Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spanish Word Wall

 Several years ago, I put up a word wall in my high school classroom very similar to this one, and it has been an integral part of my classroom ever since.  These pictures are part of my new classroom design, so the colors are new, but the concept is the same.  

On my word wall, I put small Spanish words that come up all the time in stories and speaking.  Instead of assigning these words as vocabulary that they are tested on, we refer to the word wall as needed.  It is never covered up and is always available for their reference.  

When I'm teaching a lesson, such as a TPRS lesson, and one of those words comes up that the class hasn't heard or used before, I will use my laser pointer around my neck to point to it on the word wall as I say it so that they can continue to comprehend my story without me needing to break into an English explanation.  I love it!

I'm really interested in different kinds of word walls and how they are used in the foreign language classroom.  Do you have any word walls in your classroom?  If so, how do you use them?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pinterest Project: Bag Holder

As I was looking for ideas for my classroom, I came across this pin about using an old wipe container to store plastic bags.  Since I had extra Lysol wipe containers, extra plastic bags, and some extra scrapbooking bits, I thought I'd give it a try.  

I always seem to be needing plastic bags for myself or for my students, especially on days when they bring in food or other things to share, so we'll see if it comes in useful someday!  :)

See other Pinterest Projects I've tried!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Personal Cognate Dictionaries

Having students write down cognates they come across is something that I used to do a lot with my classes, but I've gotten lax on it, and so they don't write them down like they used to.  This year, I'm going to give each student a personal cognate dictionary for them to write down cognates they come across.  My hope is that it will help them with writing assignments and also spelling, since I've noticed they don't pay much attention to the spelling of cognates like they do words that are completely new. 

Do you do anything similar when it comes to teaching vocabulary and cognates?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pinterest Project: Passes to Leave Class

I came across this pin on Pinterest last spring and thought it was a brilliant idea.  So, here's the version I made:  

I love how it supports vocabulary, especially with the young ones.  Also, the clothes pins can be pinned to clothes and then not left behind in the bathroom.  

See other Pinterest Projects I've tried!

How I Organize My Students' Desks

I probably put a bit more thought into my students' desks than the average high school teacher, but I learned very early on in my career that I despised the time wasted handing things out or going to get supplies - even if there were solid routines in place.  So, generally, I try to keep things that students are going to need often within hands reach.  

My desks are paired together to facilitate the mountain of pairwork that my students do during class.  Each set of desks has a mini-white board for each student, a crayon box of supplies and a pencil bag of supplies.

I use the mini-whiteboards A LOT.  We practice both vocabulary and grammar on them.  I do a lot of comprehension checks where they get to draw.  It's a fun time and an easy formative assessment too!

Inside the crayon boxes are four EXPO markers for using on the mini-whiteboards, a whiteboard eraser to share, and one glue stick for when we get crafty.  

Inside the pencil case are two pairs of scissors, which are most commonly used for cutting apart flashcards or vocabulary square puzzles.  There are also two pads of Post-It notes, which the students use as their Exit Ticket.  I put two pencils in the bag too because I would prefer students just borrow a pencil from there rather than make a big production during class trying to find a pencil.  I've also got two pipe cleaners with beads on them that we use for re-telling our TPRS stories.  I call them our "Cuentas de cuentos."  

What about you?  Do you keep any materials close by for students to use?  What have you found most important for them to have in your class?