Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Interactive Notebooks in the World Language Classroom

If you've been searching on the internet recently for new ideas to try out with your World Language students odds are you've come across a tool called an interactive notebook.  So what is an interactive notebook?  It's a place where students can personalize notes on a variety of topics by using paper in different shapes, sizes, and folds.  Due to the variety and endless possibilities an interactive notebook allows students it truly creates a unique learning experience for all involved.  Some teachers have students create tabs or dividers in spiral or composition notebooks to organize the concepts covered in each course; however, interactive notebooks can also consist of an isolated grammatical topic or a unit of themed vocabulary as well.  And, the beauty of interactive notebooks is that they can be created anywhere whether its an actual notebook, a 3 ring binder, or a large poster.  

Here are some tips to help you get started on the journey of interactive notebooks:

1.  Use Colored Paper
Color is so important for visual learners and a best practice for interactive notebooks in the World Language classroom is to incorporate color into the pieces of paper that are to be attached to the student's notebook.  Be sure to purchase paper that allows one to read pencil or pen well.  Paper that is too bright or dark will cause issues with readability once students add notes to the pages.  For this reason pastels are encouraged.  Various hues will also help students differentiate the various concepts covered.  For example, you may choose to do a unit on present tense verbs but offer handouts for one type of regular verb in green, another in orange, and a third in blue, etc.

2.  Cut Down Margins
Interactive Notebooks are awesome for students to manipulate and study on their own time outside of class, but the truth is they take time to assemble.  No one wants to waste an entire class period watching his or her students cutting and pasting.  To eliminate this from happening use the paper cutter to trim off the margins as much as possible before the folds are distributed to students.  This will save valuable instructional time.

3.  Stay Away From Globs of Glue
Students will need to use glue sticks, glue, or tape to attach the various shapes, sizes, and folds to their notebooks.  All three have their advantages and disadvantages; however, the most annoying aspect of using regular tubes of glue is the reality that globs are easy to acquire.  If tubes of glue are what you have available for your students be sure to model and talk about the importance of using small dots.  Globs are dirty and can cause everything in the notebook to stick together.  It also impairs one's ability to jot down notes on the paper which defeats the purpose of an interactive notebook.  

4.  A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
Some folds in interactive notebooks are complicated to assemble.  This is where a picture can be so helpful for you and your students.  Consider taking pictures of the steps required to piece together the parts of the interactive notebook you plan to use.  These images can then be displayed on the interactive white board as you walk students through the process of creating the folds or placed on paper with captions explaining the steps for each and distributed to small groups of students.  

5.  Jump In and Try It Out!
Don't be afraid to take a risk on trying interactive notebooks out in your classroom.  It's okay to change up the routine from time to time and even if you try it and find out it didn't quite work the way you anticipated, you've still learned something along the way.  To help alleviate your fears here are a few resources to help you dive in and explore interactive notebooks with your students.  

by Madame H.

Feel free to leave a comment below to share your experiences with interactive notebooks in the World Languages Classroom.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why study a foreign language

I like to start out my semester answering head on in a positive way the very question that many students negatively bring with them to the foreign language classroom.

Why do I have to study a foreign language anyway???

I hope that you not only find this interesting yourself, but that perhaps it may enable your students to see the benefits of what we already know to be true concerning knowledge of a second language!

Question of the Week Beginning the Year Positively

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School Spanish French Resources

As the school year starts up, many of us are looking for beginning of the year activities and review games to start the year.

Spanish Present Tense Regular Verbs Interactive Flip Book
This file includes everything you need to create an interactive flip book with Spanish present tense regular verbs. This can be a stand alone flip book, or it could be added to an interactive notebook. It can be used to introduce or review regular verbs. It also works as a great study tool for students.

Spanish Question Words Picture Notes Set
Spanish question words in picture form! Make learning the questions easier for your students by giving them this concise study guide with each question word represented by an appropriate picture. Notes and quiz in one package!

Ontario French Curriculum Expectations - in Eng or Fr
Voici seize affiches (qui mesurent 8,5 x 11 ”) à imprimer et afficher dans la salle de classe pour rappeler aux élèves – et à l’enseignant(e) - les attentes générales du curriculum français langue seconde. Ces buts d’apprentissage conviennent aux années élémentaires, de la 1ere année à la 8e année pour les programmes de français de base, immersion et immersion tardive dans la province de l’Ontario et sont tirés du curriculum publié en automne 2013, qui sera mis en pratique dès septembre 2014.

French 1 Bundle
French Review Bundle: Save 20% by purchasing this bundle of four products for beginning French students! The four products are all saved as pdfs:

-French 1 Differentiated Instruction
-French 1 Review Packet (27 pages)
-Les Verbes au Present (46 pages)
-French 1 Task Cards  (31 pages)

Bienvenidos a la clase de espanol worksheets
  This product contains three worksheets that should be utilized at the beginning of the school year. Worksheets include:
1- Todo Sobre Mi-writing activity
2-Bingo Humano-Ice Breaker
3-Procedimientos de la clase-Group/Individual activity (students make predictions about classroom procedures)

Ser Adjective Flashcards
Spanish Level 1 Game to Practice Subject Pronouns, the Verb Ser, and forms of Adjectives with this interactive and engaging activity. This Kinesthetic/tacticle approach to teaching is a great way to differentiate instruction. Use it as a game and get your students excited about adjective agreement!
Over 50 flashcards ready for print.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Question of the Week August 18 Changes

While summer is a great time to rest and spend time with family, it is also a time of planning for teachers. Many teachers use their vacation to reflect on the past year and begin planning for the upcoming school year. Our teachers at Language Teacher Cafe have reflected and have come up with the following changes they plan to implement in their classes this year:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

World Language Resources for Back to School!

Check out these World Language Resources for Back to School!

Colorful, ready-to-go French Back To School Lotto Game. 30 lotto 
cards and the calling cards are all included.  If you laminate the cards 
they will last for many years and can be reused over and over again.

Activities to help students practice basic 
greetings and introductions. Focuses on students being able to say: how they're doing, their name, their age, their phone number, where they're from and where they live. 

Spanish subject pronouns in picture form! Make learning the subject pronouns easier for your students by giving them this concise study guide with each subject pronoun represented by an appropriate picture. Notes and quiz in one package! This set contains all of the subject pronouns in two formats: 1. Picture notes with word labels in an easy to follow study guide, which can be used to introduce the vocabulary, review pronunciation, prepare the students for an exam, or cut into flash cards for study purposes; and 2. Pictures without word labels, which may be used as a homework assignment, quiz or test of the vocabulary. As a bonus, these Spanish notes and visuals are also perfect for the ESE student in your class that requires modifications. Includes 2 pages.

This planner will walk you through lesson development that is focused, 
organized, and follows the natural process by which students learn 

Friday, August 1, 2014

First Week of School in the World Language Classroom

One of the activities I like to do the first week of school in my classroom is to ask my students, “Why are you studying a language?”  After they give honest answers such as:  “because I have to, so I can get into a good college, etc.”, I then ask them (in small groups) to come up with a list of why knowing another
language (Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, etc.) could be useful in the future.  We write the answers from each group on the board so they can see the list.  I emphasize the global economy and the importance of knowing another language for your job, so you can communicate with employees and clients from other countries.  I talk about the numbers of people in the world who speak the language that we are studying: