It’s the Final Countdown!

This time of year, I can’t help but start to hear that song in my head as I pump myself up for the school day. I don’t know about YOUR class, but this time of year, they are starting to shut down.

Of course, I can’t blame them, because teachers are also distracted by all the end of the year grades and phone calls home and paperwork and meetings and planning and testing and…. well, you know what I mean!

So, how do we beat the overwhelming apathy? How do we keep them engaged in learning?

Gamify ANYTHING you can gamify!

1- The Unfair Game is a great, low-prep option. You can read more about that HERE.

2- You could play good, old-fashioned baseball with review questions. You will have to create the questions before starting the game, or simply use questions from previous exams if you are reviewing for a final exam. In this game, you simply draw a baseball diamond on the board and move the teams around the bases by answering questions that are of varying difficulty (single, double, triple or homerun). You can play with 2-4 teams. I have found that more than that seems to have many students not participating at any given time.

3- Of course, there are online options like Blooket, Gimkit, Quizizz and Kahoot. All of these are great options to keep students engaged.

4- This time of year, I appreciate crosswords for vocabulary review. It is an easy way to allow students to self-check their review AND keeps them off screens.

5- Trashketball is another fun variation of the baseball game. It involves a rolled up piece of paper with some duct tape over it and an empty bucket or trashcan. I usually have point lines on the floor with colored masking tape. A student or group (if you play in teams) has to get the answer to a question correctly in order to try to earn points for their team.

6- If you have a smaller class or even if you have chairs that don’t have attached desks, you can play musical chairs. You can place the chairs into several groups and allow them to play that way. Whomever ends sitting in the chair has to answer a question correctly or be eliminated.

7- JENGA is always a fun option too! You can get any Jenga set. There are small ones at most dollar stores and generic sets online. My favorite way to play this is with a life-sized Jenga that you can easily make by cutting 2×4 boards or buying the version you can play in your yard. For this one, each must be numbered. If the student places it on top without it falling, they have the chance to answer the question that corresponds to the numbers of questions you have prepared. They get points if they do both things. There are a number of variations for this game. First, you could have them play one class game in teams. Second, you could have two sets and have them play in groups with each set. Finally, you could have the small sets and allow partners or groups of 3 to play. Students are ALWAYS engaged in this one.

I hope some of these ideas help you find some way to engage students. Please comment with a game you use in your classroom. Maybe this way, we can all find something new to use this year!

Happy teaching!

Alana

Need a quick Día de Muertos activity?

If you need a quick way to share the culture behind Día de Muertos, I got you!

Just use THIS presentation to Movie Talk a short video from Youtube. The video is also linked in the slideshow.

You could just use this to talk about the holiday in English, or with upper levels, you could definitely have the discussion in Spanish. There are some ideas on the first slide, but those are just a FEW ideas. Have fun!

Hope this inspires you to get students talking about the Hispanic culture!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Need some printable Exit Tickets?

Does this October feel like May to anyone else? Hoping it isn’t just me, LOL!

So, Exit Tickets seem to be a quick, easy way for formative assessments. I had been using sticky notes, but…. that’s a LOT of sticky notes!!!

So, here are a few ideas you could print and use TOMORROW! Of course, I have about 8-10 more in my TpT store, but hopefully these 7 are useful AND can give you a template for you to just make up your own any time!

Hope this makes the end of class a little easier. The entire group of Exit Tickets comes free as part of the Sra. K. Spanish Squads. You can go HERE and learn more about the squads and join today!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Teaching Idioms to Increase Comprehension

Working with English Language Learners this year has really opened my eyes to just how much we use idiomatic expressions. They are EVERYWHERE! We use them in everyday conversations. We see them referenced in literature. We see them used in movies and tv and commercials. They are everywhere, and our students need to have a strong base in idiomatic expressions in order to be able to fully understand the language.

So, I started “an idiom a day” with my ESOL and bilingual classes. It has been really a great conversation starter! I am hearing lots of “oh, I heard that but I didn’t get it” and “oh, that makes sense now” from my students.

Here is a link to a free version with a few of them. Feel free to use them in your classes, use them to create your own or even adapt them to the language you teach!

I have used them to start class, given them to students to try to figure out on their own and used them as group work for students to discuss and come up with their best guess at the real meaning of the idiom! You could use all of the slides or even have students draw what the words say and then what it really means after a class discussion. This helps them really internalize the difference in the words alone and the expression as a whole.

You can also find Idiomatic Expressions in English Part 1, Part 2 and 3 (each with 15-20 idioms) on my TpT store!

Hope this makes incorporating idioms a little easier. Idiomatic Expressions 1 comes FREE as part of the Sra. K. Spanish Squads, and Part 2 and 3 will be included in November and December. You can go HERE and learn more about the squads and join today!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Hispanic Heritage Month

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

I created a slideshow last year, but I have made it even better this year with more facts and ideas on how you could use it!

You can get the full version HERE in my TpT store.

Each country has these two pages! HERE is a version with just a couple of countries if you want to try it out!

Hope this makes incorporating culture a little easier. The entire presentation comes free as part of the Sra. K. Spanish Squads. You can go HERE and learn more about the squads and join today!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

Keeping them on task! “Training the Troops” Part 2

When “Training the Troops,” I often think about the things that didn’t go so well the year before and then think of a system that might help.

