02 September 2015

VoiceThread Spanish Skills Portfolio

I went and rearranged e-portfolios again.

As if I didn't have enough portfolio templates already.

My colleague talked me out of the interactive infograph portfolio. She's pretty much our tech whiz, so if Sra. Payseur says it's too many steps to upload an image to ThingLink, create four VoiceThreads, upload evidence to the VoiceThreads, link and then move the VoiceThreads all  BEFORE you add the badges that actually indicate the standards that are being demonstrated...I'm inclined to believe her.

And, you know, when I look at it that way, I guess I agree.

Template Structure

So I opted to make yet another Google Sites template (which, if you look closely, you can copy yourself straight from that link!). This time, though, I opted to break pages down into 4 skills--reading, listening, speaking, and writing--instead of 5. After all, isn't most speaking at the novice level interpersonal anyway? And really, what run-of-the-mill employer actually cares about the difference between negotiated and presentational speech? Can you talk and be understood? is all anyone outside of linguistical circles really wants to know, right?

Since I switched back from Livebinders to Google Sites, I also managed to squeeze four sublevels of modified Can-Dos onto each pageÑ Novice Mid through Intermediate Low PLUS overviews for the levels Novice through Advanced. All with plenty of room for a nice big scrolling evidence window in the middle of each page!

How'd I do it?


With VoiceThread, the future employer and/or gatekeeper of all things college and prerequisite can see the students' performances at a glance, no scrolling or endless link clicking. The first thing they'll see is the title slide (step 2 in the handy dandy set up instructions--free on TeachersPayTeachers!), and then they'll just see progressively more impressive samples of your students' skills scroll by (though they may have to poke some arrow buttons to progress through the impressiveness).

Also this time, I emphasized self-evaluation by directing students to review their samples before they highlighted the objectives they demonstrated with those samples. So far it has at least made a few of them re-record at least one sample, so I'll take that as a sign of progress.

VoiceThread Tips

So I was all excited about how students could upload pictures OR videos OR documents to display on their VoiceThreads--and then comment in writing or audio or video additions!

Too bad it turns out that even 30 second videos were too big to upload with "Add Media" on the free accounts.

HOWEVER the videos students had recorded worked PERFECTLY if they uploaded them as COMMENTS (well, perfectly and upside-down for some reason...) So I made this instructional video to help the kiddos do just that (unfortunately Screencastify was on the fritz, so I had to record a track after the fact to a Snagit screencast using WeVideo--it's tech-ception!--which did not capture the full glory of my lip syncing.)

Students also experimented with different formats when we discovered the video upload trick. A couple of kiddos tried just putting their videos on their title slide, which is nice for immediacy, as the videos just follow one right after the other. However for me as an evaluator, I like a little time to digest between videos. Plus the whole autoplay effect could be a bit for the untrained ear (though it is handy while making notes on a rubric in another window)...overwhelming, and the title slide provides a nice pause before diving in.

On the subject of title slides, I required their name, the course name, and the skill on the image, and beyond that only asked that it be neat. I especially liked the ones that used Skitch to add the required labels to pictures of themselves. The Chromebook filtered camera shots of them with whiteboards were pretty cute too, but plain old Paint or a snapshot of notebook paper worked too.

HINT: VoiceThread now lets you create cover art, but this is NOT a title slide and really only shows up in your VoiceThread dashboard.

29 August 2015

Interactive Notebook Page: Student Interests

I would love to give you a template for my student interests vocabulary page, but you have to make your own.

It really is the whole point of the page.

Week 2 of Spanish I, students can generally figure out  (with enough gesturing, of course) how to interpret questions like ¿Qué tipos de videos o programas te gusta ver? and ¿En qué eres experto?. What they can't figure out is how to answer them without resorting to their L1.

Enter Nearpod.

After we went through the Me gusta, te gusta, le gusta page, I set up just those two questions (plus one about favorite sitios web to warm up) in order to prime the pump for target language Genius Hour. Picking the right topic is critical to successful Genius Hour passion projects, in or out of a foreign language class, so you have to get students to think about what they actually LIKE instead of drawing a blank and picking what looks easiest. That means you must leave the questions pretty open to start off with and make sure they have a relevant starting point vocabulary-wise.

Collecting responses
So instead of drawing a blank, they draw what they're interested in to respond to questions about their favorite shows and areas of expertise so you can provide the necessary vocabulary.

As the drawings appear, you make a guess as to what the images are, gesturing where possible and reinforcing the previous me gusta/te gusta lesson:

YOU: ¿Te gusta...bailar?
THEM: Sí, me gusta bailar.

If you guess correctly, you write the word either on the board or a big piece of chart paper for later reference, including students with the same answer. If you absolutely cannot guess, however, a little L1 may be necessary.

Then when the answers are done, you send yourself an email report, where all of the images will appear, along with the name of the student who drew each. I also take a picture of my board, should I need to erase or work with the vocabulary outside of school.

Grouping vocabulary
After the kiddos have gone for the day, you take that list (or those lists, if you have multiple sections of the class that will be Geniusing) and try to group similar interests, preferably in groups of no more than five vocabulary words. Hint: you can go ahead and cut out dormir. Nothing good ever comes of passion projects on sleeping--not at the novice level anyway.

Once you have your groups, you can enter them on separate Nearpod slides and open up your reports.

Now, there's probably a better way to harvest images, but the quickest way for me was just to hit print screen and open up a big ol' Microsoft Paint file. You paste the relevant report screen to the side and then surgically remove the images to go with each category. You try to fit each image group into neat little printer-friendly box areas (Hint: avoid the yellow images--BobEsponja did not copy so well). You should then but actual neat little boxes around each group of images.

Creating notes

Print yourself a test page and figure out how to arrange your neat little boxes on a single notebook page. Hint: tape. Each little box will be a little flap that can be lifted to reveal the grouped vocabulary (just like we talked about in our Interactive Notebook LangCamp Hangout!). Make sure the order of your Nearpod groups match the order you've managed to work out on your notebook page.

Then copy the pictures onto some bright paper for the young ones to cut out.

Once the young ones have finished their cutting, flash the first list of vocabulary on the board and have them find the right box. Confirm that everyone has the right box, then let them tape and copy the vocabulary under the new flap.

Rinse, repeat.

When you are finished, you will have a lovely mosaic of student-created images that reflect your actual class's actual interests as well as a review tool perfect for self-quizzing a la Make It Stick! (I post both the flaps down and flaps open to Instagram so they can play along at home.)