Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ser Basket Game



Hey Guys, 

Check out my video below that describes a really fun way to practice verb conjugations! This is a student favorite & you'll hear why in the video. 

I use this game with all levels, and it can be used with ANY verb. It actually could be used with subject pronouns, and even question words.  I was actually observed (walk-through) while playing this game & my principal couldn't say enough awesome things about engagement, whole student-learning, accountability, & some other $10 words. He even brought it up at a staff meeting which made me turn lobster red (but it was all good). :) lol 

I am going to put the link down below of the game that you all can purchase if you would like to avoid the creation process. It comes with everything you need to know to play plus all the cards that can be edited for any & all verbs. 



You could create this game yourself using flash cards if you wanted. This document could also be used with other languages besides Spanish, possibility even other subjects. 




If you have any questions about the game, feel free to message me through "Senora BB Spanish" on Facebook, email me at brittanybaxter777@gmail.com, or leave a comment right here. 

God Bless to You Guys & Happy Teaching!

Britt B. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Guilty Confession as a Teacher

So while I have been home on maternity, I am not going to lie and say I haven't thought about my job. 

As a matter of fact, it's actually gave me some pretty good "Pinteresting Time" 

When you have a baby that's not content...unless  he is held, & your 3-year old wants to snuggle on you, let's just say...I've gotten some good "recliner cuddle time" & done a little pinteresting on my phone while they sleep & watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all.day.long!!! 


Back to my confession...so I have ALWAYS been jealous of elementary teachers because of the "details"...Their fun activities, their AWESOME classrooms, their limited number of students, but the one thing I am jealous of is the "diversity" and "variety" in one school day! 

They have "around" 25 kiddos and with those kids...they do math, art, music, science, reading, etc. (sigh) 

I wish as a (high school) teacher sometimes I could "branch" out & yes, do some of the awesome activities that elementary kids get to do while relating to my own subject area. 

I was actually having this conversation with a friend/colleague. We discussed what would our kids do if we treated them like elementary kids with respect to the diversity & activities? 

We came to one conclusion...they would probably LOVE it! 

I don't get it...in elementary school...the engagement is high, it's hands on, it's so diversified! 

Then you get to high school and it is desks in rows, note-taking and tests. Where did the fun go? 
Where did the excitement for learning? Did anybody else LOVE elementary school? I know I did, and I rocked it! 

I was the best alphabet finger painter around! I know elementary education is WAY more than this, just a little fun pun :) 

But back to topic: so if you're reading this blog post...you are "probably" a world language teacher and if not, you're awesome for checking it out. (You're awesome no matter what you teach or don't teach, by the way)! 

Think about it...world language teachers, if we were to take our language content level into consideration...we are "kind of" teaching elementary school, right? So shouldn't we be able to do some of the awesome, diversified activities that elementary does? 

(Sigh again)...So here is my dream, you ready............... 

I wish that everyday when students entered my classroom, they had variety at their fingertips in 70 minutes. 

I want my classroom to represent "different" areas of learning: listening practice, speaking practice, culture, grammar & mechanics, writing fun, and reading experiences, etc. 

I want them to have a known routine so when they enter, they dive in quickly in 70 minutes. 

I want them to have every minute used for authentic & meaningful hands-on activities. 

I want to teach using props, using conversations, using each other! 

I want color, I want pictures, I want technology, I want resources! 

I want laughter, I want silliness, I want time to pass quickly, not because I'm bored or they are, but because we are involved, engaged, and having fun & lost track of time! 

Anybody else getting excited reading this?! No, just me?! LOL 

Anyways, why can't we make small changes to add this type of learning into our HIGH SCHOOL classes?! 

We can have this TOO! Is it harder for us? Ab-so-freaking-lutely! 

Does it involve switching up the whole "high-school traditional style learning"? Yep, and it's a step-by-step process. It can't be done in a day, week, or even a whole school-year. 

But we can make steps to bring back that engagement & that "love" of learning! 

One thing that gets me inspired is sometimes to "look" at elementary classroom pictures, their activities, and their schedule of how they do things! I instantly try to "convert" it into something that would work for my own classroom. 

Let me clarify one thing: I DO NOT want to be an elementary school teacher. I know it sounds like it...but no, I promise! I love my high-schoolers and my content! It's just...I want that "spirit"!!! 

Below you will find some of my inspiration & ideas. Check out pics of these lovely classrooms that "represent" diversified areas of learning & some activities that can be converted to high school. 


Task Drawers Using Hands-On Props

You could have directions/tasks in target language that challenges students to follow directions using the items?



Adjective Door 

This could be used to have all kinds of target language adjectives. Think of all the possibilities/tasks you could do with this door/area alone?!?! Also, the students could be the ones who make it...that is a great station activity! 


Brain Break Cards 
I can think of so many possibilities...Spanglish task cards, finish early tasks, whole class Spanish language brain breaks, vocabulary run-though brain breaks, ahhh, the possibilities are out there people!!! 



Today's Word or Phrase
Instead of today's "number"...it could be today's word or phrase. Use it with a friend, build a conversation, create a scene in writing or act out (and video record)...so many cool activities! This could be one of "many" variety options for a bell-ringers or station activities. 



Telling Time - Target Language Phrases

You could TOTALLY take this activity and just convert it to target language "Son las dos y veinte"(that means 2:20 in Spanish) & match with the egg-clock! Awesome hands-on activity! 



Writing Idea...

Think of all the "scenarios" you could do with writing practice. "Everyday I....(create sentences)"..."On the weekends I...(Create sentences), so many neat things to write about. 



Read & Sort
Read and sort...you could do the different tenses "Present, Past, Future, etc." or lower level ideas: Sports, Family Members, Verbs. The students could write the English & Spanish on a writing sheet & put into a sentence. 



Okay, now that you have seen some cool activities...check out these classrooms to die for:










Hope you all enjoyed today's "Guilty Confession" & maybe got the brain stirring a bit :) 

God Bless & I'll be back soon! 
Britt B. 








Sunday, January 22, 2017

Switching Up My Spanish 2 Review Packet

Hi guys! Long time, no talk! A lot has happened in the Baxter world over the past few months. Let's me show you through a little picture...



My precious Ben entered the world on December 8th and let's just say...my time has been limited. I love it when people say "You'll be home on maternity & babies just sleep, eat, & poop so therefore...you'll have lots of free time." NOT when you decide to keep your 3 year old home with you & the baby at the same time. AND when you have a baby that wants to be Held.All.The.Time! 

Anyways, back to what you're interested in...so I'll be going back to work here in a couple weeks & we'll start our last & final trimester! Wooh, summer is around the corner! I need this more than ever! 

Anyways, again, (shew, have you noticed I haven't had any ADULT talk in a while) Focus Brittany!!! With a new trimester is the usual review packet over the past Spanish class. I give a review packet for EVERY new Spanish class because we are on weird trimesters and our students may or may not get consecutive Spanish classes...meaning they may go 3 or more months without a Spanish class. They forget....everything! Unfortunately, we do have to spend a decent amount of time reviewing previous concepts because well, you can't teach stem changer conjugation if the students haven't mastered conjugated in general. 

So, I always give a review packet...and it's a hefty hefty one. When the students see if they go through mixed emotions. Excited they are reviewing & not jumping straight in, scared when they see how big it is, but relieved when I tell them they will receive a few days to go over it. 

This trimester instead of just handing out the packet & letting them work on it over the next few days...I am going to do something a bit different. Higher engagement, higher enthusiasm, and raising higher confidence levels in the language. 

Normally I would tell my kiddos when doing the packet if you don't know a section, just skip it, do what you know, and then we will go over the answers. Yeah, I had kids bringing me their packets saying "This is all I know." (and the two who sections they worked on). Yes, we all have those kiddos. 

Okay, so the new way: I love stations. Love, love love them! I actually have my room set up in 6 tables of 6 people. I don't always have 36 kids...usually around 28 but this works for me. So, my room is ready. Also, I think getting to get up & move around does wonders. 

So I decided to take this packet & divide it up into 6 sections but provide "Helpful Documents & Resources" that basically gives "hints" to helping figure out the content. Now, the kids won't be like "this is it" 

But, I don't just want to THROW the resources out on the table & say okay in 20 minutes we'll switch so here is my plan: 

1. You arrive at your station & you ONLY work on the sections assigned to the table. You will receive 10 to 15 minutes (can change once I see how they are doing) to figure out as much as you can. 
2. After this time period, you can grab the "Helping Resources" & add any missed information. You will receive an additional time limit to this activity. 
3. Then, if you haven't figured it out by then, you will take the highlighter & highlight the sections you don't know. 
4. Move onto the next station, do THOSE assigned sections & repeat. 
5. At the very end, I am going to provide a "Get What You Need" period. This is ONLY going to last 10 minutes because I don't want this to become social time. So it's highly monitored & time limited. 

Lastly, I will give a grade for completion of the packet. This whole station activity will last over the course of a few days. I don't expect to get this done in one class period. 

Here's why I wanted to add this activity: 
1. Higher accountability - no dilly dallying around 
2. Prevent Boredom - working on an 18 page packet will bring this on
3. Higher Engagement - the switching, working with resources, and group shakes it up 
4. Higher Levels of Confidence - if the students can just see a little hint, it may help them figure it out without leaving everything blank & not caring 
5. It's just more fun - for me...hopefully for them too :) 

So there you have it. My "New Way" of doing the Spanish 2 Packet. 

I want to clarify that I have TWO Spanish 2 review packets...one for coming INTO Spanish 2 & one for mid-year/2nd semester/after Christmas. This one I made the "Helper Resources" is for the mid-year/2nd semester/after Christmas. 

Overall, if you have a huge packet or large load of work, simply take a marker & try dividing it up. This is a great universal accommodation for all students. 

If you would like to purchase my Spanish 2 (2nd semester) Review Packet, here is the link below. It comes with the packet AND a ppt that has all the answers divided up in sections: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/2nd-Semester-Spanish-2-Review-Packet-PPT-2970264

If you would like to purchase the "Helpful Resources" the link is below: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Helpful-Student-Resources-for-End-of-Spanish-2-Review-Packet-2974686

If you are interested in the "Entering Spanish 2" review packet, here is the link below (it does not include the ppt within the product): 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Total-Review-for-Spanish-2-2024060

If you are interested in the "Entering Spanish 2 PPT" for the review packet, here is the link below: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Total-Review-for-Spanish-2-PowerPoint-2024103


If you all have any questions about any of the products/documents, feel free to email me at brittanybaxter777@gmail.com 

Thanks & God Bless! 
Britt B. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

My New FAVORITE Game...Double Down Dice Game

Fellow Readers...I am LOVING this new game I created over the break! As you all know if you have been following me for a while, I am DEFINITELY not a worksheet teacher. Yuck! I love teaching OUTSIDE the box! :) I was browsing FaceBook and came across this "Oven Mitt Christmas Present Unwrap Game" Check out this fun (and hilarious) game on YouTube. We WILL be playing this at my family Christmas this year (the Oven Mitt one, not the foreign language one) haha! 




Anyways...back to how this game can benefit you guys...I saw this game & modified it for the classroom. I decided to call it the "Double Down Dice Game" because the game centers around "Rolling Doubles" (If you are running short on dice, you can tell them they have to roll a 6). 

It's so easy to get going because it literally only involves the game sheet (one per group), dice, and a pencil. After you play the game "ONCE" with your kiddos, they'll remember it forever...and want to play it all the time as well. :) Another wonderful thing I love is that you can easily monitor your kiddos and see who can do the task and who can't. No grading, no charting, no data (unless you want to maybe mark notes on your clipboard of who needs extra help or...) just watch them play the game! Also, nobody is "left out" everyone must play & participate! 

Side Note: If you have your kiddos already in groups, this would be a great "practice activity" after teaching a new verb, concept, vocabulary, etc. 







Also, this is the perfect activity if you have a sub or really want the classroom to be "Student-Led" that day! 

(Confession: I have been working on creating MORE student-led activities that I can facilitate but not have to run!) 

Anyways, this game can be played with any "listing concepts" For my Spanish class, we played this with creating conjugated verbs. We first practiced in the Present, and then moved to the Preterite. I plan on using this for practicing category vocabulary such as jobs, places, people, etc. 

I am definitely going to use this for my "Creating Questions" unit in Spanish 2A. 
video


To really push reflection & correction, after the kids played the game...I made them tell the ENGLISH of what they created but it had to be the other team's answers. It was kind of funny when they went back and saw some of the conjugations were totally off and one student randomly put "perro & libro" (yeah, that's NOT a verb)! 

So in all: Be ready for some loudness, intensity, but overall fun. Also, it makes the class pass by really quick...win! And to be honest...I kind of wanted to sit down & play with the kiddos myself :/ LOL 



video


If you would like to purchase my game sheet along with student-friendly instructions, see below: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Double-Down-Dice-Game-Engaging-Competitive-Activity-for-Any-Subject-2899651






Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hold Them Accountable to Speak Spanish with...a Clothespin!

So I can't take credit for this idea because I have seen SEVERAL teachers use this technique. I have even seen teachers use this technique in other subject areas, but let's just say in a foreign language classroom...it's wonderful. 

So in my class I design SEVERAL activities that design around speaking Spanish & just PURE trust that the students are doing it. I try to be as active as possible in their activities when they get up and walk around the room, completing the speaking assessments BUT let's face it...36 students in a class, one me...they are sometimes going to get away with not speaking Spanish :( Boo, it sucks! 

I saw this idea in several other foreign language classes & instantly knew I was stealing this idea. It's as simple as 1, 2, 3, and it's the use of a.........drum roll, please.........clothespin. 



Yep, a simple clothespin! But for my students, they receive THREE clothespins. 

Here's how it works: 

1. I tell the kids what activity we are doing. Getting up & sharing our birthdays, asking others theirs, writing it down, getting phone numbers, etc. 

2. Next, every student receives three clothespins they put on their sleeve. It must be where others can get to them. 

3. Lastly, I tell the kids every time you hear someone NOT speaking Spanish...you can take one of their clothespins and add to your own sleeve. 

4. Lastly, once everyone returns to their seat & the activity is over...the option is truly yours to WHAT you want to do with it...you can make it a "fun competition, give a grade of 1, 2, 3, be intense or even give a small punishment (warning: this might backfire on you). For me, I try reward the biggest collector with a piece of candy, and will tell the kids that I am going to surprise them with participation grade or NOT. 

I also tell the kids that IF they don't know what to say, to come find me, and allow me to help! I was really surprised how many took me up on this offer than before the clothespins. 

It kind of reminds me of the wedding/baby shower game where every time someone says wedding, bride, baby, etc. you can collect their clothespin, but we have altered it to Spanish. 

Let me just say folks...oh my dear, how this has CHANGED everything! You still have to monitor, you still have to circulate but guess what? You're collecting too BUT it definitely puts a lot more pressure on the kiddos but positive pressure. 

Before, I would tell the kids to go around and ask each other their birthdays and I know in my heart of hearts SOME of them were just saying the English & quickly passing the information. What? Not our little lovelies. Yes, even the best of the best does it. 

This activity makes it a competition, and sort of positively "turns" everyone on each other! haha! 

So there you have it...go to the Dollar Store and buy some cheap packs of clothespins, find you a ziploc baggie, or mini bucket and dump them in...put them in a cabinet, desk area (I suggest a hidden spot) and next time you have a speaking activity...tell everyone to attach them on. 

Hope this activity helps & your students have fun with it!!! 

God Bless,
Brittany B. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Friday Fun Free Write

So today I'm going to share a simple, simple "fun" technique/event to get your kids writing...I call it "Friday Fun Free Write" Don't know about you all but here in KY there is a push for student growth goals.

This is where the teachers set a standard goal for the whole class, takes pre-data through various tasks, work on teaching the goal, the students do samples tackling the goal, the teachers take those samples, charts evidence, evaluate if the students "met" the goal, and then go back and offer interventions.



Now, no offense against SGG and the "highers" that need to see this data in our yearly summative evaluation...but...isn't that the whole point of TEACHING and what we are doing EVERYDAY?



Everyday, we have a goal! We teach the content. We work towards the goal. And then we evaluate whether the kids met it or not. If not, we go back & try again. Teaching Purpose in a Paragraph!

Well, anyways, I digress. Every year I focus on "writing" as my goal. Why writing? My thought process is...if the kids can put it together on paper with a bit of a time increase and patience, they could "probably" verbally speak it. Writing is a great way to "combine the masses"....the masses of content and grammatical info we must teach. It's also their personality, their thoughts, their interest, and their words. I always say I can figure out a student's personality by reading their papers. For example, I have a student who loves food. If I want him to write...I tell him to write about "food prompts" He especially loves to write about "queso"????

