Monday, August 28, 2017

Teaching and Masking Grammar While Staying in the Target Language

As World Language teachers, we run into the big question: Should I focus my attention on communication and practicality or should I focus on grammar.  Often, I hear teachers ask (myself being one of them) “How often do we visit a country where the target language is spoken and get asked to identify the parts of speech?”  Probably not too often.  But does this mean we should ignore grammar altogether?  While more recently, many of us as World Language teachers are more communication and practicality focused (again, myself included), we must take into consideration

Monday, August 7, 2017

5 Tips for Using Bell-Ringers in the WL Classroom

The summer is winding down and several teachers are preparing to return to school in the United States in the next few days or weeks.  This post includes advice for getting the most out of the time you have with your students by implementing Bell-Ringers once class begins.

Research has shown over the years that Bell-Ringers are beneficial in many ways.  Namely, they help to set the tone for the students that it is time to focus and learn.  They also help students engage their prior knowledge from a previous class period.  And finally, they allow the teacher to complete daily administrative tasks that are required such as taking attendance and passing out papers.

Here are 5 tips to ponder for the upcoming school year:

1.  Have a Bell-Ringer already displayed on the white board or written on the board as students enter.  Be sure to always include an example response so students can see what is expected.  This will also eliminate students asking, "What are we supposed to do?"

2.  Be sure the Bell-Ringer takes 5 minutes or less to complete.  If the task is too complicated, students will be less likely to dive-in and respond to it.  Plus, it is important to devote other time to learning new concepts.

3.  Provide students with an answer sheet for the entire week or require them to keep their answers on one sheet of paper.  This will cut down on the amount of paper shuffling that you do during the year.  It will also encourage the students to be responsible for keeping up with their work.

4.  Take up the answer sheets on Friday or the last day that your class meets for the week.  Quickly look that the students attempted the answers and that they corrected any errors that they might have made.  This will also give you an extra opportunity to see who is struggling and needs more of your attention.  Add this assignment as a class work grade for class participation.

5.  Spice things up by playing your favorite target language music as students complete the Bell-Ringer.  Mix up the genre each day and be sure to write the artist's name on the board so students can listen to the music on their own time outside of class.  Have a rowdy class?  Play music with a slower rhythm to calm them down.  Have a class who is still asleep or drowsy?  Do the opposite and play tunes with some pep.

Here are some ready made Bell-Ringers to help save you some time and planning.

How do you use Bell-Ringers in your classes?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Engaging Projects for the WL Classroom!

Spring has sprung and students and teachers alike are wishing the days away.  Spice up your world language classroom with the project ideas listed below and save yourself some time and energy! 

French Adjectives Poster Project
This project allows your French students to practice using regular and BANGS adjectives to recreate 18 different sentence fragments in French. This assignment is perfect for review to begin the semester, to practice, or to prepare for the final exam.


Spanish Selfie Project Una Rutina Diaria 
This is an engaging project to do with beginning to intermediate Spanish students. The final product requires students to create selfies of twelve different activities they do in a single day and create a hashtag for each one. Students will need prior knowledge of reflexive verbs, activities, and time.

 Spanish Food Comida Project
Project allows students the choice of making or performing one of the following: skit, interview, comic strip, Children's book, storyboard, or powerpoint. Great way to differentiate and use multiple intelligences!

Create a New Restaurant A French Project
Students will use the food vocabulary that they have learned and create a new fast food restaurant. Students will write a press release in French announcing their new theme restaurant, and create the menu.

 French Biography Project
This is an activity for French students in which they research a French speaking person and create an infographic about his/her life. There are two options of the project to allow for differentiation. Option 1 is appropriate for beginners. Option 2 is appropriate for intermediate learners. Students will practice giving descriptions, reporting facts, and asking questions.

Spanish Fairy Tale Writing Project 
This 2-3 week Spanish lesson plan is a fun fairy tale project which combines grammar, advanced vocabulary, a speaking component, and advanced verb tenses. This can be used any time of year, but it works especially well as an end of year, final Spanish project. 

Todo Sobre Mi
Use this Todo Sobre Mí guided monologue template to give your Spanish students a format to give an oral presentation about themselves.

 El Alfabeto y el Armadillo
Need an end of year project? Students complete this book by “scrapbooking” with their own choice of personal photos, colorful magazine pictures, computer images and some of their own drawings. In addition, students will enjoy writing about what interests them. It’s a keeper!

Facebook Profile and Newsfeed
Students create their own 'Facebook' profile page. Students can create a profile page for themselves or for a famous person. This includes biographical information such as their favorite sports, music, books, movies, and tv shows.

 French Selfie Project Les Loisirs
This is an engaging project to do with beginning French students to reinforce vocabulary for leisure time activities and preferences. The final product requires students to create selfies in which they participate in activities that they enjoy as well as name where they are.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Researching Famous Hispanics

Looking to add a bit of culture to your class with famous Latinos and Hispanics from the Spanish Speaking world? Check out the projects and resources below.

Notable Hispanic Americans Infographic Project: Research a Hispanic America with this template that includes space for name, title or profession, photo, date of birth and death, Hispanic country of origin, and a list of accomplishments, awards, etc. 
Includes a list of over 50 Hispanic Americans to choose from.

Review Spanish adjectives, professions, age, tener, ser, estar, etc., while learning interesting facts about famous people and famous Hispanics. This game can be used for advanced beginner, intermediate, or advanced students. Includes descriptions and pictures of 30 people in total (17 Americans and 13 Hispanics).

