Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Spanish 3A is Online Ready to Purchase Now

I turned in the first print run for my Spanish 3A Lesson Plans yesterday afternoon!  What a great feeling.  It turned out to be a little fatter than 1B (I set those two manuscripts side by side to compare) and jam packed with lesson plan goodness just waiting to be used in class this fall. 

My website www.waltmania.com has it available to order in the shopping cart and on the printable order form, but doesn't have any write-up/samples/"selling" information (Update - 3A samples are up - click on Samples and scroll down until you see 3A under levels 1 and 2) about it yet because I need to develop that when 3B is ready. I'll cut and paste some things here about 3A, including a partial vocab list.  The first 4-5 weeks of lessons include a lot of grammar review, but starting with Lesson 9 I explicitly introduce the subjunctive, and the other "new" tenses mentioned below follow shortly after that.  Also, you only see some of the conversation topics on the vocab list below, but every lesson has a conversation topic for the kids to discuss with each other in small groups and then with whole-class.  (The ones that made the actual vocab list are from my curriculum vocab list, involving phrases or words that I am expected to teach.)

3A Features:
·        Follows the order and expectations of most Spanish 3 textbooks
·        Focuses on developing conversational, spontaneous speech and expository writing
·        Purposefully builds toward my AP Spanish Language class, by including Spanish conversation/discussion questions and journal writing prompts to go along with the vocab and grammar topics
·        All of the stories and readings are brand new, none repeated from any of my older books
·        Includes several “Mad Lib” story scripts in the second half, when kids get whiny about stories and I need to shake it up a bit
·        Includes explicit grammar instruction, with homework for each grammar topic (including Preterit/Imperfect review, Ser & Estar review, Subjunctive, Future, Conditional, Present Progressive, Past Progressive, and Present Perfect tenses—whew!)
·        Includes 3 “Mini-pruebas,” a Midterm, and a Final Exam
·        Final Exam is loosely modeled after the AP Spanish Language Exam with AP-inspired rubrics for speaking and writing
·        Native Spanish speakers edited my Spanish

First Day Lesson
¿Qué hiciste el verano pasado?
Joe no aguantaba al perro
Le mintió a su hermana
Pescó en el lago
Mientras pescaba, observó la naturaleza

Lesson 1
¿Qué te pareció la película___?
Lo/la encontré muy interesante
Había una tormenta en el bosque
Empezó a llover a cántaros
Había truenos y relámpagos
Claire se enamoró con Jordan
Quiso hablarle de sus sentimientos
Direct object pronouns

Lesson 2
Hizo una caminata
Corría una brisa, y estaba fresco**
No vale la pena
Ella resolvió el rompecabezas
Indirect Object Pronouns
**Other past weather phrases:
Hacía calor/frío, había sol/viento

Lesson 3
¿En qué será diferente este año escolar?
En el pasado, siempre…
Este año voy a…
No se quedó en casa
Remó por el río
La temperatura alcanzó a los 115 grados Fahrenheit/46 centígrados
El disco quemó porque hacía tanto calor

Lesson 4
Era fanático de Taylor Swift
Era bueno para la oratoria
Ellos conversaron
Sin embargo, es imposible acercarnos a ella
¿No te acuerdas que ayer su guardaespaldas casi nos mató?

Lesson 5
¿Cómo debe ser un/a buen/a amigo/a?
Un/a buen/a amigo/a debe apoyarte y…
Debe ser…no debe ser…
Joe tenía una novia muy terca
Joe confiaba en Tyler porque él guardaba los secretos
Joe y Holly se rompieron
Mariah es un poco maleducada
Joe y Holly hicieron las paces

Lesson 6
¿Qué buscas en un/a novio/a?
Busco un/a novio/a que sea…
Tenían mucho/algo/nada en común
Sí, me la paso preparando sándwiches
A mí no me interesa preparar sándwiches
¡No vayamos a la costa!
Viajó a la costa sola
Preterit v. Imperfect

Lesson 7
Se mantenía en forma
Se divertía demasiado
Joe iba caminando por la calle
Alyssa lo dejó plantado
Desde aquel día, Joe se mantuvo en forma
Preterit v. Imperfect 2

3A Mini-prueba 1
FD – L7 Vocab
DO pronouns
IO pronouns

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Questions about Exprésate & Update on Level 3

I'm getting a few emails asking about my stories and how closely aligned they are with Exprésate.  Here is a paraphrased response I just sent to a teacher who wrote me:

Hi R, well you are in luck if you need something that's aligned with Exprésate.  I am in your exact same boat and do not want to use the textbook for anything other than a guideline for curriculum content/goals (and for that I think Exprésate is reasonably good, especially if you have an AP Spanish Language class that you are leading up to.)  For each level, I literally took two chapters at a time (1 & 2, 3 & 4 in the fall, 5 & 6, and 7 & 8 in the spring), mixed the vocab together, made phrases out of it, and created stories using that vocab.  (The vocab is pared down a little bit, but not much.)  I did two chapters at time because I wanted to have as much variety as I could in terms of vocab and grammar structures, but only two chapters so that if we had common midterms and finals, my students would have had all the content a textbook student had by the end of the first 9 weeks.  So that is how closely aligned my stories are with Exprésate.  Very.

The books that are basically aligned with Exprésate are the 2009 Version 1A & B and 2A & B.  I am getting ready to put up 3A for sale this week, maybe tonight or tomorrow if I can get the whole thing printed out, and then I will have 3B ready by August 15th at the latest.  I am teaching levels 3, 4, and AP again this coming year and I WANT JALEN WALTMAN'S COMPLETE LESSON PLANS TO TEACH WITH!  So that's why I'm trying my best to crank out all of level 3 before school starts.  (It's slower going than I had originally hoped...argh, soooo much work taking up soooo much of my dwindling summer!!!)

You can look at my vocab/grammar topic lists online at www.waltmania.com to compare to your curriculum guides if you like, but I wouldn't even bother because for you it's a slam dunk since you're tied to the same textbook that I am. :-)

I would also say that no matter which textbook you are tied to, chances are my vocab lists and grammar topics are a decent fit.  I say that because if you really look at them, how different are the different publishers' Spanish textbooks in terms of vocab and grammar topics anyway?  Not very.  In fact, they haven't even changed that much over time.  The old Dime Uno I had to use 12 years ago teaching level 1 at Norman North HS had basically the same vocab and grammar topics as Exprésate level 1.  Exprésate has more vocab (very, very long lists for each chapter) and includes some technology terms, maybe some recycling/environment stuff, but there is not enough difference to really matter in my view.

The update on level 3 is this:  Yes, Spanish 3A should be up ready to purchase either tonight, tomorrow, or sometime Tuesday July 24th at the latest.  If you can believe it, right in the middle of trying to finish up this "masterpiece" (of which I am now doing the final edit/printing so I can take it to my printer for publication,) I have JURY DUTY tomorrow.  Wow.

I'd like to say that I think 3A is taking forever because it's SO AMAZINGLY GOOD, but it might just be that I'm way too perfectionistic.  I myself can't wait to teach through it this fall having it all completely done and ready to use, because it definitely reflects exactly how I am teaching and what I'm teaching, day by day by day, in painstaking detail.

Spanish 3B will go a lot faster because part of the reason 3A has taken so long is me deciding exactly how I want to format and organize and arrange and what order and how the tests will be exactly and etc. etc.; 3B will overlay on that finely crafted and honed framework (rather than take forever because I'm inventing the wheel.)  However, I decided to go ahead and put 3A up for sale by itself, now, because I know people are waiting for it with baited breath.  (What is baited breath, by the way?  It doesn't sound appealing, does it?)  Plus, that will take some of the pressure off of me trying to also crank out 3B by July 31 so they can go as a set. 3B, Lord willing, WILL be done before I report back to school August 15.  Not for you, for ME, because guess what, this school year I need to get serious about writing publish-able things for levels 4/AP, and I just can't have this project still lingering.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Acting and Getting Actors For Skits

When it comes to getting actors for skits, and getting good acting, some of us are kind of wondering why it's been such a struggle lately.  (Lately = the past 3-4 years or so.)

Maybe you aren't struggling with this, but I am and a lot of teachers I talk to are as well.  

We are dealing with a different generation of students in our classes nowadays; as I have blogged about before, they are less kinesthetic in class, more self-advocating, and very, very relationship oriented.  With you and with each other.  It's all about who "likes" or doesn't "like" them.  I believe that we've got to approach them from a relationship-oriented mindset or we won't get far in teaching them.

I've chosen to stop trying to change their basic psychological makeup and rather, to try to understand their reality and work within those parameters to teach Spanish as best I can.

I get student actors mostly by having students choose other students to be in the skit, not by asking for volunteers.  Kids hate volunteering to act nowadays because for this generation it is generally not cool to go up there on purpose and draw attention to yourself.  We need to understand that about this group of kids and just go with it.  If you notice, they will act (usually) if it’s not their choice; either you (the teacher) “makes” them act, or you are drawing names from a hat, or in the case of the Mad Lib scripts I've written for the second half of 3A, the actors were put in the skit by the class decision when no one knew exactly what they were going to have to do in the skit.

The other thing we need to understand about student actors with this generation of kids is that bad, unenthusiastic acting is cool; hamming it up is NOT cool.  If we try to force them to “ham it up,” they will resist even more; then they will refuse to act and you have no actors again, ever.  I personally do not “fire” actors (make them sit down and someone else step in) any more for this same reason.  Look, the whole point is to give the class a basic visual representation of the story and to have a fun, relaxed time doing it.  If that means your actors just sort of stand around lamely, only minimally following your stage directions, then that is what it means.  I have decided to roll with it and stop battling my kids.  As long as they do what I say and walk over there when I say walk over there, I keep telling the story.  We still laugh and enjoy ourselves immensely, and I find that I actually get more buy-in (and occasional hamming) by allowing “bad” acting than I do by nagging and scolding about their unenthusiastic, expressionless acting.  My actors will often get more in the moment since there’s no pressure, and then they WILL do the Dance of the Crazy Monkey for me when asked.

Secretly, your most unenthusiastic, unsmiling actors are actually enjoying the attention of being in the story; they just won't show it for a million dollars because that is not cool.  Know their secrets, Daniel-san.  Work with them.  Do not fight a battle you cannot win and lose your basic focus--which is providing comprehensible input in the target language in a low-anxiety situation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spanish 3A Almost Done...Some Random Tidbits about It

I can see light at the end of the tunnel on 3A...here is a photo of my extremely high-tech process of laying things out on the floor to organize them...and just a teaser for you of the extremely awesome stick figures I've been drawing.

This book will have pics to go with (approximately) every other story, starting with lesson 3.  I had kids doing retells all this past year with no pics, and they did fine, but I do think the pics make them focus better on their retells; plus, they are just fun.  I have to tell you I laugh out loud when I draw these little pictures sometimes.  Well, at least I crack myself up.

Also, I am interspersing some Mad Libs in place of the regular story scripts in the last half of 3A.  You know, when the students get so whiny and tired of everything you do?  I had so much fun in April and May with writing some of the 3B scripts as Mad Libs (it was experimental) that I'm adding that in for 3A as well.  If you end up not liking the Mad Lib thing in your actual classes, you can always just use the reading as a script instead. I'll write more soon about exactly how to do a Mad Lib in class.  It was a blast for me and mine.

Also...please don't be shocked...but this book will call for quite a bit of explicit grammar in the lesson plans, as well as...gasp...HOMEWORK.  That is just how it is for my teaching life, right now, at my school.  We teach explicit grammar and we do homework.  I have gone over to the dark side.  You of course do not have to do those parts of the lesson, and I'm being careful to call the homework "optional."  Giving homework definitely has its down side, but the reality in my higher socio-economic community is that parents as well as students expect it, and if you don't give it, you aren't taken as seriously. I think this is particularly true for levels 3, 4, and AP, but we are giving homework in levels 1 and 2 now as well. I still don't let it weigh so heavily that it makes a kid fail Spanish, but it's there, and it will affect their grade over time.

Ok, back to Lesson 26.  I'm on Lesson 26 out of 30.  3A should be finished and edited by July 15.  My plan is to have it printed and up for sale online by July 31, hopefully with 3B as well so they can go as a set.  But if 3B isn't quite done, I'll start selling 3A on July 31 or earlier so that those of you who are waiting with baited breath and needing to start doing some early planning can do so.  I totally get it.  I'm the Queen of Pre-Planning, hence these detailed lesson plan books, right?

I've got two blog posts on my mind that I'll write soon as well:  One on Acting/Getting Actors and another about Gesturing the Vocab.

Ok, really now.  Back to Lesson 26.

Announcing My Online, On-Demand Spanish 1 Course!

Click ↑ to go to my new YouTube Channel! It's here! I'm teaching my "Jalen Waltman"  standards-based high school Spanish 1...