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 had to respond.
Partner up: They partnered up and read the text to each other and then took notes. This part was particularly interestingly because I heard some students arguing over what was an important notation versus what's not. It was a very spirited discussion.
Spit it out: They then generated questions- this is also outlined below. You can also click Amy Lenord's Conversation Circle below for a more direct instructions on how to implement this in your class. As a language coach she has some very good rubrics and structures for keeping students in the target language. I highly recommend checking our her stuff.
Amy Lenord Conversation Circle
I modified this slightly, at least from my understanding of how to use it. I had students write down 3-4 people from the other side of the room or in the class to ask. This facilitated the conversation better and there was less drag and they seemed to be more into it. They do get excited so I have to develop some traffic control signals, but all in all it's very fun.
Poker face: For homework they had to read and annotate the article again. I told them they were going to have a reading comprehension test and would not be able to use the notes- and I did it. Test with no notes. They did pretty well.
The very next class they completed the reading comprehension and then the writing task. I have a very simplified rubric for what I was looking for, it is also included in the 15-page packet.
The suite includes:
Click here to get the text with activities outline below: La vida sana
1. La vida es Sana text- article about Teen sleeping habits affect them in a number of ways.
2. Pre-reading activities such as vocabulary matching, verb definition and cloze-text activity with the goal of making the text more approachable and comprehensible.
3. 8 Task cards regarding the habits of Teens (pre-reading).
4. Note-taking document- yes, my Spanish 1 students had to read and take notes just like they do in English class! I had them work together on this. It was really fun and they were proud of themselves at the end.
5. The notes include a space where they have to come up with basic, intermediate and advanced questions. We did this when I taught in an IB school and it works well especially in getting them to ask good questions. I had to do a mini lesson on the difference, but I included the question stem-types.
6. We use the questions for a whole class conversation or Amy's conversation circle. They ask the questions and I sit back and grade. More information on Conversation Circle can be found on Pinterest.
7. Post comprehension questions (I usually give this as an assessment)
8. Writing prompt- Since this unit is done in conjugation with learning about reflexives, they complete a writing sample at the end.
I used this activity to assess the interpersonal mode (conversation circle) and the interpretive mode (reading and comprehension)