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Strategies: Diario de aprendizaje

This post is based on the GLAD strategy learning log. I learnt this awesome strategy from my super-pro-colleague, Rhonda and I've been using it since then because it really works to get the students start writing in a second language.
The purpose of this post is to help my students and their families to understand this strategy better.

What it is?

This document is a record of what happens everyday in class and the students personal life. To build up this connection we ask the students to think of something personal to connect to what they have learnt that day. 

Why?

A learning log is useful because it helps the student to keep everything organized, they promote metacognition and help them writing daily in a new language for them keeping the stress bar low. It also helps to create a safe and challenging learning atmosphere.
Because it is a great opportunity to practice the language on a daily basis and connect it to their academic and personal growth. That's why we ask our students to write just in Spanish. The only time they can write in English is when they use their cognates

How do we use our Diario de aprendizaje?

If we are familiariazed with patterns then we are all set, if not, a pattern is just a chunk of language that repeats and allows us to scaffold our students to express themselves in another language. For example, we can use the pattern Today I have learnt _____  to help our students express what they learn in class. As the students gain confidence with these strategies we will start moving to a more difficult/different patterns. For instance, we can move from Today I have learnt _____  to We have learnt ________ in Spanish class, offering variety of language to our students, exposing them to different important aspects of the language.

Sequence:
  1. Students pay attention to the class and take notes to collect the necessary information.
  2. At the end of the class the student spends five minutes writing down in their journals four things they have learnt during that class.
  3. He/She connects the learning with his/her own life, through a personal connection.
  4. Students need to jot down the date of every single entry in words and in Spanish.
  5. Take a look to the visual and/or the pdf if you still have questions on what to do.
Step 2:
Now that the students now the strategy and they are confident enough you can feed them with language maintaining a slow stress class environment. Start changing the patterns like in this document.
Step 3:
Now that students also know that the patterns can change and through them they can learn new vocabulary, expressions, conjugations... change them all and increase the difficulty of them.
Step 4:
In this step we've changed all the patterns considerably and walk our students through a way more challenging task.

You can (should) keep increasing the difficulty of the task and using it to teach/learn language.


Related links:
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.
Christian D. Larson

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