Eres un hipster infografía



This week's topic for Cuéntanos is "El momento más embarazoso de mi vida..."
Naturally I started it all of, although I won't reveal it here, it involves the work pedo. As the students walked in, they were greeted with the sounds of Ely Guerra, but on the board it said pedo=fart. Of course that caused a whole flurry of chatter and they were instantly desperate to know what my story would and began speculating. I told them the whole story in Spanish using actions at times to help with understanding and many were surprised they were actually able to understand the entire thing. I made it simple enough that they all actually laughed at a story I told in Spanish. For my class, that was a major accomplishment and I was so happy that they we were able to engage in that way. 
On another note, I found this via Pinterest and being very familiar with the nuances from Spanish spoken in Mexico, I quickly realised that I was very aware of all of these expressions. I don't think these are widely used in all the other Spanish speaking countries, but I may be mistaken. 
Nonetheless, it is entertaining.

¿Cómo se dice pen en español?


El Pretérito de la Clase

Every year around this time I end up teaching the Pretérito to my Grade 11 Spanish class, and amongst the various practice exercises, I customise one every year called the Pretérito de la Clase.
It is simply a series of sentences that reflect each one of the students in the class, be it their personality, an activity I know they are interested, basically anything that I can use to help identify them and set them apart from the rest. I write up each sentence, leaving out the name of the student and a blank where they conjugate the given verb. The pieces are cut up and stuck around the room.
Here is a snapshot of what the exercise looks like prior to cutting.

Each numbered sentence is put up in no particular order around the room. They must go around and copy the sentence, conjugate the verb in the Pretérito and figure out who I am describing. It was fun to see their reactions to information I put up about them. Some were shocked that I would knew all that about all the students, but I have my ears open at all times listening to what they are saying even if it seems like I'm not paying attention. They must forget all the talks we have daily and how much they actually tell me, or maybe they don't expect me to remember, but I do. 

Here are my students in action.


The Running of the Bulls- Improv Everywhere

I love this group! They have some fantastic ideas for improv situations and everything they do just makes you smile, if not bust a gut laughing.
I happened to be talking about the Running of the Bulls with my Grade 12s as one of them painted a scene for her Art Project (will post later about that), and then I came across this.

Dijó ningún estudiante nunca

Here are some of my students thoughts.

Dijó ningún maestro nunca

Voilà, some of the student submissions.


Presente Perfecto + someecards

While going through the Presente Perfecto, I thought about having my students come up with some funny ecards. I've spent way too much time reading through these in the past and find them very entertaining.

They are to use the someecards website to make them. I will post some of them

The 2 titles were:
1) Dijo ningún estudiante nunca.

2) Dijo ningún maestro nunca.

Here are the two I made as an example.



Breaking Bad en Español

Look what I found!!! It's just the trailer, but there are a whole lot of verbs in this clip in various tenses. I haven't thought of what to do with it yet, but I thought I would share the clip for now regardless. 

I know the show is inappropriate and I won't be sitting down to watch it with my students, however I am conscious of the fact that most of them watched the series and loved it. In fact, it was my first year Spanish Grade 10 class who insisted that I start watching the show in the first place. It all started when I asked them to come up with a team name and the name they chose was the Pollos Locos- no wait, maybe it was the Hermanos Locos or Pollos Hermanos, or something Armados. Despite this having happened barely 2 months ago, I can't remember. Anyway, I asked how they knew those Spanish words and they said from Breaking Bad, then they eventually convinced me to watch and catch-up on all the episodes on netflix. Little did I know the series would end before I could watch them all, so as I was still finishing Season 2, I disappointed all my kids by watching the final episode! I'm sidetracking now.

It is a Colombian production and it is called Metástasis. Word has it that it is practically identical, the plot line, the script, the costumes, everything.

Thank a Teacher

Who can't use a bit of love every once in a while? We love what we do, we love the kids, we love our subjects. 
One thank you makes it all worth it.



Every year I say I'm going to do a variation of Show & Tell in my Spanish classes and I never actually do it. This year I made sure that I started right away in the first week so that it becomes a part of our daily routine. Every week is a different topic, we keep track on our class blog. And every week I vary the rotation of students. We call it Cuéntanos.
So far we've had Mi objeto favorito, mi pedazo de ropa favorito, mi juego favorito, mi película favorita and I've lined up mi sitio web favorito, mi hashtag favorito. When possible, such as in the object and clothing sections, they are to bring in their item to share and pass around, otherwise we project an image on the board of what they are talking about.

