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Learning through Apps: Hello Talk

Apps, apps and more apps. That's the way this tiny world works! Thanks to my wonderful student Valentina for introducing me to this app! 
But this app, although they should keep developing it to improve on a few things, is bringing up a great idea to the table: personalized language exchanges through our phones. 
Basically, you sign up, you fill out which your native language is and which languages you are interested in and start your learning experience.
Immersion is a very effective way of learning languages. Today is way easier to travel to the target country and give yourself a first-hand experience to push your language learning ability, but at the same time we live in an over-connected world, thanks to Internet, so we should consider to get into virtual immersion. Advantages: cheaper, convenient, it builds your social sense of exchange things with others...
Hello Talk is a great opportunity to have a native speaker on the other side of the phone. 
The app will count the exchange time automatically, so you do not have to worry about fairness and accountability ;)
The app allows you to write a 500 characters text.

Keep it simple: 5 minutes in your native language, 5 minutes in the language you are learning and vary your friends to have a wider picture of the variety of the language you are studying.
As every on-line tool it also has disadvantages. This one is a kind of social network, so always be careful with the type of information you give to your co-learner. 
A good advice for this would be: think like you'd be in the real world. Don't give anybody any information you wouldn't give to anybody in your real life.

Get Hello Talk here!

Sources:

I never teach my pupils.
I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
Albert Einstein
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IB Profile in Spanish

Hi friends!

How many times were you surfing the net searching the IB Profile in Spanish? I can count a few on my side...
Simple, just plain text to use it to create/edit your own documents for your class ;)

Learn the IB Profile in Spanish here with Quizlet


El objetivo fundamental de los programas de la Organización del Bachillerato Internacional (IBO) es formar personas con mentalidad internacional que, conscientes de la condición que los une como seres humanos y de la responsabilidad que comparten de velar por el planeta, contribuyan a crear un mundo mejor y más pacífico.
Los miembros de la comunidad de aprendizaje del BI se esfuerzan por ser:

Indagadores:
Desarrollan su curiosidad natural. Adquieren las habilidades necesarias para indagar y realizar investigaciones, y demuestran autonomía en su aprendizaje. Disfrutan aprendiendo y mantendrán estas ansias de aprender durante el resto de su vida.
Informados e instruidos: 
Exploran conceptos, ideas y cuestiones de importancia local y mundial y, al hacerlo, adquieren conocimientos y profundizan su comprensión de una amplia y equilibrada gama de disciplinas.
Pensadores:
Aplican, por propia iniciativa, sus habilidades intelectuales de manera crítica y creativa para reconocer y abordar problemas complejos, y para tomar decisiones razonadas y éticas.
Buenos comunicadores: 
Comprenden y expresan ideas e información con confianza y creatividad en diversas lenguas, lenguajes y formas de comunicación. Están bien dispuestos a colaborar con otros y lo hacen de forma eficaz.
Íntegros: 
Actúan con integridad y honradez, poseen un profundo sentido de la equidad, la justicia y el respeto por la dignidad de las personas, los grupos y las comunidades.
Asumen la responsabilidad de sus propios actos y las consecuencias derivadas de ellos.
De mentalidad abierta: 
Entienden y aprecian su propia cultura e historia personal, y están abiertos a las perspectivas, valores y tradiciones de otras personas y comunidades. Están habituados a buscar y considerar distintos puntos de vista y dispuestos a aprender de la experiencia.
Solidarios: 
Muestran empatía, sensibilidad y respeto por las necesidades y sentimientos de los demás. Se comprometen personalmente a ayudar a los demás y actúan con el propósito de influir positivamente en la vida de las personas y el medio ambiente.
Audaces: 
Abordan situaciones desconocidas e inciertas con sensatez y determinación y su espíritu independiente les permite explorar nuevos roles, ideas y estrategias. Defienden aquello en lo que creen con elocuencia y valor.
Equilibrados: 
Entienden la importancia del equilibrio físico, mental y emocional para lograr el bienestar personal propio y el de los demás.
Reflexivos: 
Evalúan detenidamente su propio aprendizaje y experiencias. Son capaces de reconocer y comprender sus cualidades y limitaciones para, de este modo, contribuir a su aprendizaje y desarrollo personal.


