Noche de Oro, a work in progress

As I mentioned in my last post, this is our first year working with Noche de Oro by Kristy Placido, so I’m on a learning curve with my students.  My awesome colleague, Megan Matthews, and I have discovered that this book is a more challenging read for many of our Spanish III students.  We have worked hard to come up with a number of reading support activities that will help our weaker readers and still engage the stronger ones.

Chapter 3

  1. We took several sentences from the chapter to work with before reading. We asked students to try to determine the meaning of the underlined sections based on context.  It was a struggle at first, and so we did what they could the first time through.  The second time, I added English suggestions to choose from.
    1. Carolina se dio la vuelta y se encontró cara a cara con un hombre joven y guapo.
    1. Era un buen indicio de que él estaba tomando su posición en serio.
    1. Ella dirigió al chofer a una de las casas que no estaba ocupada.
    1. Creo que no pudo resistir mi increíble personalidad.
    1. Ella no conocía a él.
    1. No sabía si le gustaba la idea de confiar tanto en él.
    1. Jacques la saludó con dos besos.
    1. El chofer dejó las maletas hace una hora.
    1. Los ojos le brillaban con la sonrisa.
    1. Me avisó que él iba a vivir con su hijastro.
    1. Carolina se preguntaba cuántos años tendría este hijo…..
  2. We spent some time talking about judging people by their appearance.  I googled some images to show the same people from different perspectives and we had some fun, useful conversation.
  3. We also used the Venn diagram from the TG.
  4. We played Kahoot for chapter 3 only.
  5. If you use gimkit, here is one I made for Chapters 1- 3.

Chapter 4

  1.  We listened to chapter 4.  I strongly encourage the purchase of the audio CD if your funding allows for it. It is a nice change and can be used with or without the book, depending on your purpose.
  2. We prepared a list of statements that we used for two different activities.  First, in small groups of 2-3 students, the students received all of the statements and the following categories:  Martin, Jacques, Carolina, las cajas, la casa. The task was to match the statement to the category.  For the second activity, only the teacher has the list of statements.  The students had the category cards. I would read a statement and they grabbed or touched the appropriate category.  Each group kept their own score.  For my class that was still encountering difficulty, I turned this into at third activity with 4 teams (this is my smallest class).  Each team sent a member to the front of the class to sit with a whiteboard and marker.  I read the statement and they wrote the appropriate category.
    1. Le gustaba mucho la mirada misteriosa
    2. lo que dejó el chofer
    3. no está muy limpia
    4. Era una sorpresa para Carolina
    5. hablaba de una manera informal
    6. tenía 20 anos
    7. tenía cabello desordenado
    8. dirigió el chofer hacia una de las casas que no estaba ocupada.
    9. eran iguales
    10. tenía una sonrisa genuina
    11. Tenían una palabra extraña estampada en un lado.
    12. Estaba sonrojándose un poco al ver a Jacques.
    13. Tenía una mirada misteriosa y peligrosa
    14. Eran grandes y nuevas
    15. Era joven
    16. Iba a llamar al servicio de limpieza.
    17. tenía tres tatuajes
    18. Saludó a Carolina con dos besos.
    19. Hablaba de una manera informal.
    20. Donde puso el chofer las cajas.
    21. Oyó la discusión entre Jacques y Martín
    22. Caminó a la casa de Jacques y Martín
    23. Sentía una intensa curiosidad sobre las cajas
    24. Dijo que su madre era una tica tonta
    25. Tenía papeles, CD’s, una laptop, memorias y la palabra OROTEC
    26. Dijo que si quiere el dinero, tiene que cerrar la boca y trabajar.
    27. No quiere que Jacques la vea y esconde detrás de una caja.
    28. Está 15 minutos de la oficina de Carolina.
    29. Donde están las cajas
    30. Donde Jacques hizo las llamadas telefónicas
    Jacques Martín
    Las cajas La casa

    3.  We used the star puzzle as well as the prueba in the TG.

Chapter 5

  1.  To prepare to read Chapter 5, we developed these five “mini stations” to use.  Students were working with a partner with this document: Chap 5 mini stations. About every 5 minutes, I called “time” for them to move to a different part of the document.  I also spent 5 minutes with each of my desk pods (I have 5 pods of 4 – 6 desks each) to do the oral piece (station #1) with that group.  On each pod of desks was a laptop so that they could watch the assigned video.  The entire activity went very well and really prepared them for what they would encounter in chapter 5.
  2. As we read chapter 5, each student had a copy of this document: student copy for chapter listening.  On the board, via a SMART presentation (which I can’t upload on wordpress) were projected questions and possible answers. They read, listened and selected answers as we read.                                                                                                   Samples:                                                                                                                                    In response to the question  ¿Cómo era Gabriel?                                                        1.  Hay 3…
    amable bruto moreno rubio
    cómico joven misterioso alto
    peligroso aburrido inteligente divertido                                                                                  In response to:     2. ¿Qué lo llamaron los estudiantes de Gabriel?                                   a. Señor Ording b. Gabriel c. Profesor                                                                                   In response to:  3. ¿Que estudiaron los estudiantes que llevó Gabriel a la hacienda?   a. El impacto de las actividades de los humanos en el medioambiente
    b. El impacto de temblores en Costa Rica y la necesidad para reforestacion.
    c. El impacto de las aves y iguanas en el medioambiente

3.  We used the TG assessment pictures as practice and I added some matching statements to the 6 main characters.

4.  We did a free write on Jacques/Martin.                                                                                        ¿Qué sabes sobre Jacques Mauvais?
¿Cómo es?
¿De dónde?
Descripción física
Descripción de su personalidad/carácter
Su familia
¿Dónde vive?
¿Qué quiere? ¿En qué tiene interés?
¿Qué sabes de Martín?
¿Cómo es?
¿De dónde?
Descripción física
Descripción de su personalidad/carácter
Su familia
¿Dónde vive?
¿Qué quiere? ¿En qué tiene interés?

Chapter 6

  1. We used the audio guide again with this chapter.  Students used this document:  ch 6 worksheet for audio guide with SMART  to answer these questions (projected on a SMART presentation)                                                                                                             Párrafos 1/2
    1. ¿Qué pensaba Alex sobre Martín?
    Párrafos 3/4
    2. ¿Cómo estaba Martín cuando vio el microbús?
    Párrafo 5
    3. ¿A dónde fueron para comer?
    4. ¿Quién era el mejor bailador/bailarín?
    Párrafo 6
    5. ¿A dónde quería ir Makenna?
    6. ¿Cómo estaba Makenna después de bailar?
    Párrafo 7
    7. ¿Dónde decidieron sentarse?
    8. ¿Quién pensaba en besar?
    Párrafo 8
    9. ¿A dónde tuvieron que ir Makenna y Martín?
    10. ¿Cómo estaba Makenna?
    Párrafo 9
    11. ¿En qué pensó Makenna?
    12. ¿Cómo fue Martín cuando su padrastro le gritó sobre el trabajo?

By this point of the book, two of my three sections did not need to be so “guided” during reading, but my third section, the group with the greatest range of abilities (from exceptionally weak to above Spanish III), really appreciated the additional support, as indicated by asking them to respond anonymously to the question “Did this help?” student response to working through chapter

2.  We used the Reader’s Theater in the TG.

3.  We did an “order the chapter” activity in groups of two (each group had sentence strips on cardstock to order). Additionally we read them aloud and I had random groups do some translating of the sentences. Chap 6 order the chapter  

4.  We played Kahoot for chapters 5/6.

Chapter 7

  1.  We spent some time talking about “Odiar” using a detailed SMART presentation.  Here are some samples from it:

2.  We explored some of the vocabulary in the chaptervocab.PNG

and we made some predictions based on these words: prediction

3.  We played the marker game (Cynthia Hitz). I used the true/false statements from chapter 7 with an additional 15 that I wrote.

4.  We used this  Review through 7  twice.  The first time, in small groups of 2 – 3, they sorted through all of the cards placing them in categories of their creation (I had 8 or 9 sets printed on cardstock and cut out).  The second time, in teams of 4-5, we played the Reading Game. I read a statement, the team member wrote the answer, and if correct, drew a card.  See the post for scoring information.

Chapter 8

  1.  Chapter 8 is a short, fun read.  I assigned each of my desk pods a sound effect to produce as we read.                                                                                                         Sonido: make sounds
    Moto: Vroom Vroom Vroom
    Cataratas: Swooshhhhhhh
    Martín: ¡Pura Vida!
    Makenna: ¡Bésame!
  2. If you have gimkit, here is a gimkit I created for chapters 5 – 8.

Chapter 9

  1.  We used the suggested “emoticon” activity in the TG. I projected 9 emoticons, we practiced the pronunciation and generally had some fun with them. We then took 3 sentences from the chapter (this is prior to reading chapter) and determined meaning and pronunciation.  I then passed out an “emoticon” card to everyone (yes, there were duplicates and triplicates). We practiced reading the sentences with our seat partners. Then, we got up inner/outer circle and  I then said “Sentence 1”. They read the sentence based on the emoticon and their partner guessed which emoticon it was. They exchanged emoticon cards and the outer circle shifted one person to the right. This was a FUN activity. emoticons
  2.  We played charades/pictionary with short sentences and vocabulary from chapter 9.
  3. We used the suggested assessment in the TG with some additional questions.

Chapter 10

  1. We used the TG powerpoint (with additional images) to talk about our fears. I also added many slides of dangerous bridges to our SMART presentation for this chapter (with appropriate scary, anxious music).
  2. As we read chapter 10, I used lighting and music to amplify the “drama”.
  3. We used the suggested post reading questions in groups of three.

When our break is over, we still have 3 chapters to read.  I’m a bit apprehensive that the students will have forgotten some of what we have done, but we are determined to wrap the book up in the first week after break.  We then will move on to Felipe Alou!

I’m really interested in what you may have created for this book by Kristy Placido.  Also, if you use any of these activities, I’d love to know how they go for you. Finally, I conclude this post by saying I am NOT a native speaker.  I’m sure there are errors which I will gratefully correct if pointed out!


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).


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.

Unexpected additions to the Immigration unit

My Spanish IV students have been working in the Immigration unit for the past four weeks.  As I wrote in that earlier post, the basic framework of the unit is based on the great work of Kara Jacobs and Pilar Munday, with additional songs, readings and materials from me. It is taking a bit longer than I expected due to four snow days that have really interrupted the flow of the lessons, and also a few twists in the unit that I didn’t expect.  We spent quite a bit of time with the movie Which Way Home, much discussion, a wonderful Free Write, and a great search to see where the featured children from the movie are today (we found most of them!). We also spent some time talking about the American Dream:  what it means to Americans, to them as students, what it means to different nationalities, how it has changed, etc.  They wrote definitions of the American Dream, illustrating them and posting them in the classroom, and then modified them after watching these videos:

We talked quite a bit about the Statue of Liberty and what it represents. Because they really didn’t know much about the Statue of Liberty, and I felt that the symbolism was important to the overall unit, I used a modified reading Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad.  I discovered that we really had to work through the Emma Lazarus poem as the English language was difficult for them!  We watched this video and we also practiced reading the poem dramatically, which I believed really helped them to understand the significance of the Statue of Liberty.

We’ve explored Green Cards, Visas, the Dream Act, and related topics as I expected to do. We have used a lot of music, which brings me to the next unexpected addition.  One of the songs that we were scheduled to study indepth is Bandera by Aterciopelados.  We began by talking about what flags represent in general.  Since there are 10 flags hanging around my room, we had a lot with which to work. flags Again I was surprised about how little they knew about their own U.S. flag. Since they had done some preliminary work with a partner about the symbol on the Mexican flag as well as the Virgen de Guadalupe, I almost felt like they knew more about that flag! We watched the video several times, over the span of 4 days, working with different aspects of it.  We talked about what they saw in the video, what they heard in the video, and how they felt.  They completed a cloze activity as well as activities with specific lyrics, translating, ordering, etc. They read about the band and why they made the video Aterciopelados reading.  And of course we sang it! Next, I used information from The World Factbook to give them more background material on the symbolism of individual flags. After reading about the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States, they had small group discussions about what flags have in common, what information is available about a country based on its’ flag, and when flags may change and why.  I then asked them to create their own flags (keeping in mind the lyrics to Bandera) with the condition that the flag could not represent one country and they had to write a description of the significance of  the colors and symbols of the flag created.  I gave them 20 minutes.  To me, the results were quite impressive. Here are some examples of that work, unedited….so the descriptions are as they wrote and printed them.

flags 1flags8

flags 2flags 3flags 4flags 5flags 7We have moved on, completing a few days with ICE by La Santa Cecilia, among several other songs.  We have watched 30 Days, done another Free Write, and have had two oral evaluations.  I believe that my students have remained engaged most of the time.  This coming week I plan to work with Pa’l Norte by Calle 13 and Pobre Juan by Mana as well as have them create infographics about the Dream Act/the Dreamers.  I anticipate being in this unit 7 – 8 more days.  Here is the unit plan, and here is the daily plan.





Argentina! culture, geography, reading, speaking and listening!

My Spanish III students have been in the “travel” chapter. For the past 4 years, I’ve had my students “travel” to Argentina, and I have had them work quite a bit with maps and geography (two of the many links I use).  One of the activities that I do is to have them compare Buenos Aires and Washington, D.C.  Of course, initially, they don’t know what they are doing!

The first thing I do is divide them into groups (no more than 4 students per group) and give each group a packet of laminated, full color pictures (all pictures are located on the powerpoint below, just separated).  Those pictures include geographical markers, sports, food, government buildings, etc. I ask the students to categorize the pictures into no more than 6 groups, and to write the names of the categories they chose. Buenos Aires DC categorization student group sheet  The back of this paper will be used for the similarity/difference activity the next day.

I then asked them if they could guess the places/cities in the pictures.  Of course, they came up with D.C. immediately, and because we had begun our preliminary introduction (Qué sabes de opening activity 2014) to Argentina, they guessed Buenos Aires.  The next step was to divide the pictures into two groups: Buenos Aires/D.C.: quickly and easily done. We  used this powerpoint Buenos Aires Washington, D.C. 2014 revised and started to talk about the similarities and differences between the two places. We continued this work the next day, but did not finish the powerpoint.  Instead, I gave them the packet of pictures again and this time, also gave them captions Facts for Buenos Aires Washington D.C..  I asked them to match the captions with the pictures.  Two members of the group were responsible for D.C. and two were responsible for Buenos Aires.  They had to share information with each other when they finished, and I then also had them choose one picture/caption from D.C., and one from Buenos Aires that they were responsible for “teaching” to each other. They practiced reading captions to each other, choosing the appropriate pictures, etc. We then finished the powerpoint, and each group completed the paper Buenos Aires DC categorization student group sheet with their similarities/differences. It always amazes me how much the students DON’T know about their own capital!

The next day, in groups of two, I gave each student 9 words.  Their task was to describe the nine words to their partner, without using the actual word, so that their partner would say that word(s). Each one had nine different words. Argentina questions Since we had been doing some map work, and we had watched several short clips about Argentina, I had them work with that partner to color code this map. La Argentina primer trabajo del mapa  mapa

Borrowing an activity from one of my colleagues, I had my students work with another partner to complete a reading/listening and map activity. Each partner got a description of an imaginary trip that he/she had taken.  They read it silently, then they read it to their partner.  I had them read aloud several times, using various “voices”. The next day, they each got a map, and the partner read the description of his/her trip one more time to his/her partner.  This time, the partner was drawing everything that was said on the map.  Once they finished, they had to write 5 sentences, using ONLY the map that they had drawn on, to describe the trip of their partner.  While this activity was going on, I was conducting individual one minute speaking assessments with each student in the class. Partner description of trip to Argentina with drawing activity  5 sentence about partner’s trip

A final speaking/pronunciation assessment came from a Google Voice assignment that I gave them 2 nights to complete.  We practiced reading a paragraph about a trip to Argentina several times.  They all read, and I timed them.  Finally, they called my Google Voice number and recorded it.  Google voice paragraph read Hice un viaje a Buenos Aires

A final activity with maps that was 100% engaging (again borrowed from a colleague): I gave a group of two students a blank map of South America in a sheet protector; the map had NO political divisions.  Each student had a different colored dry erase marker and eraser.  Their task was to draw all 13 countries and capitals, the equator, the Andes mountains, and label the oceans.  I had to see approximately equal colors on their finished work to indicate that both partners had shared equally in the work.  I was amazed at how intently they worked on this activity!

New Unit: Immigration

Statue of LibertyThanks to the addition of another unexpected day at home (snow day #6), I’ve been able to devote quite a bit of time to the next unit that Spanish IV is going to explore:  Immigration in the United States.  Before I go any further, I must say that I am indebted to the great, original work of Kara Jacobs @(karacjacobs) and the additions of Pilar Munday (@mundaysa) and @cristinaZimmer4. Next, I would like to say that while this is a unit that I will be using with my Spanish IV students, I think that there is material here that can be used with all levels of proficiency, including novice.  I’ve created a database for 29 songs that deal with immigration17 videos that deal with immigration and 35 links on the web for authentic resources both in Spanish and in English.  This is my Pinterest board, where I have been collecting resources for the past several months. Here is the link to the daily lesson plans from my wikispace, El Mundo de Birch which are in development and will be added to on a daily basis for the next month that I am in this unit. As of this writing, there are three full days of lesson plans, with the outline for the next six days.


1     Define la diferencia entre “emgirar” y “inmigrar”. ¿Qué es el Sueño Americano? ¿Ha cambiado el Sueño Americano? Explica tu respuesta.

2     ¿Por qué emigran ilegalmente muchas personas a los Estados Unidos? ¿De dónde es la mayoría de los inmigrantes indocumentados? ¿Cómo llegan algunos? ¿Por qué vienen ilegalmente y no legalmente? ¿Cuál es el proceso de entrar legalmente en los EEUU?

3     ¿Qué pasa ahora con la reforma migratoria en los EEUU? ¿Qué es el DREAM Act?

4     ¿Quiénes son algunos cantantes que cantan sobre la inmigración? ¿Cuáles son sus perspectivas? ¿Cómo son diferentes y/o similares las canciones y los videos? ¿Qué opinas tú de las canciones?

5     En tu opinión, ¿hay una solución al problema? ¿En qué consiste?


  1. Evaluación Oral, basada en Pregunta Esencial #2 (el 17/18 marzo) 25 puntos
  2. Free Writes
    1.  Which Way Home (10/11 marzo) 20 puntos
    2. 30 Days Inmigración (13/14 marzo) 20 puntos
  3. Compara y contrasta dos o tres de las canciones en cuanto a sus perspectivas de la inmigración illegal. (I.C.E./Bandera/Pa’l Norte/Pobre Juan) En tu opinión, ¿qué es el mensaje de la canción ? ¿Estás de acuerdo con el mensaje? ¿Por qué sí o no? Apoya (support) tu respuesta conlíneas de la canción. (25 marzo) 30 puntos
  4. Evaluación Oral, basada en Pregunta Esencial #3 después de leer el artículo de CNN       Google Voice response (20 marzo) 20 puntos
  5. Interpretación dramática de una de las canciones ( I.C.E. por La Santa Cecilia, Bandera por Aterciopelados, Pobre Juan por Maná, Pa’l Norte por Calle 13)
  • a. grupos de 3-4 personas
  • b. escriben una “obra” (play) sobre la canción
  • c. presentan la “obra” en clase (sin apuntes)
  • d. 31 marzo, 1 abril,  guión (script) 20 puntos, presentación oral 25 puntos

The initial target vocabulary for this unit: (Quizlet)

  • 1. cárcel
  • 2. castigo
  • 3. ciudadanía
  • 4. ciudadano
  • 5. cruzar
  • 6. discriminar
  • 7. dispuesto a trabajar
  • 8. echar de menos
  • 9. el derecho
  • 10. en busca de
  • 11. extranjero
  • 12. frontera
  • 13. igualdad
  • 14. leyes
  • 15. mudarse
  • 16. país natal
  • 17. población
  • 18. preocuparse por
  • 19. prosperidad
  • 20. seguir las leyes
  • 21. ser testigo (de)
  • 22. tratar (de)

Las Metas y Los Sueños…..part 2

In the last post I included the activities for the first 4 days of the unit.  This post includes the plans for Days 5, 6 and 7 (my class periods are just 45 – 50 minutes long).

Day 5

Neil Jones has a great blog with wonderful resources and ideas for Spanish teachers.  In 2012 he posted an activity:  El sueño y el orgullo, that will fit nicely in this unit.  It has many of the vocabulary words that I am targeting, reflexive verbs and subjunctive.  It is a good cloze listening activity that I will expand into conversation and reading.

Day 6

I wish I remembered where I read the following idea, but I don’t…if you recognize the idea, please let me know and I will credit the source!  Five to seven students will volunteer (depending on class size, my largest has 26, the smallest 20) to stand in front of their peers.  I will give each of those students 2 pictures that the rest of the class will not see.  The class will receive a grid with potential jobs listed.  Their task is to ask questions to their classmates standing in front of them, trying to determine who has which job.  The students standing in front with the pictures may only answer yes/no.  Every student must ask a question, with the “winning student” being the first student to match his classmate with the job correctly. This may have to be adjusted!  Following this whole class speaking/listening activity, I will give a picture to each student in the class and have them respond to this prompt:

Eres la persona en la foto. ¿Cómo llegaste allí? ¿Cuáles eran tus sueños/metas? ¿Cuáles eran tus retos o desafíos? ¿Cómo lograste tus sueños? ¿Cómo conseguiste tus metas? ¿Siempre creías/pensabas que tenías éxito? ¿Tenías miedo o duda alguna vez? ¿Cómo puedes usar tu posición para el bueno, para cambiar algo en el mundo? ¿Cómo vas a alcanzar nuevas metas?

Here are the pictures and the student grid: Metas Tus Trabajos del Futuro

Day 7

The Axel song, Celebra tu vida, which has been playing several days as students enter the classroom, will be the focus of today.  Students will complete a cloze activity of the first part of the song, which we will then discuss (vocabulary) and will take a brief glance at the subjunctive being used.  I will then place the students in small groups, 3-4 students to a group, and I will assign each group one of the remaining verses.  Their task will be to illustrate their part of the song and share it with the class. Next, we will look at several tweets from Axel that use several of our targeted vocabulary words about goals, dreams, reaching the goal/dream, etc.  The last tweet that we will examine is about an unlikely duo that auditioned for the X-Factor in England, which will lead us to viewing that audition and responding, first with conversation and then in writing.  The resources for today are here: Metas Celebra tu vida Axel

Additional note:  I will be speaking individually with several students over the span of several days, working toward the first evaluation in which they are to describe their own dreams and goals to me.

Thoughts and comments, suggestions, etc. are always welcome!!!

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?


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.

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.


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

Keep them eating……

We all have units about food, and I’ve certainly blogged about ideas for the food units before.  I tried something different this year with my Spanish III students thanks to a chance encounter with the Mexican Subway website!  Details about pacing and what I did each day can be found on my wikispace elmundodebirch.  I was able to incorporate  listening, reading, writing and speaking (speaking activity developed by my wonderful colleague Megan Matthews)!  Here you go:

Intro/Attention getter:

Reading/Writing/Speaking:  Subway

subwayListening/Speaking: Subway Listening X 3

The first video I couldn’t get to embed here, so this is the link:

Speaking: Listen to your partner as he describes three Subway sandwiches.  On your paper, check off everything that he says! Subway listening with partners