31 January 2017

Bellringer Toybox: 5 fun ways to start Spanish class



So my master plan to improve listening through music and the  coros bellringer pretty much fizzled. Music is still THE number one way to hook students right off, but it kind of loses its magic if I do it every day of every week, ALL. SEMESTER. LONG.

As I've been going through this bellringer breakup, I've realized a few things about myself:
  1. Routine bores me really quickly.
  2. I'm not good at assuaging others' boredom when I'm bored.
  3. I do kind of need routine to be able to organize myself.
  4. Having routines organized before the school year starts increases my chances for success like a million fold.

Sra Wienhold has a cycle that works well for her, and my plan WAS to set up a cycle that would keep me organized, but I think I'd rather have my own little toybox (not toolbox, because really this is about entertaining me) that I can dig around in before class starts and suit it to what we'll be doing and, well, how I feel. I think it'll just keep things more connected overall. I'll still have a whole bunch of starters ready to go, I'll just have more options getting started.

So here is my toy collection to keep things fun for me (and, you know, maybe them).


One student's take
on Axel's "Somos uno"

Songs

Mostly I think I'll stick to the Instagram Challenge type activities, although sometimes a little call & response can be fun too. I do want something a little more immediate than the collage or even Spark creations, though. So instead of a collage, students can upload just one one photo acting out one line to Seesaw, and instead of a full Spark video, we do an infopic on Nearpod, where they can doodle or search for a photo to match the message of the chorus.





Free Voluntary Reading (FVR)

This works best with the novice set when the "reading" time is only about 3 minutes, as Michelle Kindt taught me at CSCTFL last year. Also as Michelle taught me, it works best if they have just a really quick and easy task, like finding cognates or questions or new words they figured out, either out loud or on Nearpod so everyone can show what they got. Alternatively snapping pictures of pages with a good description or dialogue or something relevant and uploading to Seesaw for interpretation with the new labeling function is also kind of fun.





Games

Duolingo is a lifesaver when I just need a few minutes to get my head together! Plus the kids LOVE it. It's nice to change things up every once in a while with Verba or Manzanas con Manzanas and get a little community building. Either way I think it's a good idea to follow up with a Nearpod or Classroom question about the funniest sentence they made during the game. This is also a good time to pause and award some points on ClassDojo for winning a game, getting 200XP in Duolingo, or maybe getting an assignment in early or a parent to interact with their work on Seesaw. Then if anybody needs to invoke a privilege they've earned by reaching 20, 50, or 100 ClassDojo points, they can formally request it (in the TL of course).



Password

The first time I just did it for 3 minutes, no recording, and they had to work the word divertido in every time it was their turn. The conversations really seemed to flow! After they start feeling more comfortable doing this, I'll have them record using Adobe Spark, so they have something for their portfolios. I still need to get a master list of "claves" I want them to work in for this to be ready to pop out of the box, but I'm thinking some high-frequency chunks might be handy like tienes que or creo que. (Maybe this deserves its own post...)






Meme battles

Using memes in Spanish class is not a new concept, but it has become increasingly apparent that I can avoid it no longer. These kids live for the meme. I'll need to have a stash of funny memes, both classic and current--excuse me, spicy--that they can update, most likely with Seesaw labels. I'm thinking Drake could help with some common grammar mistakes, for example...






Now, I had contemplated mixing in some other activities like blog commenting or interpreting LAITS  or AudioLingua clips, but where's the play in that?

No, the bellringer has to set a tone for the class that not only dunks the learners headfirst into the language, but also that gets us all ready to enjoy our time together.

27 January 2017

My Top 10 Tech Tools of 2016


It's 2017, but these tools served me well through 2016. No, these are not the cool new tools that came out in 2016: these are the tools that I relied on to survive 2016. Maybe they can make 2017 smoother for you too!


1. Google Classroom

Where would I be without Google Classroom? Still making shared folders with individual student folders selectively shared for each class and contemplating printing out every writing assignment submitted just so I could actually add some real feedback without writing a bazillion disjoint emails. To say nothing of all of the logins I'd need for surveys and announcements and resources I wanted to share with my students. Google Classroom truly does pull everything together, and for free! And while there's not a functional gradebook there yet, the ability to label assignments and announcements really does make finding, well, EVERYTHING easy enough that it doesn't make that much difference. And the new parent feature? Brilliant. Google still wins the LMS Smackdown for me, hands down.


2. Seesaw

I almost left Google for Seesaw this past year. The kids talked me out of it because they like having everything integrated with their emails and other classes, but I don't think they could live without Seesaw anymore than I could now! How else are they supposed to get their videos online as fast? How else can they share links and messages and recordings across classrooms? How else can they find (and embed) their evidence for their portfolios? How could they doodle and label straight onto images they--and their classmates and teacher--uploaded? I like it even better now that I just make one big Seesaw class for all of my Spanish 1s or all of my Spanish 2s, because the folders let me split it all up however I want anyway!



3. Adobe Spark

I mean, when it just did videos and just on iPads, I was already cien por ciento SMITTEN. But now that it makes my blog posts beautiful AND lets me create videos and classy webpages? I don't know, is it time to build a shrine? I mean, yes, saving can be a little wonky now and then, but there is no way to put a price on videos where I don't have to wait through minutes of pondering to hear seconds of Spanish! And with pretty music and easy embedding too! AND I can create comprehensible videos for my kiddos without A) spending hours on animations and B) putting on makeup so as not to frighten the darlings.


4. Nearpod

I confess, I tried to quit Nearpod when I ran out of my silver subscription, but it might as well have been Jake Gyllenhall. I need that ability to order my plans for the day AND build in interaction and links. And NOW there's a built-in collaboration activity where students can vote on responses? They already LOVED the instant feedback I could give them when they write out answers to questions, and Nearpod really  helps them shine in regular formative assessments!



5. Vibby

I don't remember how I lived without Vibby--or I just really don't want to. On the SAMR scale, this took me to Redefinition, because I was doing a lot of time consuming guessing (as were my students) before they could highlight exactly the segments they could comprehend and then put exactly what they thought those segments meant directly ON the segments! I mean, maybe not ON the video, but this is almost better--and quicker.  I do still advise keeping a Google Doc open while editing, though, because, well, comments have been known to get eaten or scrambled. But I LOVE playing with new ways to use comments and replies, so keep an eye out for more Vib love posts, especially from my online class!


6. Blogger

Blogger hasn't really gotten any fancier, and I'm still not willing to mess with the disaster that is the Android or IOS app, but the sheer versatility of the pages and labels and layouts...I'm just really loving what it's doing for student portfolios and centralizing student work. And everything else seems to have easy-to-access embed codes these days, so the HTML mode just makes everything work together so nicely. AND everyone can comment on it!


7. Google Drawing

Combining Drawings with Google Classroom has really helped my scaffolding. From first-day collage assignments to interpretive practice, even to IPAs, Google Drawings have allowed me to personalize tasks for students while highlighting what it is I really need from them. I can create templates for them to fill in, thus cutting down on time diverted to decoration, or even add some simplified AAPPL rubrics on the side so they can self-evaluate!



8. Google Slides

I mean, seriously, can Google and I just paint nails together and talk about boys? Because we are totally BFFs by this point. I love creating task templates in Slides because it helps make everything look manageable. I can break down a multi-step task into separate slides that students just have to fill in. I can designate a separate slide for each student in a group research assignment so everyone can add their own links, quotes, and analysis. I do kind of wish I could comment onto specific highlights like on Docs, although I can also add fill-in-the-textboxes like in Drawings, just, you know, with more room. I might be switching to Slides for online class IPAs, just to stretch out what students can show--and hey! They can even give me their main idea/supporting detail analysis in the notes!




9. Pinterest

It bears repeating that Pinterest is a novice's best friend (not to mention a globetrotting teacher's). I've set up collaborative boards for sharing self-improvement resources, collected authentic texts on  gamification and marketing and Mexican history, AND created my own sources from Mexico through Instagram and a little internet magic. Pinterest allows me to organize myself and also personalize choices for students on assignments and assessments. Not to mention all of the great resources from my go-to pinners!





10. Flubaroo

I don't give multiple choice quizzes or tests, so you would think that Flubaroo has nothing to offer me. However, this extension has proven a handy way for me to offer feedback on portfolios! I have indeed abandoned ForAllRubrics to keep things centralized and familiar with my BFF Google, but students are finding that "pledging" their badges with Google Forms is just a lot more intuitive, and I love how I can give them targeted feedback and just hit share to send it right to their inboxes. I can even send HTML code for when they earn a badge or use the new automated sticker function to just send the image! I'm struggling with how this will fit with students making their own objectives, and I wonder if it's going to be necessary with the new quiz function on Google Forms (ah, Google, you always know what I like!), but this definitely helped me survive 2016!



So there you have it! My top 10 tools for the past year! What new tools will you try this year?

20 January 2017

Inauguration Speech Rhetoric Lesson in Listening

I just read Trump's inauguration speech and had an idea for my English class next week. We're about to transition between units, so it's kind of timely in more than one way.

I got a lot of hyperbole from people I respect, on Facebook and in person, before I had a chance to read for myself, and even saw reports that climate change and LGBT pages were being taken off of the WhiteHouse.gov page already (guess what, it's standard archiving procedure). Now, having read the whole thing, I won't say their dread is 100% unfounded, but I will say that they latched onto some pretty distorted soundbites.

So I think it's time to return to rhetoric.

After all, my high-flyer student who was the first to take the new SAT after our SAT Prep class said our work on rhetoric in our senior English class, with "A Modest Proposal" and J.P. Sears, was actually what prepared her the best for the writing section. Not to mention the graders I've known who said it was pretty much what the whole writing score boils down to.

Of course we'll refresh on ethos, pathos, and logos and maybe spend a little time analyzing those, maybe have a little scavenger hunt for logical fallacies. We might even check out some of the extreme social media interpretations out there.

But first, we'll listen.

Listening is probably THE hardest thing for me to do in a debate setting, but it is THE most important skill for all of us to master, especially those with any sort of power, privilege, or authority. So these "super seniors" in their fifth year of high school, before they graduate with a diploma and an AA and/or AS are going to actively practice it.

I don't mean I'm going to make them listen to the speech (I'm that bad with listening myself--I won't watch the video when I can just read it). I mean they're going to have to listen to another side. And they're going to have to hear it inside themselves.

Their task?

Pick any two quotes from the speech that two different people might interpret differently. Analyze what ideas and information influence their interpretations and which you think is closer to the President's actual intent.


Now they can pick actual people: their raucous Rebel-flag-flying Uncle Randy and Killary herself, Bernie and their favorite youth pastor. Toby Keith and Katy Perry. Or they can construct their own liberal/conservative, socialist/libertarian, SJW/neckbeard stereotype. Or they can just try to see it two different but uncategorized ways.

But what they'll have to do is acknowledge that their way is NOT the only way to see the speech.

So maybe it's not the end of America, or democracy, or the rights and freedoms we've come to enjoy.

But maybe it really feels like it too.

17 January 2017

Not Another Icebreaker: Music & memory

My kids know everything they could ever want to know about each other walking into my Spanish 2 class. They've been playing human bingo and going on photo scavenger hunts with the exact same kids for 2 1/2 years.

Yet there is still ice to be broken, to make it feel GOOD to be back, and to remember what we were about in Spanish class.

 

My group last year (and every year) LOVED coros. That group especially loved (and I mean LOVED--Yotuel was known as "papasote") Yotuel's "Me gusta":


So I took the lyrics from the song and split them up 24 ways (that was my largest class that year) and numbered them. Then I chopped them up to hand one out to each kid as they walked in.



I had the song playing as they walked in, and as soon as they heard "Por quéeeee," there were kids singing along. When everyone was seated, I cued up the chorus (I think I'd do it with a lyrics video in the future), and let them just enjoy for a moment. Then I had them look at the numbers on their slips and instructed them to read in order. 

It helped having the numbers 1-24 marked on the board, too, so I could quickly point to them without having to call them out. You could also have them line up in order of the lyrics too if you want them moving, or you could set up random seating by having corresponding numbers at each seat! 

I liked how this particular song evoked positive memories for most of my kiddos, but there's no reason Spanish I couldn't start off this way with an easy enough chorus, maybe like "Nuquí" or one of the others on my 2017 list. It could be the theme for the year!

Now, my Spanish I class never got the chain read sounding quite like Yotuel, but we got good vibes going for the whole group--in the target language!--from the start.

16 January 2017

Spinning Plates: 30 preguntas for planning

When I am planning my lessons for the week, there are several questions I try to ask myself--actually about 25. A part of me feels like I have to ask myself all of these questions every day to be connected, but that can't be right. There simply aren't hours in the day.

Maybe I keep too many plates spinning, and if I narrowed my focus, I wouldn't have so many questions to answer.

I just don't see any plates I'm willing to set down, though.

Still, I figure if I have all of the questions written out, I can at least consult them at some point during each week (preferably well before I have to, you know, actually do the lessons), and thereby make the whole overwhelming alphabet soup at least a little more ordered.



PBL Questions

Some questions I need to answer to keep projects moving forward. I firmly believe everything we do should somehow lead up to a real, concrete communicative situation some time before the end of the course. So here's what I consider to make that happen:
  1. What is the next step in the project?
  2. What do we need to discuss to move forward with the project?
  3. What can they read/listen to introduce the topic?
  4. What can they read/listen to expand on the topic?
  5. Where and how do they need to pause and reflect?

CI Questions

Students need a purpose, and they need confidence in their ability to accomplish that purpose with the language at their disposal. So I have to break down interpretation and discussion in such a way that I KNOW the majority of them can handle it with almost no trouble.
  1. How can I break down instructions in comprehensible language?
  2. What essential verbs can they use with this?
  3. What yes/no questions can I ask?
  4. What open-ended questions can I ask?
  5. Can they understand the text, or should I break it down PQA style?

Interaction Questions

I want them collaborating whenever possible, and engaged even when there's something they simply have to get from me. I could really add all of Part II of Teach Like a Pirate here, but I think these help whittle it down a little.
  1. What can they discuss in groups?
  2. What can they create in groups?
  3. What excuses for movement can be built in?
  4. Is there a tech tool that could make this easier/more interesting?
  5. How can I get a quick read to see if everyone's with me?

Notes Questions

Interactive notebooks help organize and focus my planning as well as providing something solid students can return to when they have questions.
  1. What previous notes can help with the task at hand?
  2. Is there any new information (vocabulary, texts, structures) they need in their notes to refer to later?
  3. Are there any patterns of errors I need to reinforce with notes?
  4. What should those notes look like?
  5. Can they do something active with the notes?

Differentiation Questions

Now, with my current Spanish II/III class, I have an extra layer of questions to work in--fortunately I have a planning period right before that class to tweak earlier lessons to accommodate.
  1. Is there something Spanish III/native speakers don't need to be doing?
  2. What could they do together or independently instead?
  3. How much time will they have to work without my help?
  4. What do they need to have in front of them to be able to work without me?
  5. Can they prepare something Spanish II would benefit from interpreting?

Culture Questions

There are some more questions I've been wrestling with since our most recent #LangChat on assessment. I haven't been doing a very thorough job even using authentic texts as windows this year or even sticking to any kind of cultural reflection. I still want to do more with the self/community/world lenses, but really I need to make sure I stop and ask these questions:
  1. What does this have to do with culture (product? practice? perspective?)?
  2. How can this prepare them to reflect on their own goals/identity?
  3. How can this connect them to the broader world?
  4. How can this help them observe and appreciate cultural differences?
  5. How can they express their observations and connections?



Phew. That's a lot of questions, and a lot of precariously spinning plates. I hope if I ask myself these questions often enough and explicitly enough that I eventually won't have to process them separately. 

12 January 2017

HOW Do You Learn Spanish Online?

I had good kids in my first online class, kids who are going to go on to do cool things. I just couldn't get the same vibe, the same relationships that "real" teaching, teaching in a classroom gets me.

The connection is what makes all of that other school stuff worth it, you know?

Admittedly, my getting-to-know-you activities were pretty much pure academia. I mean, I'll cut first semester me a little slack because I haven't had a class I had to get to know after my first class with them since Bieber had bangs. And I do want to know what they can do and what motivates them ASAP. But there's really no reason I can't ease in like I do with Spanish III. A game changer for me from #FLANC50 was the idea that language should be familiar when concepts are new, and the corollary, language can be new as long as concepts are familiar.

And lemme tell ya: online language learning ain't familiar for any of us in these courses.

So I'm thinking we're gonna do like Spanish I and start of with maybe a little collage-based discussion, but definitely the How and Why of it all--especially the How.


Options

As with novice language learners, I want to make sure to provide a starting point, options for my novice online learners. It is the plight of the novice that they don't know what they don't know, so I need to offer suggestions--just instead of vocabulary, I need to offer online resources and strategies.

So what I want to do is prepare a sort of sampler platter of different "Hows" for learning language, including "traditional" online grammar lessons and activities as well as helping them locate some good sources for input that they can enjoy--a sort of online FVR (or musical FVL or FVW for telenovela binge watching). I'll give them a sample resource or activity, and they'll evaluate it:
  • How enjoyable was it?
  • How beneficial was it?
  • How can it contribute to their language proficiency?
After sampling all of my wares, I'll have them pick at least one of each that they want to keep using:
  • language resource
  • listening resource
  • reading resource
And their choices can turn into their self-selected personal practice throughout the semester!

Language Resources

Now when most people sign up for an online language course, I bet they're looking for something like these online grammar lessons I stole from Sr. Jenneman:

They might also anticipate some gamified-type learning:
And these are good resources that I want them to be aware of. But they don't really hit on any modes of communication beyond, what, reading, do they? And they generally seem to be kind of stuck at the novice level, at least as far as text types.

So what I want them to do early on is sample each of these "traditional" online learning methods and then find some sources for authentic input that they can get into.


Input Resources

Part of the "rules" for the self-selected homework is that only half of their time can be spent on the language study resource, because, as Sr. Jenneman emphasizes, the goal is to get kiddos as much good input as humanly possible. So the goal here is really just finding one that they will come back go again and again for fun. So I divided the topics up like this:



Input alone is not going to do anything, though, if the students don't have any guidance, so for this sample platter, I want to show them a few different ways they can interact with the texts, including paraphrasing, questioning, graphic organizing, summarizing, and visualizing.

The Goal

My thinking is that exposing students early on to the various ways they can take control of their learning will A) give me insight into what they prefer, style-wise and content-wise and B) empower the kiddos to take the learning by the horns and understand what works for them, even though I can't be there with them to fill in all of the gaps.

I still plan to schedule our monthly restaurant meet-ups, and possibly schedule more online conversations.

But if we start off exploring what students like and feel comfortable doing, by golly, they might just like (or at least feel comfortable with) the online language learning experience.

07 January 2017

10 Songs for Spanish Class 2017

Sra. Birch inspired me to post a top 10 list for songs I'm using in Spanish class these days. While I'm not doing coros as I have in the past, we will be doing some musical starters along the way. (Plus I plan to play these on an endless loop so their brains will be hostage to the Spanish FOREVER! MWAHAHAHAH! PS did you know that you can right click on the video and make one video loop over and over? DOUBLE MWAHAHAHAHA!)


Also, I had a little bit of success posting Instagram challenges where the kiddos could get Classcraft points for posting videos of themselves doing something with the week's song and tagging me. I slacked off a little after the first few though, so I have planned three different types of challenges I will offer depending on the song:
  • Dance moves - post a video of yourself singing or lip syncing with the song and doing the moves.

  • Lyrics collage - post a collage or Snapchat story of you and a friend acting out each line with the lyrics on each photo.

  • Theme Sparkpost an Adobe Spark video with inspiring your own photos or stock photos that convey the overall message of  the song with the chorus lyrics.


~Top 10 for 2017~




"Nuquí" by ChocQuibTown (2016)

It's true I can't get enough of this hiphop pop group from Colombia! It doesn't hurt that their most recent single has an endlessly catchy chorus with high-frequency vocabulary! I also made up a little dance to go with it (and had my endlessly adorable daughter demonstrate the moves).

Instagram Challenge: Dance moves









"Duele el corazón" by Enrique Iglesias (2016)

THE hit of the summer, but I'm opting for he lyrics video because A) it looks pretty cool and B) I like being employed (underwear scenes can be skipped in class though). Again, more high frequency vocabulary, impossible to get out of your head, and, you know, ENRIQUE

Instagram Challenge: Lyrics collage







"Sobre mí" by Sin Bandera w/ Maluma (2016)


Did you know Sin Bandera was back??? College me is so excited. So far my students aren't AS excited, but I'm still pretty sure I can get stuck in their heads. Also the vocabulary is still pretty high frequency, but building in complexity. And I kind of liked Maluma's moves, so I spliced them together for dance time

Instagram Challenge:  Dance moves





"Somos uno" by Axel (2015)
They always complain about everything being about love and breakups, so why not something uplifting and unifying? Also super simple lyrics with some plurals practice. So I downloaded the song so the young ones could add their own visual interpretation.

Instagram Challenge: Theme Spark





"Sofía" by Alvaro Soler (2016)


Curiously enough, this newcomer's previous hit (which J-Lo picked up on and spanglicized) is more popular with the kiddos so far, but I don't care. This has been my jam Sra. Birch tweeted it this summer! The vocabulary is still relatively high-frequency, and the repetition and the speed help (object pronouns practice doesn't hurt either!) PS: watch out for booty shorts. 

Instagram Challenge: Lyrics Collage







"Soy yo" by Bomba Estéreo (2016)

I mean, how could I not? This song is almost too easy, but after the variety in "Sofía" lyrics, I think this'll be a nice break. Plus: THE MESSAGE!

Instagram Challenge: Theme Spark












"No soy como tú crees" by Ana Mena (2016)

We're getting a little more complex here, but the cognates should help, and I like shaking up the style. Also with the the Latino pop charts this past year or so it is really hard to keep my super-catchy list updated with chicas, and this one tips the España scale on the list. The kids weren't as into the "official" video as the dance video, so the challenge is kind of a given here.

Instagram Challenge:  Dance moves





"Hasta el amanacer" by Nicky Jam (2016)

Starting Spanish I with this song as a call and response was THE best choice I made last semester. EVERYONE was hooked (including YouTube!). I am eternally indebted to Sra. Whisenhunt for asking me if it was too risqué--which, kind of, yeah. In fact I had a reporter in the room when one kiddo decided to REALLY interpret--no one seemed to mind but me, though. I'm saving this in Spanish II due to lower-frequency vocabulary, also a late treat.

Instagram Challenge: Lyrics collage





"Diferente" by Lasso (2016)


I'm not sure we'll get to this one, but it hasn't actually been that popular, but I figure it'll speak to a subset that doesn't always get spoken to. Plus Venezuela. Plus message. And there are some good cognates and idioms in here (e.g. hay que).

Instagram Challenge: Theme Spark





"Casi nada" by Karol G w/ CNCO (2016)

I seriously doubt we'll get to this one, but if we do, they should be able to handle the lower frequency vocabulary, especially since this was so popular with Spanish I kids just as personal practice and background music. PS I'm going with the lyrics video not just to avoid bikinis, but also CNCO and the simpler lyric version.

Instagram Challenge: Lyrics collage






So that's my Top 10 going into 2017! Also, I'm sharing my playlist here too in case you also have evil plans to get super-catchy songs stuck in your kids, plus it has a few more bonus videos that we've enjoyed this school year.


 

01 January 2017

#OneWord 2017: Connect

I still need to prepare.

I still need less.

I still need good reasons, and reason.

But if I had to sum up what else was missing this past year, I would say I still need to

connect.

Connecting is something I struggled with last semester, and something that is already blocking me before next semester starts. I'm wrestling with all sorts of connections looking ahead to the new year, but professionally, my primary connection concerns are with students and content 


STUDENTS

Perhaps my top priority is a connection between the students and the content. If I do it right, it's also what connects me to the students, plugging into their perspectives and responding with something they actually could care about learning.

Now there was a time that I could delight in coming up with creative new lesson ideas, mentally hugging myself over how fresh, new, and FUN my own plans seemed to me. But now, now there's no joy if I can't picture Stephanie getting excited about it or Parth using it to get a laugh after he leaves class or Jessica admitting she can see the reason why we needed to do it.

It has to CONNECT with them.

Connecting what I plan, what I share, what I DO with the young people who are mine to educate and motivate--that's probably the most complex task I could take on as a teacher. As I gradually clawed my way out of the quicksands of survival mode, it started to become something that I could devote more brainpower to, and so I will. Because I do not have to rely on compliance anymore, I cannot be satisfied with tasks assigned and completed only in its name.

So I'm resolving to take time and energy to figure out ways to maximize connections with students through my content.

CONTENT

I was overall pleased with my students' performance as far as communication skills last semester. I liked the focus on how and why students could use Spanish in their lives and how we were able to bring it back to the stated purpose at the end.

I do not like how things got all muddled in the middle. I lost hold of some worthwhile strategies and tools that I just couldn't--DIDN'T--keep connected.

So this year I'm looking for a uniting purpose for Spanish II (since obviously we're not starting in the same place as Spanish I). I'm looking for something that connects the content to the students, but also to life beyond academics, and that connects within itself, too. And to that end, I'm not only spending the remaining free hours of my break meditating on how to rehook the juniors I've hardly seen since early sophomore year, but I'm also resolving to build in more space for reflection, time for follow-up on feedback, and opportunities to apply understanding.

Language and learning are about connecting with others, with your world, with yourself. I want to tap back into that purpose in more intentional, more structured, and more meaningful ways.

So in 2017 I resolve to connect.