A smile is the light in your window that tells others 
that there is a caring, sharing person inside.
Denis Waitley
You might be interested in this post  about IBLP activities as well. Don't be shy and contribute!
Related links:
- El perfil de la comunidad de aprendizaje [IBO]
- Póster del perfil en español [IBO]

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Useful Spanish phrases

It's always hard to start a conversation, to reply to a question... That's why we all should work on this prompts with our students in Spanish. 
They are basically chunks of language, but very transportable chunks, very movable. 
They can fit in a lot of contexts and there it is where resides their power.
Many of my students told me they just go blank at the beginning of a conversation. Once they have started everything goes smoother but sometimes it's really hard to get the ball rolling. This might be a great tool to use in this type of situations.
   


  1. Siempre me han interesado los asuntos que tengan que ver con____
  2. Este tema empezó a interesarme después de que lo estudiáramos en clase___
  3. Tal vez / quizás___
  4. La primera vez que me enteré de esto fue cuando____
  5. Me sorprendió mucho que fuera un problema tan grave en _(país)__
  6. Nunca hubiera imaginado que fuera así____
  7. El gobierno debería hacer algo____
  8. Es imprescindible que el gobierno haga algo___
  9. Hay que concienciar/concientizar a los jóvenes de los riesgos___
  10. Lleva mucho tiempo así / Es así desde hace mucho tiempo___
  11. Durante la dictadura de Franco / durante el franquismo___
  12. Hoy en día___
  13. He estado siguiendo esta historia en las noticias___
  14. En la actualidad___
  15. Estoy harta de ver y escuchar esta historia todos los días____
  16. Creo que los medios están generando pánico___
  17. Lo que no entiendo es____
  18. Estoy convencid@ de que____
  19. Creo que / pienso que___
  20. Sin lugar a dudas___
  21. En mi opinión___
  22. Me parece que____
  23. Considero que ____
  24. Estoy seguro de que___
  25. Me da la impresión de que____
  26. Lo que más me interesa de esta película es la manera en que retrata___
  27. Para mi___
  28. Desde mi punto de vista____
  29. Siempre me han interesado los asuntos relacionados con ____
  30. Parece ser que _____
If you know more useful Spanish phrases, please, leave a comment and let us know! We'll include it on this list. Two heads think better than one ;)


I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
Robert Frost
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"Useful" verbs list

There are thousands of "useful verbs lists" online. A good first question could be: Are they really useful? YES! Of course, but that depends more on how you use those lists.
One of the first things to consider can be what to do with these kinds of lists.
I like to begin with activities that involve several skills. For instance, have your students choose 4 or 6 verbs and sketch the meaning of it. No translations, just pictures. This allow our students understand the power of visuals. It is really easier for them to understand things with an image than a translation.

I assume verb conjugations are not fun, and if you are not determined to memorize them some students can get to think it's boring. So I always consider "games" to practice conjugations in my class. For example Battleship:

Sequence
  • Students each receive two papers with 20 x 20 grids.
  • The rows and columns on the grid are labeled with letters for the rows and numbers for the columns.
  • On one of the grids, each places five ships – one that covers five spaces, one four, two three, and one two. This grid shows the placement of their own ships and should remain hidden from the other player.
  • Once both players have placed their ships, play begins.
  • The first player guesses a grid location (ex. B-5).
  • If the other player has that square colored in, he/she says “Tocado” (and the guesser colors in the block on the second grid page). If the square is blank, he/she says “Agua” (and the guesser puts an X in the square). If a player has guessed all of the squares for a ship, the other player says “Tocado y hundido” because that ship has been sunk.
  • The other player then takes a turn guessing a location.
  • The first player to sink all five of the other player’s ships wins.
Tip: Diversify your verbs as much as you can and pleaseeeee, avoid overusing: hacer, tener, pensar, querer.

- A –
Abrir – to open
Acercarse – to approach
Aceptar – to accept
Acompañar a – to accompany
Acordarse de – to remember
Adquirir – to acquire
Aguantar – to put up with
Aislar – to isolate
Alcanzar – to reach
Alejarse – to move away from
Apetecer – to feel like
Apoyar – to support
Aprender – to learn
Aprovechar – to make the most of
Atender – to serve
Asegurar – to ensure
Asistir a – to attend
Asustar – to shock, frighten
Averiguar – to find out
- B –
Bailar – to dance
Beber – to drink

- C –
Caber – to fit
Cambiar – to change
Cancelar – to cancel
Cerrar – to close
Comer – to eat
Comprar – to buy
Comenzar – to start
Comprender – to comprehend
Conducir – to drive
Conocer – to know
Conseguir – to achieve
Contar – to count
Continuar – to continue
Correr – to run
Crear – to create
Creer – to believe
Cumplir – to fulfill

- D –
Dañar – to hurt
Dar – to give
Darse cuenta de – to realize
Decir – to say
Desaparecer – to disappear
Destacar – to highlight
Despertar – to wake up
Desviar – to deviate
Dibujar – to draw
Dirigirse a – to address someone
Dormir – to sleep
Dudar – to doubt

- E –
Empezar – to start
Enfatizar – to emphasize
Encontrar – to find
Entender – to understand
Enterarse de – to hear about something
Entregar – to give in
Enviar – to send
Equivocarse – to be mistaken
Escuchar – to listen
Escribir – to write
Esperar – to wait
Estudiar – to study
Evitar – to avoid
Exigir – to demand
Explicar – to explain

- F –
Firmar – to sign
Fomentar – to foment, to foster

- G –
Gastar – to spend
Gozar – to heartily enjoy

- H –
Hablar – to speak
Hacer – to make/do
Hallar – to find somewhere
Herir – to hurt

- I –
Ignorar – to not know
Impedir – to prevent
Intentar – to try
Interrumpir – to interrupt
Ir – to go

- J –
Jugar – to play

- K -
- L –
Leer – to read
Levantarse – to stand up
Limpiar – to clean
Lograr – to achieve

- LL –
Llover – to rain

- M –
Manejar – to drive
Mirar – to look

- N –
Nadar – to swim
Necesitar – to need

- Ñ -
- O –
Ocurrir – to occur, to happen
Oir – to hear
Olvidar – to forget
Organizar – to organize

- P –
Pagar – to pay
Parecer – to seem
Pensar – to think
Perder – to lose
Permanecer – to remain
Permitir – to permit, to allow
Poder – to can, be able
Poner – to put
Ponerse de pie – to stand up
Preguntar – to ask
Preocuparse por – to worry about
Pretender – to hope to achieve
Prestar – to borrow
Prevenir – to warn
Probar – to try out
Proporcionar – to provide

- Q –
Quejarse – to complain
Querer – to want

- R –
Reparar – to fix
Responder – to reply
Romper – to break

- S –
Saber – to know
Sentarse – to sit
Señalar – to point out
Sonreír – to smile
Soportar – to put up with
Subrayar – to underline

- T –
Tener – to have
Tener éxito – to succeed
Terminar – to finish
Tocar (un instrumento) – to play (an instrument)
Tomar – to take
Traducir – to translate
Traer – to bring
Tratar – to attempt, to try

- U –
Utilizar – to utilize
Usar – to use

- V –
Valer – to be worth
Ver – to see
Vender – to sell
Viajar – to travel
Vivir – to live
Volar – to fly

- W –

- X -
- Y -
- Z –




Interesting activities you might want to consider for your verbs classes:


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Stop and think: José Martí (thinker)

Introduce the language and the cultural component through writers, philosophers... from the Spanish-speaking world.
If you are teaching an IB course a good idea could be to identify the IBLP in characters in books.

Do you want to know more?
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Oral communication: thoughts before choosing a topic for a presentation

Hi folks! 


We are here today to share some thoughts about what to do and what not to do when choosing a topic for an oral presentation:

This is a collaborative document! If you have any ideas/suggestions to incorporate to it, please, leave a comment! Thanks a million!


To have this type of conversations and/or analysis with our students is really important. They really want to be an active part of their education and they want to know what to do and what not to and why.


Definitely, to get our students involved in these conversations help them engage in the class. They kind of change their perspective on your class becoming ours/theirs.


