Blank Walls to Start the Year? YES!

As I transition back into a bilingual classroom, focusing on biliteracy is my main goal. As I started to look at some things I wanted to put on the walls, I started to think about some things I have learned over the years. Posters are good for catching the eye of wandering minds, (as a person with ADD, I know I used to always look around when my mind would wander), but they don’t serve the purpose of TEACHING much without context and LOTS of visual scaffolding. I have a LOT of posters I have collected in my 25 years in the classroom…a LOOOTTT! Now, I am realizing that I should start my year with blank walls. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. Hear me out…

Really, the BEST way make those wandering mind moments count is to give students things to look at that help activate prior knowledge. How do we do that? We make Anchor Charts! There has been a lot of debate on what constitutes an “Anchor Chart.” I believe, after all the conferences and books and seminars and years of experience, that it can only be called an “Anchor Chart” if it is something you have created WITH students DURING learning. So, I propose you take posters and turn them into anchor charts. This means you start with a blank paper (butcher paper or chart paper) and recreate that poster you love WITH your students WHILE they are learning! Now, I am NOT artistic. Like, I am challenged to even draw stick figures well, so do not fear, I have a trick for you if this is you too! The way around it is to create one or find one online you like (there are several in my TpT store and I am giving you some here too) and project it with your document camera or projector before class starts and very lightly outline it with a pencil. This way, when you are in class, you have a guideline to follow, but the kids don’t have to know that. They can just believe you are a FABULOUS artist! LOL! Like this one can be easily traced:

Guess what? It doesn’t stop there! You can erase some parts of the poster and make it a graphic organizer the students fill out later as a way to assess their understanding of the concept …..

OR you can create a bulletin board with the idea using things the students have written to fill in the board or things you have traced and added!

So, my challenge over the summer will be to create a bunch of templates for anchor charts / graphic organizers / bulletin boards that are meaningful for students and helpful for teachers and get them ready for YOU. I will be adding them to my TpT store in a growing bundle, but….

They will be part of my MEMBERSHIP SITE, which will give you access to my resources! New subscriptions will be available in July 2022! Stay tuned for more…

Hope this inspires you to at least consider starting the year with BLANK walls!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) , Facebook (sra k Spanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources! Be on the lookout for the announcement for my annual membership site in July 2022!

A Food/Menu Project

Every year, I have done a Menu Project after our unit about food. I generally have students create a menu with a group and then make the classroom into a cafe and allow them to take turns being the waitstaff and the customers. The kids usually enjoy this project, but I had to do it differently during pandemic teaching, and that really changed my mind about the project.

During the start of the pandemic and even into the following year, I had to pivot to making this an online project. I decided the first year to let students just create one. It didn’t go well. There was LOTS of copying and pasting going on. The next year, I decided to throw some culture into it since some were still at home in their copy and paste/Google Translate mode. Instead of focusing on language, I made the project really based on culture and even allowed them to do it in English (it was Spanish class).

This year, I came to a happy medium. I made it a mixed project and used several opportunities to differentiate the project.

First, I had students choose a country, region or city they were interested in. For my Spanish classes, this had to be one in Latin America. For my ESOL classes, I allowed them to choose any country, including their home country, they were interested in or wanted to share.

Next, students had to find at least two dishes that were common, or popular or traditional to that region, country or city for each meal of the day. They had to find pictures of the dish and save them to their computer or drive. Then they were told to keep a Google Doc with all the information about the dish (ingredients, how it is served, when is the dish generally prepared, etc…)

After that, it was time to decide on how to present this. This past year, I gave them the option of doing it digitally (they had to present a written rough draft first) or creating a menu on a piece of posterboard (remembering they had to draw for this one).

Now, they had to write out their “order” for a waiter.

Finally, they were to present their favorites and their “order” with the class in person or in a video to be shown to the class.

I really did enjoy the mix of culture and language that I saw being practiced this year was AMAZING, and I will definitely do this project this way again! I hope these ideas help you get your students to review vocabulary and practice speaking while learning about cultures around the world. I have the full project slideshow on my TpT store HERE, but you can totally just take the idea and run with it. The key is to sail on into the summer with low stress and high engagement!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) , Facebook (sra k Spanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources!

An Interactive Logic Puzzle (and a little vocabulary review…)

As the years go by, I notice more and more that students lose focus more quickly. There are LOTS of BIG feelings about the subject in the world of education, but it really is just a reality. I find that my students really need something interactive to stay engaged and focused! This is one reason I am such a HUGE proponent of using a predictable, dependable daily framework for instruction. I first started this years ago when teaching in a self-contained bilingual elementary classroom. We had a schedule to keep us moving, and it really helped students know what to expect and stay on task. Fast forward about 20 years, and things haven’t really changed. Kids still thrive in structure, no matter the subject or grade level.

That being said, part of teaching is constantly learning. We have to grow and change WITH our students. The students I started teaching in the 90s were very different than the students I am teaching now. They are just honestly NOT entertained as easily, and they seem to need almost CONSTANT interaction. I am not saying they can’t work on their own, I am simply noting their needs are different.

With that in mind, I have begun creating a series of interactive logic puzzles. This gets students reading, thinking and then challenges them to write and be creative as well. I started with just interactive stickers, which you can read about in THIS post, but now I have created some interactive logic puzzles I think you will find engaging.

HOW DO I USE THIS?

There are several ways you could use this resource. You could do this as a whole class by reading the clues aloud and trying to solve it alone. You could assign it to table groups or partners and make a contest out of who can finish first. You could also give it as an individual assignment or assessment.

Another way to use it is to just print out the main page and then have students write on the copy OR even cut out the name tags and have them manipulate them by moving them around. These are great options for littles who may not be as adept with the Google Slides.

So, HERE is a link to a free beginner version in English. A more advanced version with editable pages and a Spanish version can be found on my TpT store. I am also working on more for our review, so check back to find more fun!

I hope this gets your students reading and showing you what they know!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) , Facebook (sra k Spanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources!

Literacy Center Activity – Story Cards

In an earlier blog post HERE, I talked about some ways to use these story cards. Set 1 was out at that time. Since then, I have created Set 2 for my review station activities here at the end of the year.

The best thing about these is that each card has three unique writing prompts. You can print them front to back and put them in a page protector or laminate them and keep them in a Literacy Center as a standing activity. You can vary the output expectation based on the level of your class.

These can be used for World Language, Bilingual, ESL or even regular ELA classes. They can be used for individual writing or group writing. Students can use them to get started on a longer story or simply write a short answer response.

To find the whole set, you can visit the listing in my TpT store HERE.

As always, I hope this idea helps you have an easy day or inspires you to create something simple like it that keeps students engaged and you able to easily stay in the class language.

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) , Facebook (sra k Spanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources!

Station Activity – Comic Stories

Happy Sunday! Looking for something to do TOMORROW with no prep? I got you covered! This is a quick, easy station activity or group assignment or individual assignment!

I originally created this to be part of my review stations for the end of the year in both my Spanish classes and my ESL classes. It works great as a quick, 15 minute or so station, but… kids LOVE to draw! So, if you make them draw AND color, this could quickly become a full class period lesson. First, you would have them try on their own. They would need to sketch what they think it says. Then, have them work with a partner or table group to make sure they all understood the same story. Once they are sure, they can finalize their sketch and color it. Finally, as a last step, have them write to answer the questions. For beginners, you may have them write in the language they are most comfortable with. For intermediates, they should be able to write in the class language. You can also add some extra questions or have them continue the story for 1-2 frames on the back of the paper as an extension!

Here is the English version! The English and Spanish versions can be found on my TpT store for a quick, easy download. Or, feel free to take the story and just have students fold their paper into 8 sections and write the story in! No copies needed! I have been in schools before where making copies was just not possible. So, it just makes it a little neater if you are able to print.

Hope this inspires you to get them talking and working together! I will have this and other review station materials up for sale on my TpT store, but, as mentioned above, feel free to just have them do it on paper. The key is to sail on into the summer with low stress and high engagement!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) , Facebook (sra k Spanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources!

Get Them Talking! – A Listening/Speaking Review Activity

In the district I teach in, we have some required topics and vocabulary. This doesn’t always mix easily with the world of CI. I have found, through my work with Tina Hargaden, that it is possible to integrate required lessons/topics/vocabulary and still make lessons based in communication.

So, how do I do that? Well, one thing I do is follow the curricular framework presented in Tina’s book, Foundations. There are six cycles of instruction, and those really help me frame every lesson and keep a structure, yet still have flexibiity.

Recently, I had to teach house vocabulary. After introducing the vocabularyThis, I created THIS activity for us to do together. I incorporated a section for us to do together, a listening activity and then an interpersonal communication opportunity for students where they practice listening and speaking with a partner or group. This could also be done virtually by having students submit a video of them talking through their “casa.”

HERE is a Loom video I recorded explaining how I used this resource. Although it is in Spanish, you can absolutely put text boxes over the words (there are only a few) in your language.

I hope this helps with some ideas for teaching these required vocabulary sets and/or topics while keeping lessons focused on communication!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

Find me on Instagram (@SraKSpanish) and Follow my TpT store as I build more resources!