15 August 2015

Classcraft in Spanish: Character powers and team planning

"I honestly believe that if you incorporate Class Craft from the beginning and change the way portfolios work, Spanish will be everyone's favorite class."

I generally take what the end-of-course surveys with a grain of salt, but even if Spanish won't be EVERYONE'S favorite class, that's still a pretty spectacular review. I mean, I've already been re-envisioning the portfolio, so all that's left is to start Classcraft earlier, right?

So here's my plan to introduce the characters and their powers:

Advertise powers

I assign Classcraft groups based on Genius Hour topics early on in hopes that blog commenting and discussion will perhaps have similar vocabulary--or at least some kind of mutual appeal.

Last semester, I tried just giving these groups character power charts I modified from the charts I found on Mrs. Shoulders' Eagle Network Wiki. I let them talk out the meaning together and fill out a Google Form telling me which type of character they wanted to be and why.

Aside from "daños" and "en vez de," they actually didn't seem to have much trouble figuring out what was what--if they stopped and took the time to break it down. However, there were varying levels of familiarity with RPGs, (e.g. Pokemon), and though they could interpret the words, they really didn't have much clue what it was they should be looking for.

So I took it a step back.

I created a Google Slides presentation with one power per slide to kind of tease what they could do as different characters. It was a lot of "Do you want to...?" in the TL before I clicked to reveal the character they should be--OR keep ALIVE through your character's preset game-based powers--to get those class-based privileges. (PS make double sure every character has at least one desirable class-based privilege so group members can keep slackers from just punking out.)

Discuss team characters

This time, I'm going to have students follow along with the Poderes presentation with a checklist of powers they want--kind of like a Cosmo quiz to see who their inner Classcraft denizen is. This is so they'll actually discuss in order to strategize with their teammates. Last time I just had them talk about how many they needed of each character and who they wanted to be, but there were two problems with this approach:
  1. They weren't asking each other any questions. I don't think what most groups did even qualified as interpersonal.
  2. They didn't really communicate. They did not recognize a need to exchange information.
They will all have the same chart (I'm pretty pleased with my reworking), so the information gap is not so much about the "facts" we broke down with the powers presentation, but rather group members' preferences. And the groups really need to start with the individuals--we're dealing with novices who do best talking about themselves after all, right?--rather than group strategies. And then all they have to do is make sure they have at least one of each, right?

So first they need to ask each other questions to decide who is who (I'll walk them through forming these questions beforehand):

  • What powers do you want?
  • Which characters have the powers that you want?
  • Which character do you like most?
  • How many mages/warriors/healers are there in the group?
  • Do you need to be a different character?

At this point they could fill out the character Google Form to choose their characters, and I can start setting them up. I think I'll even have them sketch out a little self-portrait/diagram in their interactive notebooks to help reinforce the powers vocabulary.

Discuss team strategies

THEN they'll need to start planning ahead:

  • Who needs the most points to help the group?
  • How many points does he/she need?
  • When does he/she need the points? (look at portfolio due dates and IPA dates on the calendar)
  • Who can help, and how?
I got my essential verbs posters up, and you can too!
Get yours at TeachersPayTeachers.
Now you may have noticed that every single one of these questions relies on essential verbs: quieres,tiene, te gusta, hay, necesitas, puede and some basic Classcraft vocabulary that can all be found in the remastered infograph. This means everyone will have what they need to ask and respond, even if they have to look around the room or their notebooks (we will only have gotten up to tiene in our official notes by the time we tackle the infograph). This also means there will be the additional context--both interpretive AND interpersonal--tied to the vocabulary when we DO get to the official notes!

I'll be test driving this new approach next week in hopes of realizing the dream last semester's surveys planted in my head.

Any other thoughts on how to make the most of Classcraft and making Spanish everyone's favorite class?

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