Do:


Don't:


ü  Consider a topic that really interests you (yes, YOU!) and goes well with your personality/identity

This is a crucial point, we are all different and we all have different interests, so something that works for your best friend doesn't have to work for you.

ü  Think of a theme that enables you to learn about an aspect of the target language or culture (our case, Spanish)

For example: not all topics will enable you to learn a lot about every language or culture. It will depend on the target language/culture. 

ü  Choose an open-ended topic that encourages you to express lots of opinions

This will let you raise additional questions and info.

ü  Take into consideration a topic that offers the potential for complex thoughts

Higher-order thinking is a high value.

ü  When making your choice consider a topic you'll be able to research quite easily

So you can focus on important transferable ideas & language skills.

ü  Begin with a stimulus (a song, a picture, a painting...) as this helps you stay on track

ü  Place the stimulus within a social/cultural/historical/political/artistic context

It will help you understand (and others) the topic deeply.

ü  Brainstorm your first ideas and limit the range of your research

ü  Set down some questions about your presentation and try to answer them 

This will help you to anticipate some questions you might have during your Q/A session.

ü  Practice with your friends, family, neighbors… (better if you can practice with a native) 

But PRACTICE don't bombard them 24 hours a day ;)

ü  Choose a topic is easy for you to break it down in different pieces.

Make an outline of each one and practice separately. Finally, put all your pieces together.

Ø  Be too ambitious (if you choose something you know nothing about, you may end up wasting a lot of time).

You want to be challenged but not over challenged

Ø  Pick something too difficult, we don't want anxiety and/or stress!

Again, give yourself a break, we are working on developing your language skills.

Ø  Select clichés or stereotypical topics like bull fighting or flamenco, unless you have something quite original to say.

It might be quite uninteresting for your audience

Ø  Choose something so unknown you can't find any information about it

You want something you don’t have to make a huge effort to find information about.

Ø  Relate/Narrate someone's biography

It sounds like rehearsed and it's definitely boring. If you want to score highly you might want to take your audience into consideration

Ø  Do all your research in a different language (English?) and then just translate it all (it won't sound authentic)

It won't sound natural. Remember the importance of thinking in sentences and ideas.

Ø  Use Google Translator 

It won't sound authentic and you will get lucky if your presentation makes sense. Give yourself a chance, you might know more than Google!

Ø  Leave it to the last minute!!!

Unless your goal is to have a zero to show yourself you can also handle really low scores ;)




Source: IB Spanish B SL/HL
 OSC IB Revision Guide
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A cool tool to improve your reading comprehension and pronunciation: Announcify

Hi there!
Google is a box full of surprises. They never let you down. I just discover this new app for Chrome or Android. The concept is so simple, it reads out loud websites. There are several languages available and Spanish is one of them! Nice!
To be honest I have to say that intonation and rhythm are not that authentic but it really helps beginners to listen the target language at home or somewhere else using their phones. The only accent available in Spanish is castilian...still waiting for more variety! 
It reads out loud SMS, MMS, Gmail, and much Google apps like Twidroyd or Plume.
The way the app displays the text highlighting the piece it reading is very educational and intuitive.

Follow directions for installation procedure:
  1. Add Announcify to your browser (Chrome)
  2. Change your settings. Select Spanish.
  3. Go to a website written in Spanish and click on the little bird (you'll find it on the right upper side on your screen) Try this one for A1 level (beginners) about Recycling.
  4. Our little friend will select the Spanish text found on the website and read it out loud for you.
  5. Relax and learn
Sources:

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IB Learner Profile: potential activities


Two heads are better than one.
This is a link to a live and collaborative document where you can find tons of activities to develop the IB Learner Profile in your classes.
If you are an IB teacher this is your opportunity to contribute with the IB community and/or find interesting activities to introduce your students/parents/staff to these key concepts.

If you have any ideas you think might help us feel free to leave a comment with your activity or click on the link to make your contribution directly through Google Drive (a Google account is required)

A big thank & hug to everyone participating in this collaborative project.

IB Learner Profile activites: a collaborative document

Some useful links:

This work has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the International Baccalaureate (IB)

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