She began with the Pecha Kucha. This is 20 pictures that students talk about for 20 seconds. The time goes by very fast (we tried it in the session), and is a great practice for the interpersonal portion of the AP exam. I am thinking about including this as a warm-up or closing activity for class. I did a few quick searches online and found photos quickly to use in this activity for a variety of topics. I like this picture which could be used to help explain the concept to students. Because the photos go by so fast, even if there is one the students are stuck on, it moves on quickly, so students stay focused on the conversation.
Think, Pair, Share
She had some great examples of using Think, Pair, Share. Although this is not a new idea, I liked how she broke it down to make it work in different situations in class.
- What I think
- What you think
- What the group thinks
I am looking forward to using this to help students make more cultural comparisons as well as a review for students after reading short texts or listening passages. I think that if I give this task to the students in a more formal manner, such as in a chart, it may help keep class conversations more focused and on track.
Sloan also suggested using this in conjunction with a Quick Write. Students are given a question and then have 1-3 minutes to write on the theme. Students can then use the Think, Pair, Share to compare their ideas and improve them and then be able to participate more actively in a class discussion about the topic. Some suggested question starters were:
- ¿De qué manera......?
- ¿Cómo podría...?
- ¿Qué influencias...?
- ¿Cuál sería la mejor forma....?
An interesting point that she made was that we shouldn´t give students selections longer than 10 minutes to read. I think that this is a great idea, especially when pushing the students to read more challenging selections in level 4 and AP. Shorter readings will keep students from becoming too frustrated with the text and less likely to give up.
She also gives her students word charts where she gives students challenging words they will need when completing activities only in Spanish. She divides the words into verbs, nouns, etc. The class then works together to define recognizable words, identify root words that lead to being able to define the vocabulary. This can then lead to a pre-reading activity where students can use the vocabulary to hypothesize titles and themes in the reading.
Photostories and Online Posters
A few of the presentational ideas suggested were creating a photostory presentation, with Glogster or another online poster program (I think students could even do it with Power Point or a Poster). Students are given a question, such as ¨How do climate changes affect the poverty stricken in Honduras?¨ (Just made that question up--not in presentation.) Students could then decide their answer and create a series of pictures to help them present their point. So a photostory for this question could be pictures of arid fields, empty shelves, hungry children, empty pots and dishes, etc. Although students would need to do prep, this would be a great way to increase presentational skills without notes, reading from slides, etc.
Let´s Fight About It
I also liked her idea ¨Let´s fight about it¨. Students are given an easy situation and they get five minutes to come up with a scenario that they present to the class. The given example was a husband and wife-the husband comes home and forgets to buy the milk like his wife had asked him. This is great because they are ¨real¨ conversations and the students can participate at various levels. The presentations are two minutes long and are excellent to help students practice ¨spontaneous¨conversations.
My favorite quote from Sloan´s session was ¨Vocabulary is the gas that makes the conversation go.¨ This is a great way to approach vocabulary acquisition and I think is something my students can relate do so they better understand why we are doing some of these activities.
The second session I attended was Tablas de Noticias presented by Parthena Draggett. I am pretty sure that she may be my favorite person in the whole world right now. She does a fantastic project with the students where students work on finding resources and doing interpretive work on their own for homework. They are required to find numerous sources with different types of content for interpretation (videos, songs, articles, stories, podcasts, etc.) for each theme. Her handouts for students included the essential questions as well as more specific breakdowns of the types of information in each category. Check out this document here. Students are required to complete the chart on the assignment sheet (here)
Although the assignment is written for AP, it is certainly doable in levels 3 and 4. Students are required to do 1 per semester in 3, 2 per semester in level 4, and one per month in AP. This is also a great summer homework assignment for AP, and I always have a hard time finding good summer homework assignments for AP. Draggett grades this homework as formative, and uses the information from them to spark pair and group conversations and activities. She evaluates the work for completion and gets ideas for conversations to encourage based on the information that they students have found.
For example, with the new vocabulary, she has students make flash cards and teach their partner the new word, including using it in a sentence. The students then switch places so each person in the pair is learning the new vocab.Then, as a class (in conversation circle type format) all the students in the class can teach each other the new words. This is fantastic because since the students are using the words repetitively and in context, it helps them truly learn the new words.
She also writes the themes on the board and has students group the vocabulary from the worksheet in the appropriate theme´s column. I love this idea, and it reinforces the idea of having an online dictionary that the students can have access to when they want to review vocabulary learned in class. (Now all I have to do is figure out how to create this.....).
She also discussed using this assignment as a jumping off point for deeper cultural discussions. I know in my class, I focus on making comparisons between various countries and the US, but I need to do a better job of having students compare the cultures of different Hispanic countries.
The final session for the day was from Joe Roberts, The Language Classroom Upside Down. Joe is someone I have interacted with online via Twitter and I was very pleased to meet him in person. He did a great job of giving the basic overview of the flipped classroom and some ideas for how he incorporates this into his high school and college classes. There was not too much new for me, but I enjoyed his presentation and watching him interact with the participants.
Wednesday is a full day, including my presentation at 12CST. I am looking forward to it and to continuing to learn from the other knowledgeable teachers here at the conference.