Ok, so I’ve been playing around with this idea of mixing the idea of Dictogloss with MovieTalk to make a “cooperative” activity.

But what’s Dictogloss?

Dictogloss is a focus on form activity that goes something like this:

1. Teacher reads a short passage, about 200 words or so, to the students at a slower than usual pace.
2. Students take (or don’t take, teacher preference) notes on what they hear.
3. Teacher reads the passage again, students can take notes again.
4. Students pair up and try to reconstruct the entire text from their notes.
5. Teacher then projects, or passes out the original text
6. Students can then compare their reconstructed text to the original text.

It does invoke explicit knowledge, BUT students are getting input as they hear the text read aloud and they are trying to process meaning in order to correctly reconstruct the text.

So how am I trying this with MovieTalk?

Well, I’m currently in the middle of a VERY long MovieTalk, it might take a few days to get through the screenshots. So what I’m trying to do is use “Dictogloss” as a review. So I go through my MovieTalk at my normal pace, but then review the screenshots relatively quickly after I feel that students are comprehending well.

After the review, I asked students to pair up, and write anything and everything they could about the part of the video that we had already gone over.

usually have a script already written out for a MovieTalk, but in using it as an exit ticket, we can review what they write at the beginning of next class after I type up what I said for the MovieTalk.


FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) in my class

I have been building my library for a few years. Spending my own money, little by little accumulating more books. I did a Donors Choose project over the summer to add 44 new books to my library, and it was a great success! I now have over 100 books in total, about 50 or so different titles.

I started off pretty early in the year in Spanish 2 doing Book Speed dating.  Students spent 2 1/2 minutes with each book. One minute to write the title, and read the back of the book to see if it was interesting to them, then a minute and a half to try to read the first few pages to see if they were able to read the book. Then they moved on. In a class period, given distractions and managerial work, I think we got through 10 books each. Over time we did more speed dating. Students still haven’t gotten to review each book, but that’s ok.

I also show students THIS presentation, and have a discussion (in English) about how easy reading needs to be in order for us to be able to make inferences, and learn new words. We then talk about their experience as readers (I really recommend Readicide).I tell them the reading needs to be: Interesting enough so that you want to continue reading, or easy enough so that you can feel successful, but hopefully both.

The very first time that I asked students to do FVR I gave them the instructions that Bryce Hedstrom gives. “Five people at the library at a time, find a book, if you’re not sure what you want to read, grab a few different books. If you have trash hold on to it until we’re done. If you think you might need kleenex, grab some before we start reading. We are focusing on reading, not pretending to read”.

That day we read for five minutes, and it flew by! Most students said that it wasn’t enough time. I was in awe. That was a Monday. On a MONDAY students were willing to try something new (read a book in Spanish), and said it wasn’t enough time. I decided then, on Wednesday to try reading again. I ask students how long they want to read for, most said 10 minutes, so we did just that! Students read for 10 minutes, and it was so peaceful and quiet, and I could see them focusing on trying to make sense of the words on the pages of the books.

As my students read, I read in French. On reading days (we’ve been doing MWF for 10 minutes) it’s the first thing that we do after the bell ringer because i want to show students that it’s a priority to me. Today, actually, I almost forgot and we started to move on, but I stopped what I was doing so that we could go back and read, pointing out to students that it is a priority for me.

The research is inconclusive on how many exposures to a word we need before we acquire it. Some studies have shown 8 exposures allows us to recognize the words, but as far as how many exposures we need to be able to produce the words we don’t really know. There is no magic number. We can’t say “I’m going to give my students 154 exposures to the word and they’ll be able to use it, but if I only get 150 they won’t be able to”.

After reading we have a little meta discussion on reading. Because I’m learning French through reading, I tell students what is going on in my head, I tell them any new words I learned (or maybe “I learned the word for Drink, but I don’t think I can say it yet”), and ask them if they learned any new words, and if they feel they can use any of those new words yet.

Reading has been going great! I’ve even seen some words from what they’re reading show up in quick writes! Words that I’ve not used, they just picked them up.

I do have one student reading Crepúsculo (Twilight), and she’s really invested in it. I allow her to use a dictionary while she reads, thus invoking the input load hypothesis (Hulstijn and Laufer, 2001). I’m especially interested to see how acquisition of vocabulary works with this student as she defines the need, search, and evaluation of what she’s reading.


Horizontal Conjugation in Textivate!

O.M.G.! I love using Horizontal Conjugations. I think that they are a great way to let students give a little bit of output, but is still very structured. I’ve been doing a lot of “horizontal conjugation” while doing special person interviews by asking students what the other student would say about themselves. So students have heard the first person a lot, and now I want them to start trying some (very structured) output.

I started off by typing the 1st person version as the main text, note that I selected first person forms for the user defined gap activities.Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.58.00 AM.png

Then I typed the third person version in the extra text box.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.58.16 AM.png

So when students goto start doing activities with the text they get something that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 11.59.20 AM.png

They get the third person text to reference as they reconstruct the text in the first person.

