29 August 2011

An appetizer for Spanish 3

Found a neat online picture book version!
Every teenager has an "And then I knew I was an adult" story, don't they? By junior or senior year, surely. Right?

I'm having a hard time fitting the whole personal histories idea into my vision of the pre-partum school year, and I had them write me a brief letter the first day. Also, I think it might be a little less intimidating to start off with interpretation, and then from there get into the self expression. Which brings me to "El niño al que se le murió el amigo" by Ana María Matute:
  1. It is authentic Literature (capital L) from Spain.
  2. It is about half a page.
  3. I can easily keep the pre-reading vocabulary list to 15 or fewer.
  4. Good past tense review
  5. Relate-able theme?
I think I will modify the outline I envisioned for my forced Cortázar assignment, dropping the background activities and the glog, since I think the piece is short enough and simple enough to speak for itself, and it's really more of an appetizer than an entire unit.

So tomorrow, I figure I'll read them the story once through and have them make a mental note of at least 5 familiar words (I did something similar with starting La llaman America in Spanish 2, and it worked rather nicely).  Then we'll go over some unfamiliar vocabulary, first attempting to figure it out from context, perhaps, then turning to dictionaries? With that new knowledge, I'll have 3 student volunteers read it this time.

Then, I think we'll break down the preterite words, just to be sure they can still recognize.

After that is where my English ed degree comes in.

"Somebody Wanted But So" is a way to summarize what you've read. So I've made it "Alguien Queria Pero Entonces." Basically, the students will finish the phrases started with each of those words (but telling who the someone was instead of just saying someone). We'll share a few of those, and then they'll write a journal on the symbols of the story and what they represent, including at least the marbles, the truck, the tin gun, and the broken clock, perhaps the protagonist's clothes, too.

And then: The Essential Question.

¿Cuándo te diste cuenta que ya no eras niñ@?

Students will construct timelines of at least 4 possibilities from their lives, conference with me, choose one, and begin writing about it. We'll conference again, revise, and they'll type it and upload it to Edmodo.

Think it'll work?

22 August 2011

Make your own infograph syllabus!

I did it! I made an infograph syllabus! Granted, it's only for English 1, which means I have 3 more to make before Thursday for all of my Spanish classes. But I did it! And I think it will go faster from here on out.

@ejyoung67 inspired me, even if she did have a little help from a pro. But I figured out how to do it semiprofessionally, in a way that is free, but no doubt less efficient.

Step 1: Create in Microsoft Word
Word works nicely because of the clipart, the shapes, the wordart, and the textboxes you can tinker around with. You do want to keep it in the Web Layout view so everything looks nice and continuous.

Step 2: Download Gimp for free
So our fancy new school laptops had NO image editing software, unless you count Paint, and I don't...for something this fancy. But Gimp is free and not impossible to figure out.

Step 3: Create a new Gimp file
In my case, it took some tinkering to figure out I should start with 800 pixels across and 3500 pixels down (for wiggle room...and it's huge). I tried adjusting the canvas after starting, but I just confused myself.

Step 4: Printscreen from the top of your Web Layout Word version & paste
Use the "Prnt Scrn" button at the top right of your keyboard. Then paste to Gimp (either with the edit, paste command or simply Ctrl V )

Step 5: Cut out the useful part and paste higher
Use the little rectangle tool to first click outside of the part you just pasted, then select the part that does not have your browser and taskbar. Ctrl X to cut, Ctrl V to paste in the right spot.

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 & 5 for the length of your syllabus.

Step 7: Remove wiggle room
Change the canvas size to remove the extra pieces you'll have left at the bottom.

Step 8: Save as .png file
This will require you to export first, but don't worry about that.

Step 9: Voila!

10 August 2011

Differentiation (PD brainstorming session)

I get 3 hours today to play around with differentiation and come up with whatever I can think of for my class, with the added benefit of zillions of resources (none of which relate directly to Spanish or world languages of course, but which I can modify) and an expert from my district! So I'm making a list of things I might need to come back to:


Read! Write! Publish! Making Books in the Classroom from Creative Teaching Press
  • "Parent Power"--have students write about how they will raise their own children, things they will and will not allow. I'm thinking this is a good opportunity to practice, if not actual future tense, at least things like "voy a," "va a," and "puede" plus verbs.
  • "Save the Earth" --students write a plan to avert environmental disaster in the future. Could I find a picture book or short story in Spanish about some maybe-not-quite-post-apocalyptic future like Chris Van Allsburg's Just a Dream? Either way, we could tie in interdisciplinary elements, perhaps directly linking with the Food/Environment schoolwide theme for second quarter, and probably get some futurish tense in too.
  • "Late Again"--students make an accordion book of excuses as to why they were late. Great for preterite & imperfect!
  • "Fantastic Field Trips"--combining yesterday's find, 360cities.net, make a Magic School Bus accordion book of the imaginary trip.
  • "Flip Books"--not what you think! Have 3 different levels, a subject on top, then a verb phrase, then a prepositional phrase to make funny situations. Of course there is a cute animal in 3 pieces on each level, so the clown can turn into a frog, can turn into a bunny, can turn into a unicorn. I think this would be excellent for sentence construction and subject-verb agreement!
  • "Memories"--I could combine this with Recuerdo a Abuelo and have students recall fond memories of people they haven't seen in a while! More past tense.
Activities for Any Picture Book by Nancy Polette
  • Categorizing vocabulary--make a list of words, have students put a 1 in front of person words, 2 in front of places, 3 in front of things. I would probably separate verbs out too. This way I can see if students can identify language structures without a multiple choice quiz! And then they can use that knowledge to interpret the text!
  • Sentence & paragraph construction--show a visual from the story (or freeze-frame from the movie?) In groups, students write different object or action words associated with the scene. I think I'd have groups trade then to make their sentences, and all they can add are prepositions, helping verbs, and articles.
  • Topic talking--assign partners and topics related to book (I think this might be good for the La llaman America), and they talk for, say, 30-60 seconds, on the topic before switching. I'm thinking the wagon wheel method (inner wheel stays put while outside wheel rotrates) could work nicely for this.
  • Rank order--give students a list of situations from the reading (or movie?), have them predict the order of the events. I think this would be great for Los olvidados!
  • Word banks--students brainstorm nouns, adjectives, and verbs related to the story, then combine them into sentences used in chants/songs: "Veo un(a/os/as) [sustantivo] [adjetivo] [verbo]." Could be kind of silly fun, a little verb form review.
  • Word wall phonics--too babyish for high school? 100 words on the board, take them down when when 80% of kids can read and spell it?
  • Sequencing--like rank order, but with strips students can re-arrange as they read (or watch?)
  • Finish the Story--give them the last paragraph with holes and have them predict how they should be filled in before reading it (word bank, optional?)
  • Making inferences--where is it? what's his/her job? what is ___ going to do next? what object is he/she using? what time of day is it? how do they feel? what did she think?
  • Elaboration--provide an image, product, or idea (visual?) for students to add to to solve a problem from the story.
  • Cause & effect matching--this might be useful for America or Los olvidados.

51 Wacky We-Search Reports by Barry Lane

Alternative presentation methods:
  • Good news/bad news--"The good news about being a pilgrim child is that your parents tread you as an adult. The bad news is you have to feed your parents meals and get to eat only the leftovers. The diabolical news is that you have to sleep on the cold floor while your parents sleep on beds."

    This could be good for the schoolwide Nutrition unit as ways of presenting the diseases the Algebra class was planning on making diets for. Or a way to respond to books like Red Scarf Girl or Night.
  • Wacky tabloids--maybe something on Okonkwo's exploits?
  • Crazy advice column--Okonkwo should definitely give advice. Maybe Chairman Mao for Red Scarf Girl?
  • Crazy report cards--we'll be reading a chapter from Omnivore's Dilemma for the schoolwide nutrition unit--report card on corn? fast food? food regulations/policy?
  • Press conference craziness--maybe corn or McDonald's gives a press conference?
  • Wacky job interview--corn again? Okonkwo for father of the year?
  • Wacky auction (for Spanish class)--students "sell" their recipes, dishes from the nutrition unit?
  • Infomercial fun--selling the disorder that Algebra prepares the diet plan for?
  • Recipe poems--to go with Algebra disorders/diet plans? imitate form of Spanish texts?
  • Top-10 lists--not just top 10 objects, top 10 reasons, ways, things to do/say, places to.
Standards-Based Activities and Assessments for the Differentiate Classroom by Carolyn Coil
I believe I have found the answer to the independent honors project for English! The tic-tac-toe for book characters (pages 34-5) and book report (36-7) are MUCH less wishy-washy than the RAFT plan I had last year! There are options and checklist rubrics! It doesn't really work with the Newton School writing rubric, but perhaps that can be covered with the unit wrap-ups.

I might have to adapt the Individual Lesson Plan designed for Tobacco Use for presentation of the students' disorders from Algebra. I know I want them to end up with an editorial, but I do want them to have options for organizing the information beforehand. The epitaph is a bit grim, and I'm not sure they would be able to find ads about the diseases (maybe medications?), and ban proposals might be a bit strange...though these do all relate to diet, so maybe something for school lunches or fast food menus?

Phew! 3 minutes go go, and now I just have to figure out how these fit in with the grander scheme of things and modify materials accordingly!