La Clase de la Sra. Moloney

Leave a comment

Habla conmigo…Level IV Oral Assessments

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.52.48 PMIt’s that time again!  Oral assessments have become the norm around here in the #niplang department for a variety of reasons.  In the past, students were able to “ace” 8-page written exams on vocabulary and grammar concepts.  These exams showed what these students remembered and memorized…and that’s about it.

Whenever past students would return home from college, they would tell me how much grammar they remembered and how their professors were so amazed by their vast vocabulary.  They talked about how they could conjugate all day long and translate like a pro.  They also lamented the fact that they “could write it” but “just couldn’t speak it.”

Ouch…  Professionally speaking, that stung pretty badly.  Not gonna lie.  I hated to admit it, but they were totally right.  Since, we NEVER really did speak that much in class, how could I have expected them to miraculously do that in college?  Speaking and instructing in the target language is the toughest thing to do as a language teacher, and I guess I had avoided doing it, at least with some level of consistency, for many years.  It was time to make a change.  Thus, the oral exam.

jobWe have been working over the past few years, slowly building on our successes and learning from our failures.  This year, for the first time ever, ALL 4 levels of Spanish are being assessed through a face-to-face interview in the target language.  This year’s Level IV questions have been reformulated and redesigned to make them more relevant and personal, giving the students more options to be creative and to take risks using the target language.

I don’t know that we will ever have a “final” set of oral exam questions, as our ideas and strategies are always evolving, but I do take great pride in #niplang’s reimagining of our world language goals to best serve our students.  Wish us luck!

By the end of Term I, all Spanish IV students will be able to execute (ask and explain) the following themes and questions:

  1. El primer día de clases, ¿cómo te sentías?
  2. ¿Qué puedo hacer yo para crear una clase interesante y emocionante?
  3. ¿Qué hiciste el año pasado que esperas hacer de nuevo este año?
  4. ¿Qué tipo de proyectos/actividades quieres hacer en la clase de español este año?
  5. Hasta ahora, ¿siempre tenías miedo de hablar en español en clase?  ¿Sí o no?  ¿Por qué?
  6. Dime un ejemplo cómo/cuándo trabajaste muy diligentemente en un proyecto.
  7. ¿Qué gramática necesito repasar contigo este año?
  8. ¿Cómo te ayudo a tener éxito este año?
  9. ¿Qué aprendiste con respeto a la cultura hispánica con el proyecto “Face Off”?
  10. Si prestas atención en la clase y te concentras en tu trabajo este año, ¿qué crees que vas a lograr?
  11. Describe una parte del proyecto “Face Off” que te fue muy difícil.
  12. Describe una parte del proyecto “Face Off” que te fue muy fácil.
  13. En la escuela primaria, ¿quién era tu maestro/a favorito/a? ¿Cómo era?
  14. ¿Siempre te gustaba la escuela? ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué no?
  15. ¿Seguirás estudiando español en la universidad?  ¿Por qué or por qué no?
  16. ¿Qué harás este ano para mejorar tus habilidades de comunicación en español?
  17. ¿Cuál sería tu trabajo soñado?  ¿Por qué?
  18. Si pudieras viajar a cualquier país, ¿adónde viajarías?  ¿Por qué?
  19. Si pudieras cambiar algo en Nipmuc, ¿qué cambiarías?
  20. ¿Cómo usarás tu español en el futuro?



Leave a comment

Who Are You Calling a Drama Queen?

Ok, so, if you know us in the #niplang department, we love our theatrics and drama.  The more outlandish and outrageous we can be, the better.  Overacting?  YES!  TOO MUCH AT TIMES?  Well…  Our mantra is: whatever works, we’ll do it.

As you also may know, big changes have occurred in #niplang’s approach to teaching world languages.  We are putting an increased emphasis on speaking and listening with the goal of increasing fluency and promoting communication skills.  This skills-based approach has created a new batch of competent, confident speakers who can communicate effectively with others.  However, as much as we have evolved in our language instruction, sometimes, we just have to get back to basics, especially with some important “boring grammar stuff, ” like POR vs. PARA and SER vs. ESTAR.  Differentiating between using ser or estar (the verbs “to be”) in the proper context can be very challenging.  Likewise, deciding between por/para (prepositions than can mean for, by, because of, per, in order to, etc.) can be nearly impossible without a formal introductory lesson.  Unless you learn the proper grammar rules, you can end up making some serious unintentional errors that could significantly change what you are trying to say.

But how do you make a boring grammar lesson fun?  With a little drama, of course!  Next week, students in Level 3 Honors Spanish will begin creating video “shorts” that contrast the uses of ser/estar and por/para.  So, how is this fun, you ask?  Haven’t we done enough videos?

In groups, students will have to execute their series of (10), 10-second video the style of an over-the-top, dramatic telenovela such as:

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 5.40.36 PM Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 5.40.43 PM Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 5.46.07 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 5.40.17 PM

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 5.40.04 PMComplete with unnecessary close-ups and overreacting, students have to (over)act out these videos in Spanish, include English/Spanish text subtitles, and articulate their reason for using each respective word in context.

Knowing how creative my students are, I can’t wait to see how these videos turn out!  Check back soon for some sample student work.






So, how does our ridiculousness help us in our classrooms you ask?