And the curriculum guide says………

para alcanzar tus suenosOur curriculum for Spanish IV says that we are in a chapter that focuses on aspirations (tough vocabulary, abstract ideas) and,…..tons of grammar (preterite of stative verbs, grammatical reflexives, preterite versus imperfect, subjunctive with adverbial conjunctions). So, am I tied to this textbook that we have been given? No!  With this post I hope to encourage those of you who have a textbook that may not be the most relevant….meaning that it simply doesn’t have the authentic resources that will tie it to comprehensible input……to take part/some of what the curriculum dictates and create something that does use authentic resources.

For the past three years I have been modifying this chapter, trying to add interest, trying to make it relevant and not so overwhelmingly dry and so heavy, grammatically. Even so, I have not looked forward to tackling this chapter again this year. To some extent, I have had success, but not enough for me to be content with what we’ve done.  Therefore, I decided to undertake a complete overhaul of this unit.  I’ve created a master plan (backwards design) and have modeled the “look” of the plan on one that I started using after admiring/implementing the work of Kara Jacobs. The name of the unit is now Las metas y los sueños, and it does include many of the elements of the original chapter. Here is the ” BIG PICTURE.”

Preguntas Esenciales

1. ¿Qué es tu rutina diaria? ¿Cómo te escapas la rutina?                                                    2. ¿Cuáles son tus metas, tus sueños? ¿A qué quieres dedicarte? ¿Cómo han cambiado tus metas /sueños desde tu niñez? ¿Cómo vas a lograr tus sueños? ¿Cómo te enfrentas a los retos, los obstáculos?                                                                                                   3. ¿Quién es una persona que ha superado mucho? ¿Cuáles son las características y/o las acciones de la persona que ha superado mucho?  ¿Quién es una persona que admiras?¿Porqué?                                                                                                                                        4. ¿Cómo presentan los sueños y las metas las canciones y/o las películas populares?                                                                                                                                5. ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de tu infancia? ¿Cuál fue la banda sonora de sus años de escuela secundaria? ¿Qué crees que va a ser la banda sonora de tu futuro?

Evaluaciones

1. Examen Oral (25 puntos): describe tus metas y tus sueños y cómo han cambiado (6 febrero)                                                                                                                                   2. Examen escrito (25 puntos): describe a una persona que admiras (11 febrero)                                                                                                                                   3. Examencito oral (20 puntos): Contesta preguntas sobre tu rutina diaria (14 febrero)                                                                                                                                    4. Presentación (con compañero, 30 puntos) : Escoge una de las canciones/películas y haz un video/ppt, etc. que refleja el significado (26 febrero)                                                  5. Presentación: La Banda Sonora de tu vida con audio/explicación escrita (25 puntos) y presentación oral de 2 minutos SIN APUNTES (20 puntos) (5 marzo)

I am going to try to post the various materials being used as I use them.  As with so many of my Twitter colleagues (so many, but to name a few: Kara Jacobs, Sarah E Cottrell, Cristina Zimmerman, Kristy Placido, Mike Peto, Bethanie Drew, Cynthia Hitz, Carrie Toth, Amy Lenord) the emphasis for providing comprehensible input will come from authentic resources. However, I will say that with the constant weather interruptions, it has been impossible to gather momentum yet!

I introduced the unit with an unusual video:  Elvis Presley, singing If I Can Dream in English, with Spanish subtitles.

This was followed by some discussion of his dream and dreams in general.  I had pre-targeted some vocabulary, which was on the word wall in Spanish only: metas, intentar, realizar, soñar con, retos/desafíos, and I kept trying to insert the words into our conversation as I pointed to them on the wall.  Next I had them work with a partner with a “Twitter” page (modeled after Twiccionario by Zachary Jones).  To create your own Twitter page is relatively simple by using the #hashtag with the word(s) desired.  In this case I wanted authentic tweets about #metas.  Metas day 1 beginning

Day 2 began with several posters from the site desmotivaciones that focused on dreams, goals, challenges, etc. Working with different partners, they worked their way through the 8 posters, trying to derive meaning while adding to their vocabulary.  After about 7 minutes, I had them choose two that they either understood well, spoke to them, or were giving them trouble.  They then shared with the class. Here are the Metas carteles, and here is a link to them on my wiki (so they could see them in color). Following this, students worked in small groups (3-4) creating definitions for los sueños y las metas and discussing whether a dream is the same thing as a goal.  After that, they worked individually to focus on their own dreams and goals in three categories: education, family/love, and profession/future plans. They also began to write briefly about how they would reach these goals/dreams and the challenges they might face. Metas personales

Both days I have had Celebra tu vida by Axel playing as they come to class.  I intend to use it extensively this coming week. The plan for Monday is based on a lesson that has gone well for the past 5 years, and one that came from Zachary Jones‘ older site, Actualidades.  It includes a lectura, video, and a free write about Kseniya Simonova, an artist from the Ukraine who won the Ukrainian version of America’s Got Talent in 2009. Metas Kseniya Simonova If you have not heard of her, or seen the video, it really is worth watching.  Each year my students have been amazed, and very moved.  It has led to some rich discussion and some interesting free writes.

We also will be looking at parts of the famous speech by Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream, using the Spanish text. (This idea came from something that Zachary Jones posted on MLK Day, what an incredible resource he is for Spanish teachers!!!!) We will watch small parts of this video 

  We will use this lectura based on the speech.   Metas MLK

Both the work with Kseniya and Martin Luther King are activities designed to support the oral assessment of dreams and goals as well as the written assessment on a person that they admire.  Since this is a work in progress, I would really appreciate any ideas, suggestions, comments that you might have.

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Art in the Spanish Classroom, continued…….

The amazing journey continues!  After the preliminary introduction week (necessary vocabulary, what is art, etc.), a week with the art/music/history of El Dia de los Muertos, a week with Dali (see previous post), we moved into a week (+ a day) for Picasso.  We started with a SMARTboard that I made (on my wikispace) and continued with a ”  Picasso Lectura “  that I found here and used Picasso lectura mis reacciones for their reactions and incorporation of vocabulary. I also had them do some preliminary exploration of the Spanish Civil War, using La Guerra Civil de España and these websites: History Home, BBC Bitesize, and History Learning Site. Yes, all the sites are in English with the “discovery sheet” mostly in Spanish.  The point of this exploration was to gather information quickly, and personally, to be able to move into a study of Guernica.  I also found this great powerpoint:  La_Guerra_Civil_Española_Lesson_1 and used parts of it as a followup.

When studying Guernica, I used another SMARTboard presentation again, and resources about 10 symbols (a source that I can’t find anymore!) 10_SÍMBOLOS_en_El_Guernica-_juego_en_blanco-2 and 10_SÍMBOLOS_en_El_Guernica-_juego-1  Also, I used this great website for a puzzle that I copied and put on card stock . We watched several videos, but by far, this one is the favorite:

I’ve done 2 mini oral assessments with each student.  The first one allowed them to tell me anything about Picasso in one minute.  The next day I did another minute assessment in which they could tell me anything about  either Guernica or The Hallucinogenic Toreador. While I was doing these individual assessments, the students were working on their Picasso heads and their cartoon or super hero Cubist figures.  In the Dali week, they had created surrealistic pictures based on elephants.  The inspiration for that came from smART Class.

This short week (pre-Thanksgiving), we will complete a formal performance based assessment using iPads and the Educreations program.  Students will choose one Picasso, one Dali and one student created work to analyze.  PBT and the file for the artwork that I have printed in color and posted in the classroom is located on my wiki.

My students are “regular” students, meaning that a few of the are artistically gifted, but most of them are not…….Here is some of their original art work.

art2art3art4art5art6

Art in the Spanish classroom

I love teaching Spanish IV!  Although I follow the framework of an outdated curriculum, I am able to add topics that really engage my students.  While student interest in units on narcoviolencia, food from the Hispanic world, and identity may not surprise you, it may be surprising that students really get into Spanish art.  Prior to this year, I have only taught one of the three sections of Spanish IV in my school.  This year, I have all three sections and have been free to expand/incorporate units based on just the preferences of my students and me.  In the past, we taught a 4 week unit on Spanish art, focusing on the development of art vocabulary (and related activities), comparatives and superlatives and a brief glance at Dali and Picasso with a bit more involved week on Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  I decided before school began that I was going to expand the art unit to 6 weeks, with a week devoted to developing vocabulary and interest, a week for the art/music/history and traditions of Dia de los Muertos, and a week each on Dali, Picasso, Rivera and Kahlo.

I will not say that all students were thrilled when I told them that we were going to study some Spanish art and artists in depth.  They were not!  Sure, the artistically inclined students were interested, but the bulk of them were not prepared to enjoy it as much as they have so far.  I decided to write this post because so many of my students told me yesterday, week three in the art unit,  day 4 of Dali, that they couldn’t stop thinking about him after class….that the videos, readings, paintings, and music that we were using did not stop when they left class.  I had students telling me that they dreamed about the art, or a video we had watched, or the song by Mecano that we had studied.  To me, this is amazing!  Their level of involvement in class, their willingess to share their opinions and ideas, and their receptiveness is so rewarding!  I am not going to claim that everything is happening in the target language.  It is not.  However, large sections of class discussion and activities are!  Yesterday, as we took an  in depth look at some Dali paintings (Geopolitical Child, The 3 Sphinxes, Swans Reflecting Elephants, Raphael Exploding Head, etc.), we definitely had to use a lot of English as they shared what they first saw, what they saw on the second look, what they thought Dali was trying to tell us, and what they thought the painting was titled.  There is great interest going into day 5 (Monday) as they know we are going to look at one his most famous creations, The Hallucinogenic Toreador.  They are eager….yes, eager….to continue with Picasso.

While I could use this blog to upload all the documents that I have used, instead I’m going to link to my wikispace, where the entire lesson in progress is a bit more detailed.  If you scroll to the bottom of the page and move upward, you can see the daily progression of the unit.  When items are listed under more than one day it means that we didn’t finish or get to the material the first time it was listed.  While I have developed a lot of materials myself,  I also have borrowed and adapted materials from many, many sources.  Hopefully, all of them are credited; any missing citations are not intentional, and if brought to my attention, I will definitely fix.

Art 2013

Dia de los Muertos

10 years of teaching social awareness through music….

I finished my 10th year of teaching social awareness through music with my Spanish III classes this week.  And, as has happened every year since I created this unit, it got longer and more involved, and the kids were terrific!  When I started 10 years ago, I used 3 songs (two from Juanes and one from Juan Luis Guerra).  This year, I used 15 songs (Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Carlos Baute and Yerson and Stuard).  I spent about 6 weeks in the unit full time, but I actually started the music as we were finishing a unit about travel.  Within the teaching of this unit, I also incorporated preterite and imperfect, present subjunctive, geography of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and South America in general, history of the three focal countries and background information with authentic readings of all of the artists except for Yerson and Stuard.  I plan to post the entire unit here this summer, when school is done; however, you can see the bulk of the work here.

This year, as I have done for the past 6 years, the students all chose one song as their focus, and created their own interpretation of it.  This was the assignment: PBT La Música 2013.

With this unit, I give the only “test” of the year, which is essentially identifying the geographical and historical points for the 3 countries studied in depth, identifying positive and negative vocabulary, choosing their own vocabulary to show me what they have learned, writing what they know about Juanes, and using the lyrics of the songs to support the themes of the unit.  The last part of the “test” is to let me know what they may have gotten from this unit.  Here are some of their responses.

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Additionally, I had some students create extra things, and I had one class, my smallest, ask to create their own Bandera de Manos.  I’m posting some of the projects below as well as pictures of the Bandera de Manos and some shirts that students created.

Minas Piedras 2

Bandera 2Bandera 3bandera 4bandera 5bandera 6 groupbandera 7Bandera de Manossuenos

Assessments for the “Travel” chapter

Yesterday I wrote about activities that I used last year to get students to talk, specifically when in the travel chapter of our Spanish III curriculum and I got a response from Ken Daves asking me how I assessed students at the end of the chapter.  The chapter included travel vocabulary, continuing work with the preterite and imperfect, beginning work with the present subjunctive, and a “culture capsule” for Argentina.  For the culture part of the chapter, I had students create a PhotoPeach , which I talked about in an earlier post.

I assessed vocabulary acquisition informally through all of the partner work that I described yesterday, but I also used a formal assessment that I had never tried before.  I did not tell the students in advance and I did not call it a quiz.  I gave them this paper and told them to draw what the sentences said (reminding them that stick figures rock!).  They could choose three of the four to illustrate (the first one was the easiest)Their response was positive, they did not think of the work in terms of it being a quiz, and I was very pleased with the results, which definitively indicated that they had command of the vocabulary.  I wish that I had saved some of their work so that I could share it here, but I returned it all to them.

At the end of the unit, I had students imagine that they were on a really interesting trip.  Their assessment was  to write (PBT Capítulo 10 Una Tarjeta Postal) a postcard to a classmate describing the trip.  They did not get to choose to whom they wrote (or I would have had some people receiving 5 postcards and others none), instead, I had them draw a name from my hat and write to that person.  They turned in their postcard on the assigned due date, and I delivered the postcard to the recipient, who then had to complete a Peer Evaluation PBT Capítulo 10 La Tarjeta Postal.  Each student received a grade for doing the review, and I formally assessed each postcard.

Kerpoof!

The PBT (Performance Based Task) for Chapter 9 in Exprésate 3 is for students to write a children’s story such as a fairy tale or an adventure story.  This year I gave my students the option of creating a traditional paper book, or creating one online.  Roughly half of the class chose the version online.  The program that they used is called Kerpoof, learning through creativity.

The site further states: “Kerpoof’s multimedia software is used by kids worldwide to create original artwork, animated movies, stories, greeting cards and more.”  Based on the website it is intended for use for students K-8, however my students are juniors in high school, and they loved working with the site.      For our purposes we used the section of the site called Tell a Story, where students have the option of choosing between 6 storylines:  inventors, fantasy, winter tales, aliens, rock party and pirates.   The choices were perfect for our purpose.  You click on your theme and you then are able to add backgrounds, characters, text, etc.  It is very user friendly.  When you are finished creating, there are several options, including e-mailing a link to the finished product, which is how my students submitted their work to me.  One problem  with the program for language teachers is that there is no way to include accent marks (that I could discover).  Here are links to two of their stories.  A word of caution:  the stories contain many, many grammatical errors.  However, I have insisted all year that communication was the most important focus for us.  I prefer, at this stage of their language learning, to opt for meaning over grammatical correctness.  I hope that you are able to ignore the errors and to see the value in the creative powers of Kerpoof.

Una chica independiente

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