11 April 2017

Everything Came Together Today!

So throwing a bunch of ideas into Common Curriculum and then sorting them out as I went, it worked super well today! I managed to connect grammar, music, and project goals as if I weren't kind of mentally checked out before Spring Break Part 2 already.

I could have been a little more conscious of hitting all three communication modes, but I still really like how everything came together like I had some sort of master plan today, from well-timed audio repairs to Sr. Wooly trial subscriptions kicking in to even a canceled festival that we had been building up to literally all semester.

It all worked. But not only by coincidence.

Laying the groundwork

Lesson planning can be super fun. That feeling you get when a plan comes together? But it can also be an uphill hike in oppressive heat when you forgot your map. Sometimes I just can't make myself plan. Just thinking about the level of detail I need to achieve anything approximating "success," it just hurts and makes me want to wear pajamas all day.

So I just have to start with what I know, lay it all out.

I knew 1) I had to wrap up past activities and 2) I had to set up the next unit so we'd have enough time--and motivation--to really get into it. So I started by laying out the calendar of all of the days remaining (26!!!) to give myself perspective (something I've kind of been avoiding, truth be told).

I forgot my computer Friday and
had to use PAPER, like an ANIMAL!
Then I googled around for a bit, seeing if I could find some kind of article or infograph to connect the number of weeks we had left with the magical number of weeks I had in my head to change a habit (I found something perhaps even better.)

Then I just had to write out exactly what I expected kiddos to do (Hay que hacer progreso todos los días) and how I expected them to show it. I jotted a few notes about what I wanted to see in daily progress blogs, what they would submit each day to establish a weekly routine, and how I might totally and completely exploit the wonders of Google Keep that I just discovered.

Then I started listing functional chunks students would need to accomplish the tasks above. And then I chunked the chunks. Basically it boiled down to expressions with "que", object pronouns (e.g. te ayuda, ¿Cómo te fue?), and present perfect.

And then? Then I just made a bunch of entries in the Monday column on the week's Common Curriculum, including things like
  • reflection activities for previous blog posts (vocabulary and personal practice)
  • Sr. Wooly songs that made me giggle uncontrollably (and had que idioms)
  • titles for grammar note pages kiddos would need (see functional chunk chunks above)

The leadup

So my IT amigo was fixing my LED screen audio when I walked in on Monday. I was so excited to have SOUND again, that I just pulled up the next song on the playlist to enjoy and interpret a bit. It was "Diferente"--automatic excuse to introduce hay que.

The plan had been to have students pull up past blogs, make some personal practice recommendations for each other with a blog post assignment called "¡Tienes que ver esto!" wherein they will tag classmates who have to see a show or song or article they found. They also grouped their top 25 most useful vocabulary words in semantic groups and made them pretty with Adobe Spark posts and started writing some original vocabulary sentences.  Not too shabby for wrap-up.

I did make them watch "Guapo," just because that video has been cracking me up since grad school (I blame teacher humor and @SraStephanie). I was testing the waters. PS, it worked best when I made them put up computers before we watched it and put Spanish subtitles on.

How it came together


Today, we started with "Guapo." What can I say, it puts me in a good mood? Computers down, subtitles on, pausing here and there to interpret. Now Sr. Wooldridge advised me to let them absorb that a week first, but I'm not the patient sort. Plus I wanted to get straight to the "accessing prior knowledge" and had them flip to page 9 in their cuadernos to collect the new "ías" and "abas" in the video--and then add their first irregular.

SPOILER: Wooly was right about the sequel to "Guapo" being even more popular. Not only has it replaced "Ya está muerto" as my son's favorite, but it made a few kids who were really not into "Guapo" very happy. It made the ones who were into it cry out in overdramatic grief. Also, I found a new bond with the kiddos giggling uncontrollably like I do when I watch it.

It was glorious.

So the hay que in the Lasso song Monday was pure luck;  the tienes que in the blog assignment was by design. Guess what was in the Wooly songs? Pienso que and creen que. Oh yeah. SO on a roll for the structures we'll need to discuss self improvement!! So I cut up some little yellow paper pieceds (almost forgot 4th period), and we made a little web map in their notes for "que" expressions and added sabes que, for when we need to share some strategies or other facts to inform progress on the self-improvement.

And then, to lead into choosing the change they want to make, I had kiddos briefly reflect with a Google Classroom question on a good change that has happened in their lives. Not only does it give a little taste of the present perfect to come tomorrow, but it ALSO is set up to imitate the structure of the chorus of my son's new favorite song!!!

At the end, I let them decide who they thought they should work with and explain their reasons--in Spanish--in a conversation with each group while everyone else wrapped up the blog review from yesterday.

So what's it mean?

Dave Burgess got "unbelievably fired up" when a colleague told him,  "It's easy for you. You're creative."

Lest there were any colleagues out there who thought any of this was ever easy for me? Well, let this be a lesson to you. Because this wasn't easy, and it wasn't really just a few days of work coming together. It's been a mere fourteen years for me.

It wasn't just the last several days that came together. And everything is not going to stay together.

But for today it was. Or at least felt like it for a few hours.

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