Class Activities

Reflection on Stations

Stations are….

  • [Sometimes] low prep.
2014-10-21 08.31.11
Today’s low-prep stations – beginning school unit and continuing to review Latin American Geography
  • Students getting CI from a source other than me.
  • Everyone working at their own pace.
  • No one getting left behind: stations let me sit with students who need support with their reading, without slowing down my students who process more quickly.
  • Built-in early finisher activities. Done with numbers one and two? Get on the ActivBoard and do a review game, or pull it up on your phone.
  • Stations are differentiated instruction.

I had another activity planned today, but I ended up switching gears about 7:45 this morning. I began my school unit yesterday, introducing school supplies and classes. At the end of class yesterday, my students wrote out their schedules in Spanish. The schedule-writing activity is important to me because, although it’s basically just copying vocabulary, it gives students a chance to identify what words they need to talk about their own classes, and organize that information in a logical way. The schedules will be the basis for a number of activities throughout the unit, so I wanted to make sure all my students completed it. Except all my juniors missed first period yesterday, and it took forever to present the vocabulary in fifth period, and my seventh period takes a long time to complete any written assignment because they have trouble concentrating (even I’m a little ADHD by 7th period!). So how to get everyone caught up, without having the people who did their work yesterday sitting around doing nothing? Stations.  I know this isn’t the most exciting collection of stations, but it accomplished what I needed from the activity: everyone finishes schedules, most everyone does the reading and gets some more contextualized CI for classes and school supplies (and if you didn’t, sorry, you’ve got homework), and my early finishers get to play some review games, rather than goofing off, sleeping, or playing on their phones.  Success.

Class Activities

Teaching Geography

I’ve spent two class days now on Spanish-speaking countries and capitals. I wasn’t going to write about this – don’t judge me, #langchat! …but then I saw Allison’s post at Mis Clases Locas on the same topic, and decided I’d share my ideas as well. I share the same sentiments Allison wrote about – yes, culture and geography should be woven in throughout the year, but sometimes a little bit of direct instruction goes a long way.  Like Allison, I also am giving a map quiz, but the long-term takeaways I hope they gain from these lessons are not being able to point out Peru on a map – rather, my goal is that when they hear the name of a country they know if the people there speak Spanish, and have a general idea of where Spanish-speaking countries are located in the world (no, Spain is not in Asia…no, it’s not in Africa either).

I started last Friday in the computer lab. I gave them this handout (dropbox link here) as they came in:geog web quest picI copied a map of Central America, South America, and the Carribbean on the back. They labeled the map, and then practiced locating the countries with links to Purpose Games, Sheppard Software, and I like to Learn. When they were ready, they came to me and I quizzed them orally (Sidenote: I’ve been experimenting with individual, oral quizzes for vocabulary comprehension and in this case, locating the countries. A few kids get too nervous to do them out loud, so I usually let them do a written version, but it’s relatively quick, allows me to differentiate – practice until you’re ready! – and also cuts out cheating, which is a major issue I have with memorization-based assessments).   If they had time, they also looked up the capitals and played some games testing their memory.

Today (we had a long weekend for fall break) I took Allison’s advice and did a kahoot.  My kids loved it! We did this one on country locations, watched the Rock the Capitals videos, and then did this Kahoot testing capitals. Over all it was a fun and productive day.

Web links for students to practice finding the countries:

Web links for students to learn the capitals:

  1. Central American & The Carribbean Multiple Choice
  2. South American Countries to Capitals 
  3. Matching countries & capitals 

Rock the capitals – these songs will get the capitals stuck in your  head! And hopefully your students’ heads too 🙂

South America

Central America & the Carribbean