Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Mi día en la escuela: Comparing Class Schedules

Adobe Spark (5)

My students are currently learning school vocabulary, and my authentic resource activities were in desperate need of an update. I decided I wanted my students to do an activity comparing schedules of schools in Spanish speaking countries and their own (find my activity at the bottom of this post!). I asked one of my teacher groups on facebook if anyone had such an activity to share, and someone from my grad program shared this gem of a website with me: http://auforlanguageeduca.wixsite.com/school-schedules

school schedules in Spanish

If you click on the gallery link in the right hand corner, you will find 15 school schedules from various Spanish speaking countries, compiled by one of the Auburn foreign language education graduate assistants. ¡Muchas gracias, amiga!

I decided that rather than trying to print out the schedules, I would have students view them on their computer. For pre-reading, I had students discuss their ideal school schedule in  small groups, with a list of questions in Spanish to guide them:

discussion questions

After group discussions, we briefly shared out to the whole class. Next, I had students draw a number from 1-15. They were not allowed to have the same number as someone else in  their group. The number corresponded to one of the schedules on the Wix site. For their “during reading” activity, students answered questions about their assigned schedule. For post-reading, they discussed what they learned with their group and answered some reflection questions: How were the schedules similar or different from their own school schedule? What schedule would they like best? I also had students write questions down on sticky notes. I took these up and answered them at the end of class as a closing activity:



If you would like to use my activity, you can find it here. If you improve on it, please share it back with me!

Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Talking about our [fake] schedules

In Spanish 1, I’m currently teaching the school unit (Realidades 1 Chapter 2a) My school switched to block schedule this year, so with my students only having four classes, my usual context for practicing ordinal numbers no longer works. So, today we made fake schedules and talked about them.

Step 1: Make fake schedules

schedule template

I printed out my class vocabulary and electives list from Quizlet as flashcards and divided them into 8 buckets (my students currently sit in groups of 4). Students drew a class from the bucket and wrote it into their schedule, and added a teacher.

Fake schedule template here.

Step 2: Discuss

2015-09-16 10.30.21

I gave students a list of questions and put on an interval timer. Each group picked a leader who asked questions from the list. When the timer beeped, they rotated leaders. After a few minutes, I took over the questioning (to the whole class). I projected Class Dojo on the board and had a student use the interactive pen to assign points (doing this on the projector works GREAT because the other students make sure the score keeper is accurate).

Step 3: Repeat

I was pleased with the participation in this activity, but some of the pronunciation was not so good – not surprisingly because we haven’t worked extensively on these questions yet. So I typed up the questions in Quizlet. Tomorrow, I’m going to get someone in each group to pull up the Quizlet set on their phone or tablet (or lend them my laptop or let them sit at my desk if no one in the group has a device). We’ll shuffle the questions, and let Quizlet ask the questions instead of the students! Next semester, I’ll have Quizlet ask the questions on day 1 and let students as the questions on day 2.

If you want a word document of my questions, here is the link.  I wrote 42 questions because that’s how many blocks are in my $3 Jenga knock-off “Jumbling Towers,” so the list can do double duty if we do stations this unit.

PS – My kiddos are ROCKING the groups of 4. I love it.

2015-09-16 10.30.12

Class Activities, Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Authentic audio: Mis clases

I’m in the midst of my school unit – Realidades 2a, since I’m using a textbook now (and by using a book, I mean that I’m following the topics, teaching the vocab, and integrating the grammar – day-to-day teaching is mostly my ideas and inspiration I find online).  I found some great audio clips that fit well with the topic and vocab – here are the links, as well as the activities I made to go with them.


Spanish Listening.org

For the activities, I started with a word cloud, and they just circled the words that they heard.  After that, I had them flip their papers over to the back. I found it worked best to have them read and match the Spanish and English first, then listen one or two more times and number the statements in the order they are said. You could also have them cut up the sentences, and physically put them in order as they listen. Here’s the word document: listening seiji cristina

Audio Lingua

There are a TON of recordings related to school on audio lingua.  These are the three that I used.

For the activities, I typed up transcripts and had them fill in the blank (there might be a few errors in the transcripts – check me before you make 800 copies!). My students were all jealous of Elvira and Edinson getting a recreo in the middle of the day! I really liked all the culture in Edinson’s recording, so I typed up a short embedded-reading style summary to make sure they understood the idea of his schedule. His passage is a great review of time, too! Here are the activities: listening audio lingua – mis clases

Have you taught a school unit yet? What are your favorite resources and activities?

Class Activities

Reflection on Stations

Stations are….

  • [Sometimes] low prep.
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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.

Planning for Learning, Sp 1 Unit 4: En la escuela

Pushing Proficiency to Novice-High: Reworking the Stamp Sheet

Last night’s #langchat was about moving students from Novice-mid to Novice-high proficiency.   This topic was of particular interest to me because although I’ve read extensively about the proficiency levels, I haven’t had any formal training and it’s difficult for me to  distinguish between Novice-Mid, Novice-High, and Intermediate-Low.  Last night’s chat gave me a LOT to think about:

  • I need to think about students’ interpretive skills in proficiency terms.
  • To improve output, spend more time on input (so true!)
  • I need to define the proficiency levels better, for both myself and my students.

I wrote a few weeks ago about stamp sheets, and how checking off all the goals out loud and individually was making me crazy. So as I was writing my goals today for the unit I’ll begin next week, I decided to reorganize the sheet by modes, and throw in some proficiency descriptors to clarify my expectations to students.

Here’s the interpretive section:

School Unit Interpretive Goals
I think I’ll have students self-assess their proficiency a couple of times during the unit as we do reading and listening activities. I want them at least at Novice-Mid, and at Novice-High for an A.


And the presentational speaking/writing section:

School Unit Presentational Goals
I think I’ll assess these for a quiz grade. I’d like to give students the option to do it out loud or in writing.


I plan to use the same proficiency descriptors for IP speaking. Here’s the complete document: Modified stamp sheet

Proficiency teachers, what do you think?  Did I get the proficiency descriptors right? Should I add or delete anything from the description? Is there something else I could say to be more specific? I welcome your input.