Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Final Project

An Overview of the Lesson

After my Spanish 2 students finished a unit on reflexive verbs, and took the assessment, I decided to have them put their new knowledge into action.  I planned a project where students would work with a partner to make a story about Daily Routines.  The background was that 2 characters would go through their day form morning to evening.  The story could be written in 1st or 3rd person.

Each student was responsible for taking their own character from beginning to end of the day. The characters were required to meet at school and do some things together.  Besides these few rules, the students had creative freedom to write their story in their own way.  The project had to be done in the Book Creator App which our school provides to the students because I needed to both see and hear the story.

The rubric was placed in Schoology for easy access and reference.  It outlined the requirements for cooperation, creativity, presentation and specific grammar points to be included.  The main focus was proper use of the reflexive verbs. 

Lesson Plans -
The students were given 3 class periods to (75 minutes each) to complete the assignment.
1)  On day 1 - Students chose a partner and were directed to come up with a story board plan with details for their separate characters.  Then they were to create a rough draft of the story, making sure to include all of the grammar elements in the rubric.
2)  On day 2 - They were to edit and perfect their work with teacher assistance. Then, they began to choose images to express their separate characters. 
3)  On day 3 - They added the images to the book, typed the correlating sentences and recorded themselves reading the story to complete the project. They turned their final product in to "La Rutina Diaria" assignment in Schoology.

Lesson Objective -
Correctly use reflexive verbs in a creative way to show your understanding.

SAMR and Standards

On the SAMR model, this project fulfills the Replacement level. It allows the students to use CREATIVITY and to THINK CRITICALLY about how to share the story. They COLLABORATE  with partners to make a quality product  and COMMUNICATE a fun story and share using the grammar required.  They are able to show mastery of all of the 21st Century Skills.

From the ACTFL Standards, the students share information in the target language by both writing and speaking.  They also show a mastery of the grammar required by using verbs correctly and placing words in correct order.

Our school also encourages connection to the ISTE standards.   The Digital Skills that this project addresses include creating an innovative product using digital tools and responsible use of resources.  Each project was required to include a citation list of the copyright free images used in their product.

Student Example

Here is an example of the Book Creator Project entitled "La Rutina Diaria"  by two of my students.
It should be opened in iBooks.
La Rutina Diaria-1.epub

Reflection of Lesson

As I reflect on my lesson,  I believe that I could improve it in a few ways. 
When I have my students create this project next year I will ask them to turn in their rough drafts to me to be edited.  I can then return the drafts the next day after addressing specific needs for individual groups. This will take less precious class time help the students on a more personal level.
I am also thinking about reworking the rubric.  I think the grammar category needs to be divided into more sections so that it is easier for the students to double check the requirements to be fulfilled.

Overall, I believe the lesson went well.  The students enjoyed the project and the chance to express themselves creatively.  They were able to fulfill the requirements and gained experience in using the required grammar and vocabulary.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tech Tools Reflection

There are many new tech tools that I have learned about in this class and I hope to be able to use several of them as I find time to explore and try them out.  The five that I believe I can reasonably incorporate in my classes during this school year are listed here.

1.  QR Codes
     A.  I found this idea as I was looking through sites to add to my Feedly.  I chose to include
          Edutopia which had an interesting article about using QR Codes to enhance curriculum.
          The article suggested that the QR Codes can give students easy ACCESS to information, they
          can allow the teacher to CURATE specific sites that have been verified for content, they can
          actively ENGAGE and motivate the learner to interact with content, and they are an excellent
          way for students to SHARE and showcase their own work.  This creates students who are
          empowered, curious, and on-task.
     B.  I would like to create a cultural unit about Mexico's early history as a new country.  I would
          like the students to understand how tenuous their situation was and what had to happen for
          them to overcome the obstacles for success.  I would use QR codes to direct the learners to
          specific sites that gave an overview of the problems facing this new country and some
          highlights of the major political players (such as Santa Anna).  I could also add some video
          which would make the history come to life.  I might then ask students to synthesize this
          information and create a time-line of major events in Mexico's early days and make their own
          QR code to share their project.
     C.  The QR codes are worthwhile tools because they enable the students to find appropriate
          content quickly.  A web quest would allow them to work at their own pace with information
          that is already screened.  A scavenger hunt would encourage a bit of competition which keeps
          the  students focused and on-task.
     D.  Looking at the 4 Pillars of Purpose, I would say that this tool might encourage world
          citizenship by opening their eyes to the struggles of other countries.  It would also lend itself
          to the complexity of politics in any country.

2.  Book Creator
     A.  When looking through the suggested projects in the TPAC Model, I saw an idea to have
          students create a comic about daily routines.  I knew that our school provides the students
          access to the Book Creator App and thought this might be a perfect format for this project.
     B.  I will use it to have my Spanish 2 students create a cartoon book about 2 or 3 characters and
          their daily lives.  They will focus on using reflexive verbs to tell the story.  They will find or
         draw pictures of the characters doing various daily routines and record their voices telling the
     C.  This project is worthwhile because it allows students to use their creative talents and to 
          reinforce learning of grammar and pronunciation.  I find that the more voice and choice
          I can give them within the Rubric, the more they enjoy the project and retain the information.
     D.  I think that the main Pillar of Purpose for this Book Creator story is the collaborative
          relationship with peers.  They need to work together to tell the story of each of their characters
          and help edit each others' work while fulfilling the Rubric requirements.

3.  EDPuzzle/eduCanon
    A.  These interactive apps were referred to in our Google Chat meetings.  I knew that  
           eduCanon was an available tool in our district but I have not had the time to explore it.
      B.  I would like to use this with my students to help them break down a complicated grammar 
           lesson and understand it in small, "digestible" parts with practice happening several times 
           throughout the presentation of the concept. 
      C.  It is a worthwhile tool because it has proven to be a great way to help students learn.  It 
           also gives them, and the teacher, immediate feedback on how they are doing at 
           comprehension and use of the concept presented.  This will allow for better instruction
           and understanding.
     D.  The Pillar of Purpose this best fits is Welcoming Complexity.  It will encourage the students
           to engage more fully with content and evaluate for themselves what they still need to learn
           or practice.  This also instills the skill of Critical Thinking.
4.  Action Shots
     A.  This is an activity where students take photos of each other acting out verbs that they are 
           studying.  They can create a project using their choice of medium (PowerPoint, GoogleSlides,
           iMovie, Blog, etc.)  that shows the photos and written sentences telling what is happening.  
          This idea came from a Pinterest post of SraSpanglish.
     B.  I would like to use this with my students moving into the "Me gusta + infinitive" unit.  The
          beginning learners would love seeing themselves captured for  the camera in mid-motion!
     C.  It is worthwhile because students will be having fun while actively engaged in learning the 
           verbs and grammar of gustar, which will increase retention.
     D.  The Pillar of Purpose would again be mostly centered on Collaboration with Peers which
           will make the language come alive for the learners.
5.  Children's Story in Spanish -"El Tesoro más Grande"
     A. While  I was searching for ideas on Pinterest, I found a post from Veronikha Caceras.  Her 
           post recommended getting Spanish Children's Stories from  She has the 
          students listen to the story and then replays it while they work on completing a Cloze activity
          to teach or reinforce vocabulary.
     B.  I would use this activity with my Spanish 1 students to build basic vocabulary or with my 
          Spanish 2 students to introduce the Preterite tense. It is both visual and auditory. The story
          is repetitive and simple enough for them to learn the vocabulary or grammar. I would use it as 
          an extra enrichment activity between units for the One's and as an introduction to past tense
          for the Two's.
      C. It is worthwhile because it provides authentic content in an easy to grasp format.  It will
          widen vocabulary beyond the unit lists and show Preterite verbs in context.  It will engage the 
          learners with real language experience.
     D. The Pillar of Purpose this activity addresses is Preparing for Citizenship in the world as 
         students experience both the target language and the  reminder of the life lesson that friends
         are the best treasure of all. 
I have enjoyed researching these tools and thinking about how they can enhance my facilitation
of the content of my lessons.  I will continue to look for new and interesting ways to engage my 
students in learning through Technology. 




Saturday, March 5, 2016

The "#LangChat" Experience


On Thursday evening, March 3,  I was able to view the #LangChat conversation about giving students feedback.   It was very interesting, fast-paced, and full of variety!

I was impressed to watch so many experts in Language Acquisition share thoughts, ideas, and feedback of their own with each other.  I was also amazed at how many different threads were going on at the same time.  Being old, and a newbie to Twitter, I have to say I was a bit overwhelmed!

The conversation was full of wonderful ideas but not many of them related to a technology that I could see myself using in class.  Many of the suggestions related to face-to-face contact with students while they speak, or write.  I fully agree with the participants in their evaluations of how important that personal contact is.

There were a few ideas that I think might be very helpful to me to increase the interactions and enthusiasm of my classes, which I love to do!  I will definitely try the Sentence Auction idea where students bet their fake money to say if a sentence is correct or not and if they can correct the wrong ones.  That activity really resonates with me :).    When my students are learning directions, I will also use the idea for blindfolding one and having another give directions on where an item is. or how to toss a ball at it, or other variations.  These will definitely engage my mostly freshman students!

When I have a bit of extra time, I would also like to check out the Organic World Language site that was mentioned and advertised.  It looks like it may be full of great cultural activities.

I will try to take a look at other #LangChat discussions and see what else may be of value to me.  I appreciate the opportunity to try something new and look forward to increasing my knowledge and use of technology.