Wednesday, March 25, 2015

German Teacher of the Week: Frau Leonard

This week's featured seller is Ashley Leonard of Frau Leonard. You can visit Ashley's TeachersPayTeachers store and her blog The German Sektor.

Teaching History:
I've been teaching in Maryland for the past seven years. I've taught World Language at the high school level in Howard County. Because I can teach German, Latin and French, I've had a lot of different schedules throughout the years - everything from the lower levels to AP.

Favorite Thing about Teaching German:
Aside from my own personal love for grammar, I like sharing the culture with students - seeing something spark their interest that then ignites for a love of the language.

Favorite Lesson:
I'm partial to anything where I get to talk about history. Whether it's breaking out the Nibelungenlied (modified for students, of course) or talking about the Roman emperors, it's something I get excited about. In general I think anything you get excited about will get your kids excited too.

One Tip to German Teachers:Save everything! Even if your lesson didn't go so well, save it for next year. Maybe leave a post-it note on it about what worked (or didn't work), how long it took, anything. Next year you'll be glad. With enough time to think about it, I've been able to turn some rather dull lessons or just complete flops into something great.

Free Product:

Sub Plans Choice Board

This is a Choice Board that I use as my Emergency Sub Plans. It requires little prep on the teacher's part - just make a bunch of copies of the choice board and activities. It's generic enough that you can use it with pretty much any unit you're covering and for any language (which is why it works so well as emergency plans!).

Featured Product:
UNO Cards Template
This UNO Template lets teachers create UNO cards for students to practice a variety of topics. The easiest and

most obvious use for language teachers would be verb conjugation - put a subject in the corner of each card and an infinitive in the center. As students lay down their cards, they need to conjugate the verb for whatever subject is on the card. Great because one set works for all tenses, making it easy to re-use the same cards year-to-year and level-to-level.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Teachers' Favorite Engaging Lessons

In my Spanish classes, I love to use flip books to engage students in note taking, practice activities. By creating flip books, students have a complete resource to also use as a study guide for an assessment. Here's a recent blog post which explains more!

While maybe not my favorite activity, one of my favorite ones that I've started doing this year is Visual Discovery. It involves having students analyze powerful or interesting images as a means of teaching culture and history (it's actually a technique used in Social Studies).

I do a game I call "Silla caliente" (Hot Seat) when I want to review vocabulary. I split the class into two teams. I make a presentation of all vocabulary without words, just a visual representation of each. I put two seats in front of a screen facing the opposite direction. Each team offers a contestant to play. A vocabulary word is posted after the contestants sit. They cannot see the word. The goal of the game is to get the person seated infront of the screen to say the vocabulary word
-Zachary Bissonnette

I love playing "Guess the Famous Person Using 20 Clues" with my students, then having them create their own clues for additional people and finally finishing by having them research other famous Hispanics/Francophones and doing presentations. Great combination of reading, writing, speaking, grammar, and culture - plus it's really fun! Also good for no prep sub plans.

I just tried this for the first time a few days ago, and my students really responded. This could be used for any sort of writing you want your students to do... I was working on having my students write sentences using the imperfect progressive with an interrupted preterite action. Your students will need access to computers/tablets/mobile devices. Here is what I did....

1) I created a powerpoint with interesting images (mainly gifs, they love gifs!) to inspire them to write a sentence.... around 7 slides.
2) I created a open and editable padlet and shared with my students.
3) I projected 1 slide of the powerpoint, and students simultaneously wrote their descriptive sentences on the padlet.
4) After most of them were writing and didn't need the images anymore, I switched my projected screen to the padlet, and we looked at all of their sentences. As a class, we pointed out errors.... What is wrong in this particular sentence? How can we change it to be correct? I also pointed out exemplar sentences.

I asked the students after class if they enjoyed the activity and if they thought they got anything out of it, and they responded that they really liked seeing everyone's work all at once so they could see common errors.

If you would like to see my powerpoint, it is here: Be sure to download instead of viewing it though google drive so you can see all the gifs!

Using a webquest for clothing vocabulary is one of my favorites because it makes students discover the vocabulary on their own. Instead of teaching a set of vocab words, I give the students the words and they have to discover what the words mean by looking at an online clothing website. The students are very engage “shopping” and learning how to use context to discover meaning. The teacher can walk around the monitor but the lesson is student centered!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Teacher of the Week: Yona Smith

This week's featured seller is Yona Smith of Spanish Resource Shop. You can visit Yona's TeachersPayTeachers store and her blog Spanish Resource Shop.

Teaching History:
I taught high school Spanish level 1 and 2 for 16 years before moving on to teach SPN101 and SPN102 at the college level where I currently work.

Favorite Thing about Teaching Spanish:
My favorite thing about language teaching is watching students go from having absolutely no knowledge in the language to having a mini conversation or writing a composition. It is such a joy to see their pride of accomplishment and sometimes even surprise at their abilities!

Favorite Lesson:
I used to hate teaching the preterite and imperfect until I developed some visual resources that really help to re-enforce the differences between the two. Now I actually look forward to teaching these two tenses because the students understand it so much better! I introduce the overall idea of the two tenses using an animated presentation that I created showing the difference: preterite is like a movie and each action leads to the next whereas the imperfect is like a photograph and the verbs describe the scene. I also developed picture notes listing the contrasting reasons side by side such as preterite - completed action vs. imperfect - ongoing action. I find that pictures and visuals really make all the difference in the world!

One Tip to Spanish Teachers:
I am a supporter and proponent of immersion classes and keeping as much as you can in the target language, but sometimes we need to let the English help! A perfect example of this is when you are contrasting the preterite and imperfect tenses. I use a 'test' to practice with my students in English. I tell them that if they are having a hard time deciding on which tense to use that they should 'test' it. For example: I went to the store every day looks like the preterite on the surface level (went); however it is really imperfect! Why? It failed the test! Here's the test: Can you substitute was _____ing, would _____, or used to ______???? Yes! You could say, I would go/I used to go to the store every day! That tells you that it is the imperfect tense in this sentence! This works great when you are having your students translate as well as when they are trying to write on their own!

Free Product:

Spanish Preterite and Imperfect Traffic Light Phrase Indicator

 Use this Traffic Light to have your students keep track of key words and phrases for each of these tenses!

Green indicates GO - they write words and phrases that indicate ongoing actions in the imperfect... such as 'todos los días', etc.
Red indicates STOP - they write words and phrases that indicate an interruption in the preterite.... such as 'de repente', etc.
Yellow is for CAUTION - they write the verbs that can cause problems because they can change meaning between the preterite and imperfect!

This is a great visual organizer that once completed can be used as a reference sheet for your students.

Includes a colored traffic light and a black and white traffic light, that your students can color themselves.

Featured Product:

Spanish Preterite and Imperfect Difference PICTURE Notes

This is an easy way to keep the preterite and imperfect straight! Let the students SEE the difference with pictures!
This is a concise study tool for students listing all of the major reasons for using the preterite tense and the opposite reasons for using the imperfect tense. You won't believe you ever taught these tenses without it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Follow your Language Dreams

Dream On

                                                                                                               by Caroline Marion

When I was a freshman in high school, I did a report on the beautiful and unique country of Switzerland.  There began my dream of going to Switzerland and  hey,  why not aim high. . . work at the UN in Geneva as an interpreter!

My mom had taught high school French before she got married and had seven children.  My only exposure to French before college was learning the song Alouette which my mom taught us kids.  So when I told my freshman college adviser that I wanted to become an interpreter at the UN in Switzerland, she basically told me it was too late to start on that dream.  I had already missed out on the best years to learn a foreign language.  

