Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Spanish 4A "La vida contemporánea" Lessons in Action!

We just started my "La vida contemporánea/Argentina" unit in 4A, for which we discussed the definition or description of Contemporary Life in Spanish as well as graphed our ideas. Students first made a simple web of ideas with a partner:
And then we compiled everyone's ideas in a big web on the whiteboard:
My fours are accustomed to skits being the main source of Spanish instruction so this heavy culture-discussion thing in Spanish is a big step for them...a few of them aren't too crazy about it, but I have to say, every one of them did participate and contribute ideas when we were doing the partner-web and the big web on the whiteboard.

Tomorrow they will be on the second skit,  "The Guy Who Didn't Take the Class Seriously" (with AP vocab "School and Office,") so those few who were worn out by having to talk about modern life in Spanish for 40 minutes will get a fun, familiar break and hopefully not abandon ship on me. I'm liking it!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Giving Classroom Directions in Spanish?

I just got this email from my friend Liz:
Hi Jalen!  I have purchased your new books for level 1 and they look great.  

Hey, I was wondering if you would please describe for me your use of English in the classroom.  It's hard to give directions and such in Spanish for new beginners.  I'm okay with using English, but I'd just like to know what you do.


Thanks!!!

My response:
Hi Liz!  In levels 1 and 2 I did tend to use a lot of English directions.  Well, all English directions pretty much.  I let the daily skit, the Q&A afterwards, and the page of reading be the bulk of my target language input.  I'm teaching with a colleague now (Carrie) who uses almost exclusively Spanish in levels 1 and 2 and not just with my stories but somehow enforces them asking to go to the bathroom, everything, in Spanish.  This fall she moved classrooms and her door will be facing mine 5 feet away so I plan to spy and learn all her secrets.  (Or maybe I can get her to write a guest blog for me or something.)  Anyway, I still give some directions in English in levels 3, PreAP3, 4, and to be honest AP as well, because maybe I'm lazy or just not skilled in this area or I want to just hurry up and say, "hold up the grammar worksheet so I can see it when I look down your row and check off that you did it" and be done with it.  I will say, the Spanish directions I do give work best when they are repetitive things we always do every day, because then after about 4 class periods or so they know what I’m asking with no explanation.  And, it is my goal to increase my own use of Spanish every year and figure out all the tricks for how to make that work without whole-class-revolt.

I will also say that I have always been happy with how much Spanish my students were learning at levels 1 & 2, and that the main input of skits, questions about the skit, and readings in Spanish is key for language acquisition at those levels; directions in Spanish is probably is not key.  In my opinion.

Hope this helps!

J

Just to add a note for the upper levels:  in levels 3, PreAP3, and 4, I do ever-increasing amounts of Spanish class discussion in additions to the skits and readings, and in AP the instruction is reading and listening to authentic sources combined with class discussion in Spanish, so maybe this is how I get away with giving directions in English more than I probably should.

Hopefully more later this Fall on how my colleague Carrie maintains so much Spanish in 1 and 2...


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spanish 4A Will Be Out This Week

Update on all the updates...Jalen Waltman's Spanish 4A 2014 lesson plan book is going to be up for sale on my website at www.waltmania.com no later than Tuesday night August 5th.  I'm taking the enormous-looking manuscript to my printer tomorrow and should have some books ready to ship by Friday.  I don't know how many pages it is since the pages aren't numbered (only tagged by Lesson they go with) but it looks like it's as thick as my level 3 stuff, which, if you have those books, you know what I mean.  I will try to make 4A sample lessons available to download here from my blog tomorrow night.

Here was my July.  I finished 4A early July and then immediately started 4B; wrote half of 4B, which didn't really go any faster than 4A (as I had hoped,) so about two weeks ago I stopped working on 4B to get a start on AP A, so that I can at least start off this Fall with good lesson plans ready for all my preps.  AP A is about a third done, so it's not ready to go with 4A, and 4A is too big anyway to combine anything with it.  AP is probably going to be one book for both semesters, of about 250 pages I think.

(If you teach AP Spanish Language and Culture and were waiting with baited breath for me to publish at least the A semester, let me know and I'll keep you posted on the progress of my AP stuff.)

I'm ***so excited*** about how 4A turned out.  When I wrote level 3 I felt I'd done my best work yet, that I'd matured as a lesson designer and that I'd probably maxxed out.  Now I'm feeling that level 4 is my new "masterpiece," and it feels good to be able to cap off my entire series with something I feel proud of.  I just hope those of you who will be teaching through it with me this Fall will feel the same way!