Saturday, February 8, 2014

Positive Progress - and a great surprise!

The second semester has been off to a great (albeit cold) start both in my Spanish II and III classes. We have done some written assessments and it seems most of my students have finally come to this startling conclusion - If you do your work, practice and study, you will do well! Shocker, I know.

I had decided that rather than pushing my III classes forward, we would go back and review (again) the past tenses. I realized after trying to engage them in conversations about their vacations that they were still really struggling. After much deliberation, I decided it was better to make sure they finally (hopefully) got it before we moved on to the subjunctive.

The tricky part was how to get the students to review and really practice something that they feel like they spent all year last year on. So, I revisited one of my old ideas, the skit/song/game. The students created one of their own skit/song/games to help teach preterite conjugation or the difference between the preterite and imperfect. I got some great results and many of the kids commented on how much they felt that they had learned doing this activity. I realized how many great singers I had in my class. I got lots of great games based on jeopardy, monopoly, and some fun race games where students had to run to conjugate verbs. As usual I have a few students with some great video editing skills that I am pleased to share here.

Obviously I am partial, but I thought they were really good. Even better, when I assessed the students they did really well. I am hoping that this success will carry over to their conversation skills next week!

My great surprise this week was a Senior that I had in Spanish III dropped in during one of my III classes when we were working on circle conversations. She is a student that did not continue on to IV, and since we had an odd number in our conversation, offered to jump in. She was not a super A student when I had her, but we were both happy to see how well she did. She really held her own in the conversation and even initiated some great topics even though she hadn't spoken a word of Spanish in almost a year!

Moments like these make me glad to be a teacher. Some days, like many other teachers, I wonder why I teach and if I am getting through to some of these students at all. I am so thankful that when these feelings come, somehow something happens to reinforce the idea that I am doing a good job. I can only hope that every one that reads this is just as fortunate!