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How can we learn vocabulary?

I have been doing this in my class every year but just this year had the necessary creativity to write everything down and draw my posters to put up in my class, more my style.

The posters are to put up in your class walls to have a continuous visual reference for your students, so every time you ask them for one of these concepts they can use them to answer or refresh their memory.

In addition to the idea and the posters, you can check this post out to get to know better how to use these materials and to see more ideas and resources in action.

An idea to use the posters: 
  • when you are teaching/learning vocabulary ask your students directly referring to one of these categories
  • let your students explore all these categories before helping them to understand a word, let them gain their independence acquiring the language by themselves.

Another ideas to learn vocabulary: 
  • Research is saying that memory recall increases when students write down notes. Let them have five minutes each class to hand write the vocabulary list for that class in their notebooks. 
  • I also use an online platform [Edmodo, Haiku, etc] to keep track of the vocabulary seen in class and at the end of the week they take a tiny-little quiz on the vocabulary learnt, usually five minutes to explain five words. This activity also help them to develop time-management skills.
  • Recycle your vocabulary. After the quiz I can find out if my students are learning or not that vocabulary. If they haven't we recycle the words they are struggling with and re-teach them in a different way [hands-on, visual, listening ...]
  • Personal connections are crucial to place words into our internal lexicon. If the student is able to find a familiar situation that connects the new word to something she/he knows it will be easier for her/him to remember that new word.

Estrategias para aprender palabras [McDowell, 1984]:
    • Escribir la palabra
    • Escribirla junto a su traducción
    • Relacionarla con otras palabras [por la forma o el contenido]
    • Intentar recordar cómo suena
    • Asociar su sonido al de otras palabras
    • Repetirla mentalmente
    • Pensar en un contexto en el que utilizarla
    • Asociarla con un sinónimo o con un antónimo
    • Formarse una imagen mental de la palabra o del objeto
    • Hacer un dibujo o un signo gráfico

    Thinking about high-level vocabulary and scoring highly in your exams? 
    I have no special talents
    I am only passionately curious
    Albert Einstein
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    Spanish B Unit: El facebook de mi abuela

    Unit titles must be engaging to gather students attention and awake their curiosity. I asked my students to think of a title for this unit and they came up with this super engaging title "El Facebook de mi abuela" which summarize perfectly what this unit contains.
    Although the IB states the possibility of just choosing two options by the teacher we always see all of them. To me it just makes sense, the more you offer your students the more opportunities they will have to do better in their exam. There is no need of doing a super long unit on each topic. When it comes to this you can do mini-units or "express units" comprising vocabulary, main concepts and ideas and give them a sense of what is that option about.

    For a full understanding of how to teach this unit, please read the unit planner and if you still have any question/doubt don't hesitate to reach out. If you develop any other materials for this particular unit, please share them so we can add them to the list below.

    All you need to teach/learn this unit: 
    • Essential questions [pdf]
    • Vocabulary [pdf] [Quizlet]
    • Unit Planner [pdf]
    • Visual stimuli [images] [Interactive Oral]
    • Activation of prior knowledge [pdf]
    • Activity to work the subjunctive [.doc] [Antonio Gallardo]
    • Skill: compare [pdf]
    • Writing [pdf] [Paper 2]
    • Article: Inventions del nuevo milenio [pdf] [Paper 1]
    • Interactive activity [Edpuzzle]
    • Making predictions [pdf]
    • Presentation to compare evolution of different items [pdf] [made by students]
    • How am I going to be assessed? [pdf]
    Interested in more units? Click here ;)

    Feedback through Social networking

    There are worse crimes than burning books.
    One of them is not reading them.
    Joseph Brodsky
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    Why do we sing songs?

    Singing songs is a great way of learning/improving languages. We do it in my class, every single day. The students have fun and that on itself can be enough to take this activity into my class but there are more important things while having fun implied in singing songs. 

    In order to help my students to develop independency, autonomy, we always talk in class about the strategies, activities we do and we reason them out. This continuous practice allows them to take ownership of what they do and help them realize they are in control of their education and that being an active agent of it is crucial for them to become a better student and person.

    How do I do this with my students: 

    We start singing songs without any explanations or comments, we just sing. After that I ask my students to write down their thoughts on Why do you think we sing songs in class? [you will be surprised by how accurate their responses are sometimes] To conclude this activity I ask them to read this post and we do a debate the following class to put everything together.

    Let's try to summarize what I think in bullet points [they don't come numbered because the order is not related to importance]:

    Some benefits of singing songs: 

    • It's a fun way of learning vocabulary and pronunciation
    • Through singing you are training your "ear" for Spanish
    • It helps you comprehend Spanish better because you get used to native speakers of the language in a natural context. Singing is authentic.
    • When you listen songs from different singers from different places you are being exposed to different native accents
    • It is a new and enthusiastic way of learning for many students
    • When you are singing and learning you are being emotionally involved, therefore that learning that takes place is going directly to your long-term memory
    • A song gives you the opportunity of dramatizing the lyrics
    • When you are singing you acquire the information you need naturally
    • Songs present the language as parts and wholes
    • Singing songs will help you score highly in reading, spelling, reading comprehension, mathematical reasoning, numerical operations and listening tasks
    • Music training will give you a major boost in terms of spatial-temporal memory
    • It benefits your oral communication skills 
    • Songs are the perfect fit for many activities [language related]
    • If you are new to the language and you are struggling, singing songs will let you join the joy of learning at the very same level as the rest of the class
    • Songs are a snapshot of the culture, so singing songs you are gaining not just language knowledge but cultural one too
    • A song will make you learn language without even realizing it because it keeps the stress bar low while you are just enjoying singing with your friends
    • While listening to Mozart will not make you smarter, music instruction will help you score significantly higher on measuring spatial-temporal cognition, hand-eye coordination and arithmetic 
    • Music improves your verbal skills and sensorimotor integration [musicians are better drivers]
    • Your neurocognitive skills will get better
    • Singing will help you achieve that fluency you have been struggling with in a natural and authentic manner
    • ...

    I have never let my schooling interfere with my education
    Mark Twain
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    IB Spanish text types: la invitación

    The key to write a perfect invitation is to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Keeping this in mind you'll be able to identify which are the key components you need to include. 
    Basic information always needs to be there. As a telegraphic reminder:
    • ¿Qué? [evento]
    • ¿Cómo? [código de vestimenta]
    • ¿Cuándo? [Fecha y hora]
    • ¿Dónde? [Lugar]
    • ¿Por qué? [motivo]  
    Regarding register we basically have two different types: formal & informal.
    Make sure you:
    • include a reference to the person/group of people you are inviting
    • structure your invitation in paragraphs
    • include basic information (review the telegraphic reminder)
    Invitación evento formal
    #colegio     #escuela 
    #invitación    #formal 
    Estimada Sra. Palargo:

    Tengo el placer de comunicarle que su hijo ha sido seleccionado para uno de los premios que se otorgarán en la ceremonia de clausura de este curso escolar en el Hotel Trinidad, calle San Poque, número 28C a las 20:00.

    Nos encantaría poder contar con su presencia y la de su familia y nos llenaría de orgullo que usted o su esposo acompañaran a su primogénito a recibir su premio.

    Nos complacerá muchísimo su compañía en este evento. Me gustaría aprovechar la ocasión para recordarle que este es un evento de etiqueta.

    Reciba un cordial saludo,

    María Eugenia de los Toldos
    Directora de Secundaria CIS

    If we want to reach real peace in this world,
     we should start educating children.
    Mahatma Gandhi





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