3 AM

jjtt I think you could build an entire Spanish curriculum on the latest Jesse y Joy album.  I probably won’t do that, but here is a three-day lesson based on their song 3 am, which includes vocals from Tommy Torres.  If you are not a Spanish teacher, there may still be some value in seeing how a unit can be developed by adding back story to a song.

Resources:

  • Slides – A slide presentation used for several parts of the unit.
  • Documents – Text for the lyrics of the song, vocabulary structures and 2 versions of a story to expand the song (simplified and complete) in an embedded reading format.

Steps:

  1. Distribute the documents packet to students.
  2. Play the song while students simply follow along with the lyrics.
  3. Ask questions about general comprehension.
  4. Read “El Cuento – Versión 1” – the first version of the embedded reading.  Use necessary strategies (translating, reading several times, retells) to be sure the content is understood.
  5. Use slides 3-11 to introduce and practice the vocabulary structures.  Students write definitions on the second page of the packet.  You may want to change your focus structures.  For me, the first 4 structures were emphasized, used and internalized more.  The last three were defined to aide in comprehension of the story and song.
  6. Project slide #12 and instruct students to discuss in pairs.  Then, lead class in discussion of questions.
  7. (Beginning of day 2 for me) Project slide #13, which contains phrases from the song translated to English.  Students search for the same phrases in Spanish in the song and mark them.  Play the song while students are searching.
  8. Read “El Cuento – Versión 2” on the second page.  Select three actors to act out the parts of Joy, Tommy and Joy’s mother.  They act and read lines as the story is told.  Slide #13 includes and image that can be used while explaining the “gato por liebre” line of the story and song.
  9. Comprehension quiz.  Before the story, I informed students that there would be a short quiz afterward that they would complete without using the text, so attention and comprehension were important.  This is the quiz I used: V2 Comprehension Quiz
  10.  (Beginning of day 3 for me)  Slide #16 contains a link to a lyric video.  At this time, I was not able to find an official video for the song.  The linked video shows lyrics and who (Joy or Tommy) is saying each line.  There are a couple errors in the text.  I hope a better video will be available soon.
  11. Slide #17 contains a prompt for a short writing assignment.  I instructed my students to write in the blank space at the end of version 2.  After writing, students shared with a partner and some shared with the class.
  12. In pairs, students translate sections of the song to English.  As they were reading their endings to each other, I marked a paragraph of the song for each pair to translate and be ready to share with the class.

 

Posted in Authentic Resources, Embedded Reading, Music, Stories/Storytelling | 4 Comments

Latin Grammy Awards 2016

lg16My friend and colleague, Ellen Roberts, recently sent me some ideas for activities to accompany the Latin Grammy Awards.  Using the resources she sent and ideas from other teachers about bracket challenges, I created the following presentation and activities.  They allow each class to vote for a song of the year.  But of course, there are several TL rich steps involved in selecting a winner.

These activities were completed at the beginning of each class during a span of 7 days.  The Latin Grammy Awards ceremony was already broadcast (November 17), but this activity can still be used to provide language input and cultural awareness.  Each class selects it’s own song of the year.  If the class choice is different than the single that actually won, no problem.  The last slide of the presentation includes videos from the ceremony.

Here’s what we did . . .

  1. I distributed the following document to each student.  One side contains the bracket for the 8 Spanish-language songs that were nominated for song of the year.  The other side is a chart, which students completed as we went.
    1. Las canciones (front)
    2. Las canciones (back)
  2. Using the following presentation, I provided information for each song in the first round (2 per day).  Students took notes on their charts.  For each song, there are images, information, a section of the lyrics and link to a lyric video of the song.  After we discussed each song, we listened to it.
    1. Las canciones (slides)
  3. After discussing and listening to two songs, the class voted for the favorite, and we all recorded it on the bracket.
  4. After 4 classes of information, listening and voting, we advanced to the second round.  For the second round, we quickly listened to the two songs that had advanced and voted.  Slide #50 in the presentation includes quick links to lyric videos of each song.
  5. The last day (day 7), we listened to the two finalists and voted on a champion.  After the class had selected a winner, I showed video clips (last slide of the presentation) of the actual winner and other key moments from the awards ceremony, including some of the same artists winning in other categories.  We also took a short quiz over the information from the charts.
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Screencasts

Atscom0376-summary-icon-100x100 the CSCTFL Conference in March, I promised a room full of teachers that I would make a video about how to use screencasts in class.  It only took 6 months, but here it is.

A screencast is a video of everything that happens on your computer screen with the audio of your voice narrating.  I have found them very useful for various applications in and out of class.  The following link should direct you to a video that explains how I make them and how I use them.

Screencast Video

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More Resources for El Internado

35a0b1f6196ef65cb9aafdf4ebb60ed3As I continue to restructure my own resources for using El Internado in class, I’ve decided to organize many of them on this site.  It will provide me a starting point in future years and allow me to share with other teachers who are interested in trying out El Internado in Spanish class.

