La Comida

I found these 2 great videos for preparing Guacamole that I will use during my Imperativo by way of Comida lessons.

The first one has comprehension questions pop up in the subtitles section. The language is simple and pretty straightforward and the speed is manageable for the students.

The second one highlights the use of the Imperativo in the 'tú' form showing the written form of each verb.


Final art project in Spanish class

To cap off our art unit, my Grade 12s were finally able to share their projects with our Art Gallery today.
The project was entitled 'La Hispanidad en el Arte'. The premiss was to include an element (individually chosen) from the Hispanic culture and to include it in an art form of their choice. They had to record themselves as the artist and answer questions.
You will see in the pictures below that projects ranged from watermelons, to maracas, to a piñata and many more. The creative juices were definitely flowing. 
The questions each artist had to record answers to were: -->
1. nombre del artista
2. fecha de nacimiento
3. lugar de nacimiento
4. ¿Qué inspira tu arte en general?
5. ¿Cuándo te sientes lo más creativo?
6. ¿Por qué escogiste este elemento de la hispanidad?
7. ¿Por qué es importante este elemento de la cultura?
8. ¿Cómo se llama tu obra?
9. ¿Qué fue tu inspiración para esto?
10. ¿Cuánto tiempo duró para terminar tu obra?
11. ¿Qué material utilizaste?
12. ¿Por qué utilizaste estos colores?
13. Incluye cualquier otro elemento para describir la obra que todavía no has mencionado.
They all sent me the recordings, I uploaded them to our blog and labelled them as Artista #1, etc., then labelled the pieces of art on each table accordingly. Then they used the ipads and headphones to listen to the recordings.


As they did the gallery visit, they had to fill in the following information.
I really enjoyed the outcome of this activity. The pieces were fantastic as you can see. Having them listen to each other was a great way to expose them to other Spanish accents. Overall they had fun creating their pieces and seeing each other's work. Some even asked to take pictures of their peers' projects!


El Arte Pequeño

Using these fantastic scenes by artist Slinkachu (as well as here, here, here and here), we made our own version, but with a specific focus. I had my students depict a social problem that teens face nowadays and the talk about it in Spanish. 
I conveniently had a number of mini luchadores which I borrowed from my 2 year old, who was quick to notice that they disappeared from his playroom!
Students worked in pairs to design the details of their scene and then take a photograph. Every pair had to then answer the following questions. 
1) ¿Cual es el problema social?
2) ¿Cómo nos afecta?
3) ¿Qué podemos hacer para resolverlo?
I put all the photos in a slideshow and as their photo came up they presented their blurb. 
This worked very well, it was a quick 1.5 period activity which they were excited about. 
Sadly, there is a recurring theme in all of the scenes. Bullying. As a result, Spanish class turned into an English conversation class which took us across the topics of bullying, teen pregnancy, sex ed in schools, the distribution of condoms in school, things on the internet as a permanent thing and a number of other subjects. My Grade 10s, although not participating, were very aware and listening to the conversation throughout. I enjoyed listening to the views of my students and was interested to see the differences in opinions. 
Overall, a successful activity with an excellent class discussion. 

la intimidación

el suicidio

la intimidación

el estrés
la intimidación


No boundaries to art

In preparation for their final project for this unit, I wanted to show my students that art is not limited to a brush and paint, or paper and a pencil, so I put this short PowerPoint together where they had to figure out what material was used in each piece.
We saw pieces made from computer keyboards, origami, lego. Here are a few images that we say, you can find the whole PowerPoint here

Arte Callejero- El Tono

I dared to ask my kids what art forms they wanted to look at, and the general consensus was on street art/urban art which is great because there is soooo much out there and there are also a lot of Spanish artists producing amazing street art.
Day 2 of the Art Unit, we looked at an artist named El Tono. After a short intro/listening activity where I spoke about him and they simply had to understand what I was saying, we went on to look at his work. He has uploaded his portfolio in .pdf format, describing his many international exhibits in Spanish with pictures. I gave each student one of those which they had to read, understand, then explain in English to their peers. 
They enjoyed finding out from each other what his different projects were and it was fun talking about the motivation behind them. 
I have to admit that it is not easy for them to express themselves about all this, but they are attempting with a solid use of Spanglish. I'll take what I can get. (It is officially only their 3rd semester of Spanish.)

Click on the image to access El Tono's art portfolio which I found on his website here.

Intro to Art

I started the unit off with my very own digital gallery. I created QR Codes, borrowed the ipads we have available and threw them right in to looking at different art forms and telling me their opinions.
I pasted 18 different works of art around the room that could only be accessed by scanning the bar code. Below are 3 examples that I used.

They kept track of the name of the piece, artist, origin of the artist and their opinions using this sheet.
 I thought this would take about 30 minutes, but boy was I wrong! They got so into checking out other pieces by the various artists that this spilled over into the next day so in total, many of them ended up taking 90 minutes! I didn't mind though as they were very keen on seeing all these different forms of art, whom am I to deny them!
When we finally got around to talking about what they saw and their opinions en español, it was very interesting to see the differences in who liked what. Some pieces I thought they would like, most didn't like. Their use of extensive opinion-giving vocabulary was not as extensive as I would have liked, but this allowed them to see that there is much more than just saying "Me gusta" all the time, or "Es feo.". It gave them the opportunity to explore better ways to express opinions and why they liked or didn't like.
I then went on to ask more questions to extend the speaking portion of the class, asking which was their favourite and why, least favourite and why. Which medium was the most interesting, etc.
All in all, I think it was a very successful start to the unit, and although the language portion was limited in scope, I like that the first day got them excited about the unit. When some heard that we were doing art, they groaned and said "But this Spanish class!". That feeling is exactly what I'm hoping to dispel over these few of weeks.

