Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Using Manipulatives in the Language Classroom

Good evening everyone!
Tonight I wanted to share one of my favorite techniques for practicing grammar: manipulatives!  I love using manipulatives after introducing the topic, but before production.  It gives them a "safer" way to apply the new material, and it's really easy for me to check their understanding.  I color-code my manipulatives (all first-person singular words are pink, all second-person singular words are orange, etc) so I can see at a glance who understands.
Click on the picture to download!
My favorite application for these manipulatives is to show the students a picture (usually via PowerPoint) and they have to hold up the best card for that image.  For example, if I show them a picture of a boy, they would hold up él, es, or va, depending on the set of cards we're practicing.  After a few rounds of this, I have them close their eyes when they hold up their cards, so you can truly see who knows what they're doing and who needs more help.

How do you use manipulatives in your language classes?
post signature

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It - Classroom Decor Edition

Good morning everyone!  I am really excited to link up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It!
This week I wanted to share some of the things I have made to decorate my classroom.

I am in love with this banner I made for over my desk!  I was inspired by Maria Menore at Kinder-Craze and Leslie at Kindergarten Works.  I love how bright it is, and it really cheers up my little corner of the room.

My second Made-It is my spruced-up bookshelf.  There are so many of these out in the blogosphere, and I just had to try my hand at it.  I used this wrapping paper from Target.  I love how it goes so well with my colors!  I may have to find a different way to hold my dictionaries so that the back of the shelf is visible.
Number three are my little curtains.  I've had this fabric from Hobby Lobby for a while, and I finally got around to making the curtains.  I love how such a little thing can make my room look so much homier.  And I promise they're not really crooked, just my picture-taking skills :)
This calendar had been in the works for a while, and I finally finished it this past week.  I used a pocket chart from the Target dollar spot (it's from last year, I think) to hold the cards, and a pencil-sized drawer organizer from Walmart to hold the extra cards.  I am so happy with how this turned out!  I plan on having the date already set for the first week, and then having a volunteer do it in each class every day.
So I know these aren't decor, but I'm so excited to use these "clocksicles" when we do our lesson on time.  I laminated them so that they were dry-erasable and hot-glued the faces on large popsicle sticks.  I go the idea from Denise at Second Grade Ponderings.  She has a link at the bottom of her post to download these, but I couldn't get it to work, so I made my own in Silhouette Studio in 4 of my classroom colors (which are the same as my blog colors - can you say obsessed?) and had my Silhouette SD cut them out for me after I laminated them.  I also used my Silhouette for the name banner and the calendar.  

The last thing I want to share is a bought-it, but I love how well it matches my colors!
This is the $3.99 wall clock from Walmart.  I bought it intending to switch out the face, but I was so happy to find it in this color, I think I'll just leave it alone (for now, at least...).  They also had this clock in black, white, lime green, and hot pink.

What is your favorite classroom item this year?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Optimum Organization - IEPs and Mods

Good morning everyone!  I'm sad this is the last week of the Optimum Organization Linky with Fun in 4B and Ladybug's Teacher Files.  I've found so many great ideas through this linky.
Today I want to share how I organize my mods.  I teach high school, and I have around 150-175 students each year, with about 20-30 IEP and 504 students.  That's a lot to remember!  So how do I keep track of it all?
Click on this picture to download.  The formatting looks funny in dropbox, but it downloads fine.
I made a spreadsheet with different columns for the common mods, and I just plug in the information for each student.  I keep this in my gradebook for easy reference, and it has simplified my life so much!  I still have all of the students' sheets with their complete mods in a binder, but this helps me keep everything straight.

