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My Mitten CI notes: Comprehensible Input is alive!

23 Apr

I have just attended the Mitten CI conference in Saline, Michigan.

The conference was so well planned for the first year, even if it had been the 10th year they could not have planned better….

The presenters were amazing people that I have followed on Twitter and followed their blogs for years:  Carol Gaab, Darren Way, Kristy Placido, Teri Wiechart, Justin Slocum and more.

I learned so much from seeing CI firsthand and experiencing it from a student’s point of view.  It was really brought to life for me!  I plan to implement in small steps starting tomorrow.

I wanted to write this quick post to share my notes with all of you.  So here they are.  Feel free to make a copy for your own Google Drive.

Friday notes:  All day with Carol Gaab!  Firsthand learning and understanding.

Saturday Notes:  Keynote Speech, Teri Wiechart’s This is not your Gramma’s Grammar, Kristy Placido’s Content Based Instruction, Darren Way’s Transitioning to a CI Classroom, Niki Tottingham and Rebecca Collora’s Storytelling 101, and Justin Slocum’s Two Repeatable Activities

Now I am on the search for resources and stories.  Some great info and links were shared.  I will post them as I use them and have some insight.  Please comment if you have great resources!



Advertisements Using Google Spreadsheets for teachers and students

21 Jan

Something I must try…

The Electric Teacher allows teachers and students alike to use Google spreadsheets to create quizzes, flashcards and Jeopardy style games. As long as you understand the basics of spreadsheets, this is a very simple process.

The first thing you need to do is have a Google account with Google drive. Next, go to the flippity website so you can copy and rename the template for quizzes, flashcards or jeopardy games. Once you have this completed, open the template fill in the data, spell check everything, publish, and then follow the directions for copying the link so you can either send or embed your flashcards quizzes and games.

What I like about this is the fact that the students can create their own flashcards. They can include pictures, videos, words, and have the flashcards with them wherever their smart phones, tablets or computers are available. From my flashcards. I was able to create…

View original post 58 more words

5 More Words

17 Jan

5 more words (5 más palabras)

This is my activity that solves the question students always ask when learning new vocabulary (“How do I say _____?“).  It is also great for dictionary practice.  Almost every time we learn new vocabulary I assign the students this activity.  It is a grade in their Spanish journals, not a turn in assignment.  That way they will have the words with them at all times.

This works great with vocabulary where they are given a limited number of vocabulary words such as house, family, pastimes, etc.

These are the directions given to students:

  • Make a list of at least 5 words in English that are not included in your vocabulary that would be useful for this topic.
  • Find the words in Spanish and write them next to the English.  Use dictionaries or your phone. (Sometimes we do this as a portion of our day in the computer lab and they can use the computer).
  • Share your words with at least one more student.  If they have a word you think will be useful to you, copy it with your 5 More.


Word wall:

    I have the kids pick one of their words to make an entry for a word wall so everyone can see the new vocabulary words.  If the vocabulary allows, I tell them that the flashcard should have Spanish and a picture (no English). To ensure that I do not have 25 of the same flashcards on the wall, I tell the students to use the following steps:

  • Choose the word you would like to share.
  • Write the word on the whiteboard in Spanish.
  • If the word is already there you have to pick a different one.
  • Word wall flashcards must be bold and colorful to be seen from across the room.

    I keep an eye on the whiteboard to make sure the word is correct.  I seem to always get the verb “sink” as in ship instead of the noun “sink” for the kitchen….

Sentence practice:

    Have students write a sentence for each of their new vocabulary words.


Please let me know if there are other ways you might use “5 More Words”.


Now using centers

24 Apr

With the start of a new trimester I began using centers in my classroom.

The main reason I am using centers is because I have many more students in my classroom with Individualized Educational Plans.  This is because 2 years of World Languages are required now to graduate in Michigan, beginning with this year’s Freshmen.

Our high school World Language classes have typically included mostly college bound students who are in the top 20% of their class.  We are all happily learning to differentiate and accommodate learners of all skill levels.  I have found with centers that I can accomplish this in many ways.

1.  I can be available to all students by monitoring the classroom and checking in on their work.

2. One of the centers is occasionally just for students struggling with the current concept.  These are not just students with IEPs, I include other students as well who can use some extra guided practice.  We sit at a table together and go through the material together in a variety of ways.

3. It is a great way to differentiate student work.  All groups have the same objectives, but can complete them in different ways.

Prepping for centers is a lot of work for the first time through, but I have found it to be very much worth it.

I have gotten great ideas for center work form the Creative Language blog.  These gals have great ideas!

Let me know if you have some great ideas for centers in a World Language class.

Gracias, Penny


21 Jan

The Comprehensible Classroom

This game has been played in thousands of classrooms for hundreds of purposes in many different subjects areas.

BHC Who Are You ?This time, I am using it in Spanish class to practice the verb form “eres” (you are). I’ll get reps in of many other second-person structures, but we are targeting ‘eres’.

  1. Have students pick a famous person or character–sports or political figure, actor or actress, singer, cartoon character, character from a movie, etc.
  2. Have the students write at least five descriptive sentences about that person in the second-person verb form. They should include a mix of general and specific things, like “You are a man” and “You play for the NY Giants”. Alternatively, you could have the students complete the form that I created for this game, so that you get enough specific information from each student: Quién soy. The first page is in Spanish, and the second page is…

View original post 187 more words

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


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