Monday, March 29, 2010

I love this commerical!!

I saw this commercial last night and am totally obsessed with it.  I'd love to use it in our upcoming food unit, but I'm not really sure how to incorporate it.  I mean, I could just show it, but I'd much rather have them do some sort of activity with it.  Any suggestions or ideas?

Teaching Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom

I learned so so much at the conference I attended this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday I attended a three hour workshop on the teaching of reading in FL classes. I realized that I wasn't really teaching my students how to read in Spanish. I was expecting my students to use the skills they already have in English to read in Spanish. During the workshop I realized I could not depend on their English reading skills exclusively, but should be doing way more scaffolding to help them become better readers in a second language.

So, from now on I am going to make sure I follow the following steps when assigning my students readings in the future.

1. I am going to determine a goal for each reading I use. This could be a comprehension goal (What is life like in Argentina?) or perhaps a grammar goal (find all of the verbs in the imperfect tense and see what role they play in the reading).

2. I am going to know each text I use very well, and change it if necessary to accomplish the goal I have for that reading.

3. I'll figure out logical places to divide the text in order to make it more manageable and appear less daunting to my students.

4. I'll have pre-reading questions for them to answer before starting the reading as well as questions for them to answer while reading, after they finish each chunk.

5. I'll follow each reading with a task for my students to complete to show that they not only have understood what they've read, but are also able to make connections to their own lives or society. This could include higher level thinking questions (Hello, Blooms Taxonomy!), having them write an alternate ending, have them write a summary, or re-write what they have read from a different character's perspective.

I've realized that these techniques for teaching reading in the foreign language classroom are very closely related to what English teachers do every day. This is excellent for me as my students will already be used to doing this. I now realize I was going about reading in class the wrong way, hopefully following these steps will help me help my students become better readers in Spanish.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Señorita in Times Square

So, it's that time of year again. I am pretty sure most foreign language teachers on or near the East coast consider the end of March one of their favorite times of the year. Why you ask? Well, because of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, of course! For three days at the Marriott in Times Square foreign language teachers from not only the East coast, but all over the United States, come together to chat, learn, exchange ideas and collaborate. Ahh, for teachers who are into this, the NECTFL conference is like a wonderland of professional development, and I am definitely one of those teachers.

On Thursday there are optional workshop sessions lasting three or six hours. Today I am attending an afternoon workshop called "Teaching Reading for Content and Language". I am super excited about this as I know it will give me lots of great ideas for my Spanish 2's as well as the AP Literature class.

Friday is the day that I have to rest up for. There are about five time slots for sessions throughout the day starting at 10:15 and ending at 5:00 in the evening. The great thing is we can choose whatever we want to attend. And the choices!! I could attend a session about using technology in the classroom, conversational Arabic, or even how to teach a unit on bull-fighting.

The best part of Friday will definitely be the exhibit hall. This is where loads of teaching tech companies, book publishers, study abroad programs, foreign language organizations all try and get the attention of little ole me. They try to tempt me with candy, drawings for prizes, free pens, maracas...and yes, I even have a CIA frisbee from last year. Last year they gave us champagne, the year before the Italian teachers association had a gelato cart, and was giving out cones of delicious gelato. Like I said...wonderland.

I've never actually made it the third day. This year I will, however also attend on Saturday. I love thee NECTFL conference.