About Me

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Video in the L2 (part 3)

Many video creation and implantation sites make it easy to use video in your classroom, regardless of content area or student level. My favorite way to assess student learning with video is EdPuzzle. EdPuzzle is a FREE interactive tool that combines video with questions and/or prompts that boosts student engagement and learning. It’s a great formative or summative assessment tool that greatly differentiates your classroom.

EdPuzzle is different than other video tools because you can pull content from a variety of sources or upload your own videos. You can use lessons already published in the library, or you can create your own. The process is incredibly user friendly for both teachers and students. EdPuzzle makes it easy to flip lessons, provide instant feedback, and monitor individual student progress. For the L2 classroom, it’s a great way to incorporate authentic videos without student confidence or linguistic breakdown because you are able to pause, rewind and learn at your own pace. Students can also create their own EdPuzzle’s as a way to show what they know. The videos are easily sharable and can be published/embedded to almost any web-based platform.

This presentation will show you the step by step instructions for how to use EdPuzzle and recap some of the benefits I shared above. No matter where your technology comfort zone is, EdPuzzle makes it fun and easy to share and create video content with your students.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Video in the L2 (part 2)

Yesterday the Spanish II students learned about La Boquería market in Barcelona, Spain as part of our market chapter. YouTube is a powerhouse for authentic videos. It’s my go to place when trying to find authentic resources. My students have a limited knowledge of Spanish culture so pre-teaching what the market is about and where it is was key. I created this student sheet using Google Docs and saved it as a PDF document which the students could annotate digitally using the application Notability. Using Notability and Google Docs not only saves paper but it increases the workflow in class and maximizes class time.

I enjoyed this lesson because the flow between activities was streamlined and the students were able to work with authentic resources and write about it in the TL at their level. The activities allowed the students to focus on culture without being overwhelmed by the language. Not one student complained that the whole video was in Spanish or said that they “couldn’t do it”! - teacher win!

Here's how it worked:

Pre-viewing activity: My Google search engine is in Spanish, so when I googled La Boquería I saw a great resource that I screen shotted and made into a pre-viewing activity. To check for Novice level comprehension I have the students use English. They summarized what the paragraph said and located key information about the market. We corrected it as a class before viewing the video. Before watching I also mentioned that this video incorporates a different language Catalán which is a defining characteristic of Barcelona and the theta accent of native Spanish/Castellano speakers. These are big Culture items that I wanted to stress during this lesson as well.

During the video: Novice level students are masters at listing items and not as confident in writing full sentences in the L2. I knew that if I asked them to write in full sentences during the video, the students would miss out on the culture, so I wanted them to make two lists while they watched the video. I wanted them to list foods that they could buy in the market and characteristics/adjectives of the workers they saw. Also, I played the video with Spanish subtitles. The subtitles helped the students compare the Catalán to Spanish and in understanding the native speakers.

After-viewing activity: The students worked with their group members to add more items to their lists and make cultural comparisons between markets in their community and the Boquería. This activity was done in Spanish as a review of comparative phrases from Spanish I. The students asked great questions and come up with even better comparisons.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Video in the L2 (part 1)

L2 educators (should) love using video in class. What better way to bring in the target culture than by showing the student what it’s like from sources and people who actually live there! Within seconds I can take my students on a virtual field trip to an authentic market in Peru, go back in time to to see the Incan civilization, and then climb Machu Picchu. How neat is that?!

Videos create experiences that are necessary for language learning. When students see the language used in an authentic/real context, that language is associated with a memory. That memory of the language experience (not a translated or memorized word) propels deep, rich, and sustained learning. You could memorize a list of words about the Peruvian market, or you could use video to see, hear and experience the words being used by people living that reality. Video has the power to create these rich learning experiences in your classrooms every day.

But just using a video isn’t enough. The objective, activities, preparation and reflection that associates the video has to be taken into consideration too. Bueno wrote a fantastic article on the integration of film in language learning classes. She says that film brings a cultural window into the classroom that combines sound, plot, dialogue, action and effects to create meaning and promote language learning. She gives examples and ideas for how to turn the “Spanish movie with subtitles, while teachers grade papers” mentality, into a cultural experience that uses movies as the foundation and language as the building blocks.

Below are some activities that I have used in my classes that incorporate video. Anyone looking to use a video tomorrow should use EdPuzzle (blog coming soon about how to use it!). My favorite activity that we did in Spanish II involved the video iDiots. Although it's a "silent film" the studenst used the language to discuss the video - and the message is pretty powerful. Embedded is the video and is easily searchable in YouTube. HERE is the document for the students.

Whenever incorporating video some key ideas to think about are:
  • What’s the objective?
  • How best can I use the target language?
  • Will subtitles be used? In the TL? Or L1? Why?
  • Are there any grammar or vocab tools the students need in order to complete the activity?
  • Are there any obstacles that I can predict and help them with?
  • How can I incorporate a reflection piece of the 3 P’s (products, practices, perspectives)?

Monday, January 9, 2017

PLT: Extending the Classroom

PLT = Personal Learning Time

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/0o1yRf
The Flex Mod schedule has many benefits, but one small disadvantage is that classroom contact time is shortened. By shortening class time, students gain extra time within the school day to visit resource areas and meet one-on-one with teachers. This extra time (commonly called “study hall” in more traditional schedules) is called Personal Learning Time - because students truly choose where they go, what teachers they see, and how they spend their school time. The school created many supports to help students use their time wisely and safety nets for those who need extra intervention.

