22 Otra Vez: 1 video, 3 leveled plans

In an example of working smarter, not harder, all my classes–levels 1-AP– are working with the Spanish lottery commercials 22 Otra Vez & Justino this week.  These short films are engaging and thought-provoking, and versatile enough to be intriguing and accessible to novices as well as upper intermediate students.

If you are planning to use these videos, don’t miss the incredible materials created by Kara Jacobs (start here).  Her materials have created most of the activities for my plans this week.

I made some adaptations specific to AP that I’ll share below.  While the novice classes  and lower intermediates benefit greatly from the picture talk activities that Kara created, the AP students are on a different level.  For me, the videos serve as a springboard for conversation, especially with an eye to cultural comparison and holidays in general.  The cultural background of my students is diverse, and while these commercials connect to a “Christmas” lottery, I want the focus of our conversations to be the holidays and traditions we celebrate in our communities, not just Christmas.  We will continue this study after winter break with things like New Years’ traditions, gift giving, feast days, etc.

Here are today’s discussion questions:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And here is a quick reading about the lottery: La loteria reading practice AP


Daily Dashboard (Structures to support student learning and teacher sanity, part 8)

While using a bellringer/do now/warm up has been around for a while, they had long been a struggle for me.  This year I am working very hard to be consistent while still maintaining novelty, and the daily dashboard has been very helpful for me and for my students. One of the inspirations for this was Laura at PBLintheTL–see her version here.

What’s a dashboard?  For me, it’s having consistent elements on a slide that is posted as students come in that sets the class up for success.  Since I meet students at the door every day, every period, I need a way to communicate quickly and effectively what they should do independently to start class.

Here’s a sample slide for level 2:

E2 travel.001

While the content will vary according to our needs, these things are consistent:

  • the date
  • instructions for digital devices
  • start here–first 1-3 steps for class
  • our goal (which is usually more specific than this one, but this was on assessment day)
  • photo/visual support for steps
  • assignment/reminders for the day
  • usually–a countdown timer imported from YouTube to keep us on pace

Some benefits:

  • Class starts in an organized fashion without me having to direct it
  • I get a few minutes to deal with things that pop up
  • No excuses for “I didn’t know what the assignment was”–because it’s announced at the beginning of class
  • A message that class starts when you enter
  • It coordinates beautifully with the use of the Puedos warmup sheet as described here.
  • VISUAL directions for what to do with digital devices has dramatically cut down on the interactions needed to address off-task use
    • One tip:  if we are going to use a site like Gimkit, Quizizz, etc. early in class, then one of their warmup steps will be to set their devices to the site, put them screen down, and then wait for the code.  Then, when it’s time to play, I announce the code and we are off to the races!  It has been a big help in decreasing wasted time getting everyone into the game, especially when we have to boot up laptops.


How to make a dashboard:

It’s a slide with a consistent layout & elements.  That’s it.  Mine is made in Keynote, but Google Slides and PowerPoint will work just fine too.  The colored shapes help to focus attention and keep my instructions short.  They are simply color-filled shapes pushed to the back with text boxes on top.

When I work with new teachers–especially on classroom management–one of my key questions is “what do you want your start of class to look like?”  We visualize it, discuss it, and then build a plan to work toward making it happen.  Because classroom management is much, much more than discipline, the dashboard can be an important tool in a teacher’s tool chest to bringing this vision into reality.

Do you dashboard?  Please share examples in the comments!



La Leyenda de Olentzero

Do you know the story of Olentzero?  He’s a mythical character from Basque tradition that delivers presents to kids at Christmas time, and I learned about him from our Basque exchange student who spent the year with our family.  This summer I got the chance to explore his story a little more, and am planning to use it in class this year.  I prepared an activity pack containing pre-reading activities, a one page reading, slide show of photos, and a cultural comparison activity.  It’s available on TPT here.  Be sure to check out the awesome Christmas activities created by Kara Jacobs and Arianne Dowd too!