04 October 2015

Interactive Notebook Page: School Supplies

Ayudando Ando sent me a list of over 50 things that the rural mountain school they sponsored needs:

Of course we couldn't get all 50+ things on the list (much less ship them). But we could use that list as a starting point for our project. And as a perfect excuse for authentic interpretation.

So I printed copies of the supply list to be included in students' interactive notebooks, and it takes up basically the whole page. This is not a problem though, because there will be no translation (or t********** as I like to call it) in our interactive notebooks at all this year. I mean, yes, we have English, say on the Performance and Proficiency page. However, research shows that L2 to L1 connections are some of the weakest ways to store new L2 vocabulary.

Therefore, we're falling back on two of Sexton's Strategies for Vocabulary Retention: Connections and Visuals to learn the vocabulary needed to discuss what we'll send--or won't send--to Colombia.


We all know that new information must be linked to prior knowledge in order to stick in our brains. So sorting the original list into what we should and should not send requires my little language learners to use what they know about the qualities of these items.

It also helps to go over a few no-nos before they begin sorting:

This way we can discuss whether something es buena idea or es mala idea WITH reasons in the target language (that are mostly cognates), thus making still MORE connections.

You can have them complete this quietly on their own, discuss in small groups, or go over familiar vocabulary together as a class. As they do so, they sort the new vocabulary by highlighting:

Highlight all of the vocabulary that you recognize from the list in either yellow or orange:
  • yellow = you recognize the vocabulary and think it would be a GOOD idea to ship to Colombia
  • orange = you recognize the vocabulary and think it would be a BAD idea to ship to Colombia
Then after you look up the remaining words, highlight the rest in pink or green:
  • pink = word you looked up that's a good idea
  • green = word you looked up that's a bad idea

But how will they be looking up these unknown words? Even WordReference would be L2-L1, and therefore less than ideal...


Here's where Google Classroom, Google Images, and Google Drawings come in handy. The following assignment gets posted to Classroom:
Pick 15 of the remaining words to look up that you think might be GOOD items to send to Colombia--but you are NOT using Google T******** or WordReference this time! 
Use images.google.com to search the vocabulary!  
Compile the 15 words you find into a Google Drawing collage.
Then when the collages are completed, small groups use their collages to negotiate what is buena or mala for final pink/green highlighting, using the no-nos to frame their discussion! Connections galore!


Finally, after each student has been able to form his or her own connections with the vocabulary, I give them my condensed list of recommendations for what we can send. I narrow the list down to 25 items and then split them into six groups (clothing, fun, student, teacher, classroom, school) with no more than six items in each for them to copy onto the blank facing page--still with no L1!

After this stage, they get to split up and specialize: what do you want to work on to send to Colombia? So the groups that want to collect ropa donations can leave cartulina in their passive vocabulary and focus on getting zapatos into active vocabulary.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this activity, thank you! I hope that you and your class had a successful donations drive for this organization!