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Ab Initio Unit: Tecnología

In this unit we usually assess reading comprehension and oral language production, as they are very common on the exams and easy to bring up in conversations.

The suggested topics are:

  • Relaciones cibernéticas
  • Seguridad cibernética
  • Juegos
  • Internet: entretenimiento, compras, etc.
  • Comunicación móvil
  • Redes sociales
  • Uso de la tecnología: escuela, ocio, trabajo, etc.
Start off reviewing/learning some vocabulary with Quizlet:







Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important
- Bill Gates
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Text types: Publicación en redes sociales

Our students are very familiarized with this type of text and that is great but at the same time we have to make sure that they don't incorporate some misleading ideas that might be out there.

Features of this type of text:
  • Informal register
  • Usage of graphic text: emoticons, etc.
  • Exclamations, questions marks, capital letters, etc.
  • Short and concise messages
  • Usually referring to a specific person or situation
  • Interaction with other users
  • Hashtags, keywords
  • Clear objective
There are some different social networks that have slight differences between them: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
It is useful to know them and their characteristics in order to target our text better, for instance, Twitter is focused more on short messages, where the most important thing would be the content, whereas in Facebook would be more common to see visuals.

Remember that knowing the type of text you are writing and the main features is essential to score highly in your paper 2 (Writing), and that is going to be a 25% of your final score.

Resources:

Nine tenths of education is encouragement
Anatole France

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ab Initio unit: Cuestiones globales

This unit is very wide. You can talk about a lot of sub-topics. In this case, we are focusing in Conflicts and Peace and Poverty.

Discovering the knowledge through questions and inquiry this unit offers the opportunity of practicing comparisons, past tense, conditional and describing pictures talking about emotions.
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Appetizers: Sudoku de verbos

Revisiting the idea of Appetizers, quick, interesting activities to start off your class, this week we are looking at incorporating this traditional Japanese game. The adaptation is simple, switching numbers for verb conjugations.

If you want to know my students experience. Just by asking around I thought that some of them love this and others hate it. Hence, so far I was not clear on whether this activity is one of the best to start classes with or not, but just exposing students to it and paying attention to their feedback is enough to get to know if it is going to be productive with that class or not. Remember that flexibility is important as well as listening to your students to build up a positive and productive class environment.
Forms response chart. Question title: 1.- Do you enjoy playing Sudoku in your Spanish class?. Number of responses: 42 responses.Please, let me hear how does it go in your class ;)

Then, I thought I would just pass a google form to collect some feedback and the results surprised me, 83,3% enjoyed practicing and it turns out it's their favorite activity to start the class






Creativity is putting your imagination to work,
and it's produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.

Ken Robinson
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El futuro

Through this post I try to put together some thoughts and resources to teach future tense in Spanish. The main idea is students constructing the knowledge by themselves by discovery/deduction. If a student figures out the endings of a verb conjugation (looking at patterns for instance) is more likely to be easier to remember than just transmitting them the information.

I have found out that teaching past, present and future tenses together help students to comprehend them better and that there is no problem understanding the concepts, in the contrary, they have more information to contrast, compare and therefore internalize these concepts easier and with less effort.

I usually use a simple table with three columns: past, present and future, in order to organize the information. We don't just talk about verbs, we write down every word that help us identify or talk in one of the tenses. The majority of the times, we brainstorm this in class, so they are the students the ones that actually build up this chart. If they construct the knowledge is easier for them to remember and internalize.








Additional resources:

Compartir una idea, tiempo, un libro,
eso es lo que cambiará el mundo.

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Appetizers: Criptogramas


This activity is to be used as a class starter (appetizer) to turn on your class attention in a dynamic way that will help your students to switch from other subject to Spanish and will help them focus on the language. 

Why cryptograms?

In order to solve a cryptogram our students have to confront a process of rewriting a word searching for meaning and at the same time they have to find and check a global significance for the phrase, sentence or complete message. 

Through this process students use a previous representation of the word that they will use as a guide to order the letters. Just the correct order of the different letters will result in a comprehensible final message.

By doing this our students are working out many different interesting skills (not just for language). If you want to know more, read the justification in the presentation.







If you want to reach somewhere new
you have to take a different direction
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El Indefinido: Pasados en español

Past tenses in Spanish and English are sometimes different in perspective and conception.

English past simple can be expressed in Spanish using Indefinido, Imperfecto or Perfecto, this can confuse our students.

That's why this time translation doesn't seem the best way to learn this particular concept.

Some useful strategies to teach/learn verb tenses are:

- drawing the concept
- connecting concepts to particular communicative situations
- interpreting significance from examples and drawing conclusions from them
- etc



Should we use translation in our class or teach as much as we can in the target language?

