Goosechase: a scavenger hunt for today’s world

goosechase freeze frame2This image is a “freeze frame” mission from Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos by Carrie Toth, using the app Goosechase. The team pictured was recreating the scene in which El Julí  gets gored by the vicious bull, Sábado, complete with reaction from the crowd.  Does it appear that these boys were “into it?”  I think so!!!

I first read about the app Goosechase in Maris Hawkins’ blog and Arianne Dowd’s blog last May. Last week, at the iFLT 2017 conference in Denver (which I vicariously attended through Twitter), Arianne mentioned Goosechase again in conjunction with a session by Darcy Pippins and referenced my use of the app. tweet

Since I had posted quite a few of my students’ completed missions from the last few weeks of the school year on Twitter and Facebook, they suggested I might blog about the experience.  Additionally, I participated in a small part of a 10 day cultural exchange program with 49 middle school students from China last week.  I used Goosechase with them successfully….after overcoming some language and tech hurdles!

When Maris blogged about Goosechase she was studying directions and city vocabulary; Arianne used it with the novel La Hija del Sastre.  The first time that I used it was with the novel that I wrote called Amigos, Abrazos, Aventura: Argentina. It was the end of May, our weather had been uncharacteristically cool and rainy for weeks, the kids were “blah”, just waiting for school to be over….I needed something new and instantly engaging. Goosechase was an immediate hit with my juniors and they requested to do it again. But, as Carol Gaab frequently says, “The brain craves novelty.” so, while Goosechase is a great activity, it is ONE strategy to go into the basket with all of the other strategies! I would recommend using Goosechase perhaps once a semester, certainly no more frequently than once a marking term.  The second time I used it as one of the final activities with the novel Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos. Again, it proved to be an instantaneous success with my sophomores who also requested to do it again. The third time that I used it (last week) was to review all of the activities that the Chinese students had participated in over the week:  visiting Assateague, the Ward Wild Fowl Museum, the Salisbury Zoo, a K9 presentation, etc. For most of those students it was a positive, enjoyable experience, but for several, the language was not comprehensible for them.

The free app is easy to use.  Students divide into teams (or you can designate teams). One team member has the app on his/her device (phone, tablet), logs in and searches for the name of your game. Once he/she finds it, a password is entered (optional, but I used one to make sure that only my students were progressing through the Goosechase), the students determine a team name (and can upload an image if desired….some do), and the missions become visible to them.  The students can work through the missions in order or, as I did, they could randomly choose which to do first.  The teacher assigns the point values for the missions, therefore if random is an option, some students might opt to work on the higher valued missions first. Goosechase bills itself as “a scavenger hunt for the masses.” I can see how it would be an excellent tool on a field trip to a museum, neighborhood, restaurant, etc.  For me, I used it as review and reinforcement of material that we have covered….providing yet another repetition of comprehensible Spanish. I love that using the device, the students click “submit” and a video or photo is submitted in real time and I can view it as they are submitted. I can determine whether it meets the requirements and let the points remain (instantly added by the app) as stated, or delete the submission because it doesn’t meet the requirements OR add extra points if the submission is above or beyond what I expected. I love that there is a leaderboard that is being projected on my device (and that students checked frequently). There is also an activity feed, which shows the submissions in chronological order as well as a submissions page, where all submissions are gathered to be viewed in their entirety by points or by team.

goosechasegoosechase2

goosechase3

The free edition of this app allows for just 5 teams, which worked fine for me. I had students make teams of 4-6 students and that covered the class.  Since I have multiple sections of each class, I just created the game two – three times, depending on how many classes.  It sounds like a lot of work, but it really took less than 3 minutes to recreate the game once it was made.  All of the mission that you create are stored in a “mission bank”, so it is merely a matter of going to the bank and clicking the missions you wish to include. There also is a master list of missions from the site itself and other users, but they aren’t really useful for me right now. Below are the missions that I used for my Argentina novel and then for Bianca Nieves.

goosechase4goosechase5

As I’ve already stated, my students really enjoyed the activity.  They loved the novelty of it, the “escape” from the classroom, working with partners of their choosing, recreating what they had learned, and the competing to finish as much as possible in the time limit imposed upon them.  The time limit is something that you set (and can adjust as needed during the game). Once time is ended, students are no longer able to submit missions and return to class.  A colleague of mine used the Bianca Nieves Goosechase with her students and had similar success with one exception.  She had a team of boys who decided to merely goof off during the Goosechase.  This team accomplished one mission! She therefore had to “grade” the Goosechase, reflecting the fact that all other teams completed many missions to the one mission of these boys.

I would suggest that you notify staff and administration well in advance of the Goosechase activity.  Since students may be all over the school grounds during a regular class period, it helps that others understand what is happening.  It might also be advisable to have each group carry a hall pass from you, the teacher.

When I use this strategy again, I will probably try incorporating more of a “breakout” type environment, where students will need to finish missions in order and solve puzzles or riddles (upload the evidence) in order to advance in the “game.”

Below are some images from the two games.  Unfortunately, I can not upload videos to this “free” version of wordpress anymore. I wish that I could upload the speaking missions, because I was really impressed with what my students could express “off the cuff.” And I REALLY wish I could upload the videos where they sang, danced or acted out (freeze frame or actions) scenes from the novels.

I hope this helps give you a visual for this app.  I would love to know what you might do or create with it!

Bodymapping Argentina (first two), Spain

goosechas body mapping A goosechase body Arg

goosechase body mapping

Drawing Missions: food from Argentina, clothing from Bianca Nieves, ranch in Bianca Nieves, the letter A in the Argentina novel. Below those, imitating and honoring from Bianca Nieves

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Taking Robo en la Noche out of the classroom

This is the fourth year that my Spanish III classes have read Robo en la Noche by @Kristy Placido.  (It will also be my last time teaching it since we are moving it to Spanish II next year, but then I get to teach Noche de Oro in Spanish III!) I finally feel that we “almost” got it right, this, the fourth time!

I live in a relatively small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My students are not, for the most part, world travelers. Many of them have rarely ventured off of our peninsula.  The concept of a rain forest is a foreign concept (pun intended). How to make a rain forest “real” for them? I love the idea of creating a rain forest in the classroom…I’ve seen that in several posts by great teachers. However, our classrooms are shared, and used every period of the school day. Therefore, that wasn’t really a viable option. In the second year with the novel, I got the idea, almost at the end of the novel, to visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  It has a rain forest, parrots, monkeys, etc. By the time we visited, we had been out of the novel for weeks and the possible power of the moment was lost. The third year in the novel, I revisited the idea of the Aquarium, got the timing almost right and was almost satisfied with the visit. This time, the fourth time with the book, we visited the Aquarium in conjunction with Makenna, Inés, and Dr. Parker traveling to Curú. That was, in my opinion, the time to go!

Having visited the Aquarium myself many times, and using the detailed website, I was able to create a scavenger hunt for my students. This has been part of the visit each time. Last year, in addition to the pictures that students had to take as part of the hunt, I added a video component. However, it was difficult for the students to send me their videos due to board of education restrictions, phones, and length of videos.  This year, they did about 30 seconds of character interpretation or a quick scene in the “selva”. They had a blast, for the most part, doing them and I was pleased with the results.

Here are the parts of the scavenger hunt. They were working in small groups of their own choosing ( 3- 6 students in a group).

I.  Animals: We have been adding animals to our active vocabulary as we have progressed through the novel.  I have used songs such as What Does the Fox Say? in Spanish, El Pollito Pio (with an inventive paper from Zachary Jones/Zambombazo from several years ago), Save the Americans, Costan Rican Animals for the Overworked, some previous things that I had created to go with an old “Animal” unit, and Lion King materials from years ago. We have had many conversations about animals, pets, exotic animals, etc. Therefore, I had them create a list of animals that they saw in the Aquarium that they knew how to say in Spanish.

