La Clase de la Sra. Moloney


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“-ismos” with the subjunctive

In the preliminary steps of learning another language,  we usually learn how to make small talk, describe things, make basic requests, and express likes and dislikes – all useful skills to get by in situations where target-language communication is a necessity.  We communicate and narrate about the concrete and articulate our wishes and desires for ourselves, but not for others.

However, as we move onto more complex grammar structures and higher-order thinking, we realize that, by employing other moods and tenses, we can make profound value judgments and express our opinions and thoughts about things outside of our own lives.  This is where the subjunctive mood comes in.  So, what is the subjunctive mood?  As you can see below, the subjunctive mood finally allows us to express:

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Sounds exciting?  Not really… (Well, to me it is, but…)  Is it tricky?  Yes.  But being able to employ the subjunctive mood effectively offers students the opportunity to use their critical thinking skills in the target language.  So, how do you reinforce the importance of the subjunctive and make it relevant in context?

I had the students study “-ismos”…  So, what’s an “-ismo”?  Basically, most words in English that end in “-ism”, end in “-ismo” in Spanish.  Words like nationalism, pacifism, utilitarianism, populism, racism, etc. are “-ismos”.   Students were asked to:

  1. Choose an “-ismo” that interested them on which they could base a strong or impassioned argument for or against
  2. Define it in their own words
  3. Analyze it
  4. Identify both positive and negative aspects it
  5. Formulate (12) declarations/value judgments that showed their (moral) position by addressing their:
    Wishes (for others)
    Emotions (regarding the actions of others)
    Impersonal Expressions
    Requests/Recommendation (for others)
    Doubt/Denial
    Ojalá

  6. Create a professional, visually-appealing infographic

Everyone knows how much I LOVE infographics!  Students could use any format they wished: paper, poster, www.canva.com, www.venngage.com, www.visme.co, www.easel.ly.com, www.piktochart.com, https://infogr.am/, etc.)  I was really impressed with the results and learned a lot about how my students viewed some heavy social issues and timely political trends.  Here are a few samples:

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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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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!

 


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Student Spotlight – Kim F.

Her is another “Star Student” from our Spanish 4 Honors class.

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Nombre: Kimberly Frary

Clase: Spanish 4 Honors

How many years have you studied Spanish?: 4


(Hobbies) Pasatiempos:

  • Leyendo
  • Mirando Netflix

(Favorite Food) Comida Favorita:
Helado

(What are you hoping to learn in class?) ¿Qué quieres aprender en la clase de Español?:
Quiero aprender en la clase de espanol a hablar en Espanol.

(What I like most in this class) Lo que me gusta más en esta clase:
Lo que me gusta mas en esta clase es personalidad divertida.

(What are we currently doing in class?) ¿Qué hacemos ahora en la clase?:
Hacemos ahora en la clase el pretérito.

(Dicho Favorito) Favorite Quote or Saying:
“Either move or be moved.”- Ezra Pound


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Student Spotlight – Kayla R.

Here is another “Star Student” from our Spanish 4 Honors class.

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Nombre: Kayla Riordan

Clase: Spanish 4 Honors

How many years have you studied Spanish?:
4 years

(Hobbies) Pasatiempos:

  • Teaching kids gymnastics
  • Crossfit
  • High Honors Scholar
  • Hiking

(Favorite Food) Comida Favorita:
Chicken Alfredo

(What are you hoping to learn in class?) ¿Qué quieres aprender en la clase de Español?:I am hoping to learn how to communicate in Spanish, not just write and read

(What I like most in this class) Lo que me gusta más en esta clase:
I like that we have to actually speak in Spanish so I can become more comfortable with the language.

(What are we currently doing in class?) ¿Qué hacemos ahora en la clase?:
We are currently working on our final projects, which is a book about the topic of our choice using 16 tenses/moods.

(Dicho Favorito) Favorite Quote or Saying: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott”


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Student Spotlight – Abby R.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.45.19 AMHere is another Star Student from our Spanish 4 Honors class!

Nombre: Abby Rapiejko

Clase: Spanish 4-H

How many years have you studied Spanish?:
3

(Hobbies) Pasatiempos:

  • Equestrian and Equestrian Drill Team Captain (4 years)
  • STEM Scholar
  • Saxophone player in wind ensemble (vice president of wind ensemble)
  • National Honor Society member, treasurer, and bulletin board updater
  • 4-H member in Woodville Trailbusters 4-H Club and the Crafty Cats 4-H Club
  • Treasurer of Woodville Trailbuster 4-H Club (8 years)
  • National 4-H Horsebowl Team 2014
  • National 4-H Communications Team 2016
  • 4-H Ambassador
  • Yearbook committee member

(Favorite Food) Comida Favorita:
Ice cream

(What are you hoping to learn in class?) ¿Qué quieres aprender en la clase de Español?:
I would like to be able to communicate in Spanish in both speaking and writing.  I would like to be able to listen to someone speaking in Spanish and understand in real time without having to translate.

(What I like most in this class) Lo que me gusta más en esta clase:
I like how this class incorporates unique ways to learn including funny presentations, games, and discussions in Spanish.

(What are we currently doing in class?) ¿Qué hacemos ahora en la clase?:
I am making a calligrams book about a farm.

(Dicho Favorito) Favorite Quote or Saying:
“Where’s the candy Molo?” –  Lizzy


Student Spotlight – Jack D.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 2.17.56 PMHere is another Star Student from our Spanish 4 Honors class!

Nombre: Jack Dunlap

Clase: Spanish 4 Honors

How many years have you studied Spanish?:
I have studied 12 years of Spanish, 4 of those years were in an Immersion class.

(Hobbies) Pasatiempos:

  • Sports (basketball, baseball)
  • Nipmuc Ski Club

(Favorite Food) Comida Favorita:
Pizza

(What are you hoping to learn in class?) ¿Qué quieres aprender en la clase de Español?:
How to conjugate better.

(What I like most in this class) Lo que me gusta más en esta clase:

The candy (ha ha Jack!)

(What are we currently doing in class?) ¿Qué hacemos ahora en la clase?:

A Calligram project

(Dicho Favorito) Favorite Quote or Saying:

“Work or die” – Mrs. Moloney