So on I saw on Pinterest several pins of "Flashlight Friday." This is a really neat idea that is being done at the elementary level but can totally can be transformed into high school level. I love seeing my kids break down the barriers of pressures of writing in Spanish.



THEY LOVED IT!!!!!!!! The 20 minutes were up & they wanted to keep going! I was blown away! Fine, sure, okay! :)



I am now making "Friday Fun Free Write" a Friday routine. I honestly did NOT check every SINGLE word on their writings. I glanced through them, made a few minimal corrections, and moved on.

Here is a sample of a student's free write. 

I made sure to tell them I DID NOT check every word, or else I would probably never get their papers back to grown off of. I wanted to focus on one or two errors and let them expand from there.

Friday already has a perfect atmosphere to do this. Feel free to try it in your class. I would love to hear how it went.

Also, my kiddos forgot their blankets and pillows on the first day of doing it, and said they were definitely going to bring them on Friday.

I know this is lame but I actually think the kids just enjoy the "quiet, no talking, no pressure" opportunity!

God Bless & I would love to hear how it goes in your own classroom!!!

Britt B. 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Reviewing Infinitives & Present Tense

I am a huge fan of infinitives. I truly believe students should be well-equipped with lots of infinitives. Once, they learn how to conjugate and learn the pattern, you can teach them ANY infinitive and they should know exactly what to do with it. It gives them confidence, it allows them to be versatile with the language, and let's face it...you can't speak without VERBS! 

In Spanish 1 we teach a certain # of specific verbs, but sadly, by the time summer passes and classes restart, they have forgot a few of them...or all of them.


I use this list of 25 verbs to review present tense. These verbs are common, popular, and highly used. I like to do various tasks that will help them remember the verbs. I always give a quiz with the 25 verbs to hold the kids accountable. 


Here are some things I do to get our "Verb Review" started: 


1. I give the master list and have the kids repeat each verb. I ask them to flip their sheets over & I yell out the English or Spanish, and make them say aloud the verb. 


2. We (as a class) match an action to each verb. I let them help create the action (even if I know what I have done in the past). It puts the ownership on them & adds their personality to it. 


3. We run through the daily action verbs - everyday for like a week!!! Once they know them, it only takes a 2 minutes to do. 




4. We play Simon Says with the actions - they love this! This is a fun game to do after they take the quiz and we need to eat up some time. 


5. I do all their bell ringers with these verbs and have them practice conjugating, building sentences, and writing with the infinitives & conjugating.


6. I do a "Silent- Sit Where You Want" WRITING CHALLENGE. They are allowed to sit anywhere (even in the floor), take one sheet of paper, something hard to write on, pen/pencil, and create as MANY sentences with the verbs that they can. They turn this in at the end of this activity. They enjoy this because of the atmosphere I create - we usually turn the lights down except for the lamps, and I put on the crackling fire on YouTube. I have even told them in the past, they can bring a blanket on this day. The only stipulation is that they can't use their phones for assistance (they can listen to music) and they can't TALK! This isn't a group or partner activity, solo! 


7. I also give a little packet that has to be turned in & I give this right after I give out the master list. It includes riddles, unscramble, sentence conjugation, and the quiz. I give them a copy of the quiz so they know exactly what it will look like & we even do a practice quiz before the "actual" one. 

8. I also use "Quizlet" I have the vocabulary words on Quizlet & the kids can join my "class" on quizlet to practice their vocabulary at anytime. They can do flashcards, play games, take a quiz...and it ALL can be done on their precious, precious phones! LOL 

Here is the link to the Master Verb List Vocabulary on Quizlet: 
https://quizlet.com/146413181/starter-verb-list-flash-cards/

9. Last but not least, we do the quiz! By the end, I can EASILY tell who knows the 25 verbs. 99% of my kiddos know THEM PERFECTLY! 

I give these activities about 3 to 5 days depending on how well the class is doing with everything. We are also working on the Ultimate Review for Spanish 2 while doing this so we're not spending the WHOLE time just doing infinitives. 

So there you have it, that's how I review infinitives and make sure we all get on the same track. Feel free to create your own infinitive list & do any of the above activities. :) It works for me! 

If you would like to purchase any of my resources used in these lessons, links are below: 

Master Verb List with Practice Activities & Quiz: 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Starter-Infinitive-List-Activities-2762053

Ultimate Review for Spanish 2: 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Total-Review-for-Spanish-2-2024060