II.  The Rain Forest: I had them list what they could see and hear as they visited this wonderful part of the Aquarium.

rana-azul

mimi

ibis-escarlata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

III. FOTOS! Who doesn’t like selfies and group photos???

 Las fotos que necesitan (efectos especiales son buenos!)
1. la rana venenosa azul o verde del árbol
2. Su grupo con una vista (view) del Inner Harbor
3. Con un loro amarillo y verde del Amazonas
4. Su grupo con su animal favorito del acuario                                                                          5. De un pez sierra                                                                                                                     6. De un boa esmeralda
7. Una persona del grupo tocando una medusa de luna O un cangrejo herradura O una estrella del mar en el lugar “Living Seashore”. ¡Si tienes más de un animal, puedes substituir para otra foto! This last part, new this year, was a huge hit! They loved taking their pictures touching these.

tocando

 

 

 

tocando-3

 

tocando-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IV. Random Information:
1. ¿Qué esqueleto está cerca del techo en el acuario?
A. dinosaurio B. ballena C. tiburón
2. ¿Cómo se llaman dos “rayas” que están en Blacktip Reef?
3. ¿Qué animal es “la mascota” del acuario?
4. ¿Qué animal tiene electricidad en el acuario?
5. ¿Qué tipo de animal es Feliz?
6. En la selva tropical, busca información sobre el papagayo/loro: ¿Dónde puede vivir? ¿Quién es el “predator” de estos pájaros/aves?
7. ¿Cómo se llama el réptil que está en la exhibición de Tidal Marsh ? (Es el réptil oficial del estado de Maryland, y de la universidad de Maryland)
V. The Video en la selva!!! We made a breakfast stop when we were about an hour and a half away from the aquarium. After we got back on the bus, I gave them the scavenger hunt paper which included the directions for the video. They had the time, if they chose to use it, to begin thinking and talking about the video that they would create. If I were going next year, I would not give the option of a “scene” from the book in the rain forest. I would make all of the videos character representations in the selva. However, here were the directions for this year:
• Una persona es Inés, una persona es Makenna, una persona es Dr. David Parker, y otras personas como Cecilio o Juan Carlos.
• Tienen que imaginar que Uds. están en Curú (la selva tropical).
• Tienen que usar muchas de estas palabras:
1. Aves                                                                                                                                     2. Soga
3. Loro o papagayo                                                                                                                   4. Huevos
5. Selva                                                                                                                                     6. Árbol
7. Volar                                                                                                                                   8. Plumas
9. Soltar                                                                                                                                10. Patas o alas
11. Cuidar                                                                                                                               12. Pierna rota
• Cada persona tiene que hablar. El video debe durar 30 – 45 segundos, NO MÁS!!!!
Since I can’t upload any videos on this free wordpress site, I am posting some action shots from their videos below!

We finished our visit through the Aquarium with the “delfines” which was enjoyable for all and then made our way to The Cheesecake Factory for a late lunch….that, too, was definitely a hit! Since we could not go to Costa Rica, this field trip was a good way to bring the rain forest and the environment of Robo en la Noche to them. Even though we live in an area where the humidity is pretty bad in the summer, most of them really complained about how warm and humid it was in the rain forest area of the Aquarium.
I’m not sure how many readers might have access to a zoo or an aquarium in their regions, but it certainly is worth looking into. It is a way to make the action and the setting much more relevant and believable for the students.

miaalastair-owenbrimanal

 

 

Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha….. Chapter 6 in a song

Teaching Vida y Muerte for the second time has given me more time to develop additional resources to accompany the already tremendously helpful teachers guide. I have used several songs with this book already:  Casas de Cartón (Los Guaraguao), Gangsta (Kat Dahlia), Soy Raka (Los Rakas) and Tu Cárcel (Enanitos Verdes). I used Así Crecí (Farruko y Los Menores) last year, but I have expanded it quite a bit this year.  In addition to a traditional cloze ( Asi creci Farruko cloze), we have also used an activity where the students match English lyrics that I decided were the most important to the Spanish. asi creci sentence strips in english asi

This is not the easiest of songs and I do not claim to understand all of the slang in it, but I do feel that it may accurately enhance what the narrator has gone through in his life as portrayed in the novel.  Since the narrator is nine years old in Chapter 5 and then 16 in Chapter 6, it may help to provide a background context for how he has grown up. It also serves to foreshadow the upcoming action in the novel. The next step with the song was to use a word cloud that I created with words/phrases that I had specifically selected as important for my purpose.  asi wordle picasi creci wordle

I had students work with a partner to identify all of the words/phrases in the wordle, and to briefly tell the story of the song with those words.  I then grouped them in 3-4 and gave them about 15 minutes to create a poem or rap based on those lyrics, adding anything else that we have talked about or heard in the novel.  For me, the results were pretty amazing.  I had the groups present their creations the next day, and I was very pleased with what they had done together.  Some groups wanted a “beat” playing in the background, some used jazz music with their poems, others performed without any music. One of the great things about their presentations was how engaged they were listening to the other groups….and how much they understood as the groups performed.  I absolutely know that they have added “That’s how I grew up, don’t blame me, survive, and the streets taught me to their active vocabulary. Here is an sample of their creations.  Please note that I have not done any correcting of anything.  These are their original works.

Group #1

No me culpe por mi vida
Así crecí
Caminando en la calle
Eso lo aprendí
Vio por la ventana
Escucha los disparos
Y como se mataban, estaban más que locos
Vio por la ventana
No amigos o brothers
Vio en la refri
No hay nada para comer

Group #2

No me culpe para mi destino
La calle me enseñó como sobrevivir
Los federales están locos
Así crecí
Caminando en la calle
Entre los disparos
Mirando por la ventana
Vendían drogas, armas, almas
Tengo mi pistola y diente de oro
Es el fin de nuestro canción

Grupo #3

Así crecí, así crecí
No me culpe…así crecí
Sobrevivo en las calles
Escondiendo de federales
Eso que lo aprendí
Que están locos, no mí
No me culpe….no tengo comodidades
NO es mi destino, estar con federales
Viendo de ventana
Eso que lo aprendí
Yo sobreviviré
La calle me enseño

Grupo #4

En la calle aprendí sobrevivir y si salgo vivo….
Que tú eres responsible por tu destino
Y si las personas no me creen, están locos
Las personas no me crian, agarran disparos
Y los sueños de los niños, los vendían
No me culpe por las circunstancias
Los federales me buscan pero no se enfrentan
En la calle aprendí, y salgo vivo

Grupo #5

Imaginar un mundo
Donde los federales no están locos
Donde personas están caminando
Sin miedo
Donde todos tenían bien comodidades y circunstancias
Donde puedes mirar por la ventana, no se ve muertes
Donde los niños no tenían que vender para sobrevive
Imaginar un mundo
Donde decide su propio destino
Donde no tienes que decir “Así crecí”
Imaginar un mundo
Que no es responsable para el mismo error como este mundo
Imaginar un mundo con paz

While it may sound crazy, I’m also adding Mi Princesa (Victor Munoz) for chapter 7, when Analía becomes the girlfriend.  I will use the subjunctive in the song as pop up grammar and have students create sentences that they would want in a boyfriend/girlfriend (Quiero que mi novio/novia), and also for what the narrator and Analía want.

Robo en la noche…..third time is a charm!

This is the third time that my fabulous colleague, Megan Matthews, and I are teaching Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido. The first time was two years ago and we rushed through it in the final weeks of school, relying heavily on the terrific resources from Cynthia Hitz.  The second time was last year and the rhythm of teaching was disrupted multiple times by many snow days and the intrusion of PARCC testing that disrupted our schedules for weeks. This year, the third time, we have only had two snow days, and the book is flowing very well. We have continued to add resources to the novel as we ourselves expand our knowledge of TPRS and CI techniques to complement some traditional methods.  Previously, I have blogged twice about Robo, see here and here. Since it is a snowy President’s Day here in Maryland (and I should be grading papers!), I decided to post some of these new resources that might be of interest to others who are using Robo en la noche, also. We are going to be starting chapter 9 this week.

Chapter 2: Chap 2 picture sort and group presentation With this activity, I gave every student a laminated card (took the luxury of printing them in color!), and they had to decide how to group themselves.  The tentative categories were Makenna, Margarita, Costa Rica, Cecilio, etc. My Spanish III classes have between 24 – 28 students, so I needed a lot of pictures! Once they decided their own groups, they worked together to create a presentation about their category.  I gave them about 4 minutes, and they shared it with the class, using their pictures to illustrate what they were saying.  I think that in the future I might follow that with having each group write an individual summary of their presentation.  Note: Some of the pictures could fit into more than one category, it was up to the student to decide where to go.  Prior to their group presentations, I had the class assess whether the pictures were in the correct grouping, and they were allowed to change, if necessary.

Chapter 3:  This year Megan and I are really focusing on verbs and target structures.  We spent a lot of time working on the various forms of casarse, embarazado, pensar, morir and sonreir. We had worked repeatedly with the various forms using a SMART presentation.  Here are some samples from that: 1 2 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final repetition used this “Toca” board. ch 3 toca vocabulary  4 Working with a partner, students first identified the meaning of all of the structures.  Then, each working with a different colored dry erase marker (the boards were laminated), I said one of the structures in English.  The first to highlight the correct structure scored the point. We wiped the board clean and repeated this several times. By the time we actually read the chapter, all of these structures were easily understood by the students.  There was absolutely no stumbling!

 

Chapter 5: Review bird with all characters  5Working with a partner and different colored dry erase markers, students selected a character and said one sentence about that character, coloring through the character that they selected.  Since the characters are within the bird multiple times, they were able to say many facts about each character without repeating.  This activity lasted about 5 minutes; when they were done, they held up their birds (now colorfully illustrated), and, just for fun, we selected the “prettiest” bird.

Chapters 5-6 Chapters 5 – 6 pictures for oral assessment smaller version I tried some variations with these picture cards (to be printed in color and laminated). The pictures can just be shown to the class, with the entire class adding descriptions to each picture.  The pictures can be given one at a time to a group of 2 – 3 students, who describe the picture with as much detail as possible, and then pass the picture to another group.  Or, using an idea from Carrie Toth, called the yellow brick road, I took the students into the hallway, made a “pathway (yellow brick road)” with the pictures and they worked (in partners) their way through each picture.  I allowed about a minute with each picture before asking them to move one picture to their right/left.  It was relatively easy for me to circulate and listen to their conversations to give them an informal speaking assessment.

Chapter 7 Capítulo 7 Robo en la noche predict the chapter  6Prior to reading chapter 7 and working with a partner, students identified each picture and then selected which pictures they thought would represent what would happen in Chapter 7.  They put an X on the pictures that they thought would not represent action in the chapter.  After deciding, they turned the paper over and wrote 5 sentences about what they expected would happen in the chapter and then presented them to the class.  Their ideas were certainly interesting!! After reading the chapter, we checked the papers/predictions again.

Chapters 7/8:  Some game breaks

I hope that something in this post may be useful to someone else.  If you are using this book, I would love to hear some of your ideas.

 

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!!!

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.

Back to school………again……

August 1.  It’s a date that weighs heavily on most teachers.  The start of a new school year is literally right around the corner.  For me, it is the start of either my 33rd, 34th or 35th year (depending on how you count, and what you do with maternity leave!!). I took a self imposed break from blogging this summer.  The last school year was a tough one and I needed to rejuvenate. I was not happy with how my Spanish III students progressed, in comparison to previous years.  Some of that may have been the student, some of that was definitely me (major events in my lifetime last year included 3 college graduations and my son’s wedding), and some of it was the last step in the transition from text to no text, and the complete acceptance and full implementation of Comprehensible Input (CI).

I have not used a textbook with students for at least the past seven years……..but I still have relied (less each year) on the county curriculum.  That meant that I was still tied to teaching certain “themes/sets” of vocabulary and definitely some conventional grammar mechanisms.  Last year was the “tip over” point.  For the first time, I had all three sections of Spanish IV and I did not have to maintain the curriculum with another teacher!  I did not lesson plan with someone else who may still be entrenched in the philosophy “Oh, this is the level that we teach if, then clauses, sequencing of tenses, por/para, etc.”.  I was free to follow my own and my students’ desires, timeline and interests. It was so liberating. My Spanish IV students, in my eyes, made huge leaps last year.  The transition had been taking place for years, but last year, it became complete.  That is NOT to say that everything was successful!!!  I made mistakes, I blundered, I took my students down paths that were unnecessary…..BUT, there also incredible rewards, big growth in their speaking and writing abilities (even after they groaned, “another free write?”).  Will I change things this year?  You bet!  But I have a very clear vision of what we will explore and do together.  It will be based on the evolution from the past few years, fine tuned from last year, and I’m sure there will be further adjustments this year.  But it is exciting. We will be reading at least two TPRS Publishing novels (@TPRS publishing ) this year:  beginning with La Llorona de Mazatlan the second day of school, and using Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatruche in the midst of the Narcoviolencia unit and the Immigration unit.  I am hoping to seek funds from the PTA to purchase a third, La Hija del Sastre, to use somewhere in conjunction with the Art unit (when we explore Picasso, Dali, Kahlo and Rivera). The units of Narcoviolencia, Immigration and Art were favorite units of the majority of last years 67 Spanish IV students (along with the Copa Mundial unit at the end of the year).  I know that I will continue with the Fluency 1 assignments that evolved from Sara-E.Cottrell @SECottrell and several other terrific Twitter colleagues.  I moved the Fluency depository to Edmodo last year, and it worked very well.  Oh, yes, I can hardly wait to get started!

Now, Spanish III, last year, that was another story!  But, I have hope!  This school year will begin with CI being used by both of us who teach the 5 sections of Spanish III.  We are both starting the year with a TPRS Publishing novel (Esperanza), and know that we will use Robo en la Noche again (we did last year, too, with incredible success).  We also will seek funding for a third, La Guerra Sucia. The framework for this coming year is located on my wikispace, El Mundo de Birch. The Essential Questions are already posted for Esperanza:

1. ¿Dónde está Guatemala? ¿Cómo es Guatemala?
2. ¿Qué pasó en Guatemala de 1970 hasta 1999? ¿Cómo respondió los EE. UU.?
3. ¿Cómo es la vida del inmigrante?
4. ¿Cómo representan las canciones la vida cotidiana de Guatemala y de los inmigrantes?
5. ¿Qué está pasando en Guatemala hoy día? ¿Cómo está respondiendo los EE.UU.?
6. ¿Por qué tiene el libro el título de “Esperanza”?
7. ¿Qué es el Immigrant Archive Project?

Focus countries and some general grammatical areas are also listed.  Yes, I am excited and hopeful for Spanish III this year.

I have not reached this point alone.  If you are not on Twitter, I would urge you, no….I would implore you……USE IT!!!  It is the best professional development around.  Through Twitter, you will be able to connect with such an assortment of teachers, with a collective wisdom that just astounds me.  Follow their blogs, follow their ideas, their successes and their failures.  The support is incredible.  That “fount of knowledge and inspiration” includes, but is certainly not limited to: