Archive | July, 2012

My Spanish classroom set up

30 Jul

My first big decision (though an easy one) was to get rid of my desk.  I NEVER sit there and the students always want to sit there.  Problem solved.  My computer will be at a table.  I can sit at that table to check papers, plan activities, etc. Now that whole corner is more space in my room!

My brother-in-law is making me a shelf where I can put all of my supplies that used to be in my desk similar to this one:

I also have several other storage ideas, mostly thanks to Pinterest:

5 Gallon buckets that are also moveable seats

One of those “mechanics” organizers

File folders duct taped together.

There are a lot more shelves, containers, and classroom ideas at my Pinterest page.  Not a ton, because I am just getting started with Pinterest.  It sure is fascinating and addicting!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, one of my bulletin boards will probably be a place for review by students.  My white board is very large, so I envision sectioning off a part of it with a border and using it for agenda type info.

This week I am at a Great Expectations workshop, then my husband and I go on vacation.  I imagine soon after that I will be spending hours a day in my classroom setting it up.

I would love to hear your ideas or see pictures of your classrooms.

Gracias, Penny


Flipping the first week of school

29 Jul

I just mapped out my first week of school.  There is never any Spanish content involved. At least, not from the chapter they will begin with.

Here is what I have.  It’s about the same as last year.  I am just trying to decide how to make it flip-like so as to start the year the way I intend to teach it.

Day 1: Syllabus; Participation grade; Introduction to our classroom; notebooks (headings, dating, grading); Spanish rhyme; everyday Spanish class phrases.

Day 2: (In computer lab) Pre-test; Introduction to collaboration with classrooms in Maryland & California; Schooology, Edmodo & Skyward (and probably more as I get organized).

Day 3: 8 Expectations; Life Principles; 17 practices.  These are a part of our school’s culture.  We use the Great Expectations Model school wide.

Day 4: Multiple Intelligence testing; Discuss flipping; Demonstrate the best way to watch videos, read sections & take notes; Forming a great question.

That is my first week.  We begin with a 4 day week.

My initial thoughts about how to approach week one, are to disseminate the information and have students do activities to demonstrate understanding.  This is how it will work in succesive weeks, so I would like to start off that way.  I jusst haven’t ccreated the details yet.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Gracias, Penny

Flipped Classroom daily routine

28 Jul

Here is how I imagine my 70 minutes of Spanish in my advanced classes using the flipped approach.  Eventually I will teach all classes using the Flipped concept.

Following the advice in the “Flip Your Class”book I will begiin class by answering questions.  Students are required to form a relevant question while watching the video or reading the section of the book.  I had thought maybe I would ask them as I was walking around, but then I figured that either there will be lots of the same questions or students would learn from the questions other students had as well.

After that, I plan to run through the current set of Quizlet flashcards.  Then students will start where they left off the day before in their progress towards finishing the chapter.

While students are working, I will be walking about the room.  I will have a clipboard with the list of student names with me.  Across the top of the chart will be a list of all of the activities they are required to do.  As I look over notes, questions, worksheets and other learning activities, I will either put a check next to their name for full credit, or write in the number of points earnedd.  I believe this chart will be very valuable because I can tell how far ahead some students are (they may be able to peer tutor for a class period) as well as how far behind some students are (the ones who need tutoring).  

When I mapped out a full chapter, it appeared that we will finish a chapter a lot more quickly this way.  I have scheduled the lab for Wednesdays for taking qquizzes online and doing some collaborating with our classroom friends in Maryland and California.   They may also need that time to do some research foor the proficiency project and their culture project.  

I feel I will have to have a lot of sponge activities available.  I am still thinking through that.  I also am getting rid of my teacher desk in the classroom and amm working on the class set up.  As I said in my last blog post, I need to figure out a way to direct students who are working on the same activities to thhe same area of the room.  It seems the configuration of studnt placement couldbe different everyday.

This is my proposed routine.   As always, I would love to hear your ideas.  In my next post I will share my ideas for the classroom set up.

Gracais, Penny


My Flipped Classroom centers

27 Jul

The more I plan my Flipped Classroom, the more I realize I am probably not using the term “centers” correctly.  In my case they will be designated areas of my classroom for students to complete their work.  Read on and please offer suggestions.. 🙂

Students will receive a checklist that basically follows this pattern for the chapter:

Watch video/Read section.  Take notes.  Write question.
Hands on Learning activity
Worksheet 1
Worksheet 2
(both instantly checked by teacher)

Culture capsule
Tutor in Spanish 1 class

That is one section of a chapter.  Each chapter of our book has 4 sections:  Vocab 1/Grammar 1/Culture/Vocab 2/Grammar 2.  The vocab and grammar sections will repeat the above format until they complete the entire chapter. After Grammar 2 they will begin to work on a proficiency project and review for the chapter test.  Also mixed in is that we are in the computer lab on Wednesdays.  Wednesdays will be a day to take their quiz (online), use Edmodo, and do research if needed for their culture project or proficiency project.
Students who are ready for a quiz before Wednesday will take it on an iPad or computer in my room.
We will use Edmodo along with Spanish classrooms that we collaborated with last year from Maryland and California.  We post a prompt and the students take off with their discussions in Spanish.

So, when I say centers, this is what I am imagining and would like your input on.  The areas of my room will be:

Hands on: learning activity.  Most will be partner work.
Writing:  worksheets
Learn:  For students who did not watch the video or need to see it again.

Of course, all of the students will begin in the same place, so the whole class will be a hands on area.  After a few days I assume that they will begin to be in different spots.  I would like to keep them sorted as to what activity they are working on.
My thought is to hang large signs form my ceiling to direct them to the area they should go to.  I am trying to think of a simpler way since the ceiling is pretty high and centers (or areas) could change daily.

I am going to test the flipping with my advanced classes first.  I know some of them will move through the activities very quickly.  Lori Anthony, the other Spanish teacher at my school, and I were going over our schedules.  We noticed that during all of my Advanced classes, Lori has Spanish 1.  So, if a student takes a quiz and is way ahead of the rest of the class, they will be sent to Lori’s class to help a struggling Spanish 1 student.

If you have any ideas about labeling the areas of the classroom or the order of activities, please share!

Gracias, Penny




A TV Game Show Review Center

22 Jul

TV Game Show Review games are a popular way to review before tests.  My idea is to make it into a center.  Quite possibly one of my bulletin boards will be designated at the game show board.  Or, I could just outline a place on the wall with bulletin board borders…

I have several links and files of digital TV Show game boards, but this will be one that is truly interactive.  I LOVE technology, but I think in a center environment that this plan will work well.

Part of my “Centers” plan is that students will record their work in a journal.  We journaled last year.  Whenever there was an entry, students had to title it and date it.

For the game show center, a journal entry title might look like this:

11 octubre     “Juego de Jeopardy”

The entry itself would be to write down the answers to the questions that they answered.  I usually have them write the final score for all participants as well.  Since it is review, the second step may be be to make a dialogue or story out of the answers in their journal.  This would require each student’s dialogue or story to be unique.

So far I have plans to include $25,000 Pyramid, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.  I also think the bulletin board idea will work well for Tic Tac Toe, Memory, Checkers, What’s Missing, and many other typical classroom games.

I have also just pinned today a new game called Bazinga.  Love the Big Bang Theory….

Remember that the TV Game Show Center should only be used on “Active” days, not days when students may be working quietly and intently.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for bulletin board games!

¡Gracias!  Penny


15 Jul


Nice list….

Cheating: It will happen (Centers & Groupwork)

13 Jul

Dealing with cheating is one of my least favorite things to do.  I am not sure if it is the confrontation with the student or the student not valuing their education.  It’s a toss up.

There is a great section in Nooks, Crannies & Corners dealing with cheating in center work.

Forte and Mackenzie give this advice:

When dealing with cheating, they have observed the following strategies and the results associated with them:

1.  Students will hide cheating better

2.Students feels punctures ego & guilt.

3. Can be positive depending on rapport. Conference centers on leading student to see cheating as a deterrent to goals

4. Lazy day cheating is born.  Cheating because of anxiety remains.

5. “Hopefully” symptoms disappear.
6. Student learns something from copying that he may not have learned at all.


7. Students learn to work cooperatively. If partners are weak/strong-require they alternate days of who leads the work.




1. “Cheating is Cheating!”
Declare it loudly

2.”I can’t believe you would do such a thing!”

3. Private conference with student(s) caught cheating.


4. Ignore it



5. Pretend to ignore it


6. Encourage it



7. Require it (design carefully)







I have searched the Internet for suggestions for teachers to deal with cheating.  I didn’t find much.  Do you know of any resources?

In other discipline advice, the authors say the following:

**Rules should be developed by the group.  Form “Thou shalls” instead of “Thou Shalt Nots”.

** Unacceptable behavior should be re-directed.  Present them with an alternate activity.

**Behavior discrepancies should be viewed as challenges, not threats.”

Some students may lack the independence and self-direction necessary to work in centers or groups.  They may require more structure.  If this is the case, their work should be planned to operate concurrently and not interfere with the centers.
More great advice!  That concludes the center based posts as far as what to consider when creating them.  I promise future posts on specific activities that I assign at centers.  I look forward to hearing about some great activities from all of you too.

Gracias, Penny

Centers: How to keep track of who’s where when & evaluating center work

12 Jul

Again, great information from Nooks, Crannies and Corners.  The authors explain how to keep track of student movement and how to handle evaluating their work.  I may throw in a few of my own ideas inspired by reading the book.

Keeping track of Student Movement:

1. Give each student a checklist.  The checklist will not only point the student to the center they visit next, but will allow the teacher to see if a center was skipped.  I envision the checklist not only including the name of the center, but a sub-checklist for each center of which activities need to be completed.  If differentiation is required, alter the assignment on the checklist as a reminder to the student and yourself.

2. Use a typed chart.  This could be just sitting at the center.  Students would refer to it to see what the next center was.  This works if the students stay together as a group.

3. Give a creative invitation.  Make the activity sound like a quest maybe.

4. Make your checklist a graphic.  Imagine a picture of a house:
On the roof is typed “Week of March 17-21” along with a space for the student’s name.
The second story windows are labeled: “Art: Peruvian artists”, “Video: Sports in Peru
Answer questions 1-5″, “Sports: Create a graph based on the survey you have given”.
The door says “Write 5 sentences about the last sporting event you attended or participated in”.
The first floor window says “Complete activity 12 on page 231”.
Each window and door represents a center they must complete that week or day.  You could even have the students color each part as they finish.  My high school students would love that…

Considerations for assigning centers:

1. The student must know exactly what course to follow and the teacher must be able to tell at a glance exactly what tasks have been completed.

2.  Exemplary systems offer choice and alternative assignments.

3. Have an “Open center” that students can visit at any time. Provides freedom and a safety valve.

Evaluating & Grading:

** Discuss grading system with students

** Talk about “failure”.  Why and how it happens and how to avoid it.

**Give a grade every day.

I will definitely be sharing what specific centers I use in my classroom for two reasons (or more): to get feedback from all of you, and to have a reference for later.  I have found blogging to be rewarding in both instances.

The following are types of centers that Nooks, Crannies and Corners suggest as evaluative measures:

suggestion box
record of observation

Open ended questions

I am leaning toward a daily journal.  I think it is important for students to be able to refer back to their work and reflect on it in writing.  It is always very cool to see the difference between the first few pages of the term and the end of the term.

I hope you got some ideas.  Remember to share your ideas and thoughts.

Gracias, Penny

Grockit Answers

12 Jul

Grockit Answers.

Start a Question & Answer page for any video on YouTube.
Share it with your class or share it with your friends.

I have to try this…..  I think if I were to post my Flipped Classroom videos on You Tube, this would be a great addition.

Class Room

11 Jul

Class Room.

Wiki with several Classroom Management Tips

Thanks @coolcatteacher  @cybraryman1

A Lucky Mother


La Maestra Loca

Language Acquisition through CI and OWL strategies

My generation of polyglots

A language teacher's blog by Mike Peto

The Comprehensible Classroom

Become a more confident language teacher.

Grant Boulanger

Exploring the Convergence of Language Acquisition and the Arts

MJ's Comprehensible Input

CI rubber meets the road

Facilitating language acquisition through comprehensible input

The Electric Teacher

Electric resources for today's teachers

TPRS Teacher

Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling

Español para inmigrantes y refugiados

Blog de recursos para la enseñanza de español a inmigrantes y refugiados

Teaching a World Language

Sharing my own personal experiences and ideas on teaching the Spanish language in a comprehensible, engaging, culturally relevant way.

Classroom Aid

Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching


Learning to communicate with the world

Leyendo leyendo, disfruto y aprendo

Blog de promoción de lectura, donde se compartirán: cuentos, poesias, textos, artículos para los estudiantes de educación inicial - grado primero y sus familias.

180 días en la clase de Sra. Rutherford

a #180blog To reflect on my teaching & celebrate the learning in my classroom, I will try to post 1 picture a day for the 180 days of the school year.

Creative Language Class

Ideas, solutions, and inspiration for world language teachers

My Spanish in Spain

Las mejores oportunidades a tu alcance

%d bloggers like this: