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IB Profile: Equilibrados

This visual stimulus really grasp the idea behind "Balanced".
My students freak out with this image and they always make the same question...but...this isn't real, right?
And that's the main point, that it is, this is a real castell in Times Square. You can also make a connection to Risk-taker, or even modify the picture and adapt it just adding the Risk-taker definition instead of Balanced. The story behind this tradition is really inspiring for our students and I also usually introduce culture topics to make them think about similarities and differences with their own culture and make a Venn Diagram to see this comparison in a visual way.

Specifically for language classes you can:
  • introduce or review structures/patterns for comparing in Spanish
  • introduce some math vocabulary such types of figures, width, length...
  • work some cultural vocabulary
  • talk about History in Spain, what is Catalonia? what is Catalan? How different is Catalan from Spanish? Intercultural understanding...
  • options are just limited by your imagination!

Do you want to know more?

“The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? 

Pablo Casals (Spanish Cellist, Wrote music for UN Anthem for world peace, 1963 Presidential 
Medal of Freedom) 

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Stop and think: Repensándome

IB Learner Profile
Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

It is crucial to be able to re-think, to re-visit, to reflect upon what we do. 
It is worth it to consider including your students in that process. 
Believe me, you'll see the difference.

The highest levels of performance come to people who are centered, intuitive, creative, and reflective - people who know to see a problem as an opportunity.
Deepak Chopra

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Personal reflections: new reality, new teaching

The power of an idea is unquestionable. Plato was right when he said ideas rule the world. Ideas also change the world. And this is the tool we want to provide our students with, because we want them to be able to solve new problems in the near future. New problems require new solutions and critical-thinking skills.
We want them to develop problem-solving skills and for that we are not helping if we are giving them everything already done.
In my beginning years as a teacher I clearly understood that I have the responsibility not to do anything that can be done by my students. If I do something they can do by themselves [like accessing information] I am stealing that precious moment of the discovery or just simply I am making their life too comfortable, too easy, or I am stealing the possibility of even practicing something.
The old paradigm in which the teacher present the "knowledge" / "information" and students study it and reproduce showing it through an exam is no longer valid. Our real world nowadays doesn't work that way. Education needs to be the driving force for shaping our future. Therefore, we need to update our strategies to our new reality.
A language class has a huge potential to introduce these new ideas to our students. A language class can be much more than just a snap course.

Let's put this into practice:
In my class I have built-in in my schedule a weekly time for "independent learning":
I provide my students with learning tools and I give them time to "play & learn". Let's take a look to a possible sequence:
1.- The teacher presents the "tool" (can be an app, a website, a manipulative, a worksheet, a game...)
2.- The teacher use the tool, showing to his/her students how does it work, what it is for, the benefits, the type of learning associated...
3.- The teacher and the students use the tool together.
4.- The students are independent to use the tool by themselves. The teacher just need to supervise them or check their progress later on.
This sequence is based on a wonderful one I learnt from my wonderful friend Marisa, thanks!

I encourage my students to present "tools" they like to me, and if I consider it appropriate, then we share it with the class. (This is really powerful, to let and encourage them to really take ownership of their learning, to do what they really want).

With this simple activity we are saying to our students: 
- You can do it independently
- you can learn by your own
- you can make it happen, you are capable to do whatever you want if you take the necessary steps (which depends on multiple factors: personality, type of learner...)

We are providing them with the idea that:
- THEY can learn by themselves (they will need to understand this perfectly to step into the outside world)
- learning is not a passive thing. A teacher just throwing content in their heads does not work anymore.
- to learn can be funny and can be done in many different ways.
- THEY can learn all subjects with different approaches and strategies.
- learning is not an isolated thing that occurs separately in each subject, they can transfer strategies to one subject to another.

Potential activities are endless. I'll try to post more strategies and activities with their sequences based on ideas more than just in rules, but the idea that underlies all this post is deeper and wider; it refers more to a change in our approach of teaching assuming we are entering into a new era and new realities need new ideas and solutions.
Further reading:

This is an interesting research on how students transfer knowledge between languages and how they benefit from that.

Image sourcehttp://arte-actual.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html
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Visual orthography: Sino/Si no

Another poster 

  • for a quick review 
  • to post it in your class blog
  • to make a poster and display it in your class
  • to have a new idea with it
  • ...

A possible activity:
I make my students to write a journal for my Spanish class. I like simple ideas: one class, one entry. For each entry I make them use a specific cohesive device / connector.
I use this poster to do a quick review during that class and then I project it on the board while they write their entry [I give them 5 minutes to write their daily entry at the end of each class].

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
Marie Curie

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Visual orthography: Punctuation [dos puntos]

I use these visual stimuli in my classes all the time, every day. 
It doesn't have to be something you really spend a lot of time on it. 
It works great to 
  • warm up your class before you get into longer/more complicated things 
  • use it like quick daily reminders
  • use it as flashcards to review if you print them out and make a booklet with them
  • use as posters to decorate and inspire your class
  • .....

