2015 - Island Teacher

Tired of Traditional Note Taking? Try Flip Books!

Before I decided to take the interactive notebook plunge this school year, I began exploring the idea of spicing of note taking with flip books. I often hear heavy sighing when announcing "Saquen los cuadernos para tomar apuntes", so it's good to change things up every now and then. The idea behind flip books for me is that students are able to create a more meaningful study tool while being more engaged with the learning experience. I have my students add their flip books to their interactive notebooks, but they can just as easily stand alone or be 3 hole punched to add to a binder. I created a template using PowerPoint which I now just edit each time I'm making a new flip book...it involved a bit of trial and error at first with printing, cutting, and stacking the pages, but now I'm good to go when a new idea pops in my head. 

You can pretty much create a flip book for any topic or theme. I like to use my grammar point flip books as a way for students to take notes, practice acquired info, and then use as a study tool when reviewing for an assessment. In the example above, students write in the meaning and conjugations of the given verb during the note taking time, they then write original sentences in Spanish using the verb and illustrate one of the sentences during the classwork practice time. The final page of the book is a conjugation practice page where students conjugate the given verb or choose between 2 verbs and conjugate. It takes the idea of a traditional worksheet and incorporates it into the flip book. This last page works well as a homework assignment. They then use these books to review for quizzes. Here's another example using Reflexive Verbs as the topic.

So, there you have it...an all-in-one note taking, practice and study resource! Do you use flip books in your classrooms? I'd love to hear about it!

For more examples of Spanish Flip Books, click HERE.

Encouraging Student Creativity with Spanish Interactive Notebooks

Since I began using interactive notebooks at the beginning of the school year, one thing that I have really enjoyed is seeing creativity shine in notebooks of my students. Several times I have created an activity to be used in a specific way in my mind, but, then, my students have managed to make it more interesting than I had anticipated. I love seeing this! Not only are they learning Spanish in a different way, BUT they are really "owning" their learning experiences by making their notebooks unique.

This past week we reviewed school supplies vocabulary. We viewed a PowerPoint with school supplies and students filled in a vocabulary list to add to one side of their notebooks. I had created an interactive notebook activity to go along with the topic. You can check that out in my store, HERE. My idea was for them to cut out and attach an entire pocket with a picture of a mochila to their notebooks and then add the school supplies. Here is what I came up with as an example before.

I decided that I wanted students to draw the school supplies on blank templates and add their pictures, along with the Spanish term, to their mochila pockets. That way, students could review by matching the words with pictures or play a memory game with a partner. I passed out the materials and students got to work. As I circulated back around, I noticed that one student had cut out the picture of just the mochila instead of the pocket. Because I harp on the importance of READING the directions on the templates before beginning to cut, I began to remind the student of this. He had a different plan in mind though, and told me that it would be ok! The result? He cut a slit in the top of his backpack (instead of using the entire pocket), and showed me how he could add all of the school supply inserts and create a more "realistic" mochila for his notebook page. Hmmm...maybe I should just hire my students to make my activities?

The point is that, even though this was a whole class activity, students were able to individualize their own notebook page however worked best for them. I LOVE it! I am inspired by and learn from them daily....for that I am thankful! Have your students taught you anything recently?


Structuring a 30 min World Language Class...ready, set, go!

As THE Spanish teacher at a small, private school, I teach a wide age range. I'm currently teaching Spanish to grades 2-10. I see my elementary classes for 30 minutes, one day a week. I sometimes feel like I'm spinning my wheels because we spend a lot of time recapping previous material and it often seems that we move at a slow pace with new material. I thought I'd share an example play by play of 30 minutes in one of my elementary Spanish classes!

Structuring a 30 minute world language class; tips and resources.

Min 1-2 Students enter, greet me at the door (Hola, Buenos días, etc) as they pass by to their seats. I have my students keep folders which they leave in my room. I may hand these out now or wait until later in the lesson depending on what we're doing.
Min 3-5 Oral Review Practice: This may be a Q&A ¿Cómo estás? ¿Cómo te llamas?, etc. We may do a few quick rounds of "I Spy": "Yo veo algo (insert color)" to review colors or we may count around the room.
Min 6-9 Singing: Songs are a great way to teach and reinforce vocabulary. Calico Spanish Songs on YouTube are elementary geared and can be found in a variety of topics. I project these onto the SmartBoard and students sing along. I generally will choose a song or 2 over a topic we have covered or we may learn a new song to introduce a new topic.
Min 10-15 Direct Instruction: This past week we began going over La Familia vocabulary. I showed a PowerPoint on basic family words with graphics. Student practiced pronouncing the words and filled in a vocabulary sheet as we went through the slides. This sheet gets added to their folders.
Min 16-25 Activity/Game: This week, my lower elementary classes are making La Familia vocabulary books, so they began coloring their templates and adding the correct word to the pictures. My upper elementary classes began a family tree diagram from my Mi Familia de Superhéroes set.

While I created this packet for my secondary students, I've found that, with slight adapting, I can use it with my 4th graders on up. They write the appropriate label on each family member and assign a name to each character. Next class, we'll use the diagrams to do some basic oral practice. ¿Cómo se llama la madre? ¿Cómo se llama la hermana? etc.
Min 26-30 Clean up, collect folders, vocabulary recap, final song, line up, back to class....BREATHE! :) 

Do you have short language classes? I would love to hear how you structure these! 

4 ways to get your Spanish students back after the holidays! :)

So it's back to school on Monday for me...I'm imagining it is for many of you as well. It seems that something happens to students over these breaks. I'm going to go ahead and predict it now that I will have students who walk in this week who will appear to have forgotten everything about Spanish that they've been taught....EVER! Does this happen to you too? You're in such a groove with a couple of tiresome weeks heading into the winter break, but you feel like your students are making progress and then...WHAT?! I get a blank stare when asking a simple question. Here are 3 things (plus an extra to think about in the future) that I'm doing this week to get my Spanish superstars back! ;)

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