I did preempt the horizontal conjugation with textivate activities with JUST the third person version and the English translation for support. Check out the sequence HERE.


You’re ALL special people!

I FINALLY started doing Special Person interviews regularly.

I’m doing them with Spanish 1 because as a department we agreed we want semester 1 to focus on students being able to talk about themselves. Special Person interviews are SUPER easy for that.

The questions we’ve been focusing on in Spanish 1 are basically the first page of THIS document from Bryce. My process through one question in level 1 goes something like this:

T: What’s your name?
S: Justin
T: Class! His name is Justin! (I hold up a quotation bubble I have on a stick, to signify that what I’m saying is what the student would say)
T (as student): My name is Justin.
T: Class, does he say “My name is Justin, or his name is Justin?”
Class: My name is Justin!
T: Right! “My name is Justin”

After circling a couple questions, I go back to the class.

T: Class, (In English) What are some things we can say about this person so far?

This gives students the opportunity to output IF they feel they are ready. Any time a student says something REMOTELY correct, I try to praise them (I’ve been slacking on this one… oops), then I make sure I restate it correctly. Then I move on…

T: Class, (In English, again) What are some things he could say about himself?

Once again, this is voluntary, I do not force output. If no one can come up with anything I review what he would say by putting my quotation bubble on a stick up and speak for the student.

After we get comfortable with those question (aka, once students start answering me in full sentences when they are the interviewee because they feel confident) I move a little quicker and add another question to the mix. I always love the “do you have an animal” question because we LOVE animals!

Not only have I been doing special person in Spanish 1, but I’ve been doing it in Spanish 2 as well. It started off the same, using the first page of questions, gradually adding more questions, and moving through practiced questions quicker.

Today I started introducing some first person past tense. So I asked the first “get to know you” questions and then moved on to “What did you do after school yesterday?” For Spanish, that mostly means use of the preterite (which is a focus for Spanish 2).

So I follow the same procedure as before. Ask a question, answer question, say what the student would say, ask students to talk about the person, and ask students to say what the interviewee would say then with Spanish 2 I’ve added in the question “Who could use these words to tell me about what THEY did after school yesterday?”

Anyway, one of my high fliers (who often gets bored because she thinks I spend too long on a single story) said that even though the process was similar, interviews are interesting enough to keep going.

So if you haven’t tried special person yet, I suggest trying it! Even if it’s for 5 minutes (although I’ve only been getting through like… one person MAYBE 2 people in a class period with additional things that I do in class.

Happy inputting!

MovieTalk with “Love Recipe”

Here’s the beginning of my MovieTalk lesson with the video “Love Recipe“. I use Martina Bex’s unit plans for the video. I think I’ve used this every year that I’ve taught. I love trying to personalize the new vocabulary that comes up. I won’t necessarily assess students on the vocab introduced with the video but it gives the high flyers something extra to focus on.

Today was a short day so I didn’t get to finish the entire video, so we’re going to pick back up tomorrow and continue on with the plans.

Strategy: Circling “I” during PQA

I’ve written about a few ways that I circle “I” and “we” forms in class, but I’m feeling really good about what I’ve been trying to do in class, and you can get input on ALL THE FORMS! And I’ve found that it’s been GREAT scaffolding for students to get them speaking about themselves!

If you’re already doing PQA it’s a super easy addition and can work with ANY PQA. All you gotta do is throw in the word/phrase “Would say”.

So, start by asking a student a question. Restate the information to the rest of the class, circle the information if need be. Then throw in “would say”, and circle that.

EX: -Bill, what time do you wake up? (2nd person!)
-Do you wake up at 5:00AM or do you wake up at 5:00pm?
-Class! Bill wakes up at 5:00AM (circle circle circle) (3rd person singular!)
Class, would Bill say ‘I wake up at 5:00AM or I wake up at 5:00PM’?(circle circle circle) (1st person singular!)

The next step is to try to get at least two students that have the same answer.
-Freddy, what time do you wake up?
-Class! Bill AND Freddy wake up at 5:00AM (3rd person plural!)
Class, would Bill and Fred say ‘We wake up at 5:00AM or We wake up at 6:00AM?” (1st person plural!)

You could ask questions directly to Bill and Freddy and use 2nd person plural if you use it (no vosotros for me, though).

After a lot of repetition of the 1st person, I did change it up and ask students, “If ‘(in TL)I wake up at 5:00AM’ means ‘I wake up at 5 AM’ How would you say “I wake up at 8AM?” and give students an opportunity to output *IF* they are ready. I do not often do formal speaking, but I try to give students the opportunity to show off what they are able to do.

Pop-Up mnemonics

Pop-up grammar are great little tidbits to explain the intricacies of language, clarify meaning, and give a little extra to those high flyers in our classes. I’m working on creating a LIST of mnemonic devices that I use in my class to use in my pop ups 🙂