Tag Archives: #course1

A Motor, a Wedding, and Crossing the Border

Evan made a motor. It was so cool even though it didn’t work. Thomas saved money to send to his former surf instructor in Costa Rica to help pay for his upcoming wedding. Vivian taught us about different types of rice in Central America. Gerson took us through his journey from El Salvador to Colorado earlier this year.

Content for Spanish class this past month was not typical of most Spanish textbooks.

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Wolf’s karate class
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Kaitlin’s Fashion Blog

My students just finished up their 20% Time Projects. As reported in a previous post, this was my second round of projects.  Their results proved inspiring content and rich language for our class this past month.

Students chose passions and interests to investigate by which they were able to improve their Español, connect with others, and save the world.

  • Supporting nutritional organizations in Central America
  • Learning about the Bible in Spanish and reading stories from it to younger children
  • Teaching karate to Spanish Speaking students
  • Playing video games in Spanish with kids around the world
  • Studying fashion and design in Madrid
  • Skiing through Chile
  • Learning about the Spanish Guitar
  • Learning to play a song in Spanish

  

Student feedback

Wanting to know what my students thought of the project and not wanting to break into English, I sent them in the hall with another student who recorded their feedback in English. Here are a few examples of what they thought of the project.

 

My Reflection

My students’ oral proficiency in Spanish improved because I was able to provide relevant vocabulary I knew they were going to need prior to their presentations. They didn’t email me back,  it surprised me that,  and I had wanted to do… but changed my mind were common language structures we practiced and practiced before kids presented.  There are even a few more structures I’ll add to my list for next time like I could not find or I realized that Students (me included) also learned specific vocabulary tied to their topic and their interest.  This year’s group was more comfortable with sharing as we discussed and modeled delivery and design. The reading of slides was highly discouraged. I didn’t allow notecards, although a few students did bring up cards which I allowed reading the anxiety on their face. The biggest challenge for them was connecting with others.  Most students picked someone they knew or friends of friends as their connection.  I was hoping for more global connections or more specific communications with people specific to their particular passion. I get it. The concept of reaching out to strangers is difficult and even more so in a second language.  Next time I’ll spend more time on how and why to make global connections.  We’ll practice. I’ll also give more time for student-teacher 1:1 conferences so I can individually help students brainstorm connections with similar passions or interests.  This, however, is a challenge for me as class sizes seem to grow and grow but I think maybe offering online Google Hangout hours could be an option. Lastly, I’ll put a time limit (with a friendly bell) on the sharing.  Maybe something similar to a Pecha Kucha  (or shorter) because with classes of 30, it takes a while.  Some of my students felt comfortable going on and on. They were so darn cute that I didn’t have the heart to cut them off.

What successes have you had with similar type projects?

 

 

 

 

Amigos en Asia

Course One: Final Project-Amigos en Asia

 

Background:

My students in DP Spanish I were reading a book that mentioned a student attending a school Singapore. Most of my kids asked, “¿Dónde está Singapore?”. Normal response for kids living in the US… A few more questions came up.  So, we decided to send letters to kids in Singapore to have our questions answered.  This connects well with WL standards.  We started writing letters (typing) when we realized we should just share the letter/doc with the students in Singapore.  A much faster option and we could include pictures and links. My students are NEW to a GAFE environment so the logging in, share settings, and creating links took a bit to sort out.

Here is the doc we used to choose a buddy and post our letter.  Our sister class in Singapore did the same and added their letters to the doc in response to what my students had first written. We also need a short intro so a few students made a short video introducing our school and our class.

The minute we had officially shared all our letters students wanted to know when we would hear something from our new friends. They asked everyday if I had received the letters so they could read them.  The power of connecting with someone on something personal is so powerful. They were hooked.

Upon reading their new friends’ letters they immediately judged the Spanish level of their friends and had lots of cool comments.

  • Wow, my girl is smart. Her Spanish is amazing.
  • Cool, we take the same classes.
  • She saw Maroon Five!
  • He likes to ski, too.
  • I cannot believe how many languages he speaks.

We used butcher paper to share out a bit what we had learned from our friends.

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Next steps:

My students want to continue to communicate with their friends in Asia. They originally said they wanted to Skype with their new friends but most were nervous about their Spanish ability and more were just nervous to meet someone new.  So, we are going answer their questions, react to what they wrote, ask more questions and share more about our lives.  We will do this by making a video. The video will give us a chance to alter the Spanish audio if needed.  We can add subtitles as well. Lastly, closer to the end of the school year, we will hold a few Hangout Sessions where students can jump in and meet their friends.  We are always open, however, to any idea our school in Singapore may have on the process.

Reflection:

So far I’ve been extremely happy with the project. My students have improved their Spanish, learned a bit about International Schools, and have started the process of making friends with kids 1/2 way around the world.  They have also learned a lot about GAFE. And, they have been completely engaged in the process. I was a bit frustrated at first because I came from school where many systems (blogs, GAFE, etc) were built in. I’m using a lot of tech with my kids that is brand new to them.  I’d love more collaboration throughout the building in terms of use of tech. I found myself using more English than normal when I am explaining some of the new technology.  Also, I was unsure about the editing process for their letters. I followed our DP rubric  (as far as a grade) but wanted them to have the best letter possible as their audience was much wider than just me. Some didn’t seem to care.  I was the one worried. I think I felt as if my students were an extension of me and I wanted to do a good job. I have to learn how to let my students be themselves while still providing enough guidance/español for them to be successful. I did correct some of the grammar in their letters even after they had “tried” to fix their mistakes.  I don’t think I would have been so worried if the audience had only been me.  After reading their buddies’ responses, I heard quite a few comments from my students as to wanting to do a better job next time. Most importantly, the message was more important to both groups than a proper conjugated verb. I’m looking forward to continuing with this unit/project.

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