I began to think about my struggles in my own language learning classes. Mostly, it was keeping myself and my students on a routine and then making sure my students were able to be held responsible for their own learning. So, I made this page:

This is a page I print out. I print the correct number of pages for the number of class days that week. Students are responsible for filling out the pages every class period. If they are absent, they find a friend who has the day’s notes or they grab my copy from the front of the room (I do this in a notebook I have for each class period). Then, at the end of the week, I ask for them to turn in one day’s paper. I don’t tell them before that moment and I only give them 30 seconds to get it to my hand. Why? This motivates them to do all the days, since they never know which I will ask for, AND it doesn’t give them time to copy their friend’s paper.

For classes that are more self-motivated, I will just train them with this page the first week or so and then have them do the same thing inside their notebooks. We are a 1:1 campus, so I then have them take a pic of the page I am going to check and submit it via our LMS (we use Schoology).

I also came up with some other graphic organizers that are super general, a place to keep anchor charts made in class for reference purposes and several other generalized pages you could easily fit to your teaching style in THIS Daily Learning Log. You can get this one and the others on my TpT store OR you can join my Patreon OR my SQUAD!

You can go HERE and learn more about the squads and join today!

Happy Teaching!

Alana

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

First Week Ideas – This or That?

I am planning out some things to do in my classes these first few days back to get students engaged right out of the gate, let them see some things they have in common with their classmates AND help me get to know them!

So, one thing I thought would be fun would be an always popular debate…. Do you prefer THIS or THAT?

I know, seems silly, but kids really get into this one! It is a pretty heated debate. Now… how could you use it?

Well, in any class, you can just use it as a way to get the kids involved. In a World Language classroom, you could use it to review vocabulary or preferences and even write about one of the slides independently, in pairs or in groups. This could work with ELA classes as well for a speaking and writing activity. You could level up or level down as much as you need to make it a fun and even meaningful debate. You could use a Venn diagram or t-chart to take a look at what the students in each class prefer. You could do some basic graphing for math classes! The possibilities are endless!

I have a full version up in HERE my TpT store, but HERE is a quick PDF to get you started! You can certainly use these and then just add your own slides in.

Hope this inspires you to get students talking and writing on day ONE!

For even more resources, group coaching and more, head over HERE and learn more about the squads! Join today!

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!

First Week Ideas – “The Great Debate”

I am planning out some things to do in my classes these first few days back to get students engaged right out of the gate, let them see some things they have in common with their classmates AND help me get to know them!

So, one thing I thought would be fun would be an always popular debate…. Is it a salad, a soup or a sandwich?

I know, seems silly, but kids really get into this one! It is a pretty heated debate. Now… how could you use it?

Well, in any class, you can just use it as a way to get the kids involved. In a World Language classroom, you could use it to review foods and even write about one of the foods independently, in pairs or in groups. This could work with ELA classes as well for a speaking and writing activity. You could level up or level down as much as you need to make it a fun and even meaningful debate. You could use a venn diagram or t-chart to settle the debate as well or have students write down their classification on a graphic organizer. The possibilities are endless!

I have a full version up in HERE my TpT store, but HERE is a quick PDF to get you started! You can certainly use these and then just add your own slides in.

Hope this inspires you to get students talking and writing on day ONE!

You can go HERE and learn more about the SraKSpanish squads! Join today!

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!

Back to School… “Training the Troops” Part 1

I have decided to head back into the bilingual elementary classroom next year. I feel like, and a lot of you probably do too, this pandemic teaching has just sucked all the fun out of teaching. I started just going through the motions and not really feeling the same passion for my classes, and that isn’t fair to myself or my students.

So, I will be in a bilingual classroom this coming school year, but still creating and sharing things for world language classrooms and in English and Spanish. I have LOTS of fun things I would love to share from my almost 10 years in middle and high school. My 16 years in bilingual classrooms before that are just calling for me to come back.

In that spirit, a lot has changed in the time I have been out of elementary. LOTS! One thing is technology and my ability to use it to make some useful tools. I figured it best to start at the beginning like I do every year with my annual week of “Training the Troops.” It is that tried and true “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.”

So, here is a simple one! In these times when we are super vigilant of student safety, I really wanted to have a set system to know where all kids are at all times. An easy way to do this is to assign kids a number. This way, if you switch classes during the day, you don’t have to switch names out. For this, I will have a small magnetic whiteboard by or on my door (depending on what they allow). On one half of the board will be some round, Dollar Store magnets with numbers on them. For me, I only need 1-25 this year (elementary has its advantages). On the other half of the whiteboard, I will have these signs:

This one in Spanish in case you need/want to use it:

So, students will just put their numbered magnet on the board before they leave the room. This way, I will always know where students are in the school. Not that I don’t keep up with them, but if we are working in small groups or I send a kid for something, I don’t want to have to wonder where they are should a situation arise.

I will be making and sharing some more training tips over the next few weeks as I get back into the swing of the new year, so come back and check them out. I will share some things I did in secondary (middle/high school) and some things I plan to do with the littles.

Happy Teaching!

Alana

You can go HERE and learn more about the SraKSpanish squads! Join today!

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

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

You can go HERE and learn more about the SraKSpanish squads! Join today!

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