Sunday, February 10, 2013

Individualizing Curriculum

I have been looking for a way to excite my students this year. They have worked through all of the given material, and even in the units that have been fun in the past, many have acted as though it was all a chore. So, I hit upon an idea. Probably a crazy one, but what else is new!

In their Google Voice prompt last week, I asked them all what they wanted to learn. After all, they are approaching the end of Spanish III, and for many of them, it could be the end of their journey learning Spanish. They should get a chance to learn what they had hoped someone would teach them in their Spanish classes.

First let me begin by saying that the first flaw in my plan was thinking that everyone would actually do their weekly phone call. Every week, I hope that they will all do them, but inevitably, there are some that do not. Well, this really hampers my custom curriculum plan. But, if you chose not to participate, you lost you voice to complain about where you end up. I will however choose carefully where I put these kids....I am almost thinking about a group of their own....hmmmm.

Second, although many of the students gave me some great things that they would like to learn, there were those few, you all know them, that told me what they thought I wanted to hear. No way do I believe that I have ten students just dying to spend more time practicing conjugating verbs in all the tenses. I did get some good topics, such as: more real world conversation, insults and pickup lines, food and culture, sports, animals, space, science and technology, travel phrases and art.

So, here is what I have decided to do. I have grouped the students by their interests, and those who did not call, or express a specific interest are grouped together. I am going to do my Spanish Civil War unit, which will encompass the first half of the unit (and some additional movies and movie clips). For the second half of the unit, students will be working in the groups I have put them in based on their interests. I will expect them to sit together and work together on the readings, vocab, etc that I assign. I will expect each group to come up with a vocabulary list that they will be tested on (approximately 40-50 words). Additionally, they will use these themes in their conflict projects that I assign at the end of this unit. They will get to determine how that will happen.  But basically I will be looking for a cultural connection of what they have learned. So, for example, they can do two sports teams. They can give the background for each team and explain who would win if they met. They could also do food from two countries, and do an Iron Chef type battle of which food is better. (Of course they would have to explain each).

I am hopeful that this will help engage them in this crazy time of Spring and soften the unit of the Spanish Civil War. I also hope this will be a good lead in to the final exam where I let them do their own cultural presentations. I will probably have to tweak that assignment as well.....more to come.

In other news, I am working on the finishing touches for my CCFLT presentation in two weeks, and I am really excited to be presenting at AATSP in San Antonio in July. I am hoping that I will be chosen to speak at ACTFL in Orlando in November...fingers crossed. If you know of any other conference where they might welcome my flip presentation, let me know. I love networking and meeting all of my fellow WL teachers face-to-face!

Also, for Spanish teachers out there......Have you seen the new Blancanieves movie coming out? It is releasing March 15th and is in Spanish with English subtitles and is rated PG-13. It is a different version of Snow White where she is a bullfighter! Can you say FIELD TRIP??? Check out the preview! There are other trailers at Fandango.