Noche de Oro, the beginning

It’s been a long time since I last shared anything! This is year 40 for me, and in all probability, my last year teaching full time in high school. I have struggled with a myriad of emotions, ranging from “I can’t wait” to “Am I sure?” to “Do I have anything of value left to contribute?”

In Spanish III this year, I’m working with 2 new books this year: Noche de Oro by Kristy Placido and, in the spring, Vector by Carrie Toth.  The teacher’s guides are great and I will be using them extensively.  In the event that perhaps some additional material might be useful to others, I’m sharing what I’ve done so far (we are only getting ready to start chapter 2).

Day 1

I opened with the adorable video from Costa Rica about saving the Americans/Canadians. We briefly discussed what we remembered from having read Robo en la noche last year and what we learned about Costa Rica.  (Noche de Oro follows the story of Makenna and her family as well as introduces new characters and new problems.) Next, we did map work (review); some videos and accompanying “worksheet” and a gimkit that I created for the opening of Costa Rica with a very basic review of Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido.  I wanted to activate their prior knowledge!  During our pre-discussion, they were able to give me so many of the details from the Robo story AND they definitely remembered that the last two words in “Robo” were “Pura Vida!”  If you have a gimkit subscription, I’d be happy to share my link with you.  Map of Central America and videos REVISED is the opening map and video work (the videos are linked in the document). We worked with the map and the first video and talked about the animals.

Day 2

FVR (free reading); Baila Viernes.  We then listened (they did NOT have the books) to the Prologue on the Audio CD.  I strongly recommend purchasing the audio CD as it gives students another voice to listen to.  I stopped frequently, assessing their understanding.  We then spent about 20 minutes doing various textivate (example activity here ) activities based on part of the text of the Prologue.  (I used the text from the Prologue because it is readily available from fluencymatters as a sample download.)

Day 3

Fin de semana (writing this week).  We then did page 2 of the packet from day 1,working with the animal video and the final video.  I also had a large SMART presentation (lots of pictures, infographics, etc) that we used periodically on the opening three days.  Following this, we played the game SEIS! (document: SEIS) You probably are familiar with it, I think that it was created by a Latin teacher a few years ago but I don’t remember the name 😦

  • small groups of 4-5 students, each with their own paper but only ONE pencil for the entire group;
  • each group has one die which is constantly being rolled
  • when someone rolls SEIS!, they yell SEIS! and grab the pencil and begin to fill in as much information as they can on their sheet of paper
  • when the next person rolls a six, they grab the pencil from the former student and they begin writing
  • game can be done with a time limit, or you can let each team try to get one person to complete their paper.  I prefer the time limit so that they don’t get bored.

Days 4 and 5, into day 6

We played quizlet with the vocabulary from chapter 1 and then read chapter 1.  I had a SMART presentation that pulled various sentences from the text that used subjunctive or conditional and they had to find the corresponding text with a partner.  We have been listening to music from two Costa Rican groups: Percance and Los Ajenos.  We did a cloze activity for Pura Vida! and of course sang the chorus multiple times! Pura Vida Percance   I made another gimkit for chapter 1 vocabulary and questions.  Again, if you have a subscription, I can share it with you.  We also did the following activities:

  • Picasso Plates (original idea from Kristy Placido or Cynthia Hitz?) Chap 1 Picasso Plates
  • The Marker Game.  I like to play with everyone standing up, partners facing each other with a marker between them.  I read a statement, if it is true they grab the marker; if it is false, they shouldn’t touch it. I keep track of the score by “inner circle” and “outer circle”.  I have them rotate partners after several questions. Chap 1 Marker Game
  • Slam it! Partner activity.  Each person has his own paper and pencil. I project a statement on the board and they quickly write the answer, slamming the paper down when done.  If the first “slammer” has the correct answer, he scores a point.  If he is incorrect, the partner gets the point.  SLAM it!

If you are interested in following our progress through the novel, my brief outline of activities with videos, etc. can be found at elmundodebirch.com  My pinterest board for Noche de Oro. My youtube playlist for Noche de Oro is here. 

 

 

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Name That Tune!

name that tuneIt’s the end of the year.  We’re still in school! The days seem endless and the students are not very motivated.  What to do? Fall back on the one thing that has connected us from the very beginning:  music! When I start thinking about how much music my Spanish IV students (who have had me for 2 years) have been exposed to, it’s a bit overwhelming.  They LOVE music.  There is no other way to put it.  Even the most hardened, most resistant, most determined to not like anything student has connected with some song.  I really don’t know how many of my students maintain Spanish playlists that they listen to on their own time, but it is a lot! They love being able to rush to me on Mondays and ask me if I have heard the latest from…. Sometimes they discover new songs before I do! So, I decided that I would try a version of a game that I loved a long time ago:  Name That Tune! Of course, I have modified it for my purposes and it probably doesn’t resemble the original very much.  Additionally, if I had more time (and more motivation), I could have made it a lot better and added categories for specific items (sports, individual artists, individual countries, individual genres, etc.).  However, I didn’t (and don’t), so I’m going to give this format a try. If you’d like to try it, I’d love to hear from you.  If you have the time/initiative and you add to it, please let me know.

Step 1

I created a master list of songs that my students should/may know.  I put them in three different categories: easily recognized, a little more difficult, and difficult.  It looks like this:

Name that tune 1Name that tune 2

Step 2

I decided that there would be four rounds.  I will have the students form teams (3 -4 students).  Each team will have a white board, markers and an eraser. (For my students, I have opted not to use paper, but that certainly could be done).  With the white board, I can instantly assess which teams are correct. Each round will be different. All of my information is on a SMART presentation.

I have placed each round on a separate page on my wikispace (Yes, I know, wikispaces are going away forever, but I still have this month before I figure out how I’m going to switch!!!).  In rounds one and two, the songs start near the beginning with the opening words.  In round three, the songs begin mid song. In round four, they start all over the place! The songs that I selected alternate between songs that were tremendously popular with almost everyone, songs that were popular with specific groups of students, songs that were “anchors” for our units and songs that will be recognized but they will need to really think.  Each round is progressively more difficult ( or so I think).  The students will NOT see the wikispace page as I play their selections.

Links to the page for each round:

Round ONE    Round TWO    Round THREE    Round FOUR

First round:  In this round, each team will have the opportunity to select 2 different songs (depending on how many teams are playing).  The selecting team has the opportunity to score more points than the other teams if their answer is correct.  All teams with correct answers will score 2- 3 points.  The selecting team may score an additional 7 points if they answered correctly in 1 second.  I will check their answer separately after the selected number of seconds.  If they are not correct, they will be able to listen to the remainder of the available seconds with the other teams to still be able to score 2 – 3 points. Name that tune 3

The red X has been cloned on my SMART board, so that I can easily mark each song as it is chosen.

Second round:  In this round, each team will have the opportunity to select 2 different songs (depending on how many teams are playing).  The selecting team has the opportunity to score more points than the other teams if their answer is correct. Any other team may “challenge” saying that they can name that tune in fewer seconds.  All teams with correct answers will score 2- 3 points.  The selecting team, or winning challenging team,  may score an additional 10 points if they answered correctly in 1 second.  I will check their answer separately after the selected number of seconds.  If they are not correct, they will be able to listen to the remainder of the available seconds with the other teams to still be able to score 2 – 3 points.  Wrong answers carry a two point penalty deduction.

Name that tune 4 1Name that tune 42

Third Round:  In this round, each team will be able to select two songs (depending on number of teams).  If the team that selected the song is correct, they are the only team to receive points.  If they are not correct, the other teams may receive the points.  In this round, there is a three point penalty deduction for incorrect answers.name that tune 7

Round 4:  Final Round ALL IN    All teams have the same amount of time to listen to each song. All teams may score points in this round.

Name that tune 6

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

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.

 

Creating “breaks” from the novel in novel ways….

I love teaching my Spanish III and IV classes with novels, and I have done several posts about the novels that I use. Currently, I am using Vida y muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha with my Spanish IV classes for the second time. Sometimes my students need a break from the seriousness of the topic.  Below are links to some things that I have created to complement the comprehensible input or to work on vocabulary in a game format.  (We are currently getting ready to move into Chapter 6, so I hope to add more.)

  1.  Quizlet and resources I created to extend the Quizlet practice/games

2.  Super Teacher Tools (this is a quick way to use the questions for the chapter in a game format)  Chapter 5 Repaso This example is using the questions that have been provided as a resource in the teachers guide.

3.  Class Tools.net   PacMan Chapter 5

4.  Kahoot  Chapters 3- 4

5.  Triventy    Vocabulary 1 – 4

 

 

 

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.

Jai-Alai

Every year, after I finish the big music/social awareness unit with Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Baute, my students fear that the most compelling part of the curriculum has been covered.  Fortunately, we go right into a unit about Spain that has several really interesting components.  Yes, it contains grammar (preterite/imperfect yet again and the present perfect), but it also has a great deal about sports and culture of Spain.  I get to introduce them to David Bisbal and his ever popular Bulería, Macaco, Jarabe de Palo, and Pablo Alborán, among others.  We get to discover El País Vasco, Andalucia, Galicia, Cataluña, Castilla La Mancha, Madrid, etc.  AND, we also get to talk about jai-alai and la corrida de toros.

They are always interested in jai-alai, so I’ve tried to expand that part of the unit over the past several years. We will start by taking a look at
El País Vasco with this video:

and probably a bit from the Aventuras Vascas series:

For background information on jai-alai, I use these videos:

The Fastest Game in the World

For sheer silliness, I will include the infamous Steve O and Johnny Knoxville adventure into jai-alai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwZLlwHp2zI   and also a brief Simpsons clip:

I created a powerpoint on jai-alai Jai- Alai-1-2 and I can share my own personal stories and pictures from games that I have attended. Somewhere along the years, I also was given an actual cesta, pelota and sash.  We leave the classroom, and I always let several students in each class attempt to throw  a ball (a koosh ball, not the actual pelota), with the cesta.  It’s usually something that they enjoy trying.

If you have other jai-alai resources, I would love to know about them.  Or, if you have other favorite activities from teaching about culture in Spain, please share.