This year I shared some of my favorite resources: from music to social media, authentic texts to tech tools. I also shared some strategies that have worked really--I mean REALLY--well for me, as well as some that are still evolving. I've also shared posts about what NOT to worry about, with mixed results.
Take a look back with me at the 7 most popular posts from 2017 (plus an honorable mention that was just a couple weeks short of making this list).
Starting class effectively has so much to do with how you feel and how they feel that day. Bellringers can clear the palate from previous classes and get students in the right mindset. More recently, I've had success with a sort of social approach to starting class, but the idea of having a toybox to draw from is increasingly essential for just about any part of lesson planning!
It took me a minute to get on the Flipgrid bandwagon, mostly because Seesaw was meeting all of my IN-class video needs. However when I got to thinking BEYOND the classroom, it was amazing what I figured out Flipgrid could do for me--and my novices! At first it was pretty awesome having my kids get real video responses to their questions about Peru FROM Peru, but honestly it was a little hard to understand the native speakers not trained in Baby Spanish. But you know who IS trained in Baby Spanish?? SPANISH TEACHERS. And there are THOUSANDS of them at your fingertips online already!
Now the paid account allows me to download videos from Flipgrid (TOTALLY worth it, by the by, especially if you use a promo code!) for assessments and such, but anyone can see ALL of these videos with the links at www.flipgrid.com/novicespanish or on the free mobile app with user code novicespanish! Use them in your classroom, for assessment OR practice!
Maybe I just have a really great group--who am I kidding? I DEFINITELY have a great group of kids this year. But I think that taking the first week to assure them that Spanish is something they ALL can do and something I will support them with in any way possible--and appropriate--has really made the climate this semester a lot healthier than last year's Spanish I. Of course there are a handful who seem not to believe me and insist on deviating from the translator guidelines, but I think even those few, when they realize they do have the time and the tools to do what I ask of them, they're doing a lot better than they would have without the tone the promises set.
The tears last year, you guys, the tears. I'm not saying my kids are anxiety free come speaking time this year, but at least now I know it's the inevitable kind that they have to practice powering through, not something I brought on with spontaneous questions and an iPad in their faces. Allowing kids to prepare something makes them feel like they CAN say something...even if what they memorize is not what you're grading.
Who doesn't like discovering new resources--especially if they just automatically pop up in your feed periodically while you're playing on Facebook? They can keep your own Spanish skills refreshed and give you great ideas to engage kiddos in class! I put several of the videos I found this way together for our inventions unit with great results.
This post jumped up two spots after a recent repost! Is it just resolution season?
I've done a lot of weighing this year, almost in a continuation of my less-is-more resolution from 2015. Honestly, I want to try it all, but I have found I'm not ready for some things and that other things just weren't getting my students where I wanted them to be. It's a bit like Sra. Toth's chuck-it bucket, but for my own learning path as an educator, not just students'.
Last year was a good year for music in my classroom. There were so many great songs with comprehensible, catchy choruses! Also Instagram challenges were pretty fun, and kids who won't have Spanish until next school year are already looking forward to them!
Technically this post was from the tail end of 2016, but it would have made the top 5 if it were posted two weeks later. Basically, my understanding of the role of proficiency in my class has been a long, arduous journey, and figuring out the difference between proficiency and performance has been a struggle to say the least. Now the title is a bit clickbaity, I'll admit, and the retweet of this post with simply "Hm..." still stings, truth be told. But if I can help another teacher figure out why and how to focus on PERFORMANCE, then my struggle/journey will not have been for nought.
My next post will be my 500th post, so feel free to take a trip down memory lane to see how far I (and we) have come!