La Clase de la Sra. Moloney


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Por vs. Para Telenovelas – Student Work

I promised that I would have student sample work for you from our “Por vs. Para” Telenovela video project and, let me tell you, you will NOT be disappointed.  These amazing students did an UNBELIEVABLE job in making a pretty boring grammar concept into dramatic and fun telenovelas.  Check them all out by clicking on the image below!

 

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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?

 


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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 shorts..in the style of an over-the-top, dramatic telenovela such as:

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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?


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What is Your Ideal Global Classroom of the Future?

If you could design the ideal global classroom of the future, what would it have?  Flexible seating?  Bean bags? Holograms?  Therapy dogs?  Couches?  Vending machines?  A hot cocoa bar?

What would your ideal teachers be like?  Inspiring?  Dedicated? Supportive?  Optimistic?

How about the students?  Independent? Curious?  Diligent?  Positive?

What would teachers be doing in these innovative classrooms?  Perhaps they would be facilitating communication between their students and those from other countries. Maybe they would be brainstorming ideas for new and exciting projects or challenging their students to work with their local communities to solve real-world problems.

What would students be doing in these classes?  Maybe they would be creating indoor gardens or coding games.  Perhaps they would be designing and 3-D printing original sculptures.  The sky is the limit!

Students in Level 3 Spanish were asked this same question.  Students were given a blank classroom template and the task of designing their ideal global classroom on their Ipads. Students utilized both Notability (for its recording ability) as well as Snapchat (for its handy “sticker” feature) to create amazing learning spaces of the future.  Students then had to narrate (in both written and oral form) their view of this classroom by utilizing the present tense is Spanish.  As the first few assignments started to come in, I was so impressed with their suggestions and genuine interest in sharing their ideas with me, (never mind the excellent Spanish grammar.)  I just might have to incorporate some of these great “modern” elements into my classroom sometime soon!  (Hot cocoa, anyone?)

Here is a sneak peek but stay tuned for more amazing student work samples to come!

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Student Spotlight – Kerri F.

Periodically, we will have a “Star Student” serve as our class guest blogger.  This student will have the unique opportunity to tell you a little bit about themselves and to explain some of the exciting things going on in our classroom from a student’s perspective.
Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 2.39.41 PMNombre: Kerri F.
Clase: E Block Spanish 3 Honors
How many years have you studied Spanish?: 2
(Hobbies) Pasatiempos:  Singing Whitney Houston
(Favorite Food) Comida Favorita:  Mashed Potatoes, Mac’n’cheese bites
(Why are you studying a world language) ¿Por qué estudias un idioma mundial?:  To have experience if I ever travel
(What are you hoping to learn in Spanish class?) ¿Qué quieres aprender en la clase de Español?: Tenses
(What activities do you like to do in class?) ¿Qué tipo de actividades prefieres hacer en la clase?: KAHOOT
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? Why?:
Shawn Mendes because he’s my favorite artist.
What are the top (3) places on your bucket list that you would like to visit?:
Germany, California, and Greece
(Dicho Favorito) Favorite Quote or Saying:  “Wherever you go, there you are.”


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Student-Designed Learning

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 2.16.56 PMIf you know me, you might notice that I can be a bit “particular” and I like things to be “my way” (AKA perfect..all the time).  Unfortunately, my “control freak” nature (as some might suggest) is not always conducive to learning and can be a bit overwhelming.  This year, I am trying to step out of my comfort zone and surrender more control to my students.  This is not easy for me at all (because I feel the need to give people my opinion, even when not solicited, but I digress), but thankfully, my students have already responded in amazing ways.  (More details to come…)

Student-Designed Rubrics:  This year, I am offering student a few opportunities to create their own project rubrics.  To begin, students are given a problem/challenge/scenario and must create their solution/project/response with very limited guidelines.  As a class, students then collaborate on a Google Doc to identify and explain the objectives of the project and create measurable indicators for these goals.  Then, the class agrees upon the total point value for the project as well as the rubric indicator values.

Student-Designed Benchmarks: Additionally, students choose the due date of the project and identify important “check-in” dates and benchmarks where they can solicit student and instructor feedback on their project prototypes.

Is this going to work?  I’m not really sure, but I am extremely encouraged by what I have witnessed thus far.  So many students have stepped up and taken on leadership roles in this process.  It is not always a “pretty process”, but it doesn’t have to be.

My goal is that students experience a sense of pride and ownership, not just in their final product, but in the learning design process.  I want my students all to feel comfortable delegating tasks within their group and sharing responsibility for a common purpose.

Stay-tuned for updates!


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First Week – In the Books!

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 2.06.15 PMWell, we made it through the big 2 days for Week One of the 2017-2018 school year!  I had an absolute blast getting to know my new students and there is NO doubt my students LOVED competing in a game of Kahoot to learn all about me (Remember how I like my coffee, kids!)  We started all kinds of activities to break the ice and get to know each other.

Since my theme for the year is “OBSTACLES”, our first activity was a paper tower challenge.

In groups, the students were given the task of creating the tallest paper tower with only construction paper and tape.  As they worked, they were given various unexpected “obstacles” such as being blindfolded, that they had to overcome in order to pursue their goal. 

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Students then “debriefed” with the following “Points to Ponder”:

  • What real-world skills did you use to be successful?
  • What did this activity have to do with this class?  Or any class?
  • What obstacles do think you might encounter this year?  So what are you going to do about it?
  • What type of learning would make overcoming the obstacles “worth it”?
  • So what do you want to learn this year?
  • Are you invested in your own learning?

Students understood the connection of this activity to real-life in that we all at some point in time have had challenges and obstacles to overcome.  The students then identified the following skills helped to complete their task:

  • Collaboration
  • Critical-Thinking
  • Flexibility
  • Communication
  • Risk-Taking
  • Humor
  • Guessing

Students then identified specific obstacles that they might encounter this year and brainstormed potential solutions and action steps:

  • Fear of speaking in Spanish/Practice with peers in class
  • Nervous about gaps in vocabulary/Create own personal thematic vocabulary lists
  • Forget some content from last year/Take advantage of personalized content review sessions in class
  • Different learning styles/Give feedback to teacher via survey on activity and project ideas.

The final and perhaps most important question was:

  •  Are you invested in your own learning?

(If they said NO, I ignored them) and told them that the answer is YES!  And so am I, so let’s do this!

Hope you had a great first week of school!