Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Colleague's Spanish Level 1 Lesson Sequence Using my 1A and 1B Books

Okay, as promised, here is my fabulous colleague Alexis’ current regular lesson sequence:

1 – Diccionario. She has her level 1 classes (jam packed with 30 – 35 students per class) absolutely trained to pick up a blank Diccionario page as they come into her room, then sit down and start copying the Diccionario phrases and vocab from the screen (she's using a document camera to project) while she takes roll and gets set up for the lesson. She is mostly using the Diccionario de vocabulario importante from my 1A & 1B books, but occasionally uses a 10 or 20 grid Diccionario for things like food. If you have my 1A or 1B books, those alternate versions of the Diccionario should be on your CD-Rom, either under “Extra docs” or “Related Docs.” Her students keep the Diccionarios until the test, and then they turn them all in at once for a 25-point completion grade.

2 – Vocab Quiz or Translation, whatever the warm-up is for that lesson in my book. Students grade their own and then she takes them up every day (and as I stated in the previous post, I am taking these up every time now too.)

3 – New Vocab + practice with the vocab. This practice might be TPR, gestures, a game, Q&A, point at visuals, conversation, or whatever she feels like doing that day that works best with that vocab set.

4 – Story with Actors. They act out every story, and Alexis just calls on whoever she wants and they have to act or they lose participation points. She tries to go through every student at least once before using the same actors. After the story, she sits in front of the class on a tall stool and methodically asks questions in Spanish from every line of the story while the students answer chorally. I swear they are so trained it's hilarious. I think it's mostly because Alexis has excellent teacher voice (loud) and tone (insistent/firm/expectant/positive.) Also, she has a "Pink Clipboard of Death" that she uses to keep track of Participation Point deductions for infractions, and that seems to work really well for her.

5 – Retell the Story, Write, or Read. I believe she is just following whatever my follow-up activities are in the 1A & 1B books. Sometimes she expands on the follow-up activity or tweaks it. She’s extremely creative. Every time I walk by this woman’s door (which is daily, since our classroom doors face each other) she’s doing something fascinating and her students are engaged.

6 – Grammar. She makes grammar packets by piecing together worksheets and parts of worksheets from our textbooks, other grammar workbooks and resources, online stuff, and whatever else we have lying around. Sometimes she adds a quiz question or two on the grammar point they are studying to the bottom of my vocab quizzes (I have started doing this too…you’ll see a lot more of that in the level 3A & B books when they come out this summer.)

7 – Some kind of enrichment activity or project. Examples: For the house vocab (after the Barbie story, 1B Lesson 5) they had to draw a house with individual rooms and label everything in it. For the chores vocab and the Binko story (1B Lesson 6,) she put them in groups of 4 and they had to draw a planet with an alien doing five different chores the way they do them on that planet (if you’ve read the “Me llamo Binko” story you know what I mean.) Then they had to write a 200-word story about the alien, the planet, and the chores, sort of Round-Robin style, with each person in the group contributing 50 words to the story and writing it in their own handwriting on the same paper.

8 – 10-minute essay. They do this constantly, and they are really, really good writers for level 1B. I can’t wait to get this little crop of students in level 3 and in AP Spanish. J

Homework – It might be very brief but she insists they do daily homework. I know one homework assignment she gives regularly is to go home and translate the story aloud to a parent, who then signs off that they completed the task. Since she’s doing this, I have received emails as well as verbal compliments from parents who know me who are enjoying the “crazy stories” I wrote, as well as feeling pleased and impressed with how much Spanish their kid can read. Yes, sometimes the kids try to cheat and sign it themselves, but overall she seems to get good participation on this one, and in our community the parents appreciate homework (if you can believe it) as well as the chance to see what their kid can do.

We are on the 90-minute A/B block, and Alexis said it might take her two blocks to do all of the above, or one and a half or so. And of course, the above list of activities isn’t EXACTLY what she does every single time, but it’s the general plan she’s following.

We've got state testing over the next two weeks which means a shortened class schedule, then a full week of class, and then Spring Break. Alexis is starting a Spain-geography-and-culture unit during this time as well as doing Midterms. After Spring Break, she’ll start back up with the second half of 1B.

Just want to say thank you *Alexis* for letting me share your awesomeness with people who read my blog…you rock, girl!

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