I’ve created a page dedicated to El Internado resources.  For now, it is located under the Resources/Links heading.  It can be found here:

El Internado Resources

Currently, the page contains resources for three sections of Episode 1, which cover the first 24 minutes.  There are slides with vocabulary, slides for Movie Talk and previewing sections, reading, listening and writing activities and instructions for using them.

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Roberto Wants to be Famous

paseo_de_la_fama_de_hollywood_por_christian_haugen_flickr-1000x666I had a story I almost always used in class early in the year in an attempt to get repetitions of puede + infinitive (is able do something) and quiere + infinitive (wants to do something).  The story was about a girl who was jealous of her sister.  Her sister was popular and successful, and the girl wanted to be like her.  At the end, she stole her sister’s money, hair, shoes, feet . . . etc. and became the popular one.  It always seemed like such a good story, but I was never able to get it to work in class the way it did in my head.  I told it in two classes this year with similar disappointing results before I realized I needed to make a change.

It’s incredible how a small change in a story can make a giant difference in class engagement.

Here’s the new version.  In short, the protagonist wants to be famous (not popular), and he is jealous of several other people in the class (not just a sister).  The small changes allowed me to include several characters and get several more reps of structures.  It worked much better in the next class.

Roberto quiere ser famoso:  (Spanish only – Sorry) This is actually a text I used as a reading for one of the earlier classes in which I told the older story, but it is essentially the same as the story to be told in class.  Several classmates can be included as the famous ones.  Be sure to get many repetitions on the puede and quiere structures.

Vocabulary Intro and PQA : These slides contain the vocabulary, PQA questions and examples of the structures in use.

 

 

Posted in Stories/Storytelling, Story Scripts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Technique for El Internado and Movie Talk

el-internado-10-galeria700x400If you’ve ever been frustrated because you feel like you’re not getting enough out of Movie Talk, the following may help . . .

If you’ve ever wanted to try using El Internado in your Spanish class but you’re not sure where or how to start, the following may help . . .

One of my goals for this new school year is to better utilize El Internado, which almost always means going slower than I tend to go.  Mike Peto sums up a good pace as always going slower than the students want.  Students from last year’s classes would laugh at the idea of going even slower than we did, but I think there is more we can do/get out of the program if we take our time.

As I was preparing to show the first part of episode 1 to a class this year, I used the following steps.  I believe these steps can also be very helpful when applied to any video as Movie Talk.  It’s a more scripted alternative to what I would normally do.

  1. Select a clip and write out the narration.  I grabbed a pencil and a few sheets of paper and started the video.  I paused the video often and wrote out everything that could be used as narration of the story.  Even for someone who has used Movie Talk for years, this step revealed how much language was actually embedded in a short clip.  I quickly filled 2 sheets of paper.  This step may sound tedious and unnecessary, but I found it very helpful and was actually excited by how much I was finding that I would have otherwise disregarded.
  2. Evaluate the narration notes.  I used different color pens and started marking any structures that would not be already known or not well-internalized by my students.  I made distinctions between structures that could be gestured, structures that were high and low frequency, structures that were used often in the episode . . . etc.
  3. Create new vocabulary structures.  Based on all my colored markings, I selected and formed three structures to be the focus.  Because the structures were mostly nouns and cognates, they were easily internalized.  For this particular episode of El Internado, they were:
    1. se escapa por la ventana – she escapes through the window
    2. sube un árbol – she climbs (goes up) a tree
    3. hay un lobo en el bosque – there’s a wolf in the woods
  4. Create a gestures list.  Honestly, I do not typically do a lot of gesturing beyond some TPR actions at the beginning of the year for verbs that will be essential to all stories.  However, I wanted to be able to get some other vocabulary into this MT without overloading the amount of language in the focus structures.  For this clip, I chose
    1. se quita – she takes off
    2. se pone – she puts on
    3. se cae – she falls
    4. dice – she says
    5. salta – she jumps
    6. encima de – on top of
    7. debajo de – below
    8. sonríe – she smiles
    9. está preocupada – she is worried
  5. Create screenshots. This IS the tedious part.  If you are using the first 5 minutes of El Internado, you can use the presentation linked below.  I created a screen shot slide for everything that happens in the clip.
  6. Present the new structures.  Now, it’s time to get the students involved.  I presented the three focus structures and asked some personalized questions.  We talked a bit about trees and forests and where there are wolves.
  7. Present and practice the gestures.  I acted them out.  Students acted them out.  I said them without moving.  I did them without saying anything, and students said them.  All the TPR tricks.
  8. Watch the clip. We watched the first 5 minutes of El Internado.  I paused to question from time to time.  Some teachers get the bulk of their reps at this step.  Sometimes I do too, but not for this version.  We did some talking here, but the majority of the repetitions occur in step 9.
  9. Lead the students through a retell of the clip.  Using the presentation linked below, we went through the first section of slides (no text) together with me asking and circling.  This is a very important step, as it is where most of the input occurs.
  10. Students read aloud.  We did this in partners.  The second section of the presentation contains slides with narration text.  Students simply take turns reading the text displayed over the images.
  11. Students fill in blanks.  The third group of slides contains text with blanks.  Students read aloud and filled in the blanks with the correct words.
  12. Students retell.  The fourth section of slides (Yes, it’s a long presentation) contains no text.  Students retold the events by just looking at the images.  This step could be very difficult if it were the first task, but after input from the teacher and slowly removing text, students completed it with little trouble.  It would be possible to even add another step between, in which more blanks are added if needed.
  13. Watch the second section.  We watched the section section (5:00-9:05), and I paused, questioned and circled in more of a traditional Movie Talk style.  I felt the second part worked better this way, and it allowed some variation in our process.
  14. Students read and complete.  Using the following document, students selected the correct word in some sections and wrote in the correct word in others.
    1. El Internado Fill-in #1
    2. El Internado Fill-in #1 – complete
  15. Writing Assessment. Students completed a writing assessment in class with no resources other than images.  The assignment is on the last page of the following document.
    1. El Internado Fill-in #1 – Writing Assessment

