10 November 2014

Inventions: Novice PBL Unit Introduction

Last fall, the Civics and Public Speaking teachers popped in my lonely little windowless room with a proposal for a unit for the sophomores--a PBL proposal no less: a proposal to let me in on the action. Public Speaking had done cool things with developing and marketing products in the past, something that tied in perfectly with some economic concepts in Civics. Why not take it to the next level by adding SPANISH? (Plus it didn't hurt that having my class period to work and make presentations would simplify matters immensely.)

The whole unit was a little too off-the-cuff on the Spanish end, what with the surprise invitation and all, but this year I had at least 5 months notice to plot plan! However, I've only got about 3 weeks to execute it all,

Setup: Vocabulary & Problems
First , my little novices need a need, but in order to express that need in the target language, they need the vocabulary to express that need. So we began to establish vocabulary with InfuseLearning: I asked what the did at different times of the day, and they doodled their responses. We started getting into some of the problems with those activities, but things got a little silly after about 3 questions, so we paused.


I saved the responses to each question as PDFs and went back and collected the activities from their collective doodles that seemed the most prevalent and useful and made a list of about 20 activities we could talk about. Then I set up vocabulary notes for their interactive notebooks based on the images--a printout with the sorted morning, afternoon, and "inconvenient" activities
for them to label.

I also created conversation cards so they could talk to each other in small groups (instead of one big, wild one) about which activities needed improvement and how. I figure most inventions are there to make something more:
  • Divertido
  • Atractivo
  • Organizado
  • Limpio
  • Seguro
  • Rapido
OR they are intended to use less:

  • Espacio
  • Dinero
  • Tiempo
  • Energia

We'll come together and brainstorm which activities to focus on, and we'll eventually choose groups based on those preferences.

Comprehensible Input & Output
I have collected a Pinterest board full of inventions for students to explore for "authentic" inspiration. We will likely come back to some of the articles attached later, but at this point, I want to get their wheels turning about what to create themselves. Mostly I want to use the pins as prompts for output, so I've made a collage of my favorites and numbered them.

I'll start them off with a little low-stakes interpersonal, asking which they want (review quiero/quieres) and why (review puede). Then they'll each compose a statement that leads them into what they might do themselves with some classic sentence starters:
  • Me gusta # porque ayuda con…
  • __ necesitan este invento porque es mas...
  • Quiero hacer un invento que...
Then probably the following day, students will take turns sharing their statements, with a few diverse ones I select from the submitted statements in writing spread out to read. Those who are not reading, would then migrate to the person whose ideas attract them most.

I'm also working on my second ever attempt at a TPRS/TCI-style story. Based on their responses on InfuseLearning, it looks like "El mejor invento" is going to have to make homework more fun and convenient. I hope to reinforce a lot of the basic verbs they already know, the activities and the classic problems previously listed, but also get them working with verbs they need to use more, like quieres and hay and hace.

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