Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pick a Series and Let them Write...

I am always looking for new and exciting ways for the students to write. I feel like sometimes it's hard for the kids to have a wide variety of topics because they really are just learning the foundation of the language. Also, do they LIKE the topics we have them write about?!?!

One day I was on my facebook and I seen a video that was posted that made me laugh for days! It was called "Walk on the Wild Side" They were these hilarious videos of animals with voices. It was so funny because they each had their own personality and it was just nice clean comedy.

I then got to thinking....I bet my kids would enjoy this video. Now, I love sharing "clean" humor with the kids because I feel as if it's very rare these days but I worry about sometimes things not being tied to the curriculum so I thought how can I swing this Spanish....and then a light bulb went off!!!

What if....I had the students WRITE about what they saw. They could describe the animals (using ser), they could put which animals they liked (using me gusta and no me gusta) and they can even talk about verbs they do (La tortuga canta, La foca nada, etc.). So I ran a little "experiment" and now it is one of my favorite things to do in class to get them to write.

1. You can pick ANY you-tube video that you consider clean comedy. You can even pick a series like I did. Now, I ONLY show about 3 minutes of the video even though some of them are 15 minutes long...that's WAY too long.

2. Before showing them the video, teach them some of the common and popular vocabulary like Nadar = to swim and marmota = groundhog, etc. 

3. Develop some questions to GUIDE their writing. Remember they are JUST in Spanish you can do this with upper level and expect a bit more but for Spanish 1...give them some ideas. 

4. First time of watching...just watch....then show the guided questions. Go over them and see if they know what you mean. How would they answer? What vocabulary do they need?

5. Show it one more time and have them take some notes in English. The groundhog is brown, the otter sings, etc. 

6. Now.......give them a time limit and let them just go to town writing! Walk around and help with order, vocabulary, verb conjugations, etc. 

 Here is the link for the series I use:

You will be surprised how much they write :) and they are actually kind of fun to grade ;)

Infinitive Charades

So we all have those Fridays where we give a huge unit exam and the kids look like little zombies after taking the test. Their hands hurt from the writing, their heads are thumping from the listening....and you should really start a new unit but you know that's probably not going to the greatest idea? What do to do now!?!?

One really fun game is "Infinitive Charades" It involves no documents, grading, and it is easy to jump into after a few times of playing it. 

The first thing you need is a big stack of flashcards that have a bunch of infinitives on them. I like to continue adding to my stack as we go along through the year. It always makes the kids feel good when they know the WHOLE stack at the end of the year. 

Next, you'll need to divide the class into two different groups and assign each player a number that matches the other team.  So two # 1's, #2's....

Then call a random number from a certain team  (#6 Team A)....that person will make their way up to you in the front. (To speed up the game you can do a random number list at the beginning so they know they are next instead of waiting for them to come to the front.)

How to play.....

1. Show the player the verb card. If they know the verb without asking it's 1 point ALREADY.

2. Next the player goes to the front of the room to act it out. For instance "escribir".....they may start acting like they are writing or they may go over to the board and pick up the marker.

3. Now...picking a student to have two can be mean or nice....The "nice" way is for YOU to call on the student whose hand is already up. The "mean" way is for YOU to randomly call a student to answer. ON THE SPOT! You pick how mean or nice you are....just depends on the day and class, right?!?

4. If they get it right...they get another point. If not, the other team gets to guess and steals their point.

- Put a time limit on it to make it challenging.
-Allow only 2 tries from each team. 
-Decide to call on raised hands or randomly calling students. 
-Randomly call on students if only certain students are participating. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Make a Movie

So when my kids started learning their conjugations, I wanted to do something a bit non-traditional and out of the ordinary. I knew that if I could get the kids to do "something" with their conjugations they would remember them more. So...we made movies. The students were responsible for getting with a group, creating a song, getting footage, and making a conjugation movie. 

To my surprise...they were REALLY good. Not only did they memorize the Spanish but they got to incorporate technology into their content. 

Here is a sample video done by some girls in my class :)

Grab It Game - Modified for Conjugation

I was so inspired by the success of the "Grab It Game" I started to think of how I could change it up to fit other concepts and boy was I onto something.

Once again many thanks to my co-worker and awesome Spanish teacher, Marie Stevens, for telling me all about "Grab It Game". My kids are continuing their conjugation practice and I am currently focusing on -AR/-ER/-IR conjugations. The kids are getting good with certain words such as I and you but they still get confused on some here is what I did....

To play the game:
1. Divide the room up into two even teams.
2. Assign a student numbers for each teammate and make sure each student has a matching "opponent"
(For example there should be #1 for Team A and Team B.)
3. Have a small white board, marker, and eraser ready. 
4. Take an object in the classroom that you have alot of (at least 6 or so).
5. Make signs for the endings....o, as, a, amos, an (and if you teach vosotros) and tape them to the objects. I chose sombreros because you can buy them for a 1.00 at Dollar Tree.
6. Line them up and let the games begin....

Now...I am a very interactive hands on type of teacher. I love to see my students get into games and be competitive. If you haven't learned already, I am a former athlete/competitor and this often comes out in my classroom. My favorite students when playing these games are my aggressive kids who keep asking to get there number called.

Be sure to set some rules up at the beginning so no one gets hurt but here's how it goes....

1. STAY OUT OF THE WAY! I have a stool and I get my white board, a marker and I go sit on my stool OUT OF THE WAY. (I learned the hard way)....:(
2. Write down ANY infinitive...if you are working on -AR...write Hablar, Llegar, Mirar....ones that they know.
3. Write the verb down and show out the subject pronoun...and we go....the #....and you will see your students FLY out of their chairs and race up to the front to grab the certain hat that matches their subject pronoun. 
4. I give an extra point if they can put it all together and say the word "Hablar "Yo" = "Hablo"

Another thing is...some students will FLY out of their chairs that the opponent won't even try so I created a rule that even if you try...if your opponent gets it wrong...they are automatically rewarded the point. That gets them ALL trying at least :) 

You can change this up to fit any conjugation tense and any category of items.

God Bless -
Brittany B.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wall Station Writing

Sometimes its so hard for me to get the students to WANT to write. As their teacher, I LOVE watching them GO GO with their writing but the feeling isn't always I have learned something...students like to write on a non-traditional resources...using marker boards, on walls, on the floor etc...

In this activity, all I did was write a "person" (madre, abuela, mejor amigo, etc.) on the top of the paper and the students have to write a mini letter to each person. 

They didn't realize but they were writing a TON by the time they go around and hit each station. Be strict with your rules (no talking, time limit, must have at least 3 sentences, whatever you decide.) You can adjust this writing assignment WITH ANY objective...descriptions, telling birthdays, filling out a job application, etc. 

Have fun!

God Bless 
-Brittany Baxter