Famous Spaniard Project: Research a famous Spanish person for an essay and oral presentation. Students include basic demographics, historical/current context of the famous person's profession in Spain, important events in their life, their childhood, how they became famous, etc.

Check out the Spanish 1 version about a famous Latino.

Hispanic Leader Task Cards and Game:  40 task cards contain clues about different Latino and Hispanic Leaders. These leaders may be explorers, politicians, entertainers, sports heroes, etc. A few are even characters in TV shows or books that have influenced us. These leaders may have been born in the United States, but have Hispanic parents, or they may have been born in Latin America or Spain

Thursday, August 18, 2016

First Week Lessons and Activities in WL Class

SpanishPlans tells about how to hit the road running by using the Target Language on the very first day. His lesson lets students know that the teacher's job is to make class comprehensible for the students and that they students can be successful in class without needing English. Read more in... Spanish From Day 1

SpanishMama wants students to understand 3 things on the first day: 1)The target language is spoken as much as possible. 2) The teacher cares about you and you are in a safe environment. 3) The teacher is there to make the class comprehensible. To accomplish this, she offers 10 games and icebreakers that take out the anxiety and make students feel comfortable. Read more in... 10 IceBreakers and Games for the Language Classroom.  She also gives a great outline of her first two weeks of lessons here.

La Profesora Frida will tell you that establishing a good rapport with your students the first week of school will pay huge dividends the rest of the year. She gives some great ideas on how to get to know your students and creating a safe environment for language learners. Read more in.... The First Week of Spanish Class, Part 1. 

Ellen of MinutebyMinuteSpanish explains her first day's lesson using a Daily Tech Guide which provides visual support for her students to make the language comprehensible. You can read more about it in.... Spanish 1 Day 1 Lesson Script for 90% TL. 

Carolina of Fun for Spanish Teachers makes a book about herself to share with students. You can read about it in... An Idea for First Day of School. But she has also used a Prezi, played games, and used exit tickets, which you can read more about in...My First Day Back to School.

Allison of Mis Clases Locas, shares a detailed look into her lesson plans, which include music, persona especial, the Super Siete, and more! Read more in... 1st Week of Spanish Class using CI. She even has a "Can-Do statement" for each day: in this post about the first week of Spanish Class.

Profe Oxana shows us how she uses a song to practice names of students. (Nombre) se comió el pastel que le hizo su mamá. (Quién yo?) Sí, usted. (Yo no he sido). Quién fue? (nombre). Watch it in action here.

Mundo de Pepita uses pictures of words that are already part of our language to show students that they already know some Spanish words. 

M&M Bilingual has students fill out a Back to School book where students share information about themselves and also gets them started right away using her word wall. 

Sra. Cruz focuses on relationship building, with the Patch Adams philosophy,  and offers some fun activities and games in the TL including The Name Game, Would You Rather, Ball Activity, Two truths, one lie, and more in the First Days of Spanish Class post.

Free Resources:

-Have students fill out a profile that looks like a Facebook Page lets students tell you about their interests. Great way to get to know your students.

-Or have them fill in this document with information about themselves.

-Have students create a banner with their goals for the year.

-Students will write about class expectations in Spanish in this mini book.

Check back for more free resources for the first day to be added!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Creating a classroom library in world language class

Want to get your students excited about reading in the target language?  

It’s much easier and cheaper than you’d think to create a reading library in your World Language classroom.  By creating a library of children’s books in the target language,students can peruse books whenever they have free time (after quizzes and tests, if they finish projects early, etc.).  It’s a great way to increase their reading proficiency, vocabulary, grammar, and overall fluency.  This article will give you ideas of how to pay for the books, which books to pick, and SIX WAYS TO USE BOOKS in your classroom and/or department.   Read more at 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

5 Ways to Implement Technology in the WL Classroom

Technology has been on the rise in all facets of life and has easily made its way into the modern classroom.  Language teachers need not fear and should embrace it as much as possible as its pros definitely outweigh the cons.  Keep reading to find five ways to implement technology in the World Language Classroom.

1.  Create A Profile of Your Classes
In order to use technology with your students, you must first find out who has access to what and when they have the opportunity to manipulate those resources.  For some this will be an easy situation as the school provides technology for students.  For others this may pose a problem.  Start by surveying the students to ask if they have access to the internet, an iPad, iphone, desktop or laptop computers.  This can be as simple as adding the following question to your first day information sheet:  "List the equipment you have to use technology both in and outside of school." 

2.  Obtain a Student Use Permission Form
After figuring out student access, the next step is to obtain permission from guardians for your students to use the technology in class.  Do this by checking with your school district to see if a form already exists that you can send home and have completed.  If not, a quick search via a search engine can provide examples.  Create your own and have your administration sign off on it.  

3.  Lay the Ground Rules
Using technology in the classroom can pose problems as students will want to play games, surf the net, or check facebook.  Be sure to create some ground rules for how it will be used in your classroom and provide scenarios for acceptable and unacceptable use in class.  Be sure to go over this with guardians and students and be consistent with consequences.

4.  Assign Activities
Now that you have access, permission, and guidelines in place its time for the learning to begin.  Students can use their devices to contact native speakers via a form of social media and ask a question pertaining to the content and concepts covered in class.  Then they can report back what they have learned.  There are also other unique resources available for you to use with your students.  

For Spanish:

Facebook Profile and Newsfeed
La Familia

La Casa Webquest

For French:

Les Loisirs

Faire des Courses

Virtual Trip

5.  Have Fun
Technology can add a whole new dimension to your course work and oftentimes students will associate their final products with the word FUN.  What kind of creative ways have you encouraged technology use in your classroom?