, they removed the words and placed the pictures in order, identifying why they were arranging them in the order they chose.

chap 11

 

 

 

 

 

chap 11 repaso fotos  This was done with a partner, retelling chapter 11 using only the pictures.

 

chapters 11 - 14Chap 11 – 14 in pictures  This they recorded with a partner on Google Voice as they talked about what each picture represented over the span of these three chapters.

 

end 1

 

 

 

 

end 2remordimiento y perdon This culminating activity will take place tomorrow after we read the final chapter.  I already know from previous discussions that there will be several students in each class who will not believe that the grandmother is able to forgive the narrator.  I hope that these pictures will guide our thinking and discussion.

 

 

And finally, Carrie Toth and Kara Jacobs (@karacjacobs) had already identified several songs to use with this unit about El Salvador/Voces Inocentes and the novel Vida y Muerte. I added one more to their list:  Así crecí by Farruko.  I had the students look at the Spanish lyrics first without using the video, (although they had heard the song playing in the background as they worked several times).  I put the Spanish lyrics on cardstock, and I made strips in English that they tried to match up with some of the Spanish lyrics.  I only selected lines that focused on things that we had discussed in the unit or vocabulary that we had targeted.  When they had finished matching, I had them read the English strips out loud.  That gave them a real sense of the meaning of the song, and was actually quite powerful.  Next, they listened to the song as they looked at their lyrics.  There also is cloze that I created but only had time to use with one class. I will apologize for errors in advance, the song is filled with slang and I did the best I could do at the time!!!    Asi creci Farruko cloze    Asi creci Farruko       asi creci sentence strips in english  Corrections and suggestions will be welcomed!!!

Music Through Social Awareness….2015

Later this week I will begin my social awareness music unit again, but much altered from years past.  I have to shorten the unit due to 2 weeks of snow days and the 16 days of PARCC testing.  Therefore, I am only focusing on Colombia and the music of Juanes. Each year I have always struggled with a biography for Juanes….they were all either too long, too advanced, or too something for my kids.  So, this year, I wrote my own, with comprehensible input, and I intend to begin the unit with it! Juan Esteban…. It’s created, but I don’t have the followup activities for it yet.

I’ve also written a story that I will use prior to the song Segovia. I wanted to preteach some of the vocabulary in the song and the actual historical event,  as well as reinforce vocabulary that we will have done in the first two songs in the unit ( A Dios le Pido and La Historia de Juan).  I took the actual events, an actual survivor, and the record of those killed in the attack and created a story.  I added details to flesh out the story, creating a homelife, a job, feelings and background information. I have not used it yet, so there may be errors/typos, etc. and I will develop other activities to go with it.  I welcome any suggestions or activities.  Cuento de Segovia rev     and a ppt to preface it and use with it. Segovia    Here is an activity with the song SEGOVIA

My Essential Questions are based on those that @Karacjacobs created (thanks, Kara!)

PREGUNTAS ESENCIALES
1. ¿Qué pasaba en Colombia entre 1960 – 2014?
2. ¿Ha cambiado la situación en Colombia? ¿Cómo? Explica.
3. ¿Cuál es el mensaje y/o el propósito de las canciones de Juanes?
4. ¿Cómo se manifiestan las realidades de Colombia durante los 80 y 90 especialmente en las canciones Segovia, Minas Piedras y Sueños y en la película “Los Colores de la Montaña“?
5. ¿La música y el cine pueden ser promovedores de la paz? ¿Cómo?

Additionally, I have some new resources to add to the part of this unit when we study the landmine situation in Colombia (and the world), working with the song Minas Piedras. There is a website in Spanish, Suelos de Paz,  with current updates and statistics for Colombia. There is a new video, Ya Olvidamos, published in February 2015 and a great video with subtitles:  Qué es y cómo se hace el Desminado Humanitario

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If you are interested in following what we are doing, here is my wikipage that I use for daily lesson plans.

Robo en la Noche

Robo_cover_pic

Snow days, snow days….give me an opportunity to get caught up with lots of things.  Even provides enough time to attempt to write another blog post!

Teaching and planning Spanish III with a great colleague, Megan Matthews, the past few years, and we have really hit our stride. We are currently in Chapter 5 of Robo en la noche, (written by Kristy Placido) and I could not be more convinced that reading, comprehensible input and these TPRS novels are the way to really help our students acquire language easily AND TO RETAIN IT. It’s one thing to say that we are reading a novel in Spanish, but it is just so much more.  This is our second time with Robo; the first time we relied extensively on the wonderful resources of Cynthia Hitz, while creating some of our own. This time around, we have added extensively to our supplementary activities. We have incorporated music, history, geography, culture, manipulatives, listening, speaking….you name it.  This is my wikipage with all of the resources that we have developed. You can click on the menu bar for the chapters; the work is in descending order, meaning that the oldest is on the bottom of the page.

