Tag Archives: Lesson plans

Seamless Teaching : Navigating the Inclusion Spectrum

23 Jan

Seamless Teaching : Navigating the Inclusion Spectrum | Teaching Tolerance.

One of the many items to consider when planning lessons is how to accommodate students with IEPs.  This is a good article with many thoughts to consider.

In schools across the country, students in special education and general education are increasingly learning together in inclusive classrooms. This is a significant civil-rights achievement, but it also means students in special education are being taught by general education teachers who may not have the training and skills to best serve them.

Click on the link to find out more under these headings:

What General Education Teachers Should Know

Teaching to All Learners

The Inclusion Spectrum


Dynamic HTML – Spanish Activities

6 Nov

Dynamic HTML – Spanish Activities.

Teacher Paul Widergren has posted many of his original creations online, including a collection of PowerPoint presentations for teaching Spanish and a collection of dynamic HTML activities in which students categorize or match written vocabulary with pictures.

Location Unit

6 Nov

Location Unit | spanishplans.

Great ideas for prepositions lessons.

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:http://t.co/PXj4ieor 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

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




Infographics, Graphs & Charts

29 Jun

I like to use charts in the classroom.  Having students gather data in Spanish, use the data to create a chart and then writing sentences to summarize their results covers a big spectrum of activities and skills.

There are also many sites with information stored in charts or infographics.  Great visuals for class!

To start with here is a Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.  It shows you all of the different types of charts possible.

Some other favorites:

Create Charts Online (or have students make them…):

Google Charts Tool: Awesome & simple! Get a link or embed code

Create a Graph: Easy to use from Kids Zone

Crappy Graphs: Funny stuff here & easy graph maker


Charts Online for Research/Information:

Charts Bin:  Many categories, information is shared as charts or maps.



Visual.ly:  Infographics sorted by subject

Larry Ferlazzo’s Infographics List

7 Tools for Creating Data Visualizations: by Free Tech 4 Teachers

Tips, Tricks and Resources to make your own Infographics


As always, let me know if you have other ideas and resources!

¡Gracias!  Penny

Spanish Food Unit: Some online finds

22 Apr

Here are some resources from the Internet that can be used with a unit on Food.

Spanish Campbell’s Labels for Education Flyer

Nourish Interactive:   Las hojas imprimibles de educación nutritiva son actividades divertidas que estimulan el aprendizaje y la discusión sobre las opciones alimenticias saludables y la nutrición. Los niños aprenderán de la pirámide alimenticia para niños, el comer saludable, el vocabulario de nutrición, los grupos alimenticios, las combinaciones saludables de alimentos, y más.

Spanish Language Restaurant Menus:  Nice compilation by Harry G. Tuttle.
El Desayuno en Arte:  by the fabulous Zach Jones
Amigo Foods:  Great pictures!
That is my short list of links.
Some of the activities we do:
Discuss food you eat with your family, with your friends, at school, at other events.
On a paper plate, draw and label your favorite meal.  Draw what a favorite meal for someone your age in Mexico/Spain would be.
Redesign the cover of a cereal box, can of corn, or whatever to be in Spanish.
Of course we do skits and projects, usually a Photo Peach since that lends itself well to pictures.  We did do Glogsters this time.
I had less time than I thought to blog today…  Please share what you do in your class and what online resources you have, I know you do some great things!  

Personalization vs Differentiation vs Individualization | Rethinking Learning – Barbara Bray

14 Mar


Personalization vs Differentiation vs Individualization | Rethinking Learning – Barbara Bray.

Includes a great chart telling the difference between the three.

Finding Resources & Lesson Plans Online

3 Mar

I do searches for everything.  When I begin a new Chapter in class, I search to see what I can find.  Like many World Language teachers I am looking for authentic material, audio and video, images, and whatever information I can find.  I have a nice short list of lesson plan sites that I begin with.  There is so much great stuff out there, that it seems silly not look before creating lessons.  Here are my favorite lesson plan search sites:

A couple of summers ago I was hired by the Michigan Department of Education to identify standards for content on the M.O.R.E. site.  M.O.R.E. is a part of the Michigan eLibrary site.  I sure learned the World Language standards inside and out quickly.

The M.O.R.E. site has thousands of lesson plans and resources.  The items are searchable by subject area or standard.  There’s also an advanced search if you want to search by resource type or grade.

I am also a certified Thinkfinity trainer.  Thinkfinity has lesson plans and resources easily searched for by subject, standard, grade level and more.  Thinkfinity focuses on core areas, but us World Language teachers can find something useful in many content areas.

Calper is a database of lesson plans that incorporate technology in World Language classes.  The site also has many other useful resources and publications.  There is a great section o Advocacy, plus links to websites for many FL Associations.

Zachary Jones has a very impressive Skills Planning worksheet to use for lesson planning.  It is a bit overwhelming for me since I am new to high school, but I plan to work through it this summerThe worksheet forces you to think about many aspects of planning including materials, ACTFL standards and 21st century skills.

Google has a site for searching and submitting plans that incorporate Google Tools into your lessons.  The plans are searchable by Google product, subject and/or grade level.

Film Education provides award-winning teaching resources, teacher training and cinema based events which support the use of film within the curriculum.  

These are great sites, and I am sure there are lots more out there.




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