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!

Gimme 5 – Dame 5 (Mini-Project)

This is a go-to mini-project I use all year long when I need a day or two or the kids need a break between topics/units.

First, decide what you want the students to share. It can be an interesting person, place, celebration, festival or custom in any country that speaks the language you are teaching. You can also use this to review parts of a unit you just did. This can be done individually, in partners or small groups.

Next, let students decide what they want their “Gimme 5” presentation to be about. Remind them that they will need to have 5 facts about each of their top 5 things to know about the topic. You might want to incorporate a graphic organizer before giving them the Google Presentation Template to fill in. My students need scaffolding, so I always give them a “Planning Page” first. You can just have them make a bulleted list to give you or you can make a page they have to fill in.

After you approve their topic and top 5 things they are going to research and/or talk about, you can give them THIS presentation to fill in. Of course, if you want to make this last a few more days, you can let them customize this.

Next, it is time for presentations! Since having to go virtual a couple years ago, I have really started to like using Screencastify or Loom or even just the recorder on their computer to have students record the presentation ahead of time. I have found this gives them a chance to re-record if needed and practice. This really does cut the anxiety a lot of students have associated with live presentations in front of their peers. You can certainly go the old-fashioned route and have them just quickly present in front of the class. The presentation part allows me to get a speaking grade if I have them do the presentation in the language of the class. Of course, that is not really possible for lower level students, so use this as a differentiation for Heritage Learners or advanced students.

Hope this inspires you to get them talking and working together! I will have this and other review materials up for sale on my TpT store, but I really appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog, so I wanted you to have this template to use now. I also would LOVE and APPRECIATE TONS if you wouldn’t mind following this blog, my TpT store and my new Instagram (@sra.k.spanish) I started to showcase the fun things I am creating.

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!

Picture then Movie Talk for the WIN!

These last couple of weeks or days can be brutal! Need something to help pass the time? I got you!! One thing my students have loved ALL YEAR is a Movie Talk day!

Now, if you are not familiar with Movie Talk, there are LOTS of great posts out there about this strategy. I have done it several ways. One thing I really like to do is use just a few of the pictures to tease the film first. I create a slideshow, like THIS one and then just choose a few of the slides to talk about. We describe the people and the setting. We talk about what is happening in the picture. We make predictions and inferences based on the information. At higher levels, we may write out our predictions and/or fill out a story mountain based on the prediction.

Then, we watch the movie short. The one used for this example is HERE. It is a pretty simple one, but has a lot you can talk about. I actually used this one near Valentine’s Day, but it is appropriate for any time of year. I differ from many others, in that I do not pause every few seconds to talk about it. We already did that when I teased it with the slideshow (we also put target vocab and grammar structures I may be required to teach on the board or an anchor chart during this discussion). Next, I play it all the way through. Then, I play it a second time and pause at important points to talk about them and draw the students’ attention to key words, phrases and/or grammar concepts. Finally, I play it through one last time, talking at normal speed about the things happening.

To see what they know, I have students use the pages below to fill in their own explanations of what the movie was about.

This is a GREAT place to differentiate. For example, beginners would perhaps just look at these pictures and write words or phrases they remember from you talking about the movie as it played or from what you added to the class anchor chart. Higher levels might write sentences describing the pictures or what that part of the story was about. They could also talk about what the characters might have been thinking or feeling or saying in certain parts of the story.

I hope this gives you a day to give students lots of input with minimal effort! I will be selling more of the packs on my TpT store with the preview slideshow, student pages, summary of the short and some ideas for differentiation.

Hope this inspires you to get them talking and working and learning, even in these last few days/weeks of school. 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!

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!

Help students learn about the world AND buy YOURSELF a few days of sanity…

May… that super fun time of year when state testing, end of year behavior and teacher burnout start to really create a perfect storm.

So, for me, it is project time! I have several end of year projects I use from time to time. This year, I recycled a travel project that has really been getting my students talking. They are realizing there is a HUGE world out there, waiting for them to explore it AND they are learning all that goes into planning a trip.

You could have people work in pairs or groups, but at this time of year, I prefer to let them work alone. I did allow my students to research in English. My upper levels and Heritage Speaker classes presented in Spanish, but I allowed my lower level students to choose. I loved hearing their banter about the things they were discovering about travel and faraway places.

You can certainly use just a Google slideshow to have them do the project, or you could even take screenshots of the pics here and use them. The full project with all 14 slides can be found HERE for sale on my TpT store in English or in Spanish if you just want it already done :-).

It was fun, engaging and they learned and problem-solved a LOT! Win-win.

I hope this helps with some ideas for teaching about travel while keeping students focused!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

A Classic Story Review

I am currently teaching in the Narration Cycle of the instructional framework. I have been telling a new story every week, and needed a new way to review the stories and get my students writing. So, I took a step back into my days teaching language arts and pulled out this classic review strategy.

It is the 5 finger review! I wanted a fresh way to summarize the story and get my students writing, not just listening to the story. I found my students really needed a way to organize their thoughts, so I drew a hand on the board. After that class, I realized it would have been great to have allowed my students to use this as a graphic organizer WHILE I was telling the story, not just after. It would also have been great to have a digital version I could have created with students. On top of that, I am just a REALLY bad artist. LOL. I mean, epically bad. So bad that my students end up having a running joke about some drawing I have tried to make at some point during the year. It is just one of those things about teaching with CI…you have to draw.

Anyway, after doing the notes that go on each finger, you can use those points to write a great summary. It worked out well, so I wanted to share! You can download the color English version HERE. The Spanish and English versions in both color and printable black and white can be found in my TpT store, linked below.

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Celebrating Afro-Latinos in Spanish Class

Teaching about Afro-Latinos is something I do all year long, but, during Black History Month here in the United States, I do like to show the great documentary entitled, “AfroLatinos the Documentary.” You can see it on Vimeo HERE.

I currently work in a school with several Afrolatino students each year in my Spanish for Spanish Speaker classes, and I have found showing this documentary is really helpful to them. We watch it together in all my Spanish classes, we stop and answer some discussion questions (which you can find HERE) and we process it together.

There are also some others that are pretty easy to access. One good one with shorter episodes is called “Black in Latin America,” which can be found with an easy Youtube search.

Regardless of the resource, it is important to continue to educate others about this population, which is often not mentioned in Latin American culture. Although it is best to include this population throughout the year, this month is a great opportunity to learn about how Central America and South America have been influenced by Afrolatinos and their culture.

Happy Teaching!

-Alana

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

Using Graphic Organizers – Story Retell Edition

In my years in education I have learned there is power in using Graphic Organizers. This is true for ALL subject matter in ALL grade levels. I have taught elementary, middle, high school and college, and … graphic organizers were one of the BEST tools I had at my disposal at all levels. I have taught Social Studies, Math, Reading, ESOL, Bilingual, Dual Language and even Science. Guess what? … You guessed it! Graphic Organizers for the win!

They are POWERFUL because they help students see the information in a different way. We all know “chunking” works for struggling students, but it also works for ALL students. By giving students information in an “organized” structure, we allow them all to process the information at their own pace and store it visually. I have yet to find a lesson or concept that is not supported by a Graphic Organizer.

Now I teach Spanish and ESOL at middle school. One thing I do in both classes is tell stories. Kids are always super engaged with Visual Stories! (If you haven’t tried it, you should!) One great way to process the story after is to use a Graphic Organizer. Below, you will see a classic, and one of my favorites:

There are others (you can find some on my TpT store if you need some variety or want these in Spanish) you can use for a simple Story Retell, but this one is super simple. You can make this into an Anchor Chart that you create on poster paper or the white board during class.

In this digital age, it is even easier to share this with students. So, I made a Google Slides presentation you can either use WITH your students or share with them so they can fill it out on their own. Of course, the good ole printable version is HERE. Hope this is a helpful reminder for everyone about how amazing Graphic Organizers can be in your classroom!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Have some digital fun! …or make manipulatives!

Hey there! It has been a while since I have posted. It has just been…quite a start to 2022. I hope you are all getting into the semester and finding your groove.

I have an activity that may be fun and can be adapted. I did this with my students last week in my Spanish classes AND my ESOL class and it was a HIT! So, of course, I will be making more. For now, I will share THIS one and how I used it.

I created THIS slideshow. I gave each student a copy of the slideshow through our LMS (we use Schoology, but you could do this with Google Classroom or Canva or whatever you use).

First, we reviewed the items on the last slides (the moveable parts). We practiced describing them by color, size and name. It was a great practice! Then, I had them open their copy of the slideshow. We chose a room and then I covered my projector. I called out the item and where to place it in the room. (We have recently covered prepositions of place.) After about 5 items, I revealed my room and had them look and see if theirs was the same. We did this a few times with different objects. Then, I had them partner up and create a room and a script of sentences. I only gave them about 5 minutes. Then, as time allowed, I had students come up to my computer and do the same thing for the class. They loved seeing if they could stump their friends.

This could also be used as manipulatives! You could print the blank room slides on paper and laminate them or put them in page protectors. Then, you could print the objects and cut them out and laminate them. this would allow students to move them around. I think this would be especially fun for the littles, but I know my middle schoolers would love it too.

I hope this gives you a fun activity to do and some ideas about how to use these. I will have more for sale in my TpT store in the next couple of weeks. For now, I hope you enjoy it!

Happy Teaching!

-Alana

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