How do you keep track of your students' mods?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Decorating the Classroom and a Freebie

Good evening everyone!  I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my Monday Wednesday Made It at the end of this post.
I stopped by my school yesterday and got the go ahead to work in my classroom.  I am so excited to get to work on creating a warm and inviting space for learning!  I have a lot of organizing to do.  I had to have emergency back surgery last year right before Thanksgiving and I thought I would be able to return for the second semester, but my doctor wouldn't let me return, so I had to pack up my room in a hurry last year.  Now I'm going back through everything and weeding out stuff that I don't use.  I'm a terrible packrat and it's really hard for me to get rid of things, but I've tried to be ruthless and ask myself if I will really use this stuff.  No I've got three boxes destined for the thrift store and a table of posters, manipulatives, and books for the teachers I work with.  Here's a before of my (ugly) pink cabinet:
This cabinet is two feet deep, which makes it hard to use effectively.  Stuff gets shoved to the back of the cabinet, and then other things get put in front, and before long, it's just a mish-mash of stuff.
I'll share pictures tomorrow of my progress, but I would love to hear how you would organize such a deep cabinet.

Since I've been out of my classroom for so long with nothing else to do, I've been making things for my room and envisioning how it will look.  Here are some of my picks for my classroom this year:
These borders line my whiteboard.
I only have one big bulletin board in my room, and I line it with black fabric and then double up these borders for a really bright, fun look:
I was inspired by the name banner Maria Menore hung over her desk, so I created my own.
I also made two versions of a welcome banner to hang above my whiteboard, and you can download it by clicking on the picture below.
What has inspired you this year?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reviews - Using Centers?

Good morning everyone!
I just found out yesterday that I will only be teaching Spanish 1 this coming year.  While I'm a little bummed that I won't have two preps, this gives me the chance to really beef up my plans for Spanish 1.

I have been thinking a lot about how I close each chapter.  In past years, I have given students a review packet to complete, which we then go over and I collect for a grade.  While this is fine and good, it's pretty boring.  I do like the practice they get from the packet, but I would like to spice it up.  This year, I'm going to try to do centers as review.  I can still have them complete a portion of the packet at a few stations (if I choose), but they will also be able to play games like go fish, battleship, and caramba!, as well as complete listening and reading exercises.

I have used centers in the past, and while I love them, it takes a lot of planning and forethought on the part of the teacher.   I'm hoping to have the first semester's worth of centers planned in the next two weeks or so.  I'll be sure to post on here what I come up with!

I wold love to hear how you review, so share your ideas with me in the comments!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Optimum Organization - How I organize my digital files and unit plans

Good afternoon everyone!  I'm linking up today with Fun in Room 4B and  Ladybug's Teacher Files for their Optimum Organization Linky.
I'm excited to share how I organize all of my digital files into my unit plans.  I found this post on the Creative Language Classroom's blog (check them out if you haven't already) a while back and I loved the idea (you can download their lesson planning template by clicking the link to their store at the end of their post).  I adapted their categories for my own classroom and ended up with this:
I love the way the standards are phrased in a more accessible way for students, and that it gives a concrete way to organize all of my resources.

The way I've been planning lately is by putting the plan into PowerPoint, typing in all of the resources I have, and then pasting them into the PowerPoint.  If it's something that's multiple pages long, I will add a link to the file in my PowerPoint so that when I access the file at school, it has all of the files I need for that unit attached to the PowerPoint (this does make for a really large file, though).

Here's part of my plan for greetings:
I love that I'm able to include all of the pictures I've found via pinterest, youtube videos, powerpoints, etc in one spot.  I usually print out each unit plan at school and put it into my lesson binder so everything is at my fingertips.  

How do you organize all of your digital resources?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!  It's time for another Favorite Pins Friday :)  I really enjoy looking at everyone's pins each week.
In no particular order:
This site has a ton of different pictures like the one above.  I'm still deciding if I want to hang these up in my room, or just use them when we practice vocab.
I can't find the source on this one, but I love the minions and I think it's a really cute picture to use either when I teach tener or commands.
I love all of Erin Bradley's stuff, and these are at the top of my wishlist right now :)
I read this post by I {heart} recess recently, and I got a lot of new ideas for using task cards in my classroom.
I love this photo series from NPR of meals from around the world.  I try to use photos like these when I teach food so that they are learning the Spanish but also being exposed to culture from around the world.
These look so yummy :)  I think I'll probably bake these instead of frying them, but either way they look pretty delicious.

