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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?


El Mejor Trabajo en el Mundo/ The Best Job in the World

As of today there are 98 days left until the beginning of the 2012 London Olympics! 

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has been releasing a series of commercials in honour, not of the athletes, but of the mothers that support the athlete throughout their journey of reaching the Olympics, calling motherhood the most difficult AND best job in the world. I completely agree Proctor and Gamble! I am focusing on the most current release for this activity.

It is a very well done video, very touching, in fact. It was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose work I love. (I own all of his movies.)

A quick glance at P&G's youtube channel shows me that their videos are produced in many languages, with this one being in English, a Spanish version with subtitles (which I used for my activity), a Portuguese one, a dubbed and edited to only show one of the athletes Polish and Czech version (hmmm, interesting...). 

I've thrown together a quick worksheet that incorporates watching the video with answering some questions, filling in gaps and completing a listening read out loud by the teacher.

Poema Acróstico

We recently learned about adjectives in one of my classes and to show me their stuff, the students had to put together a little acrostic poem describing themselves. I asked for the use of adjectives, but kept it open for when they may get stuck.
To show them an example, I threw one together describing myself.

Catherine Tate- Multilingual Interpreter


Keep calm and...

You know the famous

Now you can create your own! I've been using these as my avatar on twitter for example, but originally I started out by making them for my classrooms. 

There are a few sites you can make these on. I use the The Keep Calm-o-Matic. It is so easy to use. You can change the colours of the foreground and background, adjust the size of the text and the poster and even change the image at the top by uploading your own.

You could have your students make their own, or just make some yourself to decorate your walls with.

Here are some of the ones I have made.

Coca Cola in Spanish

Thought I'd start throwing together some posts with ads in French and Spanish from different companies. There's no real objective to it, but who knows, maybe I will think of something for my Grade 12 Spanish class next year.

This installment includes a few print and video ads for Coca cola in Spanish.




La Nourriture Vocabulaire- QR Code activity

These are the step by step instructions of how I put this activity together.

Step 1: Choose 8 food items.

Step 2: Think of a simple and obvious clue for each (en français). 
And those are:
1) Shaylan et Sebastian mangent beaucoup de ça en classe. =les bonbons
2) C'est un végétal orange. =la carotte (I know it's not, but writing légume would have caused confusion amongst the troops.)
3) Le matin on mange ça avec du lait. =les céréales
4) Quand il fait chaud, on aime manger ça. =la crème glacée
5) Tu dois boire 8-10 de ça par jour. =l'eau
6) C'est un boisson blanc. =le lait
7) Le fruit peut être rouge ou vert. = la pomme
8) Quand tu vas au restaurant rapide tu bois ça.= la boisson gazeuse

Step 3: Open Kayway QR Code Generator. Here is where each individual QR Code will be created. (Or Google another QR Code Generator of your choice.)

Step 4: As I entered a text clue and not a link to a website, I clicked on Text
Step 5: Type your text. *If your activity involves QR Codes linking to websites, make sure IN ADVANCE, that your students are able to use a data plan.

Step 6: Click the Generate button.
Step 7: Et voilà! Your QR code appears in the box to the left.

Step 8: Right click on your mouse/mouse pad and 'Save Image' to wherever you want.

Step 9: Just type over the previous text and hit Generate again to create a new code. Repeat this for however many you need.

Step 10: Open a Word document. 

Step 11: Insert as many text boxes as needed according to how many QR Codes there are. (I always work with text boxes so I can easily manipulate my images.)

Step 12: Number your text boxes.

Step 13: Insert each QR Code into its own text box. You can play with it to make it bigger or small. I made them relatively big so that the kids didn't have to get too close and squish each other. I chose to place 2 QR codes per sheet. Which I later cut in half prior to taping to the wall.

Step 14: Keep track of all the clues and what number they correspond to and the answer. (I didn't initially, but the clue is so easily accessed, it didn't affect the lesson, however, for a colleague I printed out all the info as she does not have the necessary mobile device.) But anyway, you will want to keep it as a reference in your resources.

Step 15: Print your Word document. Cut the pages in half. Tape around the room so there is space if there is a crowd.

For your students:

1) Only those who have access to free apps on their mobile device (iphone, itouch, Android, Blackberry-can be done with a laptop as well) can download the QR Code Reader.

2) Have them search a QR Code Reader in their App Store and make sure they choose a FREE one. (On my iphone, the one I've found to be the best so far is i-nigma.

3) Once the app is downloaded, open it.

3) Hold up the mobile device so that the QR Code is within the boundaries of the screen. (Just like a camera.)

4) With some apps, you have to click on a button that takes the picture, with i-nigma it automatically recognises the QR Code when it is on the screen.

5) The text or website that you linked to will pop up on the screen.

6) Figure out the clue. Write the French word on the sheet. 

In case you didn't see the actual worksheet that they were working with, here it is again. 

La Nourriture Vocabulaire- QR Code Activity

And here are the QR Codes. Don't forget that my #1 clue is specific to students in my class, so if you use these, be sure to create a new QR code for that one.

La Nourriture- QR Codes

Hopefully you have found this helpful. I'm pretty sure that I didn't forget a step, but if anything is unclear, let me know.

A Case for Foreign Language Study as a Requirement in K-12 Schools


QR Codes in Applied French

What is a QR Code?
You know those UPC codes that the cashier scans at any check out counter? It is basically the same thing, but in a different format. That is the short and simple answer, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
-----------        --------------        ---------------     

I've always thought that our Applied students sometimes get the short end of the stick. 

For those of you not from Ontario, our Core French programme is broken down into Applied and Academic. The Applied streams tends to be significantly easier, homework isn't usually given, assignments and all other work is completed during class time, and I hate to say it, but the expectations are significantly lower. 

I am teaching a Grade 9 French Applied class for the first time since starting to teach in Canada and compare it to the ability level, behaviour and attitude that I experienced many time while teaching in London. However, there, they were not given the choice to choose between a more academic or not stream. Regardless of what the general perception is of the typical applied class, I still expect a lot from my students, within reason of course, and I try to provide them with the same types of stimulating activities that I do in my other classes.

On that note, they participated in their first QR Code activity this past week. We are currently in our food unit and I wanted a way to have them create a vocabulary list without just copying the words from the book. 

Before putting together the activity, I had to make sure we could actually accomplish it, in other words, that the kids had the necessary technology to access the QR codes. In my class of 13, only 2 were able to access free apps on their mobile devices, therefore I had to keep that in mind. So what I did was create different roles. 

1) The QR Code Reader
2) The Clue Decipherers
3) The Translator (I knew they wouldn't be lining up for this one, as they tend to despise using the dictionary! They always ask for the smaller of the 2 versions that we have, as the bigger one is "scary".)

I prepped the activity (I will post details about the process in the next entry), got very excited, went to class, only to find that we were down to 8 in the class that day! Then 1 took off for a Guidance appointment and took ages to come back, so we were down to 7 for a while. The teams, and yes, of course, there were teams, as the majority work much better with that competitive aspect, the teams ended up being quite uneven with 5 students on one and 3 on the other. In the end the 3 member team one as they were much more focused though!

Then I come to find out that one of the two who has a device that we were going to use, did not have it! He has had it every single day since day 1, I've confiscated it numerous times, and the one time I actually NEED HIM to have his mobile phone, HE DOESN'T HAVE IT! Can you believe it? I couldn't, and neither could any of the other kids in the class. Always the prepared teacher, I had made sure that my mobile was fully charged and had had a feeling that I would need it. As I knew I could entrust my kids to use it, I was more than happy to hand it over momentarily, all the while keeping an eye of course so they didn't get distracted by my son's games. (And as much as I thought they'd be curious to see what I had on there, they never once attempted to scroll through.)

Part 1 of the vocabulary gathering was using the QR codes to figure 8 clues that I had posted around the room, in French of course. I tried to use basic language so that they could be as independent as possible and tried to make the clues as obvious as possible. They did not have a word bank or a list to work from, all they knew was that we were starting our new food unit and this was their vocabulary list they were putting together. 

Part 2 of the activity was a series of images which they had to label in French and Part 3 was a traditional, here is the French word, translate to English.

All in all, after explaining how it would work, the winning team took 50 minutes to complete everything. I didn't think it would take that long, as we don't usually engage in activities in such large chunks, but it was technically, 3.5 different tasks, including the questions at the end. However, they were not distracted (ok, I'm fibbing, the 5 person team managed to chat enough that a few did not make it to the end where they had to answer questions.), so I change that to, on the whole, they were not distracted. But what I mean is that they were engaged. They were not bored, they seemed relatively interested, the QR code segment was the best part of course, and they really expressed a liking to the activity.

Click here to access the worksheet --> Nourriture vocab- QR Code activity  

And these are the QR codes here --> Nourriture vocab- QR Codes

All in all, a very successful class, if I do say so myself. 

The details of the creation of this specific activity will follow in the next post.

And just for fun: