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Starting a new year: Greeting and Getting to Know One Another

12 Aug

I have just returned from vacation.  Other than some “Words with Friends”, it was pretty much tech-free.  Now I am ready to dive into the new year.

I missed a great #langchat while I was gone.  If you are a World Language teacher, you should get involved in our Twitter chats.  They are Thursday nights at 8pm.  A moderator shares the topic for the night and guides us in that topic.  They do a great job.  At the bottom of this post I will share my tricks for participating in a Twitter chat.

The topic I missed last week was “Greeting and Getting to Know One Another”. 

The first week is a challenge for me.  I have mentioned that there is not much content that happens and not much Spanish speaking in my blog post “Flipping the First Week of School”.  Nonetheless, it is an important time for establishing connections and procedures.

Here is the link to the 2012 #langchats.  There are some great topics.
Here are some of my favorites posts from the “Greeting and Getting to Know One Another” chat:

* @dr_dmd and @ZJonesSpanish both like to put music on in the classroom and greets their students at the door with a handshake and a smile.
*@dr_dmd likes using an activity he calls “Hand it to You” where he has students draw an outline of their hands and write one piece of information on each of the fingers. Students then pair up to interview each other before passing their hand tracing to next person. At the end of the exercise, all the hands are collected and displayed together as a “quilt.” As @dr_dmd put it, the beginning of the year is the time to establish a culture of community and collaboration in the classroom.  Hmmm….  maybe this would be a way to share what life’s principles we excel in….

*@Marishawkins and @tonitheisen talked about making Facebook and Twitter-themed bulletin boards on which students can “post” and “tweet” – both fun and relatable for their generation!
*@Elisabeth13 always shows her students a funny target language commercial or video at the end of the first day of class; she wants them to leave laughing.  (This is one of my favorites)
*@SECottrell polls her advanced students to find out what they are interested in doing and learning so that she can tailor assessments to their motivation.
*@Musicuentos suggested an activity to familiarize students with proficiency levels and to help students gauge their own. A description of the activity can be found here: If students understand proficiency levels, they will better understand teacher expectations. As @tmsaue1 reminded us, teachers can take the secrecy out of language learning starting day 1!

I hope if you have already started school, that it is going well.  Michigan has a state law that prohibits school from starting before Labor Day.  I will need every day left to get ready.

If you have never participated in a Twitter chat, there are some tricks I have found:
1.  Open up the site “Tweet Chat“.  Type in the hashtag you would like to follow (#langchat)You will do your posting there.  Tweet Chat automatically adds the hashtag for you.  If you do not use Tweet Chat, you will have to remember to add it.
2.  When someone shares a link, do one of two things.  Either mark it as a favorite so you can check it out later; or right click on the link and open it You will miss a lot of posts in the chat if you look at it too long, so check it out later.  Leave it open in a new tab.
3.  Make sure you favorite posts you want to come back to.
4.  Follow people who share great ideas.  You can always unfollow them later.
5. Participate!  Ask questions and share your ideas.

Twitter is one of the best PLNs anywhere.  I hope if you haven’t been involved with the chats that you will begin.

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

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