Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween, Pumpkins, Sugar Skulls...oh my!

It is the end of October, and also, this is one of my favorite seasons to be a Spanish teacher! There are so many resources and fun cultural topics to discuss with students. Let go of the reins, and support students as they explore topics and have fun with videos as well as produce their own creations. Don't forget to learn and share with us! Gracias, y ¡nos compartimos pronto! 


Cinco Calabazas song (emotions vocabulary):

Spanish 1 Project - 6th grade example:

Watch “The Last Call” video made by students in Spain learning English:

Día de los Muertos:

I'd like to share this Haiku Deck with you. 
"El Día de los Muertos":

Ringling Film School students produce video short (AWESOME!):

Another fave video: Viva Calaca!

(My students always LOVED both the above videos.)

Six-minute video-live footage 2010:

Great Activity Sheet with various elements:

Don’t forget to incorporate the Task Cards I sent previously, and have the students create study items! 

Have a great week!!!! 

Saludos, Fran 

El Día de los Muertos - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Conquistadors Connect 2015: Madrileños & Clearwater teens learn the power of CONNECTIONS

"When people come into your life, you have no idea how they will change it. These people have changed my life so much within these short two weeks. They will never know how much they meant to me. They showed me how to appreciate the small moments in life. They helped me transform as a person, and they taught me about many things I did not know (especially more Spanish). I hope to see everyone again and share memories with them. The memories that we have made these two weeks will stick with me for my whole life. I wish everyone luck as they continue their journey in life. This is not goodbye for us but it is see you later. Hasta luego mi familia!"
~from 13-year-old Florida participant as posted on her social media account

The name of this experience, “Conquistadors Connect,” was inspired by the Spanish conquistadors of old who came to the New World to explore, discover and learn. In the same fashion, my colleague Jennifer and I designed a program in which the Spanish students came and explored Florida history, technology and marine science, and furthermore, “conquered” the English language and culture, as well as gained knowledge in the particular disciplines through this exclusive and profound experience. It was our desire to see these young people thrive in our increasingly interconnected world by displaying measurable 21st Century student global competencies (understanding, investigating, connecting, and integrating). 

We also suspected that the Clearwater teens would benefit just as much from this interactive experience. To our delight, the Clearwater teens who hosted these Madrid students as siblings and friends formed strong bonds of friendship. Unlike typical travel programs where participants act as mere observers, this group of students was given the authentic opportunity to become successful “networked persons.”  Alongside their global partners, they lay the foundation to be open-minded and respectful citizens of the world. They became active, compassionate and lifelong learners, well-equipped with 21st Century skills to learn from and interact with their connected world in responsible ways.

Even more incredible is that this experience is an extension of a global project that began in January of 2014 between four World Languages classrooms. Contextualized learning, exploration of self and new ideas, and leaving the "comfort zone" helped these students to better prepare for life in their impending workforce-future.

I would like to extend a very special GRACIAS to all our family, friends and supporters who believe in the power of connections! Huge thanks to:
Colegio Decroly, Inés Guillorme, Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center, Matt Spoor, the Belleair Recreation Department, Kevin & Nicole Piccarreto, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Pablo Otalvaro, Adventure Blue (Daniel Vukelich, David Vukelich), Ciccio's/Water restaurant, Susan Bucci, Regions Bank, Raymond Villanueva, Panera Bread, Vikki Kaiser, Sail Honeymoon Inc. and Employee Leasing Strategies

Inspired by the Spanish conquistadors of old who came to the New World to explore, discover and learn...

Movie Trailer:

Monday, May 4, 2015

Centers in the WL classroom - Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Whether it is because you want to bring an exciting new aspect into your teaching methods, or you would like to encourage more movement and active learning, or perhaps you want to differentiate learning, there are various reasons to implement “centers” into the World Language classroom. 

On this particular occasion, I was able to volunteer as a cultural guest speaker in order to share my knowledge of the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration of Puebla, Mexico. The lesson and centers were used in Spanish 1 classes consisting of students from Grades 6 - 8.

The lesson began with a 2-minute video to introduce the “Cinco de Mayo” historical background. Next, using Haiku Deck (and 2 decks), I introduced 20 new vocabulary words through images, oral response and pronunciation “gimmicks,” along with a little TPR. Finally, students were separated into six groups of 3-4 students for centers for small-group play. 


-Tierra de Dulces (Candyland) - using stuffed colorblock die, 4 game pieces (Go-go’s), a gameboard (hand-made on foam board), and the Haikudeck cards (images printed on cardstock as a PPT, with 9 slides on each page, cut apart) Students move along, while identifying cards by naming the correct word/phrase in Spanish.

-Lotería (Mexican Bingo) - Using a simple “table” in Word/Pages, within 16 boxes, I copied the images randomly into the boxes, and then labeled the Spanish terms under each image. Second, I randomized it and made 3 different boards. Third, I made a black-and-white copy of the PPT (9 slides on each page), cut them out, and placed them in a SOLO cup (for individuals to draw upon). Taking turns, students would draw one card from the cup, and give the group a clue or riddle, in Spanish. All of them would place a penny, or Bingo marker on the word, if they have it. First to get four in a row yells Lotería and wins the game.

-Matamoscas (Fly Swatter) - I wrote the names of all the vocabulary words in Spanish on the board in random “directions,” and handed 2 of the 4 students a swatter. I then called words aloud in English (or gave a riddle), and then students hit the correct Spanish translation. The students took turns in teams of 2. Whomever got the answer correct first, received the clue card and held onto it until the end of the game. Whichever team acquired the most clue cards won.

-Cabeza Arriba (Head’s Up) - created with the Card Creator app and allowing students to use my cell phone, a group of 3-4 students played the game. This game resembles Charades, but backwards. Whomever gets the most points (or most answers guessed correctly) wins. 

-Tiny Tap - Students can independently create an interactive question-and-answer session using the images from Haiku Deck, and their own voice/written questions to test for comprehensibility.

-Thinglink - Students can independently create an interactive “photo” where they add their voice/video using the images from Haiku Deck to demonstrate understanding.

Hope these activities prompt your own creation of CENTERS, whether it be for “El Cinco de Mayo” or any other vocabulary unit you have. Happy active learning!

Haiku Decks:

Cinco de Mayo - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Cinco de Mayo - Vocab - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

All my files can be found here:

Uno más: Here is another resource I have from a teacher from Schoology:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

All that Glitters is SCOLT - March 5-7, 2015

This last week, I had the amazing opportunity to present both a workshop and a concurrent session alongside fellow iPad Gurus and Spanish teachers Donna Guzzo, Janet Robles and Michelle Olah at the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) in Atlanta, Georgia. During our sessions, we emphasized the benefits and creativity possibilities for students in a 21st-century learning environment that does not emphasize rote-learning but rather authentic use of target language, thus honing learning and innovation skills (critical thinking, communication, collaboration & creativity) and problem-solving skills. 

During the workshop, Donna, Janet and I worked with educators in separate "centers" to demonstrate 3 apps, and then facilitated their productivity with these apps. We discussed possible activities, projects and tasks in which to use these creativity & productivity apps in the WL classroom (as soon as Monday). Educators make the BEST STUDENTS, and their creative juices were flowing. In my center, we utilized Aurasma, Padlet, and Nearpod. 

Due to personal family reasons, Donna and Janet had to leave the conference early. Therefore, because I prefer to present with a "partner-in-crime," Michelle Olah stepped in during our iCreate session. Attendees participated in live tutorials of 3 apps, as Michelle and I called on one volunteer to come up to the front and utilize the chosen app for the first time. Applications we facilitated included Photo Mapo, Educreations, and Tellagami. Again, the educators in the room were eager for the active-learning pieces. We had a lot of laughs, and immediately tweeted out during our session the digital artifacts that were produced. Amazing learners! 

(World Language teachers are crazy and fabulous, by the way!) To all the attendees and those that may just happen upon this post, please share your experiences and digital artifacts with us. We love to hear about the creative activities happening in your classrooms. 
Happy creating!!!! 

Handouts and session examples from both the workshop and session are available in shared Dropbox folder here:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

El Cuerpo ... The Body: Learning Body Parts in Spanish

There are two songs I used with little ones that could also be used with older students to teach the body parts vocabulary. First, "Jabón de Coco" by Frank Leto and the other is "Juanito cuando baila." With older students, I had students complete a project called El Chico/La Chica Ideal. They used magazines to clip body parts (each from a different picture) to create a funny Chico Ideal. It is really a collage of body parts, and when done correctly, will look similar to a cubist Picasso piece or a Salvador Dalí creation! Then students were asked to label the body parts in Spanish. I also made body labels with post-its, and had students take turns labeling a partner/body on the ground, and called it "Crime Scene." You can also play "Quién Soy Yo?" with taped namecards on backs, and they have to ask yes/no questions of different people in the room to guess/figure out who they are (by asking questions about their physical characteristics).
Another simple idea is the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes verse in Spanish, as well as the Simon Says game. With my Pre-K students, I used the "Dos Manitas" song, and you can see my sign language movements with song demo here below on my video.
I hope I prompted your creativity with my experiences. Please let me know if you have other suggestions. Hasta la vista!