01 June 2014

Summer Spanish with Google Communities

Some of my students will go over a whole year between Spanish classes. But with Google Communities, it doesn't have to be a whole year without Spanish. In fact, we can start planning for our victory for next year's Language Festival, maybe even schedule some meetups for conversation and café or to explore local eateries or tianguis.

Plus to sweeten the deal, they can build up some credit before the spring semester even starts!

We will definitely have the "personalized syllabus" next year, but it will definitely be whittled down to one overarching goal per grading period (for my own sanity) and uniform due dates for the tasks to accomplish each goal (at least 4 tasks per goal). That being said, I see no reason why my Spanish I kids--who won't become my Spanish II kids for a whole semester plus a summer--can't get started right now. What's more, I don't see why it can't help students work toward a common goal, say the language festival from which they're so keen to bring home hardware.

So I set up separate discussions for the different festival events, and I invited everyone from this year's Spanish I class to join (plus I'll be sending out a schoolwide invitation for interested parties). Now for each one of these activities that they complete between now and second semester, when I see them again, that will be one less task they have to complete during the spring semester, or one banked "quiz" grade! I don't think repeating any activities will be permitted, but if they play their cards right, they still could have basically no homework come Spanish II! But get this: they'll still be reaping the rewards of independent practice AND decreasing their downtime from the language!

Anyway, here are some ideas I had that I thought could be useful to help us put on The Most Awesome Performance of All Time next April.


  • Post a comment (2-3 sentences) in Spanish on this year's performance with at least one compliment and one critique.
  • Post a music video in Spanish of a song we could perform with 2-3 sentences in Spanish about what you like about the video and how you think it would work.
  • Listen to at least 3 videos suggested by other people and comment with 10 words in Spanish you think you hear in the song and what you think the song is about in general.
  • Listen to a video that's posted and describe in Spanish what you envision the group wearing and props they might use and how.
  • Listen to a video that's posted and explain in Spanish the pros and cons of presenting the song for the festival.
  • Listen to at least 10 songs posted and post a separate ranking from 1-10 (1 being the best choice) of your preferences with a brief explanation in Spanish for each with the reason for its ranking
  • Find and post a link to the lyrics for a posted video with a list of at least 10 key words (and their meanings in English) that the group would need to understand the song.
  • Create and post a playlist of at least 5 possible songs in a genre you think would appeal to the class.

  • Choose a country you think we should focus on for our skit and give at least four reasons in Spanish why that country is a good choice for a skit.
  • Choose a theme or message you think we should focus on for our skit and give at least four reasons in Spanish why that theme is a good choice for a skit.
  • Write 10 lines of dialogue between two characters that show a cultural misunderstanding based on differences between our culture and a specific Spanish-speaking culture or differences between two Spanish-speaking cultures.
  • Create a list of characters that would make an interesting skit: name and describe them briefly in Spanish.
Cultural Bee
This group didn't actually participate in the cultural bee before, but I thought research for that event could also prepare for cool skit topics.
  • Choose one Spanish-speaking country and list its national leaders (presidents/kings/prime ministers) for the last 50 years as well as the years they were in power--link to your source(s).
  • Choose one Spanish-speaking country and post a map of the country with a list of major cities (capital first), bodies of water, and mountains and/or ranges in Spanish.
  • Choose one famous author from a Spanish-speaking country and name five of his/her most famous works, describing briefly in Spanish what each is about--link to your source(s).
  • Choose one famous artist from a Spanish-speaking country and post at least five of his/her most famous pieces along with their titles in Spanish--link to your sources.
  • Choose one Spanish-speaking country and create and post a playlist of videos or songs of at least 5 popular musical styles from that country.
  • List the top 10 soccer or baseball players or Olympians from Spanish-speaking countries, either of all-time or in the world, including their country of origin, teams they have played for, and championships they've won.
  • Create and post a playlist of music videos of the top 10 Spanish-speaking artists in a genre or Spanish-speaking country of your choice.
  • Create and post a playlist of at least 5 clips from different popular telenovelas from different Spanish-speaking countries.
There are a few kids I think would get a kick out of meeting up just to practice their conversation, either with each other or with locals in the language--maybe even some international Skype buddies! This wouldn't necessarily directly lead to trophies of any sort, but it could be a worthwhile enrichment if we could arrange it. And who knows? Maybe we'll come up with something that would make some good dialogue or a good skit scenario!

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