Saturday, March 10, 2018

Central States Presentation - Best of MO - Stay on Target

Hey everyone. Thanks to all who came out to my presentation at Central States in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As promised, here is the PDF of my presentation. Please let me know if I can further clarify anything.

Click here for PDF (52 mb)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

FLAM presentation - Mythbusters: TPRS Edition

Here is the basic presentation outline that Bess Hayles and I presented on.

I also included notes of things that we talked about in our defense of some of the claims. I hope it's helpful. In general it was pretty crowded and well received.

Nevertheless I can't help but think that maybe people wanted to see more about HOW to teach with TPRS and not just listen to us defining it for people about what it is and isn't.

So next year, my wheels are already spinning about maybe trying to give more workshop-type sessions on building skills like circling/PQA or TPR, etc. I think that would be invaluable for teachers! So fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Easy Spanish Readers for SSR/ FVR

In my little classroom "library" I have:

TPRS readers (Agentes Secretos y el mural de Picasso, Piratas del Caribe y el mapa secreto, etc)
(chapter books; which automatically discourage lower leveled readers)

and children's books
(ummm these have words I haven't even learned in Spanish and the grammar is all over the place)

Cover of book
But what gets my students ready to have the confidence to read those books or what else can I offer to them during SSR and FVR that isn't just  a TPRS reader and has more pictures and might even have structures from those TPRS readers broken down but aren't just "there's a boy. He goes to....".  I want to play around with genre.

So I ordered some leveled readers from These were actually like the idea that I had and as I read them with my daughter, I realized that more of this type of book was what I was missing in my class!

And I wrote a book. The sample was well received by teachers.
And two particular teachers told me to sell it for other teachers to print.

The book focuses on "no hay"; "hay", and "al mono le gustan los plátanos" and numerous places.

While it is more simple than many Spanish teachers would ever think to give to a student, I want to make reading so easy that it can be enjoyable and relaxing. When a student finds success, they are more likely to read! And I think this can even be used in high school if students are given the choice to read it. Because many of my high school students are nostalgic for being young again and simpler times. I want my class to be as stress free as possible. So that means I should make sure I have book options that can be stress free for even the lowest reader.

Without further adieu, my first Easy Spanish Reader: Al mono le gustan los plátanos. I am finally selling something on Teachers Pay Teachers (don't judge me too hard!).

I hope you can find a use for it in your classes and I plan to write more as well.

Al mono le gustan los plátanos:

*Edit*  Here's my second super simple reader!

¿De qué color es el cerdo?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Evolution of my TPRS teaching: example Alma

Someone recently asked me about how I plan out for the years. I generally do the following:

My first year with a curriculum:

  • fly by the seat of my pants
  • take notes on what works/doesn't (mental or written/typed out)
  • survive
Subsequent years:
  • hone different areas (not all at once)
    • assessments
    • activities 
      • stories
      • movietalks
      • guided discussion prompts
      • extras
      • games
      • classroom management
      • usage of novels
      • usage of SSR / FVR
  • continue to gather more resources to throw in
  • adapt resources to level of students that year (readings)
  • have more fun because it's way less stressful

For example, you can tell my 2nd or 3rd year of using TPRS, I saw Cynthia Hitz had used something called a MovieTalk about Alma. I was relatively new at this. 

So my first year with Alma (maybe fall 2012), I did the following:
  • Spoken story
  • MovieTalk (talked to kids, paused movie at key points to build interest)
  • Simple version of a reading 
    • I lost this over the years

Then the next year at a new school (spring 2014), I thought it would be fun to make an Embedded Reading. So I was comfortable with the movie and added different versions.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

All my Spanish 2016-17 resources

Ok, so I like to be transparent with my teaching.

I am not perfect and don't claim to be. For me it's about the journey and wonder of learning the language in pieces with my students.

This year went well considering the following challenges:

  • Spanish 2 students were all over the place in ability when they got to my class
  • Spanish 1 students were those who
    • transferred into school system
    • didn't get good enough grades to take Spanish 1 in middle school
    • students who had previously failed Spanish 1
  • my going back to 50 minute periods after 3 years of 90 minute every other day block
  • being at a new school (zero street cred)
  • new district mandated curriculum ("cough textbook chapters cough")
Don't get me wrong, there were also SO many positives.
  • supportive school department (TPRS lovers)
  • lots of collaboration
  • administrative support and faith in my abilities
  • students slowly being won over
  • trying a lot of new things
  • not HAVING to teach curriculum based on a weekly map
    • teach towards final

Sufficed to say, I think I got my students to buy into the method and to learn about one another and Spanish at the same time. There were ups and downs (like every year). But in general I thought my students rose to the occasion and many of them couldn't believe how much they were speaking in Spanish by the end of the year in both levels! 

Feel free to look, copy things into your own google drive to use,  let me know if you have further questions. My finals were district mandated so I have not included those.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Story Script - finicky baby

This is a story after telling this Peanut Butter Lips Movietalk.

So I needed one more story to finish out the over-the-top food unit for Spanish 2 (*cough cough* ridiculous vocab list *cough* cough*) before finals.

story structures (past tense for oral storytelling)
And I have been working on a song in my head for about a year and a half for my Youtube Channel that requires me to do some animation and play piano. So as I work on those two things, it's on the back-burner. But the story is about a finicky piñata baby who is hungry and a duck keeps bringing him food.

It's pretty fun and I hope to share it soon.

The oral story structures were to work on some things that we hadn't done a lot intentionally. So I needed to hit "they" forms more in the past tense and to highlight it a little bit.

It was actually a fun story. And I know the difference between "brought "and "took" in Spanish, but sometimes you have to use the structures you have to use to get them in the kids' heads.

Here's the mini-unit if sorts. I don't have any assessments for it since the final is coming up. But I tend to do exit slip quizzes in Spanish over what we have talked about with questions of varying difficulty.

Change for next year:
Change "era demasiado"(it was too...) to "sabía demasiado" (It tasted too...)