We began our study of Costa Rica with the students NOT knowing where the story would be located.  We used a Primer Dia Opening Activity, combined with a smartboard presentation that we created as well as part of this video (cut so that it didn’t show the words Costa Rica/Pura Vida) , to have students begin to make some guesses as to where we were going and what it might involve. After guessing, correctly, the students then worked with partners and laptops to develop a further base of knowledge with Primer Dia. We also spent time with the song Percance Pura Vida by Percance….a song that they LOVED singing, especially the chorus!

If you visit my wikispace you will have access to the smartboards and other papers developed for the book.  There are links to TOCA boards, Picture retells, Who Said What, Kahoot and vocabulary work. Additionally, I collect resources on my Pinterest board for Robo.  I am sending everything to Carol Gaab for formal approval (hopefully).

Hope this helps some of you who are working with this awesome book!

Beyond the basic clothing unit….with 3 CI stories

Spanish III this year has read Esperanza and studied Guatemala.  This was followed by an extensive food unit that I hope to blog about soon. According to the county curriculum, the food unit is followed by a clothing unit with a preterite/imperfect focus which has only been referred to as past tense….never separated.  There were three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks….perfect to do the clothing unit.  This is NOT the basic, introductory unit that most students are exposed to in Spanish I or II.  It is greatly expanded, and for the past several years, I have let the students dictate where the bulk of our vocabulary is going to come from, based on their interests and questions.  Additionally this year, I decided that I was going to continue with the comprehensible input stories, and so I had to create stories to go with the unit.  (I also did this for the extensive food unit).  The inspiration for the stories came from the current popularity of Selena Gomez and Enrique Iglesias, a song by Selena Gomez (The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants) that was covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band, and the natural affinity of teenagers for shopping (or not) and the “love interest of the week.” When I wrote the first two stories (for the first two weeks of the unit), it was my intention that the students were going to create the conclusion…but they practically begged me to finish the story (hence story number 3).

Slide1

While I used many activities and creations from the past few years of this unit, such as the great song ¿Qué me pongo? by Mango Punch Qué me pongo Mango Punch 2014, a fun group creation activity with La Camisa Negra, lots of partner activities, etc. (as can been seen here), the primary focus was the stories, the repetitions, and a myriad of activities that went with the stories.

The story began: Había una chica que se llamaba Sofía. Sofía tenía 16 años y le gustaba ir de compras. Le gustaba ir de compras muchísimo!!! También había un chico, un chico de 16 años que se llamaba Enrique. A Enrique, no le importaba mucho la ropa….pero necesitaba la ropa confortable.   I introduced the story for the first week with this powerpoint version Ropa part 1 The student copy for the rest of the week is Ropa part 1 We read it multiple times, using various methods and ended the week with a “practice” free write that was completed with a partner then exchanged with another group who read it, underlined the words used and gave it a score. Practice Free Write

Week Two featured the second part of the story. Ropa part 2 and another version with many images replacing the vocabulary Ropa part 2 with multiple images.  We also used these story cards Sofia 2nd part story cards to retell the story (run off, cut and laminated) with a partner. The cards also lend themselves to a multitude of activities: vocabulary identification/description, sequencing, teacher read description with student “grabbing” of the correct card, etc. Part of the fun this week was the designing of the outfits that the students thought that Sofia and Enrique had worn to the dance.

Dibuja las prendas de ropa que llevaban Enrique y Sofía. Cada persona necesita tener 4 prendas de ropa y 2 accesorios. ¡Incluye los colores! ropa maleropa female

This was a multiple day activity…the creation of the outfits, the description of the outfits to a partner, and then an inner/outer circle activity where they received and exchanged and described multiple creations that were not theirs. There was also an assessed free write for this part of the story Sofia second part free write

 

Week Three brought the conclusion of the story. Ropa part 3, Sofía queria ir verb completion activity an acting competition, playing Kahoot with the story and also Triple Trouble Triple Trouble game.  Triple Trouble is played with groups of 2/3 students (each with their own color marker).  The teacher asks a question, and the first student has 10 seconds to tell/write the answer for his/her partner.  If correct, he/she colors in one circle, with the goal of getting three in a row as many times as possible.  Naturally, we also had to work with the song What A Heart Wants as covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band.

We ended the week with an Educreations project  Educreations 2014 for blog which really showed how much vocabulary they were using as well as a pretty natural use of the past tense.