A lot has been written about this topic and still there are some doubts on both sides of the argument.
Sometimes translation comes in handy to speed up the learning process and can help you connect with a student. 
I am not a big fan of translating in class because I think that the most important thing that happens in class is the process, what students do to learn, and sometimes translating is kind of taking a shortcut with everything that doing that implies. But at the same time, one of our priorities as teachers is knowing our students, offering them different ways of learning and respecting the diversity in our class. So, in the end, I understand that we need to use our professional judgment to make the best decision according to our personal context. 


The best education I have ever received was through travel.
Lisa Ling

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ab Initio unit: Transporte

This unit about transports is inherently linked to Vacations, Technology & Environment but it is easy to connect with Daily routines as well.

Transportation is a perfect interdisciplinary topic that can be easily come up in conversations, texts or any other activities. So, to spend time on this always pays off to your students and their scores. Try to revisit these concepts when you are teaching other units that allow you to talk about this. Remember that re-utilizing something is a great way of helping your brain to recall information.





Presentation / Content





Oral activity



Teachers should guide without dictating
and participate without dominating

C. B. Neblette
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Mr Luna is absent


Las personas que eligen=escogen=seleccionan sus decisiones son más independientes y autónomas.


Choose any two of the following activities to complete. They must be turned in by the end of class. Keep in mind that this choice board is used for all levels of Spanish – you have the same guidelines, but my expectations for the product you produce are much different.  If you’re in IB, don’t turn in something that a student in Spanish 1 could produce.  And if you’re in Spanish 1, don’t turn in something you could have done during the first week of school.


Crossword puzzle

Create a crossword puzzle with 15 vocabulary words from the current unit. Clues must be in complete sentences in Spanish. Include both the finished puzzle and an answer key.
Comic

Write and illustrate a 6-10 panel comic strip using at least seven current vocabulary words and three examples of the current topic. Highlight the vocabulary and grammar examples.
Flexible task

Grab your computer and visit this link. Choose one task from here and attach it to an email to your teacher.
Song

Choose a familiar tune and make a song based on your current grammar or vocabulary topic. Be prepared to either sing your song OR have someone else sing it to the class.
Flashcards

Create a set of picture flashcards for at least 20 vocabulary words from your current unit. Write the vocabulary word on one side and draw an illustration of it in the other side. You may use notebook paper or make them on your computer.
Gameboard

Come up with 15-20 questions based on the current vocabulary, grammar and/or cultural unit. Use the questions for your game board, include an answer key.
Scrabble

Play Scrabble with 2-4 of your classmates using the set we have in class. Make sure you use words from the current vocabulary unit. If you don't know the rules for this game, flip the board over.
Write down a paragraph telling your teacher what have you learnt.
Survey

Create a survey based on your current unit. Interview at least half of the class and take notes on their responses. Then create a graph to summarize your classmates' answers to each question.
Journal

Write an entry in your journal reflecting upon your current unit, an activity, a particular assignment, etc. what could you do better, what could be improved and make a personal connection. Use He + participio to express your ideas.
Kahoot

Sign up clicking here and create a Kahoot based on your current unit/topic. Share it with your teacher and enjoy while the class is playing and you know all the answers ;)
Pen pal

Write an email to a Spanish pen pal. Use more than 10 words from the current unit and 3 examples of the current grammar topic. Highlight vocabulary and grammar examples.
Interview

Write ten questions using vocabulary words from the current unit. Interview two classmates and write down their answers. Please, write in complete sentences.
Writing

Write a letter. Imagine you are writing to an Internet Manager from a company of your choice. You get tons of Spam and you want to complaint because of this.
  • Greet him/her and explain your problem
  • Express what do you would like to happen and why
Dialogue

With a partner create a dialogue based on your current unit. Write at least ten lines per person.
Remember to be accurate with punctuation. For instance, in Spanish we use two question marks: ¿ ... ?
Word search
Create a word search with 10-20 vocabulary words from the current unit. Clues must be in complete sentences in Spanish or visuals. Include both the finished word search and an answer key
...
...
...
...
...
...


...
...
...
...


This choice board is just my own, but you can find multiple types and different content-based on the Internet.

If you like this idea, you may check this post about Flexible tasks / homework as well.

Share your knowledge. It is a way go achieve immortality

Dalai Lama

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Bellwork

Bellwork is just an activity that students complete as they walk into the class before the bell rings for the lesson. 

That's the definition, but we don't need to be that strict when doing bellwork in our classes. Actually, there are activities in this bellwork presentation that will last 10 minutes, that will have a different impact in your instruction time depending on how long your classes are or any other factors. 

Anyways, the idea behind our bellwork activities is that our students are engaged as soon as they walked into your classroom and (hopefully;) focused on the subject. 

Different light: use these activities as an exit ticket from your class, or as flexible homework, or as enrichment, sub-plans, or ... 






It is impossible for a man to learn
what he thinks he already knows

Epictetus

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