What are your favorite pins of the week?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A fun way to practice greetings and a freebie

Hey everyone!  I've been revamping some of my old lessons lately and remembered this post by Cherice Montgomery to FLTeach that I found a while ago.  She gives some great ideas for practicing greetings.  I loved the Hear/Say idea, so I made the example she posted into a card, as well as a different conversation.  I am excited to use this with my students.  I really like that it's a speaking activity, but it's scripted so they will (hopefully) feel more comfortable with speaking at the beginning of the year.
Click the picture above to download the cards.
How do you practice greetings with your students?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday and My Second Liebster!

Good afternoon everyone!  First I'm linking up with Covered in Glitter and Glue for What I'm loving Wednesday.
1. I'm dog and house-sitting for my parents this week and I've been really enjoying playing with their dogs.  They have two Boston Terrier puppies and a Pug.  They are the sweetest! 

2. I'm also loving the view from their house.
3. I love my Silhouette sd!  It was my birthday present to myself two years ago and I've gotten so much use out of it, especially for my classroom.  When I'm allowed back in my classroom,  I'll take pictures of all of the stuff I've made with my Silhouette.

I'm also excited to share that I was nominated for another Liebster by Natalie at the The Polka Dotted Chirp.  Since I've already received one, I'll just answer the questions for this one.
Here are Natalie's questions for me:
1.) Where did you go to college? How was it?
I went to school at Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio, not Florida, haha!).  
It has a beautiful campus and I had some of the best professors there.  I also studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico for a semester. 
I had the best time there and I was able to travel to Mexico City, Acapulco, Teotihuacán, and many other places during my time there.
2.) What is your favorite movie and why?
This is a tricky question.  My favorite cartoon is probably Despicable Me (1 or 2).  I just love the minions and Gru's voice.  My favorite non-cartoon movies are the Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Black Hawk Down.
3.) If you could go on a shopping spree, where would you go and why?
I would love a shopping spree to Anthropologie.  I just love their clothes, but they're way out of my budget.
4.) If you could visit anywhere in the United States, where would you go and why?
Does Puerto Rico count?  If not, Hawaii.  I love tropical places and have never been to either.
5.) Where do you teach and what makes it awesome?
I teach near Fort Hood in Texas.  I love teaching in a military community.  Every day brings a new challenge, and sometimes new students.  I also really love that most of my kids have lived in different places and have seen the world!
6.) Name two things that makes your job enjoyable and amazing.
The first thing would be the people I work with.  We have some of the best staff and students at my school and they are always challenging me to be better.  Another thing that makes my job awesome is since I teach Spanish 1 and 2, I get to teach some of the same kids two years in a row.  I love really developing those relationships, and it's awesome to see how much they grow over two years.
7.) Name two things that makes your job (at times) frustrating and difficult.
Since I do teach in a military community, a lot of my students have a parent deployed (I've even had students with both parents deployed).  It is so tough on them knowing they won't get to see their mom or dad for a while.  Another thing that is frustrating about my job is that I teach in a portable.  While it does have its advantages, it's really small and far from the bathroom.
8.) Do you have any pets? Tell me about them. If not, what pet would you have if you had to choose?
I have six sugar gliders (named Tater, Dixie, Beau, Lulu, Bobby John, and Clara Belle) and two hedgehogs (Spike and Sophie).  I also had a dog, but we had to put her down this past April.
9.) What is your favorite recipe?
This is a tie between Creamy Crockpot Spaghetti and baked okra.
I double the meat in this recipe.

I bake this until it's really crispy.
10.)If you weren't an amazing teacher, what job would you choose?
I would love to design animal habitats at zoos and nature preserves.
11.)Name one simple pleasure that you love in life (like fresh flowers or a big diet coke!)
There's nothing like snuggling with a dog to brighten my day.
12.)Bonus Question: What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?
I love making things for the upcoming school year and revamping the lessons I've taught.