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Showing posts from July, 2016

Turn your students into 007 Agents with Agentes Secretos

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Agentes  Secretos This blog is moving. Check out my new space:  Agentes Secretos by Mira Canon (see it on Amazon) is one of my favorite CI novels of all time. I started teaching this novel while teaching a middle school Spanish course at an IB school. After the second go around, I was hooked (my good friend Rachel introduced me to it while we were in Colombia!). Now that I am working at a different school with slightly older students, I was compelled to take a fresh look at the teaching possibilities with this TPRS classic. I changed a few ways in which I had approached the novel. Instead of the usual run of the mill, get into to groups, make predictions, highlight cognates and so forth (these are good pre-reading/ building excitement exercises), I wanted to bring in the novel with a bang! Priming students for the unit- Franco and Guernica
Last year, when I taught this unit, students were very curious about Guernica. During chapter three of the book, I had them perfom a Guernica -basic…

6 ways to privilege input with your Spanish 1 students- reading, incidental vocabulary y más!

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How to get students talking in the target language the first day of class: A new twist on a routine strategy. 
The first week of school is always exiting for freshmen students, especially those who have not taken a Spanish as a second language. From the very first day, I encourage students to speak only in the target language. Like most teachers, I start my stating my name in the language as a model and then asking by them to state theirs. We go around until we get the hang of it. 


During the first week, I usually engage students in this About Me activity,which is all in the target language.  The activity is loaded with simple at a glance cognates that really require no front loading.  It is also a great activity for ESL students who would benefit from compound words and Latin roots. 

New! Listening Activity related to this resource!


Output Rich Activity play by play 
1. First, students look a list of words, mostly cognates but some, such as película are not as familiar. 

2. The most impor…

El Internado- Using Spanish-language Series in class to increase input and creative output

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How to increase input, output and "enchular" tu clase de Español!




The Internado is back on Netflix!!!!

       I am a true Telenovelera y de pura cepa. Despite having a packed schedule and busy life like most of my fellow soldiers out in the  trenches of academia, I still make time for my most beloved pastime- Telenovelas. While washing dishes or preparing meals, I have my iPad tuned to Netflix where I have access to the vast array of drama-land. Consistent with the Comprehensible Input theory, 

      I realized that watching these 40 minute drama-drenched conundrums my vocabulary had improved both dramatically and incidentally. I learned a host of new expressions from other countries and now I am "weird" one speaking at home (Spanish is my second language but my husband's family is from Colombia).  I often have slip ups of rarely used word and phrases and I am puzzled as to "where did that come from". So, this got me to thinking more seriously about th…

Resilience and perservance- Gianfranco Conti- Let them struggle!

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Are you fostering a growth mindset in your class? 

The article that I reposted below with permission from the author (Conti)  is a critical piece so central to teaching language. Our goal last year i our department and school was helping students to develop a growth mindset, which in our school context meant allowing students to make mistakes, growth from them as well as other  re- other mind-expanding practices. Being a growth mindset type of gal, I did not have to change much... so I thought...until I read the article below. It opened my mind to a different way of viewing and designing a thinking class.

 Last semester I had an Aha moment when I noticed being in situations where my upper level students wanted me to, what Conti calls below " spoon-feed" them. At some point they had become vegetables in their own learning process and I was there "intravenously" supplying them with all their nutrients. Then it hit me. How am I helping them to grow if I continue to pu…

11 Activities for teaching reflexive verbs- hitting all the modes!

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With a little scaffolding, Spanish 1 intermediate learners are able to grasp big concepts in basic language.

This was the truth I discovered towards the end of the semester. I used this text La vida sana and its accompanying activities with my Spanish I students at the end of the year, this could also be used with Spanish 2 as well.  They thoroughly loved the challenged of being able to digest a text of this caliber in Spanish. Honestly, I purposely chock full the text with familiar cognates and structures with which we are used to in English such as "En este caso."

We have block periods in my school so I did this over 1.5 blocks with adds up to 135 minutes.

Here is how it all went down!
Priming those brains
I did the pre-reading activities first, the vocabulary matching, looking up verbs and then using then in cloze-text sentences. This gave them confidence in approaching the text.

Group talk: Next students got into groups of 3 and responded to the task cards. Each student ha…