09 January 2014

Your Own Personal Spanish Curriculum

Maybe it's the honeymoon phase talking...or the small classes...or the weather delays. Still, I feel like I've discovered the cure for the common class! Well, for my common class. I finally feel like I'm headed in the right direction and pointing my kids that way too!

I attribute this honeymoon high to four elements, all of which I discovered through professional development in the past six months (mostly at #ACTFL13):
  1. InfuseLearning vocabulary drawing #GCSK12 #TLC13 from @rmbyrne of FreeTech4Teachers.com
  2. Organic World Language talking circles ("peceras" in my class) #ACTFL13
  3. Personalized homework contracts or Independent Language Goals) a la @Jeorg #ACTFL13
  4. Linguafolio-based portfolio assessment #ACTFL13
Vocabulary: InfuseLearning and OWL
Aside from some technical difficulties with desktops (why can't they draw on them??) the getting-to-know you prompts, which I intend to parlay into Genius Hour topics, have provided a handy basis for some basic but worthwhile conversations. I ask the question; they respond with pictures. I guess what the picture means with cognates, gestures, and circumlocution, and add it to the list (the purple and green posters below) with their names (for connections' sake).

Then we circle up (the inner circle stands, and one of the tiburones closes the circle by standing next to me up front). I then prep them with some verbs like me gusta or voy combined with actions I get them to repeat (no S, but TPR, right?). Then I ask yes or no questions around the ring using terms from one of the posters ("Do you like crime TV shows?") for lots of good comprehensible input. Then I vary it, asking a similar question with a different poster term, one person gets "Do you...?" and the next gets "Does he/she...?"

Now even the nervous kids can say something confidently--and the first week's only half over!

Independent Language Goals
First of all, the excitement and the buy-in that the Independent Language Goals seem to be generating almost have the room audibly buzzing:
  • "I want to be able to talk to my customers without having their kids translate, and make conversation while I make their sandwich." Perfect! Make it work for you!
  • "Could I do, like, one fun goal, like, remake a popular YouTube video in Spanish?" One? Do them ALL like that! That sounds awesome! 
  • "I want to make a cookbook and try different recipes." YES! DO IT! 
  • "I want to go into medicine. Can I look up vocabulary for childhood diseases and development?" Shoot, I'll give you MY child to practice on! (Just stuff like measuring, of course--not sticking her with needles or anything...)
I gave them a Google Doc template to copy and put in their own folders, where they're adding 5 personal goals, figuring out tasks that will get them to those goals, and setting due dates for themselves.

Here are some neat goals I've seen on contracts so far: 
  • Give simple instructions to Spanish speaking children.
  • Understand a poem in Spanish.
  • Add to conversations that Michelle and Dominga (coworkers) have
  • Talk to spanish associates that work at shopping stores
  • first aid for children
  • Do not second guess myself on something when saying something in Spanish
  • Ability to read books on kindergarten level
  • Make a purchase of some kind while speaking Spanish
  • Learn simple vocabulary such as months and colors and how to pronounce it correctly.
  • Research about my homeland.
  • Understanding different sayings from different dialects
  • Learn about Hispanic legends.
  • Read the same novels in Spanish & English.
  • Be able to communicate basic ideas of art, including things like color, tint, shade, and names of tools.
  • Being able to eavesdrop on native Spanish speakers conversations
Proficiency Portfolio
I've put together a template for them to create their own sites, notebook pages for tracking class activities, and a Powtoon video to explain how it works:


  1. So this is saved on my Delicious now and I can't wait to explore it when I feel like my hands aren't completely tied by teaching AP. Next year there MIGHT be hope for a novice class! or 2!

  2. Laura, this was very inspirational. Thanks for the ideas. I particularly like the goals idea. Good post!

  3. Great links to thoughtful ideas! OWL seems to be down on 1/19/2014. Are you having the same difficulties?

    1. So it is! I wonder if they're getting more traffic than usual? I tweeted OWLanguage...