Monday, November 26, 2012

A Blast to the Future: Literacy in my Classroom

In this post I  have written what I am currently working on this semester. Then there are journal entries listed that I would write in the future on what my classroom would look like.

This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to read and comprehend most of the English instruction, but they are not able to give distinctive names to grammar points (e.g. adjectives, subject pronouns, adverbs, 1st person, etc.)

Journal……Sept. 30, 2013
My literacy rich classroom looks like students speaking to their partners about topics they have learned in class. For example, they will discuss what possessive adjectives are as well how to correctly choose each to complete a sentence. My students are reading a story about a child who liked to tell everyone what each household objective belongs to. They are engaged in writing their stories about what objects they own and what objects each of their family and friends own.

Journal……December 15, 2013 My literacy rich classroom looks like students having primary source readings on the cultural aspects the Spanish speaking culture. This means that students will be reading about school systems in different Spanish speaking cultures as well as historic events from respective cultures. My students are engaged in Spanish to explain to their partners what they have read by given their opinions by comparing and contrasting the target culture and their own. They are reading articles that have different perspectives and collaborating with their classmates to discuss the different views. They are discussion their point of view in Spanish as well as listening to others perspective to create a more informed perspective. They are writing persuasive summaries taking a stance on topics that are discussed in the class.

 Journal……May 30, 2014 My literacy rich classroom looks like have incorporated their readings, writings, and discussion as well as media and technology into their learning. My students are engaged in writing by having created a newsletter that will incorporate their readings, writing, discussion and media findings to support their learning. They are capable of independent learning in the following areas: writing to create an informed judgment using primary sources as well as discussion to support their stance, discussing topics providing and retaining different perspectives on topics and be able to write concrete sentences and summaries about their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Revised Student Questionnaire

This post contains a revised student questionnaire that I will use during Clinical Practice II.

Exploring Project Tomorrow

This blog post explores the Project Tomorrow website. Click here to view the site. 

     The 2011 Trends Update highlights how online learning is changing the classroom. What surprised me the most was, that since 2007, twice as many middle school students are learning online. I feel this is good because more students are being exposed to learning online. I hope that this growing numbers also reflects that more and more families see the importance of education. What didn’t surprise me was how administrators are concerned with the student-teacher interaction as well as the quality of online education. I would like to use this information by helping my students understand what an online class consist of.
      After viewing the video, "Students Speak Up to President Obama about how to improve their schools," I thought information was well thought out. I found it interesting that one student wanted a national curriculum as well as how many of them wanted real world job skills incorporated into the classroom. It didn’t surprise me that many students do not want to be taught for a test at the end of the year. This information helps me because students are the ones who are posing the improvements. This information helps me reflect on my teaching by incorporating some real world situations into my lesson plans. I could have students create a skit on Spanish greetings or create a video showing what their schedule is like.  
      After looking at the “youthTEACH2Learn resources” I saw that the program is beneficial to both groups of students. In order to club a group at my school site there would have to be a minimum of five students in the group and have an advisor, a teacher. Then students would have to draft up a Constitution and fill out a club application and submit it to the Associated Student Body. Once the club is up running the meetings can take place during school hours, Extended Learning Period (ELP), or after school. The club members must also have someone take the minutes of each meeting. One of the benefits of starting a “Future Teachers” program is that whether students plan on becoming educator it will teach them to collaborate with others and they will learn to become teachers. Students will also gain firsthand knowledge on what a teacher does before, during, and after a lesson. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

This post addresses a social and/or cultural issue that a high school English learner faces. 

One social issue some high school English learners face is that they tend to separate themselves from other Spanish Speakers who may have lived here and are more "acculturated" to American norms. I have noticed that the English learners in my Spanish Speakers class tend to sit near others to speak Spanish better. This also happens with students whose prominent language is English. English learners may do this because they feel more comfortable speaking with others in Spanish. I feel this is an issue because although it is a Spanish class they have the opportunity to speak with others in English. This can become a social issues because it becomes an obstacle for making new friends. 

Unit Plan

This is a post contains a one week Unit Plan for Spanish I.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creativity in a Spanish Classroom

            In the Spanish I class we let the students work on culminating projects were they can build a poster, make a movie, or Power Point Presentation. The students also have the ability to describe themselves. Each class we have students do warm-up activities. Within these warm-up activities we have students write sentences. The students have to make sure that they are properly conjugating verbs and describing nouns with gender appropriate adjectives as well as possessive adjectives. The students say their sentences and I write them down. As a class we correct the sentences and I have them give an explanation why the sentence is written that way. During the warm-up the students are allowed to work with a partner or group to help them answer the warm-up questions. In the classroom we also have students work on communicative activities which have both oral and written parts.
            Technology is very present on our classroom. We try to use videos that will supplement our lesson to help the students visualize certain concepts. This last week I did a lesson on Día de los Muertos. I gave the students examples on other cultures that remembered those who have died. As of right now we haven’t done much with media literacy. My cooperating teacher and I have discussed creating some assignments online that will allow them to correct their answers before they turn it in.  We encourage the students to look up podcast in Spanish that will help them build their vocabulary. We also encourage them to watch cartoons or maybe movies that they might be able to follow along because of characters features are being displayed.
            In order to help students work independently and help them to become self-directed learners we set up gallery walks at the beginning of each unit. In the gallery walks have no more than four people in a group. Each student has a job to fulfill: monitor, processor, recorder and presenter. At the end of the gallery walk I have each student fill out a questionnaire where they answer questions such as: What did you think about the gallery walk? What was your job? Did everyone participate? If so, what did each group member do? The students are given the task and as a group they have to meet the tasks and evaluate themselves. In the next class we talk about their comments and how the gallery walk could be more efficient and what they can do to make it better.
            In the Spanish speakers I class we had the class split into pairs or groups of 3, and each group had to research a topic on an ancient Latin American culture and present it to the class in Spanish. The class was able to choose the people in their group. The topics were chosen by picking the group names out of a bag and those groups would have the opportunity to pick a civilization from the names on the board, a total of 14 civilizations. The students were given time to work on the projects in class, there are 12 computers available in class. At my school site each student has a Google Apps accounts and we encouraged the students, if they were making a PowerPoint, to make it using their accounts so they would be able to collaborate with each other outside of class. This project helped students understand different cultures and they were able to interact with their peers to achieve a common goal. Since this project would involve time after school the students had to prioritize and manage their time well to complete the presentations on time. The second part to their project was presentations; we discussed the language they should be using and reminded them not to turn their backs to the audience. The students learned to present themselves professionally and be accountable for the work they each were presenting. The audience also had the responsibility to demonstrate ethical behavior; if they were being disrespectful points would be taken off from their presentation. At the end of the presentation we discussed what they could have improved on for future presentations. For example, use a background that will make the words legible, not reading off the slide, making eye contact and not using English.

TPE4: To meet student academic learning needs, candidates explain content clearly and reinforce content in multiple ways, such as the use of written and oral presentation, manipulatives, physical models, visual and performing arts, diagrams, non-verbal communication, and computer technology.  They model active listening in the classroom. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

EDSS 521: Literacy Lesson Design Using Brain and Memory

This blog post explains a brief overview of my literacy lesson design for my Spanish I class. I will take into account brain development and the use of  memory in my lesson. The picture below is a colorful skull that is used as common decoration during this tradition.

Keeney, Carolyn. papermacheskull.jpg. Spring 2001.
Pics4Learning. 16 Oct 2012 <>
After session 8 I realized I had to take many more things into account when making my literacy lesson plan. I learned that student’s prefrontal cortex changes most dramatically during adolescence. During my lesson I need to be very direct in my directions and instructions so students know what they are working on and review the goals for the lesson. As a part of the lesson I would show a small clip from Sara-Jayne Blackemore’s TED talk so they can understand the importance of education while in their  teenage years . I will tie this video with the lesson to explain why it is important to speak a new language and learn about different customs in cultures.  
I will have students close their eyes or put their heads down to have them think about traditions they may have in their lives. It could be a birthday, religious, pre-game, or school tradition like tradition. This will lead right into an explanation of memory. I will use questions like asking them how they feel during this tradition, why they have this tradition and the importance to them personally. I will have the students read an article about the origins and present day traditions of Día de los Muertos. The students will read the article with key vocabulary words in Spanish. Then they will watch a video and work on a Venn-Diagram in groups. They will compare the traditions of Día de los Muertos to Halloween in the United States. A representative of the group will write one thing on the Venn Diagram. Later each student will be handed ‘papel de china,’ tissue paper. They will be shown an example and for homework, “papel picado” which is used as decoration during Día de los Muertos. I hope with this mini culture lesson they will learn that it is not just about death but rather a tradition where decoration takes place.