Showing posts from September, 2016

"Comprehensible Culture" in the World Language Classroom: How do experiences shape who we are?

Los jóvenes de Argentina 

This post is the second in a five series lessons on Identity for my upper level Spanish class.  Click here to read about the beginning lessons, video and speaking activities that inform the tasks below.

A. The skinny

One of my goals (among many) for this year is to incorporate "comprehensible culture" in the classroom.  Many times as language teachers we get so caught up in the language that the contextualizing culture gets left behind. I am becoming more cognizant of this as I plan. My aim is to include rich language experiences and culture. This unit on Identity does this in several ways:

Students have an opportunity to understand how they construct identity (psychological and biological point of view) They share that construction of their identity with other students They learn about how teens in the target culture think about identity Students engage in dialogue on a series of subtopics  Quick links: Activities referenced on this blog post can be …

Give students a hand: scaffolding WL writing activities to lower filter and increase success!

Providing on-target scaffolding to promote student success

This week marked the apertura de clases at my school.   I was very excited to get to know the students. I had already prepared this "I want to know you activity" and these "Spice it up writing prompts" to thoroughly engage my upper level Spanish class. I just knew everything was going to flow so smoothly the first week right before we jump into the real learning;  I was wrong.

The first day as students started to introduce themselves and I probed them with extremely basic questions with the dual purpose of getting to know them and surmising their potential placement on the language continuum To my surprise, some upper level students students showed difficulty in responding to novice-low and mid questions. One student in particular, struggled to understand a very basic question such as ¿Tú trabajas?  I was baffled, even more so when he told me "Spanish 4 is like Spanish 1 all over again,"referrin…

Should we assign homework in the World Language Classroom?

Should we assign homework in the World Language Classroom?     The other day I had a very interesting conversation with another educator about the role of homework in the world language classroom.  Historically, I came from a project-based technology school where homework was next to nil. I had some issues with this policy, but soon adapted because, when in Rome, you do as the Romans do. However,  I am currently teaching at a new school and, well, the conversation resurfaced again. The questions driving (and underlying) our conversation, were:
When do we assign homework in a world language classroom?Why do we give homework? What should that homework look like?What is the purpose?

Standard-Based Homework           My response to all questions centered was production-oriented more than anything.  I assumed "well you give homework to practice a skill." Additionally, if students did not complete work in class, then they should do it for homework. No brainer right?  This philosophy…