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Albert Einstein
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Muchas gracias a Educación 3.0 por el artículo

Un blog para estudiar español como lengua extranjera

0 Comentarioss 🕔07.may 2014
Unir la tecnología con el estudio del español como lengua extranjera es lo que llevó a Antonio Luna a crear su blog, en inglés y dirigido especialmente a  los alumnos y profesores de español.
Desde hace algo más de dos años, ha ido nutriéndolo de materiales de estudio: desde los ejercicios para los alumnos, hasta contenidos lingüísticos sobre la enseñanza de nuestro idioma como segunda lengua y estrategias tanto de enseñanza como de aprendizaje, motivación y nuevos enfoques.
¿El objetivo? Compartir ideas acerca de la enseñanza del la lengua a través de diferentes enfoques y actividades, así como ofrecer actividades o estrategias que puedan ser útiles en las clases de español, pero también extrapolables a otras materias.
Los beneficios del proyecto son claros para los alumnos, que lo consideran una gran herramienta de aprendizaje que les invita a participar activamente. Además, funciona como un método de conocimiento para los padres, que saben en todo momento qué actividades se están llevando a cabo en el aula, y tiene a su disposición materiales para trabajar con sus hijos en casa.

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Learn Spanish with songs: Somos distintos, somos iguales

This is one of the hits in my class. This tune usually makes my students crazy. I, actually, start my Spanish I classes with this song because the results are incredible.
I rewrote this song (mostly of it, I believe) but the music remains as the original, which is really a sticky song. It is one of these melodies it get stuck in your head. 
I use it for talking about multiculturalism/interculturalism in my class. The topic is we are different but at the same time there is a lot of similarities among us.
Another important topic you can work on is rhymes (very simple ones) and get your students to know the basics of it and start recognizing these sounds in Spanish.
Talking specifically about language, the worksheet in the back is centered in:

  • Descriptive phrases
  • Nationalities 
  • Continents
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Conjugation of an irregular verb: PODER
       Which is perfect for a beginners course.

We always work Reading Comprehension with the songs too. So, this is always the first question of the worksheets: What is the main idea of the song?
In this specific song we work a specific irregular Spanish verb which is very important for our students first steps in Spanish: PODER (to can).

The last interest thing I want to highlight from this song is that gives you the opportunity to talk about cultural differences through a specific topic: continents.
Almost every time I have had this talk with my students they are really surprised about this difference, and it's really interesting for their critical-thinking skills to see how they get to know such differences based just on culture and how both interpretations are justified.
You always get interesting debates and discussions when you bring up this topic to your class.

Somos Distintosomosigualessong by Antonio Luna

Did you like this song? Get more in my scribd

“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.”
Yip Harburg

Image source: http://blogof.francescomugnai.com/
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Learn Spanish online: Ver-taal

En esta página se pueden encontrar muchos tipos de ejercicios para practicar español. Por ejemplo, ejercicios de vocabulario que están distribuidos por temas y contienen imágenes, lo que ayuda al aprendizaje de las palabras pues se ofrece la imagen con la palabra. También puedes encontrar ejercicios de palabras parecidas, el juego del ahorcado, crucigramas y refranes. En esta web se ha hecho un trabajo muy amplio y serio, tienen una gran variedad de ejercicios para cada juego que ofrecen.
Tiene ejercicios de comprensión auditiva. Hay trailers de películas, anuncios, reportajes de telediario y vídeos culturales. Después de la escucha hay ejercicios relacionados con la comprensión de la audición. Este tipo de ejercicios varían y pueden ser de preguntas abiertas, ordenar la información escuchada, ejercicios de verdadero o falso, etc. Esta parte puede ser muy útil para alumnos que quieran trabajar la comprensión en casa porque necesitan un poco más de confianza y consistencia en su comprensión de la lengua.

Página muy recomendable para trabajo independiente en casa.

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Visual orthography: Punctuation [los puntos suspensivos]

It's important when we are teaching or learning something to 
- make a connection (even better if it's a personal one)
- write or see an example
- find a real-life situation/example that help us internalize what we are studying
- give/receive feedback [you can ask your teacher, or a friend that is also learning Spanish to comment on what you are doing and/or ask for an opinion]

In this case I propose a few lines from a beautiful poem to help us internalize the use of punctuation in Spanish.

Related links:
Tell me and I will forget
teach me and I may remember
involve me and I learn
Benjamin Franklin

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IB Profile: Solidario

The IB Learner profile is a core concept in IB education. 
Through these visuals I try to help my students understand, internalize the concepts and give them a visual scaffold to get the idea.
Activities involving the IB Profile are as many as your imagination can provides you.
Here you have some potential general activities:

  • Let your students make their own posters based on the concept you are working on. [With this activity we help them develop their creativity and taking ownership of their own learning]
  • Make your students find real-life examples that show the concept. [This activity helps them making connections] 
  • Make the students find the person in the class that best shows the concept with his/her behavior. 
  • Ask your students to think in a famous person that shows the concept with his/her behavior. 
  • Ask your students to think in the last book they read, considering how the characters in the book acted. Was someone in the book caring?
  • Let your students find a quote related to the concept we are studying in class and draw a personal conclusion from it.
For your Spanish class:
  1. Break the concept down into ideas
  2. Give examples using patterns.
1. Break the concept down into ideas and have your ideas in different lines [to differentiate them visually] like this:
Ser solidario es:
- mostrar empatía
- mostrar sensibilidad
- mostrar respeto
- comprometerse personalmente a ayudar a los demás
- actuar con el propósito de influir positivamente en la vida de los demás
- actuar con el propósito de influir positivamente en el medio ambiente

2. Giving patterns to your students to give examples:
  1. [Nombre del estudiante] es solidario porque __[idea]________
  2. [Nombre del alumno] es una persona solidaria. Lo demuestra + [verbo en gerundio -ando - iendo] ___[idea]_____
Adding more ideas:
  1. [idea] y [idea]
  2. [idea] también [idea]
Ryan es solidario porque muestra empatía y actúa con el propósito de influir positivamente en el medio ambiente.

Don't forget to conjugate your verbs ;)





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