Let’s Go to the Movies!


Spanish 3 is working through a movie unit now.  I was gone Monday (no Spanish-speaking subs around me) so had students copy new vocab and do some book activities to get familiar with it then gave them a PQA (Personal Questions and Answers) sheet to expand.

Tuesday we did a Zachary Jones (@ZJonesSpanish) sheet about planning a night to the movies.  I had them expand and say what kind of movie it is, why they chose it, who the stars are, etc.

Wednesday I had students choose a a Spanish-language movie at random from the hat and they researched it and made a movie poster that told what type of movie it is, where it’s from, the actors, the director, a brief plot summary and any other interesting info they found on it.

Thursday for warm up, the students wrote a simple version of the plot of Cinderella.  Then students did a gallery walk of the posters and gathered info from the posters (name of movie, type, one sentence basic idea of plot).  We wrapped up with about 15 minute conversation circle (round 2) which went great.  Students were really into talking about movies and everyone got into the conversation.

My plans to assess the vocab of movies is an oral quiz.  I will give students a sheet with information about a familiar movie in English.   Next they will listen to recorded questions in Spanish from me about the movie.  I’ll ask things such as:  What kind of movie is it?  Will it make me laugh/cry/afraid?  Who are the stars in it?  What’s it about?  Students will then record their answers to the questions.  I’m choosing this type of assessment because I asked myself, what do we do with movies?  We talk about them!  We make recommendations!  We tell people the good parts or the bad parts and advise them if they should go or not.  We find common ground over movies and expand our horizons.  Next week we’ll be doing some practice prepping for this assessment before they do the “real” thing.  I’ll post an update on how this goes!

Until Next Time,

Maestra McH


Un monstruo horrible: Numbers and Colors Practice


I started my 4th quarter class of junior high Spanish with a batch of 17 7th graders.  Day 1 we went over procedures for entering the class room, they filled out notecards I use in class and we talked about how I do warm up activities.  I was able to infuse a lot of Spanish into this and by the end of the day they knew name, date, how do you say and what is in Spanish.  I modeled how to enter the room in Spanish using CI and it was a great opportunity to point out that even though they didn’t know the words, they could still understand and glean meaning.

Day 2 I introduced colors in TL using lots of questions and circling technique.  I asked for examples of things that were certain colors using “Qué es rojo/azul/amarillo/etc” since they knew “qué es” and I have a sign in my room that says it to help them.  I also had them tell a partner (introduced the word compañero and di) colors or examples.

Day 3 We learned a song about colors, and built on “Qué es” to “Qué es tu color favorito” and “Mi color favorito es…”.  They surveyed classmates.  They tallied up how many people liked each color and I had them report out in Spanish using the numbers 1-10 that I had just introduced.  I asked “A cuántas personas les gusta ___color__________” and they responded with a number like “siete”.

Day 4 Today I told them a story about a monster under my bed using the video linked here (which I paused) and actions.  I told them they were the policia and needed to draw the monster so we could find it.  I then gave them one part of the description at a time and they drew.  As they drew I walked around and commented on their monsters in Spanish that they were good, pretty, scary, horrifying etc with appropriate actions to help for understanding.  I also circled back and asked what color past body parts were and how many of that body part the monster had as students drew.  At the end the students shared their monsters, gave them names and hung them around.  There was some initial confusion about what to do or how many or what color but that soon dissipated as we continued and students caught on and I assured them (in Spanish) they were correct.  We closed the day with Zachary Jone’s (@ZJonesSpanish) Twiccionario Color sheet and I expanded to have them write in words the number of the question like “uno” “dos” “tres” etc.

Tomorrow I will focus more on numbers by using playing cards to do some simple math.  We’ll expand to number 1-20 tomorrow.  This idea was inspired by a blog post I read but I can’t remember which blog!  I believe it was http://creativelanguageclass.wordpress.com by Megan Johnston (@muchachitaMJ) but I’m not positive.

This has been a very different approach to teaching for me.  I can say these past few days have been a lot of fun and students are engaged and catching on quickly.

Here are some of their monsters!

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Accidental CI


Oops!  I think I just accidentally taught a bulk of my class in 100% TL using comprehensible input (CI) and TPRS.  I must confess that I walked into my first hour class not knowing what I was going to teach other than that we were going to review vocab then take a quiz over it.  After that I wasn’t sure how I was going to proceed.  Turns out I spent most of the class using CI to review.  It was fun, the students loved it and did great.

We are learning restaurant and food vocab.  I wanted to review fork, knife, spoon, etc before the quiz because we hadn’t spent much time on it.  I drew them one at a time on the board and had the students tell me what they are in Spanish.  This evolved into an accidental crazy story about a knife dripping with what looked like blood but turned out to be ketchup, a crazy fancy glass that was really a bargain (recycled vocab) and me being broke from paying for my “fancy” glass that I could only afford ketchup for my spaghetti sauce.  One student asked if I was eating alone and this evolved into me being a crazy, broke old lady eating by herself at a restaurant with her gross spaghetti and her fancy glass and plate.  I invited the students to eat with me.  They declined.  😦   We followed this up with a quick round of pictionary in partners using the target vocab we had just practiced.

CI flowed into other parts of the class as well.  I had students play “Piedra, Papel, Tijeras” (rock, paper, scissors)  to decide partners and who would play what role in some activities.  They don’t know the word for scissors and probably don’t remember the word “piedra” on it’s own but by acting it out they knew exactly what to do and even used the Spanish words!

Our warm- up activity was a fill in the blank convo between a client and a waiter with the target vocab missing and a word bank.  They filled it out on their own.  We went though it.  Next I had them act it out with their partner.  I modeled with actions and emotion with the help of my partner “invisible Susie” (who is always by my side and a beloved member of class).  The students then did their own versions with much attitude, emotion and action for the target vocab.

I must say it was one of the most enjoyable classes of the semester and one student remarked “We should just do stuff like this every day.”.  Another said, “Hey!  We’re having a whole conversation all in Spanish!”.  At the end of it all I had about 5 minutes left so we talked, in Spanish, about what we are having for lunch today.  I explained, in Spanish, what a fritter is and it was a nice filler.

To build from one student’s comment, yes, we should do this every day.  Tomorrow I am planning a more intentional use of CI and TPRS.  Today’s “accident” was wonderful.