I continued with my foreign language study (French and Spanish) and added the education block thanks to my sister, Marnie, who told me, “You’d better take the ed block.  What else are you going to do with French?”  So I took the ed block but didn’t give up on going to Switzerland.  When I graduated from college (way back in the 70’s), I headed to Montreux, Switzerland where I worked in a Swiss hotel as a waitress in the dining room. (Yes, a waitress, not an interpreter at the UN!)

That was an eye opening experience.  The Swiss hotel did have some tourist business but also housed several older ladies who rented rooms there on a permanent basis.  They came to the dining room every day and sat at the same reserved table with the number of their hotel room on the table.  We sometimes referred to them by their room numbers.  Well, I thought I knew my French numbers but found out the Swiss had a more efficient number system.  For example, the French number for 70 is 60 + 10 (soixante-dix). The Swiss simply say septante for 70 (sept = 7).  The French use four 20’s for 80, quatre-vingts. (I’m not kidding.)  The Swiss simply use huitante for 80 (huit = 8).  Luckily, I learned those Swiss variations quickly.

Years later I did come to realize my dream of being an interpreter.  After several years of teaching high school French and Spanish, I became an ESL teacher and from time to time would interpret for my Spanish speaking families at parent teacher conferences.  There, teachers would try to impart lots of specific information which I sometimes had trouble translating.  How do I say phonemic awareness in Spanish and then explain what that term means? One parent told me, all I really need to know is this:  Is he behaving?   Is he passing?  Does he have friends?

Follow your dreams!  

This post written by:
Caroline Marion from I Speak Your Language


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

World Language Teacher of the Week: Spanish Sundries

This week's featured seller is Holly Lamovsky, of Spanish Sundries. You can visit Holly's TeachersPayTeachers store and her blog Throw Away Your Textbook.

Teaching History:
I have been teaching Spanish since the Fall of 2000. Although I have predominantly been a High School Spanish Teacher, I have also helped out by teaching courses at the Middle School and Junior High levels when needed. During my 15 year career, I have taught everything from an exploratory Spanish class to Spanish 5. I even have taught a Spanish Enrichment Summer Camp. This year I am focusing all of my energy on Spanish 2 and trying to increase enrollment in our Spanish level 3-5 courses.

Favorite Thing about Teaching Spanish:
I love that teaching Spanish means that you don't have to limit yourself to one topic. I can find materials that are interesting to students and create a meaningful lesson. I love creating lessons that blend culture, vocabulary, and grammar all into one.

Favorite Lesson:
One of my favorite lessons is one that combines learning about the Running of the Bulls with comparisons and body part vocabulary. We learn about the event and the different ranches that provide the bulls. Each ranch has it's own reputation for having bulls that are fast, fiesty, etc. We then compare and contrast the bulls from the different ranches. We also learn about the course and watch video clips of the running where we discuss on what part of the body different runners were gored or injured. After we have learned all about the event and the bulls, we play a board game that simulates the running and students get to be bulls and runners and we see who can catch who. It is a high interest lesson that really gets students using the target language because they WANT to express their feelings and opinions on the topic. I have to admit, the kids aren't the only ones having fun with this one.

One Tip to Spanish Teachers:
Find ways to work material that you are passionate about into the curriculum. Culture and language studies are all about appreciating diversity. Teachers have diverse interests and experiences with the language - share those with your students.

Free Product:

Spanish Cartoon Listening Activities: Peppa Pig FREE PREVIEW

I love to use cartoons for listening activities. Since they are made for children, the language tends to be simpler and easier to understand. Also, the episodes are short and don't take up an entire class period so there is still time to do other things. Use the URL included in the product or do a search on YouTube for the cartoon title. Give your students this activity to complete as they watch the episode.  

Featured Product:

Corrida de Toros: Running of the Bulls & Bullfighting Cultural Unit

You can use my favorite lesson in your own classroom. This works well as a mini-unit that can be done in a variety of formats. I like to use it during testing week when I only have a short time with my classes and need something very interesting to combat the boredom of testing. I have also used this in stations or as several 10-15 minute class activities. However you choose to use it, your students will enjoy it.