Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My Summer Story

My students impress me so much each day with their written and oral communication skills. I am in awe at what mature and interesting people they are, and with how much they accomplish each day in my class. Here are some amazing visual stories to share:

Grade 8:  

Grade 7:

Grade 6: 

Halloween ... in Spain? Definitely, through a global project!

Working with Colegio Decroly in Spain is certainly a TREAT! Inés and I were discussing our own individual lesson plans with the other, and after brainstorming a little bit, we came up with a cross-over lesson. My lesson plans for the next month (Grades 6, 7, 8: Spanish 1H, 2H) included the following: 
Focus Lenses: Relationships, Connections
Cultural: Hispanic Heritage Month
Grammar: Imperfect tense, tener, gustar, possessive adjectives
Vocabulary: The Family, “Fiesta en Familia,” “Memories from the Past”

My students were going to be practicing using the past tenses in Spanish with a focus on the Imperfect tense, and we were researching a bit about Latin-American holidays. We also discussed American family celebrations and traditions. So, as part of our exchange, all my Middle School students created a presentation to showcase what they do, or what they used to do, to celebrate Halloween. After uploading projects to Schoology, students additionally uploaded them to Edmodo to share with their Spanish counterparts.

Then, our Spanish counterparts watched our presentations and commented on Edmodo; later they prepared their own adaptation celebration of Halloween at their school. (Remember, typically Halloween is not celebrated in Spain.) The Colegio Decroly students wrote, acted, and produced original horror films in English, as well as hosted an official schoolwide Halloween party (festooned with decorations and awesome homemade typical food, drinks and treats). At their party, they watched the horror films, which were later uploaded to the C.D. class website, so that the U.S. students could watch their films and enjoy. Of course, they were AMAZING, and these students commented their praise, comments and questions on Edmodo.

U.S. Students send their interpretations to Spain:

Trevor (6):

Spain students create horror films and share with U.S. Students:

Speaking Practice with a classroom full of students? Yes, it is possible!

Shadow Puppet app icon

Speaking Practice is a classroom activity that I always wish we had more time to complete. So many factors play a role: classroom management, volume of voices, students staying on task, only one teacher... the list goes on and on.

But I did learn about an awesome and simple little app which is the "dream app" for teachers. It is called SHADOW PUPPET, and it is the World Language teacher's new best friend! 

This app is simple with only a couple options/buttons to push. You can add photo/video, you can narrate with text, and you can record your voice. That's it! This makes it easy for teachers to have their students get right to work, as in producing and displaying within a matter of minutes. 

For example, I volunteered in a fourth-grade classroom within a school with a one-to-one iPad program. (They were still a couple students that had forgotten their iPads and those students were asked to buddy up with another student.) Previously in their language arts classes, the students had written Thanksgiving narratives in their own writing on paper. With the Shadow Puppet app, students were asked to create a short video reflecting upon or adding to what they wrote in the narratives.

After a teacher demonstration, students chose images from their camera roll or those images already embedded in the app, added sentences or text to the slides, and then spoke/recorded their voices. Some students read right off the slides from the text they had written, and other students spoke spontaneously in summary of what they had written previously during the morning on paper. Students all had the most fun when choosing pictures and images that reflected the sentiment of their narratives. 

As soon as everyone was done with the video production, the teacher let each student mirror their presentation to the Apple TV and screen at the front of the room. Students one by one presented their projects to the class, while classmates watched and listened attentively. They were intrigued by what the classmate would say and by the images he/she may have chosen to display. 

The Shadow Puppet app gives you the opportunity to share the link to your video, to share your video by email, or just to simply save it to camera roll. With one of those three options, all students were able to share the videos with their family members and with their teachers. 

With regards to World Language teaching, this app is awesome for presentational speaking. Whether it be a two-sentence response to a prompt written on the board or a more complex Summative Intrapersonal Assessment between two students, for example, the app is a great tool to enhance and engage students! Please let me know if you use it in the classroom, or if you have ideas or comments. ¡Gracias!

SHADOW PUPPET example (Spanish 2H for Heritage Speakers, journal prompt response):

example (Spanish 2H, Preterite Tense activity):

Monday, October 13, 2014

¿Qué día es hoy? - El Calendario

Wow!!! Talk about enthusiastic foreign language students, and on a Monday! My fourth graders loved their class today, especially because they had the chance to laugh, sing, and dance. Good visuals and music are invaluable tools to the World Language teacher because they are motivating, provide repetition (music), and help students connect to the material.  

First, we reviewed the months of the year orally, and then watched an awesome cartoon by SAS Curriculum Pathways. This video is excellent especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, as it touches on popular Latin-American holidays by month (including the dates), but especially focuses on the names of the months of the year in Spanish.

Second, we reviewed our numbers in Spanish orally, making sure to enunciate each word slowly. Many of my students can and try to say their numbers quickly, but then cannot pronounce them slowly, as they do not know them as well as they originally think. We reviewed numbers 0 - 10 first. Then we practiced 0 - 31 because those numbers are utilized in the monthly calendar. Finally we practiced counting by tens from 0 - 100. Then, as I began to play this video, I observed all their heads bopping, their arms and hands being raised, and smiles coming to their faces; they instantly sang along without ever having heard this number song before!


Finally, as we have reviewed the days of the week over the last couple weeks and they were already familiar with the terms, we jumped right into our song and dance. From a suggestion I learned at a FLENEF session two summers ago, I tried to incorporate movement in the classroom. We watched this wonderful video below and danced the macarena (at least the first 6 moves plus a swing of the hips)!

It is days like these that my students impress me with their enthusiasm, and I am reminded how much I love my job! 

Gracias a Uds. por todos estos recursos: SAS Curriculum Pathways, Sr. Ashby, y BASHO & friends!

Monday, October 6, 2014

What a (ka)HOOT!

Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system where one can create a game-show activity with questions one personally writes, making it appropriate for any kind of discipline or content. The teacher OR the students can create the games/quizzes. As explained by Educational Consultant Glenn Weibe: 

Using a simple drag and drop tool, educators create and manage “Kahoots” in the form of quizzes, surveys or polls related to the topics they’re teaching; either asking quick questions to get feedback or opinion, or more in depth questions for formative assessment.
One of the big differences between Socrative and Kahoot! is that the questions are projected on a screen in front of students – much like the video bar trivia game. Your kids use any smart device and browser – phone, tablet, or computer – to join the Kahoot using a specific PIN number. You provide the question and possible answers.  The kids see the answers on their device and select the answer they think is correct. This is the other difference between Kahoot! and other student response systems – it’s not an app, so it’s device neutral making it perfect for BYOD schools or for classrooms with a variety of devices.

In my Spanish classroom, after completing a recent "What I did last summer" preterite tense project with Spanish 2 students, I created this game as a review: 

Please see another example from my 6th grade review games I created at this link:

Please feel free to use or adapt any of my Kahoots.

Another one I used when teaching Latin American capitals is this good one here:

South American capitals:

You have the option to copy them, and then edit them to your taste. What a FANTASTIC activity, and I promise your students of any age will love it! Now, my goal is to try to play it with another classroom across the globe simultaneously while Skyping -- stay tuned! 

Tareas de Vocabulario - Fiesta en Familia

After seeing and hearing about Task Cards for vocabulary, my students and I tried our hand with this creative method. Our topic was "Family Celebrations," and different levels of study had different quantity or difficulty of vocabulary words. Tasks were also distinct in that some required markers and paper, and others required digital tools and apps. The students, however, were gracious for the opportunity to choose a task of their liking.

Here are some samples of what my students produced:

Haiku Deck (cards were later used for CandyLand adaptation game):

Luciano (6)

Fiesta - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Interactive Book on Tiny Tap:

PuppetPals video

BuddyPoke video

Kahoot game

Popplet - mindmapping, graphic organizer

Quizlet by (Ali-7)  -

Crossword Puzzle (made with Discovery free puzzlemaker)

...and many more!  

If you would like a copy of my Task Cards (which include both digital tasks as well as pen-and-paper tasks,) you can download them for free here:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Instagram--ing about LA FAMILIA! (oh, and a POPPLET too!)

Thank you to Srta. Barragan for this awesome activity idea! It works best with students who have their own personal device and who have an Instagram account. As we were talking about family members during our class, students shared pictures of their family members, while also writing a descriptive sentence in the target language. Then, classmates were asked to comment. The activity went very well, except that not everyone had a personal device or account. Those students (without a personal device or account) participated in a "dummy" forum on our school's Learning Management System, and it also worked well.

I would give suggestions to students before they begin the activity with regards to commenting. One word comments are not appropriate. I suggested they ask questions, or state a specific thing they like/dislike about the image. 

Here is the original idea on Srta. Barragan's post:

Here are some examples of our posts:

As part of another activity to work with La Familia themes, use the Popplet Lite app to exhibit relationships between family members, instead of designing the "traditional family tree." 

Here are two student examples:

How's the weather up there?

It is September, and it is the time I usually teach the students about how to talk about the weather, en español. This time of year in Florida is always interesting because the weather is still very warm and we typically get a lot of thunderstorms. Unfortunately, when the weather is bad, the students do not get to play outside at recess; therefore, they are quite interested to know when the rain will "go away."

This time, I created a beautiful Haiku Deck presentation to capture my student's interest, and also to help orally teach the words of a song I used to use from the Realidades program.

Here are a couple links to use and/or share:

El Tiempo - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Un video de SAS Curriculum Pathways:

More ideas:
Use the "Weather +" and "Google Earth" apps to investigate the weather and location of Latin American countries. Utilize information found to create "El Pronostico de Tiempo" of certain country capital cities around the world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Me presento...

Fifth graders practiced their listening and speaking skills with the following assignment/discussion post on Schoology:

Por favor, mira el video primero. Segundo, contesta las preguntas de "Papa Caliente" por escribir y hablar.
Watch the video first please. Second, answer the "Hot Potato" questions by writing them and speaking them. 
1.  Watch the video. Here is what he is saying:
Hola ¿qué tal? Mi nombre es José, ¡mucho gusto! Soy estudiante de literatura en esta universidad. Soy de Colombia. Esta es mi amiga Alejandra. Ella es de Perú. ¿Qué van a hacer esta noche? Quizás podríamos ir al cine o algo parecido. Nos vemos más tarde. ¡Gusto en conocerlos!
2.  Answer the "Hot Potato" questions by recording yourself. 
To complete this assignment, you will need to audio/video record yourself, using the Schoology app. Within the assignment on the app, click on the "+" icon, then write your answer. Second, click on "attach," then click on "video," and then record your video. Click "Save" to submit. If you have a problem or if you need technology, please see Mrs. Siracusa for help on Wednesday or Thursday after school in her classroom. 
¿Cómo te llamas?
¿Cómo estás?
¿Cuántos años tienes?
¿De dónde eres?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Pencil Metaphor

What kind of teacher are you? 
I love this blogpost, and I am reposting it here. Thank you Elizabeth Charles and Teach!

By the way, I am somewhere between the SHARP ones and the LEADers! 

License Plates...Soy de Clearwater, Florida

I have to admit, I stole this wonderful idea from a high school Spanish teacher in Pinellas County.  But, I did add my own creative flair and parameters to it! Students were asked to create personal car License Plates as a writing and speaking prompt for language class.
Attached are my Activity Instructions, as well as my students' work as examples.
Happy creating and speaking!

We are so excited to connect with them! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Flat Projects notice

Friday, August 1, 2014

Global Connections with Apps: Talk It Up!

2014 FLENEF Conference
Presentation by Fran Siracusa


-Global Happiness Project (written, oral and visual presentation, using the GarageBand, iMovie, Keynote, Haiku Deck, Skype and Google Docs apps)     January-May 2014
Watch video at this link:


After viewing a particular post on my Twitter feed tonight, I have a new resource for finding more Global Projects. Happy exploring! 

iLearn. iTeach. iPad. iWant. iNeed. - FLENEF Conference 2014, Concurrent Session

Presentation by Donna Guzzo & Fran Siracusa

Donna & Fran collaborate on Skype while preparing this presentation. (7/2014) 

Resources and Links:

Haiku Deck: (Ultimate Resource Guide for Teachers)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ISTE Ignite Session 3 - 2014

ISTE Ignite Session 3 - Speaker #8 Fran Siracusa - Global Connections with Apps: Talk It Up!

June 30, 2014