This has been a very exciting beginning of a school year. I have committed to mentor one teacher for FLENJ and another for the district. Having these two mentees has forced me to define what I want to share. The time is limited, and the desire to respond to their needs and inquires in the most effective way has made me prioritize what we really need to know to succeed. The CCCS and all the paperwork it implies does not measure our success or our students’ achievements, it only gives numbers to whoever wants to use them.
Now, more than ever, we need to concentrate in what makes sense. This is especially true if we only see our students for a few hours a week. Inspired by these reflections, I have decided to definitely offer one workshop a month. What I will present this year is a series of workshops based on my training in TPRS, complemented with theories and practices from brain research and ESL. Please go to the workshops page to see the full schedule
The September workshop focuses on presenting and selecting vocabulary. It does not matter how old your students are, what really matters is the level of their acquisition; therefore the techniques to convey meaning and imprint the words and expressions on their brains vary according to their command, not their age. The other important aspect I will discuss in the workshop is the rationale in selecting the words and expressions for each lesson. Register here.
Authentic materials. Four teachers and I received a grant from MSUNER to study authentic assessment instruments last year. Since I am convinced that the same activities and instruments should be used to teach, practice, and assess; I am going to share the first week activity I had with my 4th grade students who took Spanish 1 last year.
Forms. I introduced the words we found in official forms, but instead of telling them the translation of the word, I gave them the question which produces the same answer. Questions we had learned last year. So, we created a three column chart:
NEW WORD – QUESTION - ANSWER
Nombre - ¿Cómo te llamas? –
Apellido paterno – (I gave my last name as a sample)
Apellido materno – Apellido de la mamá antes de ser esposa de papá –
(Cultural moment to explain the use of both last names and how married women keep their last name and add the spouse’s)
Fecha de nacimiento - ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? – dia-mes-año
Lugar o ciudad de nacimiento - ¿Dónde tiene el bebé la mamá? –
Edad - ¿Cuántos años tienes?
Domicilio o dirección - ¿Dónde vives?
Número de teléfono –
Nombre del padre - ¿Cómo se llama el papá?
Nombre de la madre - ¿Cómo se llama la mamá?
En caso de accidente avisar a – contacto en caso de emergencia o accidente
After completing the chart, I gave the students prints or copies of official forms to apply for a passport in four different countries. Each student selected one of the forms and filled out as much as s/he could. Then with a partner who had filled out the form from a different country, they compared and helped each other completing as much as possible.
At the end, we shared and identified words nobody knew and I translated the words for them.
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Thank you and see you soon!