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! InĂ©s 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):