Año 12- El Arte

My grade 12s (which in reality are part of a split level Grade 10/12 class, talk about being super organised!) have started the Art Unit. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to approach this unit as I am in now way, shape, or (artistic) form anything close to an art teacher. I don't know how to critique, what makes one painting worth millions as opposed to another, and I just don't get some a lot of it. All I know is that I like a lot of colour and I like to understand what is going on in the piece, but that is neither here nor there.
On that note, I didn't want to focus on the "traditional" stuff, but rather, I wanted to actually engage my students and not talk at them about the techniques, blah, blah, blah. We have focused on a lot of Arte Urbano o Arte Callejero. And it worked! From the get go they were interested. Phew! It's been a lot of work, and it's not over. I am changing things daily, and just spending a lot of time preparing, but it's worth it. I will break down some of the activities I have been doing to give you a taste.


Can you match the Spanish name to its nickname?

In the first few days I always play this short game . I show them the PowerPoint and then in teams of 3 or 4, they have to fill in the nickname next to the correct first name in the fastest amount of time. 


Some what inappropriate and not at all useful in the classroom

This first one is an accurate reflection of how I felt in Math class, and makes me think that that is what some of my kids feel like in French and Spanish class.


There are alot of funny, yet inappropriate creations on the Someecards website.


¡El español es tu pasaporte al mundo!

Tomorrow, May 10th, 2012, is the Ontario Secondary Schools Spanish Contest! I am super excited and super proud of all the hard work our committee has put into this year's event.
We are expecting approximately 140 students from 37 different schools in and around the Greater Toronto Area. Students will participate in a Listening and Writing Exam, a Speaking Exam and this year's cultural activities are an Afro-Cuban performance and workshop and a Flamenco workshop. I think those will be a great hit. I'm jealous as I will be holed up in the Marking Room and tallying scores, maybe I'll be able to sneak out and get in a dance or two.



Nike Ads- Español

Calle 13- No Hay Nadie Como Tú

I always play music for my students as they are walking in to class, that is, if I can get there first! I also like to incorporate songs into my lessons based on the theme we are studying or the grammar. Sra. Birch from El Mundo de Birch wiki has compiled, and continues to do so on her own and with input from colleagues, an amazing list of Spanish songs. Not is it just a list, but it has categories by relevant topic/grammar point, which is just amazing! How little it takes to excite a Spanish teacher, eh?

Visitante y Residente de Calle 13
In my first year, Grade 10 Spanish class, we have been studying adjectives, and what better song than Calle 13's (you can never go wrong with them) and Café Tacuba- No Hay Nadie Como Tú.

I took 1.5 days to go through the activities, which were:

1. Listen to the song only. Answer the question: ¿Cómo es la canción en tu opinión? (feliz/contento, triste, enojado, loco, etc.)

2. Listening activity where I talk about the group en español, its origins, etc. and show the PowerPoint below, as they answer questions from the worksheet. Student and teacher copies included below.

Calle 13- Noy Hay Nadie Como Tú- Ejercicio Escucha- Estudiante

Calle 13- Noy Hay Nadie Como Tú- Ejercicio Escucha- Profesor

Calle 13- PowerPoint 
3. Listen twice and complete cloze activity. Filling in the gaps. (Some students freaking out as Residente sings quickly, but then shock themselves when they end up catching more than 2 words) Cloze activity included on page 2 of document above.

4. Underline the adjectives and decide if they are feminine/mascline and singular/plural.

The song was very well received and the activities went well, so I think I will definitely use this one again.

**Note: There are a few words in the song that some teachers may be uncomfortable dealing with. I had a quick word with my kids about maturity and what the song deals with and that I want no silly behaviour. They were perfect and didn't act like the 15 year old boys that they are.**

Calle 13 y Café Tacuba


Portuguese anyone?

You know how, you go to the club (I mean, remember when you were 20 and you used to go?) and people are mouthing the lyrics to a song as you dance, and you can tell immediately when someone does not know them? Their mouth is forming words that just don't match the actual lyrics? I don't like to be that person. Even worse, is when someone hears the actual words you are saying and they are completely off. 

I've been enjoying the song Ai Se Eu Te Pego by the Brazilian Michel Telo which  is in Portuguese (Pitbull also has a remix of it, but I enjoy the original), and for a little while I was walking around making up my own lyrics. Keep in mind, the only Portuguese I know is Obrigada and Eu falo portuges.  As you can see, the knowledge in that department is limited. Therefore, I made a mental note to spend a few minutes learning the lyrics, but what really pushed me to do it was my 20 month old son. This is currently one of his favourite songs, so, not only do we dance to it and listen to it multiple times a day, but it is our nighttime lullaby now! 
This being so, I had to learn the correct words, as he is imitating every word that comes out of my mouth, as a 1.5 year old does. 

I turned to my faithful youtube and learned the lyrics. There are very few, which makes it nice and easy! I also wanted to know what I was saying, and found a video with a translation to go along with the Portuguese lyrics. So now that I am confident in what I am singing to him, he asks for Nossa Nossa when he wants to hear it!

But, what I wanted to share was this great video below, that my son found! Yes, it was he, not I. After watching the original video a few times on his ipad, he began to check out the other videos that have the title of the song in their title, he quickly discovered some soccer (which he is obsessed with) related videos and then this one made by a gentleman in Germany, which is awesome. He of course could not enjoy the humour. 

Isn't it brilliant?