I love the implementation of PLTs into the school day because I can use them as a way to extend learning outside the classroom. With my Spanish I students, I created learning menus for the first semester that provide students choice in the activities they create, while connecting the material to the classroom. The students use the resources within the school, can meet with me and work together to complete the activities. They learn time management, cooperation, collaboration and creation with other students, while interacting with the language on their own time. The first quarter PLT activities focused on ACTFL Can-Do statements integrated with each mode of communication. The second quarter PLT activities focused on cultural celebrations using *ACTFL’s 3 P’s: Products, Practices and Perspectives. The students researched 4 celebrations, compared them to their native language culture then wrote a reflection.

Moving forward to second semester, I am going to try my Genius Hour project again. Last year I tried it with my Spanish I students as a quarter 4 project. It went well but with some modifications, the product and presentations will be more engaging. I plan on spreading out the project over 2 quarters where quarter 3 focuses on research and ends with the Shark Tank presentation. Quarter 4 focuses entirely on the final presentation and product. I am also brainstorming ways to incorporate all three modes of communication..lots of work ahead of me!

In Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 the students produced fantastic work. I can tell they are using their time wisely, working well together and finding quality research. I can improve the activities by creating short deadlines, setting more reminders for students and teaching the students more creation/research apps to use. Blogs coming soon will include more information about the Genius Hour modifications and specific examples of student work!

Word Count: 400

PLT Quarter 2 Rubric

Sunday, January 8, 2017

SMART planning!

Sunday is planning day (and game day!). The Pulaski Spanish World Language team uses SMART Notebook (SN) files and SMART board for all our lessons. This software is AWESOME for collaboration, creation, and student engagement. The program allows teachers to incorporate a variety of digital media tools within the slides in order to boost student engagement and work efficiency. Transitions between lessons become flawless and class time is maximized.

The SN files allow me to integrate many different technology mediums into my lessons. I am able to hyperlink files, use the SN gallery for interactive images/games, embed video, or simply write on the board. I use the transparent background feature to annotate on website pages and correct homework. Updates to the software and board features include iPad apps that students can use for collaboration and showcase work on the board, create formative assessments to check student understanding, and share lessons with educators throughout the country through the SMART exchange feature.

Today I am planning my lessons using the hyperlink feature that links to audio files and Kahoot! Review games, I am going to review homework with my students using the screen shade feature and markers for annotation, and use the gallery pictures and images that students will move and use to get them out of their seats. Below are some pictures of slides I am going to use with my Spanish II students this week!
SN files are easily used for any content area and student age level. The time spent creating lessons for my classes is cut in half because the software is so easy to use. I would highly recommend the software for anyone who has a SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard in the classroom. I cannot imagine teaching or planning my lessons without it!

Word Count: 297

Thursday, January 5, 2017

90% Target Language

Hola clase! ¿Cómo están uds? Bien? Bien, pues hoy vamos a...

Today I set a personal goal to speak 90% in the target language (Spanish). This is every language teacher's dream and if you've ever gone to a conference there is at least 3 presentations on the topic. It truly is the million dollar world for L2 teachers...and today I rocked it (in Spanish II). I explained the grammar, did some class practice activities, asked and answered questions to my students in Spanish, but I realized that I was the only using the language 90% of the time. My students were continually speaking English. Thinking on the day, perhaps my lessons could have been more communicative, but I can't help but think why my students don't want to freely speak in Spanish?? I am busting my butt trying to make the language as comprehensible as possible and my arms hurt from all the crazy
gestures I use, but I am lucky if they raise their hand and say "I have a cuestión" ... not quite correct..and today's reflection brought about another new years resolution: Implement strategies to engage my students in the TL 90% of the class time.

While exploring the answer to my question, I came across an interesting article from ACTFL about 90% time (Crouse, 2012), whcih provided some ideas for how to get students producing the language in the classroom. The ACTFL website and Ohio Department of Foreign Language also has some ideas for how to get the students involved in the 90% margin.

The strategies are practical and with minor tweaks I could implement quite a few easily into my classroom. Larger changes need to happen to my classroom environment: change the seating arrangement, more communicative activities, build-in incentives and random speaking partners. Spanish expressions and school appropriate slang are also some good places to start. The students have to meet me half way in order to make this all work! So motivating them is going to be the key!

How do get your students to stay 90% TL in your classrooms? Comment below!

Hasta pronto

Word Count: 338

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Student-Teacher Conferences

A Worthwhile Investment!

The inspiration for this blog came from a conference that I had with one of my Spanish I students. She has never taken a language class before and is excited by the language. During our conversation today she said “I feel like I am learning!” - Every teacher’s dream, right?! Other students have given me creative ideas related to homework, due dates and future projects. Moving toward 3rd quarter I am actually going to use some of their suggestions!

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/DkkhBb
Individual conferences with students is an incredible investment of time. However, investing time in your students empowers and motivates them to invest in their learning. Our Flex Mod schedule allows teachers to “flex” their schedule in order to create more contact time with students during the school day. I use this time to meet individually with all my Spanish I students once a quarter. The conferences last about a 20-25 minutes and has been a positive experience for both me and the students. It’s a time for me to see the class from the students point of view and set goals for the next quarter. The key is to let the student do most of the talking!

I connect goal setting to the language journey through a modified ACTFL Can-Do statement guide. The objectives under each level are broad in order to cover the various topics we cover throughout the year and include all three modes of communication (interpretive, interpersonal and presentational). I have the students fill boxes they feel confident they can do, half fill boxes they can do with a little help and leave open the boxes that need more work. Referencing this sheet every quarter sparks pointed and meaningful conversation, especially when compared to assessments/work done in the quarter.

An area I want to continue researching are focus group/student group conferences and meaningful student reflection. How do you incorporate these ideas into your classroom? How do you connect the language to it?

¡Hasta pronto!

The importance of student-teacher conferences (Article from The Educator’s Room)
Student Goal Setting Sheet (personally created)

Word Count: 322