Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Flipping for Fluency...the first weeks of school

I want to get the blog focus back to the classroom, and that is easy to do because it is all I have been working on for the past 2 weeks. I have been reworking videos, writing PBL assignments, and creating better parent communication.

My new focus for grammar videos is a quick intro and then a story, or some other catchy way to show students how to implement the new concepts. I have been working with a variety of sources to make this happen.

I made a cute video for the future tense with GoAnimate, which will be published soon, but in order to push it out to YouTube I have to pay a small fee, so I am trying to do a couple at once so I can only pay once (or get it all done in the 30 day free trial!). This was cool because I typed the script and chose character voices. This was awesome because I could actually choose Hispanic speakers, so it makes it more like a real listening exercise! I am going to use it that way and have students answer questions and hypothesize in the future about possible outcomes.

Yesterday, I finished a video that I am planning to send to the parents of my students this year. It is using PowToon, which is still in the Beta, but looks really cool. Flipped for Fluency parent video was easy to put together once I decided what to say! I am going to send this out with my parent letter about a week before school starts. A word of caution though..have your script together before you start playing or you will be working on it forever! (I fell into the trap I always warn my student about when using cool technology!)

I have written some PBL exercises for my Mini Review Unit, which is the first two weeks of school. I am covering present, past, and future. I cut down the worksheets to just some quick conjugation worksheets to get the kids thinking in Spanish again. Then they will work on the PBL projects which are a combination of solo and group work. The Present Assignment Sheet outlines a "getting to know you" presentation. I do think that this is going to be a much more effective way to let the kids demonstrate their proficiency. Hence, I have decided to call them Proficiency Demonstrations. In the 6 regular units of study, these will replace my Unit Assessments from last year.

When creating the PBL assignments, I have tried to leave as many choices as possible open for the students. This is probably more apparent in the one I wrote for Unit 1 Proficiency Demonstration. I gave some guidance by giving them steps to consider, but left the topic and method of presentation up to them. I also decided to cut the vocabulary list down to the bare minimum 54 words for a 5 week unit. I decided that the students will have to discover many words pertinent to their topic on their own, so they did not need an exhaustive list from me.

I am looking at my assessing strategies and going to make some big changes to improve for next year. I need to get more things straight in my own head before I can commit them to the blog though.

On another note, I am going to be working with Sofia to have a Foreign Language Flipped Webinar in the middle of September. I will blog, post and tweet the details when I have them!