Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"¡Lo veo!" An introduction to Direct Object Pronouns

I love my Spanish 2 class.  They make  me laugh, and, amazingly enough, they still have energy at the end of the day.  6th period can be a drag for everyone, even the teacher, if everyone is exhausted and listless.  Not so for this group!  And in case anyone ever asks you, yes, high school students still love games!

Today we reviewed direct object pronouns.  My favorite way to present this grammar is with a game of "Lo veo!"  The vocabulary we are working with currently is for traveling. (My text is Avancemos! 2).  I recommend using your current vocabulary, just because it is another chance for students to make a visual and emotional connection to new words.  Of course, you can do the activity with any four words.

Here are my words:
Masculine/singular: el avión                       Feminine/singular: la auxiliar de vuelo
Masculine/plural: los pasaportes               Feminine/plural: las maletas

And here are the objects: 
Los objetos para jugar ¡Lo veo!
The doll and the plane were Dollar Store finds. The doll has a paper hat and some PanAm wings glued on.  The suitcases are novelty candy containers, painted and decorated with paper "travel stickers."  The passports are actually just color copies stapled on to recycled paper.

I took pictures of each object and put them on my SmartBoard.  Then I hid each object somewhere in plain sight in the room. When students entered they saw these phrases on the board:
El "guión" para la actividad
We talked about each picture and wrote the words in the first blank on each line.  I had the students look around the room to find each real object as we put the pictures in place.  Whoever saw it first called out, "Lo veo!" (Or, of course, whatever phrase was correct), and then got to bring the item to the front of the room.  We filled in the second blank with the correct direct object pronoun.  In the end, it looked like this:
¡Listos para jugar!
And then we were ready to play!  One student left the room.  The class first decided to hide the passports in plain sight and we put the rest away.  The student came back in and had to go through the list, asking about each item in turn: "¿El avión?"  And the class replied, "No lo veo."
                           "¿La auxiliar de vuelo?"                  "No la veo."
                           "¿Los pasaportes?"                        "¡Los veo!"        And the game was on.

The student had to walk around the room, asking, "¿Los pasaportes?", and each time the class would reply, "Los veo." The closer the student got to the hiding place, the louder the class replied.  It was a blast.

Here is a final picture:  The flight attendant "hiding" on the bulletin board behind my desk.  She couldn't have been in plainer sight, but it took forever to find her.  I love it that they had to repeat such a challenging vocabulary word over and over and over again!   I think she is going to live on that board from now on!
¿La ves?

Have a happy week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting to know you!

I change my seating arrangement  for each new lesson.  That's about every two weeks.  This year I am investing the time (even if it is in English) for students to get to know their new group members.  My students are seated in twos, with groups of four.  As soon as class starts, and they are all in their new seats, I hand out a list of questions for them to discuss.  The discussions are lively -- and, while they are not all in Spanish, I do get a lot of  "¿Cómo se dice . . .?" interaction with students, which is a good barometer or formative assessment that lets me know which students are truly dedicated to the "Say it in Spanish if you possibly can" rule.  I want them to make connections with their new groups, so I don't want this time to feel formal or graded -- except for the name learning -- I do put on the pressure there!  

I'm constantly on the lookout for good small-group ice-breaker activities so I can vary the topics and instructions for this important 5-7 minutes of class time.  For today's activities, I used an idea I found here: 40 ice-breakers for small groups.  It's a PDF that will download to your computer. 

The first question is always, "What are the names of the people in your group?"  For the rest of the questions today, we went for group records:  "Who has traveled the farthest?",  "Who has the most pets?",  "Who has the strangest hobby?" and "Who has eaten the weirdest thing?"  The students were excited to share with the whole class after they got to know one another.  I don't always take the time to process every single question, but they were so enthusiastic that today we did.  As we went around the room, I asked a question -- in Spanish, such as "Who, in your group, has traveled the farthest?" and the group members had to say the name of the person who had the group record.  They proved that they knew one another's names, and the rest of the class got a chance to learn them as well.  Then we took a moment to find out more about some of the record holders. 

It was an activity that took about 12 minutes today.  But those 12 minutes will pay off for the next two weeks!

Happy teaching!  Gotta get ready for Back to School night!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Diccionario Personal

    Last year I tried to encourage class and personal vocabulary acquisition by posting an alphabetized word wall template in my room.  After every reading we did, we talked about what words might be important to add to our customized dictionary.  We tried to pick words that had a broad application and usefulness, and that might be likely to turn up again in other contexts.

    We quickly realized that the template was very inefficient.  Every letter had the same amount of space, including K and W, which are not even native Spanish letters!

    Enter the new school year.  I remade the word wall, giving more space to more frequently used letters, and we are giving it another go.  Here is a picture of the new and improved version, with our first few vocabulary words already added: 
Spanish Word Wall, arranged according to letter frequency
    Students all have a four-page Diccionario Personal section in their interactive notebooks.  Click here for a copy if you are interested.

Have a happy weekend!