Here is the presentation.  It includes an intro and link to the trailer for El Internado and the 4 sections of slides that were referenced earlier.

El Internado Intro and Episode 1-1

 

 

Posted in Authentic Resources, Classroom activities, El Internado, Movie Talk | 1 Comment

300 Chistes

I often demonstrate to other teachers how I use a daily joke to provide input in Spanish class, and they say something like, “Oooh.  I like that, but where do I find jokes to use for class?”

To which I usually reply, “Uh . . . I um . . . I just find them . . . I don’t know.”

The truth is that I’ve spent a few years looking online, in books and on Twitter for anything I could make into an appropriate, comprehensible and (sometimes) funny joke for class.  Until recently, I’ve had the jokes scattered in different digital documents and on scraps of paper in my desk drawers.

I finally took the time to compile them into one resource.  Below is a link to the document.  It includes more than 300 jokes and a short introduction about how to use them in class.

300+ Chistes 

 

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CSCTFL Workshop

For those of you who attended the Seamless CI workshop this morning at the Central States Conference, below is a link to the presentation with links included.  Again, thank you for your attention.  I enjoyed spending a few hours together.

Seamless CI Slides

 

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El empleado del mes

empleado del mes copiaHere is a story to be told in class with a bit of a twist in the delivery.  Typically, my order is about the same.  We begin by establishing meaning to new structures then move to personalized questions and then to an in-class story.   This one is a bit different.  The meaning of new structures and the personalized questions come up at different points of the story.  I know that some TPRS teachers are good at always weaving PQA into stories, but I struggle with it.  So for this unit, I deliberately created PQA breaks.

Here is the script with personalized questions included: El empleado del mes – script

Here are the slides I used as we went: El empleado del mes – slides

I also included a sheet for students to record structure definitions and take notes on the events of the story.  Again, this is not common for us.

Here is the sheet that students used to follow along: El empleado del mes – student guide 

The plot of the story is pretty simple.  There is an employee who has worked at a meatball company for many years and has been very successful.  He is a meatball salesman and has sold thousands of meatballs in his years.  However, the son of the owner of the company is also a salesman.  He has sold very few meatballs but always wins employee of the month because his father is the owner.  After so many years, the good salesman cannot take it anymore and decides to do something about the injustice.

Of course, the details (meatball company) can be changed and were different in each of my classes.  And, most of our stories ended pretty violently, which would not be necessary.

I was pleased with the results.  The actual plot of the story is pretty simple and boring.  The switch in delivery was enough to maintain student engagement.  One of my concerns was that it would be difficult to jump back and forth from personalized questions about real life to imaginary details of the story we were creating.  However, the transitions were smooth in all classes.

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Listen more. Think less.

escucha mas

There are two types of language students in a CI class.  Well, there are many types of language students, but for this post, let’s divide them into two groups.  There are those who actively listen and absorb the input we provide, and there are those who discover the meaning of words and try to think/translate their way through everything.  The second group is full of students who say things like . . .

  • Me llamo es
  • El hombre era comiendo
  • Espalda en mi día

How do we move students from the second group into the first?  How do we get them to buy into what we are doing? – providing them with the input they need to communicate without (much) thinking.

I’m going to start with this.  It’s simple and lame, but so are some of the best classroom strategies I use everyday.

Escucha más poster

I’m going to hang it in my room after break or maybe even hang several of them in my room.  We’ll discuss it, and then I’ll point to it when we need to refocus.

Of course, thinking and some translating are natural for any language student.  And given the brevity of our time with students, extending concepts from one structure to another with which they have not had much input does require some thought.  I’m not trying to eliminate that type of thinking.  I’m trying to eliminate the frustration of standing in front of class everyday and saying “hace calor”, “hace frío”, “hace fresco”, “hace calor”, “hace frío”, “hace calor” . . .

And then hearing a student one day say, “Profe, es frío hoy.”

*If you are not a Spanish teacher, the sign simply says “Listen more.  Think less.”  Translate it to your language or in English.

Posted in Classroom setup | 1 Comment