I typically schedule 3-4 students a day, that way we finish them all in 5 days. What they have to is very basic. Answer the questions:
1) ¿Qué es?
2) ¿Por qué es tu _______ favorito?
3) ¿De dónde es?/¿Quién te lo compró/regaló?
4) Otro pedazo de información

This allow those who work at a Level 3, average, complete the basic requirements, but those who would like to work at a level 4 can do so by extending their sentences and providing more information.
By doing this, I am guaranteed that every students gets to speak (albeit limited) Spanish every week. Those few I have who will never contribute during a regular day, now have no choice. I also like that it allows them to work on their public speaking skills. I was a nervous wreck in high school when I had to get up in front of the class, and although I'm sure I would have hated this activity to
start off with, eventually I would have gotten used to getting up there on a weekly basis. I think it is very beneficial for them. We keep it very casual, and they know the routine, we come in, settle down, and someone usually offers to go first and get the party started.
Right now, they've been reading what they have prepared, but I've told them that for the next round I would like them to work on memorising more so that it becomes more than just a reading activity. I would like them to become confident Spanish speakers, and I can already a difference in some of them.
I've really had a good time with this so far. By the way, I also participate in Cuéntanos every week by doing the first one for every topic. I've already learned quite a bit and been surprised a few times. For example, today I found out that one student's favourite game was NHL 14, but I didn't even know he had an interest in hockey. I've only ever heard about him talk about BMX. I've even seen him at the skate park when I've taken my own son. And I've taught this young man for three years! Others brought in instruments as their favourite and I didn't know they even played any. I believe the others are enjoying these little slivers of their classmates life that we are being exposed to, which we may have not otherwise known about.

Does anybody else do anything similar in their class? I'd love to hear about your experiences or if you have any suggestions on how to improve the activity.


Les adjectifs

We've been studying adjectives in my Grade 9 Academic French class. I found this great activity over at the Farnsworth Family Blog, that they use at church as part of their youth activities and thought it would be perfect to practice using adjectives to describe each other.
I put my students in friend groups so that they would actually be able to describe each other. Together they had to brainstorm a minimum of five adjectives to describe each person. The person being described was not supposed to contribute any suggestions, they were only allowed to object if they didn't agree with what was chosen for them.
And the rest is self-explanatory. It involved a chair, markers, a whiteboard behind them and all the words written around their head. Oh yes, and the best part was the berets that I made them wear. There were a few, ok, make that a lot of groans and mumblings of "Oh gross, we have to wear that?!", but it was like the cherry on top! We took pictures with our phones and they were all emailed to me. My idea is to put them up in class.
I think the activity could use some tweaking, such as, adding more adjectives, five adjectives seems to be too little. Perhaps next time I'd throw in a couple of sentences? What do you think?


La Música Tribalera/Bota picudas

I like to start with a small unit on Music with my Grade 12s. It's a fun way to start off the semester, and it hooks them right away.
A few of the things I do is start with this short Powerpoint (the links are not working currently, but the videos are below)

 I start off by having them tell me about music in their lives related to instruments and types of music they listen to. We then watch the Intentalo video by 3Ball MTY.

They have to tell me if they noticed anything interesting clothing-wise. Usually the answer is the short dresses, and then the funky boots! So, we then start to talk about them and lead into this mini documentary.

To end of this lesson, I have them design their own boots, so out come the coloured pencils and off they go drawing! Next time we meet, they must explain their boots to the class and why they chose the design they did. 



A little bit of the Twitterverse, directly and indirectly 
incorporated into class today via an activity that Martina Bex put together for one of her classes.

She captured various tweets on the hashtag         #LoMejorDeMéxicoEs and created comprehension questions. I tweaked that and borrowed some of the tweets for my 2nd year students. I had them go through them without the use of dictionaries or translators. They did an amazing job at figuring out pretty much every tweet, and were entertained by the statements.

Then I put them into pairs and they had to try to come up with four tweets about #lomejordeCanadá.
Some had trouble thinking outside the box, some stuck to some very generic points and some took advantage to throw in Justin Bieber (because what would Spanish class be without mentioning Justin Bieber on a daily basis?), and others needed more guidance, nonetheless, they seemed to have a good time trying to put their tweets together. There were some slower to put together their tweets and didn't get to writing four. I had each pair choose their favourite two that they came up with and write them on the board. 
I took pictures (see below) of their amazing hand writing. The next day we took a look at what they came up with all together. The tweets allowed us to learn a number of new words and explore some common grammar mistakes. 
I enjoyed this activity. It was very simple to throw together, fun to execute and even more fun to see the results. 
I didn't have them actually tweet out their statements as most do not have Twitter, although I had some offers from those that have accounts, to tweet out everyone's work, so perhaps I will have them do that so we can make a little mark on Twitter.

If you studied a foreign language at university...

This was amusing and just what I needed today!