Movie Talk – Sorteo de Navidad

This year’s Spanish Christmas Lotto announcement is outstanding and very appropriate for our class! Excellent resource that provides an opportunity for ample discussion about culture as well as a perfect occasion to introduce a bunch of vocabulary.

I will be using it as the Holiday season approaches, will you?

Here it is. Enjoy.

Christmas Lotto Ticket - Spain

Advertisements

Let’s play a game

As a Foreign Language teacher, I am always looking for ways to promote speaking and listening comprehension in my class. ACTFL recommends to use the language at least 90% of the instruction time, and that is what I do. It takes effort on both ends: the teacher must speak in a way that is understandable by students (using cognates and structures already learned), and the students must do their best to try to comprehend that cognate, to try to remember that vocabulary word/grammatical structure.

It is, undoubtedly, a win-win scenario, but it could get frustrating for our weakest students.

So let’s motivate them with fun, creative, dynamic exercises! A game?! Yes! Engaging, all about them, and fun, fun, fun.

And this is what I did with my 8th graders last Friday. Last day before our Winter Break, and it was a Friday afternoon, tough. What a better thing to do on a day like that than to play a board game… in French?

Students spent the entire class period playing and speaking the language. The rules were very clear: speak one word in English and you miss a round. So they all made very sure that they would only speak in the target language. It became a competition (you know how much they love competitions!), so each winner from each team would have to play a final round with the winners from all the other teams. Whomever won would be the ultimate winner and would get an award (chocolate and candy for that matter).

imagesI created an spiral (but you could create a game with any shape, just like the picture above), and one prompt in each box with questions such as:

– Your worst nightmare.

– A funny story.

– Your most horrible defect.

– The favorite day in your life.

– A lucky day.

– Your best friend.

– What you think about smoking.set-26774_640

– Your favorite singer.

– The book that you have hated the most.

And the list can go on and on and on. And it can be adapted to different levels and, even, to multiple thematic units!

All I know is that my students were fully engaged, happy, and enjoying the class. Also, what I really know is that by the end of that day, Friday afternoon, exhausted, tired, and ready for a break, I was a proud French teacher, my students were proud French students, and we all went home with a big smile after a great day of French class. Kudos to my 8th graders. I am so proud of them. Bravo!

game

Confessions of a very nerdy Francophone-freak French Teacher

Monday morning :(. Sleepy, moody, pas la patate (just like my French friends would say). Tough! Not in the mood, still tired even if it’s just the beginning of the week… BUT, what does a freaky French teacher do?

Image

Eureka! Change the lesson plan of the day and just play this outstanding masterpiece. And afterwards? vocabulary review, song analysis, class discussion. Learning outcome? Listening, speaking, writing and reading! And, always vital, ART appreciation…

Ever thought of it? This is why I love being a French teacher.

Enjoy Les Trois Cloches, with the magnifique Piaf, clicking here.

Mr. Mme. and their personality traits in FLE

Have you ever heard about the Mr. Mme. series? It basically consists of a bunch of cute little books about a monsieur or a madame that has a certain personality trait (i.e. bizarre, gourmand, bavard…). These books are read by little kids in France but I was sure that my Middle Schoolers would totally love using one of these books for a project. And they did.

Mr. Mme.

So, I gave them the choice to work in pairs or individually. I really like to give them choices so that they start to learn to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. I made it very clear, if they were to work with a partner they had to be responsible and choose wisely; I don’t like the excuses such as: I couldn’t work with my partner, my partner didn’t call me, etc. Since I was very clear about this I didn’t have any problem when the project was due, everybody turned it in on time.

Each student or group of two students was assigned one little book. They could swap it with others if they didn’t like the title. Once they had their book, they had to complete three different sections:

1. Verb conversion. Most verbs were in passé simple or even future. We have not learned these verbs in my 8th grade French class. I told them not to even worry about them and just understand with the context. However, they had to select two pages of the book and transform the verbs to present tense, and include them in a sentence created by themselves.

2. Vocabulary. They had to select 10 vocabulary words learned with the book and create ten complex sentences applying the words to their lives (personal connection, very important!).

3. Summary. My favorite! Because this section was the most fun; creativity was highly encouraged and they could choose any way in which they would like to summarize the book to me and to their peers. Once again, I like to give an open-ended direction so that everyone is comfortable with what they are doing and taking advantage of their strongest skill. The good writers may choose to just write, the artsy ones may just choose to do something with their hands, and the good speakers may just want to give a speech (differentiated instruction, everybody!).

So, the results were outstanding. Some students turned in movies that they created with iMovie or Movie Maker, another girl, very artsy, created a comic (a BD in French) illustrating the story, another group decided to reproduce the little Mr. Mme. with clay and create a skit about it, while some other students wrote a letter to the author in French.

Image

If you want to find out more about the Mr. Mme. please check out their website in English or in French. You may also want to watch some movies about them here!

I was very satisfied with this project, as well as my students, and I will be repeating it again. What about you? Have you ever thought about using the Mr. Mme. collection in your language classroom? See some pictures below:ImageImageImage

Learn about ePals in this free Webinar

Do you know ePals? Most likely you have previously heard about it. If you haven’t, or if you have but  do not know very well how to implement this tool in your classroom today is your lucky day. Come and join us in this free Webinar for ideas and tips on using ePals in the language classroom! 

Since I found ePals my teaching methodology has been transformed. It was so hard years ago to find a partner in another part of the world. With ePals that is not a problem any longer. What an incredible tool. Incredible and… free!

Please preregister here: http://bit.ly/1b9itPl and be ready to learn from my experience using ePals in my French classroom. This will be wonderfully useful for any Foreign Language teacher. See you on Tuesday, August 13th!Image

Foreign Festivities in the World Language Classroom

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. – Jimmy Carter.

Tolerance is a key component of a World Language class. To learn a foreign language is to open oneself to others; this includes to open oneself to other beliefs and cultures. That is why I try to integrate culture awareness whenever possible. Canary Islands day (on May 30th) is a great opportunity to implement a fun, educational and cultural lesson plan.

Since I am from these islands, students get really excited with this plan; there is a personal connection with this place. They receive first-hand knowledge from a Canarian native: me! I always do this at the end of the year. Not only it is a perfect set of exercises for those last days of school, but also it matches the real Canary Islands day celebrations on May 30th!

This the lesson goes:

1. Does the word Canary Islands sound familiar? Does it sound like a beautiful place? Let’s check it out with this amazing video:

and this one:

2. Exercises about video:

a. What is its main idea? Do you like the islands? Why?

3. Now we will learn the geographical location of the islands. I point at a map and I give an oral introduction (a bit of English, a bit of Spanish) about its location and the particularities of each island.

4. We will be doing some research online about the Canarian Museum and some key Canarian words. Students receive the worksheets (below). Note: Please make sure that the research is done using http://www.google.es

5. San Borondon Legend. Reading and exercises (below)

6. Homework: What are “Pintaderas Canarias”? Students must research and write a paragraph about their importance. They will choose their favorite one and will explain its meaning.

pintadera-41  pintaderas

7. Receta de las “papas arrugás¨.

papas

Worksheets: Dia de Canarias

8. What about some music? Let’s sing and dance while we learn the vocabulary with this song. Here is the video: 

9. May 30th: Canary Islands Party! We will be eating Canarian Food that students have previously researched and cooked at home. Some of the food that we will be having will include bananas, papas arrugadas con mojo, gofio y tortilla española.

We also sing the song ¨Vivo en un Archipielago¨, and we will listen to traditional Canarian music while we dance Canarian Folklore:

This is an easy song to dance:

La Punta y el Tacón Lyrics

10. We will be coloring and researching Canarian drawings. Students will choose two drawings from the ones provided and will explain to the class their importance in the Canarian culture. Here they are.

11. Today we will be having a Skype conference with the Museo Canario! This is the power point that they will be showing us. We will also be able to see real Guanche materials, live!

Presentación del Museo Canario.

12. For homework, students will search current events in the islands. They will write a summary of one of the news that they find most interesting using one of these two Canarian newspapers: Canarias7 or La Provincia.

13. Lesson plan finale: Tshirt painting! Students will design Canarian Tshirts as a way to wrap up everything learned these days. They can choose to draw a pintadera, lucha canaria, the islands or even Canarian words. Creativity is always highly encouraged.

I hope that you enjoy this lesson plan and that you are able to incorporate it in your course. Students certainly have a blast, and I enjoy teaching them my culture and language. ¡Feliz día de Canarias!

Welcome to my world!

Image Welcome, world!

Do you sometimes feel like you have many ideas and they end up being all scattered around? We all feel sometimes overwhelmed by our own thoughts. Well, this is what came to my attention a few days ago when I realized that I had a lot of ideas, motivations, thoughts coming to my brain. These thoughts have always eagerly been shared with my closest friends and relatives, but they tended to end up disappearing due to not being able to keep track of them. This is the reason why I decided to create my blog; a place where my passions come together in one place.

But first, let me introduce myself. I am originally from Spain, but I have been living in the USA for more than 6 years. Before moving into this wonderful country I worked and lived in England, and France.

As you can guess from this information, I am a total travel freak. Travel and words are my obsession. I am always into discovering a new place that awakens my free spirit. I am a word researcher, since word matters always brighten up my senses.

I am a Foreign Language Teacher (French and Spanish). I worship Paris and its joie de vivre, as well as the art of the language and its intrinsic complications (a pleasure to my neurons).

I am also a freelance translator, and an avid reader of French, Spanish, and American literature.

I am always in the search of new Technology tools to learn from, and I try to incorporate all this knowledge into my courses and daily life. Educational Technology being a key aspect of my teaching, I also incorporate TPRS to cheer up my language classes, to boost my student’s self esteem, to create fun courses, and to fast track my student’s language acquisition skills.

Keeping this in mind, now you must know what this blog will be about. A melting pot of my curiosities and devotions. An online resource to satisfy my appetite of learning, and sharing knowledge with the world.

Welcome to My World and Language!

Image