Friday, October 31, 2014

Field Trips, Testing...and WHEN DO I TEACH!?!?

I'm sure by just reading the title of this post you are already saying "FOR REAL" or as the kids say "For Realz"...(okay, maybe they don't say that) but seems like in our fast paced world and especially in the education industry..."It's always something." Testing, Makeups, Field Trips, Pulling kids out for RTI, Pep Rallies, Fire Drills, Tornado Drills, Earthquake Drills, Zombie Protection Practice (Guess, we haven't gotten there yet....just wait, it'll come)!

We ask ourselves constantly..."When do I teach?" I have been teaching for 5 years now and I can say within that 5 years there have been plenty times when my lessons was...."shot to H*!!" I look around at the 12 kids sitting in my classroom and they say "Can we just listen to music?" AHHHH! What do I do, what do I do? Any true good teacher understands a day wasted of no educational content, is well....a day wasted! We are already under so much pressure to get through the content and then THESE things happen...shoot me in my freakin' foot! 

I am here today to share with you some of my "Emergency Activities" for when things like this happen! I learned my first year of teaching when I looked at the remaining half my class and I heard the ever-so-popular "Are we going to do anything in here today?" I knew I had to prepare for these days. FROM THE BEGINNING, you have to preach and teach to your kids that EVERYDAY will be valued and YES, you will be learning and doing SOMETHING today! 

So here it is my Top 5 "Get Your Crap In Gear, Your Butt Is Doing SOMETHING Today" Activities... :) 

1. Circle Conjugation Game: Get the kids in a circle (they can sit down or stand up), put infinitives on the board, and make them go around and conjugate in order (yo, tu, el, ella, etc.)---I want to apologize for the no accents. Spanish teachers are clinching their teeth together after seeing that! When it comes your turn, you don't know the conjugation, big fat buzzer---you're out. It will come down to two kids going back and forth. IT CAN GET INTENSE! You can also do this with counting or category vocabulary sets!!! :) 

2. El Cuerpo: This takes a little pre-planning. Take thick paper (cardstock is the best) and put two body parts on each card. You'll need about 10 to 12 cards. Ask for two volunteers to come to the front. Whatever card you pull out of the basket is what two body parts they have to touch together. BE CAREFUL AMIGOS! I usually say 2 guys or 2 girls because it will get physical....but funny! 

3. Youtube Vids on Hand: Take time to develop an emergency youtube CULTURAL/EDUCATIONAL video list...of course they will ask you can we watch "Ridiculousness" or something totally non-content...just say no! 

4. Conjugation Board Race: Two teams of 5 or 6 (vosotros) 10 or 12 kids. Have them face each other. Ones at the top of line holds a white board on each team. Say an infinitive, and they have to conjugate and pass until the last dude or dudette has conjugated. Whoever is the fastest...wins! 

5. Nerf Ball Goal Review: I keep a nerf goal in my room for emergencies like these. Days of chaos or schedule change...conduct a 2 or however many teams review game. Give each team a point for answering and an additional point for making the shot. If they steal, they can take away OTHERS points! 

So these are just scratching the surface may save you from a day of chaos, schedule modification, and lesson melt-down. 

Enjoy & Steal!!!

God Bless,
Brittany B, 

Happy Dia de Los Muertos

So tomorrow "officially" starts Day of the Dead but since it's over the weekend...why not have some fun with the kids TODAY (since it is also Halloween)!!! 

The kids brought in food, we built some fake altars, we are watching some you tube videos over La Llorona, La calavera Catrina, La isla de las munecas, and I am showing the kids some videos/pictures of when I visited the Mummy Museum in Mexico. 

We have been watching lots of videos over el dia the past month so they have practically seen them all. LOL 

Anyways, today is a class day celebrating and learning how the hispanic cultural deals with death, celebration of life, and just overall culture. I think they have learned we are VERY similar and the curiosity of life after death is a universal concern/interest for ALL cultures! 

I love this day! It's one of my favorite holidays (American and Mexican) and I'm so blessed to celebrate it with my kiddos! 

Here is a pic of my annual tradition "Dead Makeup" 

I always have such a hard time being "dead"/"scary"/"serious" here is a pic of me smiling. Yes, I kind of look weird and you can laugh! 

Everyone have a safe and festive holiday whether you're celebrating Halloween, Day of the Dead, or both. 

God Bless,
Britttany B. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breaking the "Packet" Stereotype

So I remember being a student in high school and the teacher would slap a big packet in front of us and we would moan and cry and she would wobble back to her desk. (Not my Spanish teacher though, but other classes). I remember not comprehending any of that packet because we were not made to be engaged with the packet. We were just suppose to sit there like model students and complete the packet. It was pointless and as a student, I learned to hate packets. 

I promised myself when becoming a teacher I would never give ANY worksheets or packets and I would always be engaging. It was until recently I heard a few of my really "good kids" say "We never really do simple written tasks that could help us learn it better and practice." I was taken back...Wait, you WANT that work? I was so surprised...I went back to these two same girls and asked them. After having a little conversation I found out that students actually like this work as long as it's given in moderation and they are asked to be engaged. 

I then went back into work mode to make sure I could offer kids written and fun activities and practices. I also had some really good kids say "I would like some more work to work on at home." Do what now?! 

I decided you know what...I am going to prepare a huge activity packet jam-packed with activities, practices, written opportunities and it will all be together and I won't have to worry about giving out a bunch of different papers and copies. Shew, having it all together was SO much easier! 

So this is what I did exactly! The kids LOVE it! My biggest challenge is keeping them from flying ahead so lesson learned: I will attach "EXTRA CREDIT" pages within my next packet for all my little over-achievers to do. 

We have done the following activities with working with the packet: Partner Rally, Pass & Write, Stand up-Hand up-Pair up, All Class Together where we try it and check it, Individual work (quiet time), we used it in a class game (they LOVED that day), attached homework, and even study hall work! 

Now that I have been convinced, I will create a packet with EVERY concept I teach. The kids are REALLY getting their "Ser Verb" I attach different grading criteria to each page and it's a great practice.

If you want to do the same, you can always create your own packet using the same idea. My "All About the Ser Verb" packet is available at:

Thanks & God Bless,
Brittany B.