miércoles, 30 de enero de 2013

Ideas for Using Authentic Resources (#authres)

This post is related to my last post about using (or having to use) a textbook, but trying to incorporate more authentic resources. So, below are some ideas for what to do with authentic resources. These may be obvious to many (and I shared some of these in my last post), but I thought I would share them again in a little more detail. 

What is an Authentic Resource (#authres)?  

  • Authentic Resources can be a variety of media, but what defines them are that they are things that are created by native speakers for native speaker.

Why use Authentic Resources (#authres)?
  • Engagement ---> Students will be much more engaged and interested. 
  • Variety ---> Commercials, PSAs, tweets, websites, songs, music videos
  • Out of the box ---> The language that students hear/see is not "in the box" of whatever unit they are studying. They will learn new words related to what they are learning.
  • Real language, Insecurity, and Confidence ---> At first, students will feel insecure because they will not understand a lot. Also, they won't know what to expect. But, after doing several scaffolded activities with the authentic resource, students will feel confident that they can understand real Spanish.
Here are some things to do before, during, and after using an Authentic Resource:
  • Tell students that they will not understand everything. Reassure them that that is ok. This is not history class and they might feel like things are a little "foggy." Tell them that that feeling is what learning a new language is like sometimes.
  • Tell students to listen/look for words that they know and try to get basic meaning from those words.
  • Use the authentic resource many times.
    • Commercials can be watched 8 times and you have only spent 4-5 minutes watching the video.
    • Songs and music videos can be used once a day over a long period of time.
    • Repeat Authentic Resources in various levles.
  • Do a variety of activities with the authentic resource
Here are some activities to do when using commercials:
  • Have students watch first. Tell them not to worry about listening to what is being said. Ask them to be prepared to say some things that they saw or describe what people are doing in the video. This is a great thing to do at any level. By focusing on watching the video, they are not worried about hearing what it being said, but they are actually listening (but without being stressed).
  • After they have seen the video a couple times, ask them to listen and then share some of the words that they heard. Repeat this activity.
  • Do a cloze activity. Before starting the activity, have students read the script. Have students listen two times before sharing the answers. By now, they will have seen the commercial/video 4 times, so this will be easier.
  • Prepare some discussion questions about what is actually being said in the commercial and what it is for.
  • At the end, ask students to share or write down a new word (or words) that they learned.
  • Finally, have students read the script aloud with a partner. If you tell them to mimic the voice from the commercial, they will not worry so much. Also, because they have heard the audio 6-8 times, they will probably be pronouncing the words correctly without thinking about it. This can actually be a really fun (and funny) activity that students will enjoy.
  • This Google Doc is a great place to find commercials. I have used Ctrl F to find specific theme-related vocabulary words to make my searching easier. 
  • And, of course, Zachary Jones has some amazing activities with commerials. And many of these ideas came from me attending his excellent Authentic Resources session at the MaFLA conference this past fall.
  • Cristina Zimmerman (@CristinaZimmer4) shared this commercial activity on Twitter this morning.
  • And here are two more for Spanish 3 that I shared on my last post:
    Any other suggestions or ideas for using authentic resources in the classroom? Please share here or using #authres on Twitter.

    domingo, 27 de enero de 2013

    Walking the textbook-authentic-thematic line

    This post was prompted by last Thursday's #langchat. I did not actively participate, I just lurked while I watched a show with my son. I am very fortunate to teach my Cultura y Civilzación course (Spanish 4 and Spanish 4+) and not use a textbook. I am able to use all authentic materials and have some great thematic units. But, for levels 1-3, we (a department of 3 Spanish teachers) use the Realidades textbook. We use part of the first book for Spanish 1 and use the second book for Spanish 2 and 3. I would like to get rid of the textbook and use authentic material, Zachary Jones material, and TPRS Publishing novels* (Esperanza, Desde los valles a las montañas, Robo en la noche, La hija del sastre, La guerra sucia, and Vida y muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha), but that is probably not going to happen for a variety of reasons (that I will not go into here).

    So, what to do to make it more meaningful, more interesting, more authentic, and more CI? Here is what I will do in my Spanish 3 textbook driven curriculum class.
    • How will I have Content Based Comprehensible Input? I will use two TPRS novels: Robo en la noche and La hija del Sastre
      • How will I incorporate these books? Last semester I had Spanish 3 during the 90 minute lunch break, after lunch we had 30 minutes and we read during that time everyday. This semester I have two Spanish 3 classes, so my plan is to set a time on the clock and stop whatever we are doing to read. Since this is the first time they are reading anything this significant, I will start by reading aloud to them and asking lots of questions as we go along.
      • Last semester I used Piratas: Triángulo de las Bermudas, but the students found it to a bit too silly after a while. It might be better for younger students (these are sophomores). I like the story of Robo en la noche and there is some culture as well. Also, I am planning a trip to Costa Rica in June 2014, so this might get them excited about going. The grammar in Robo en la noche has preterite vs. imperfect, so I will be pointing that out a lot. So, the goal will be for them to understand that concept better by the end of the novel (9ish weeks), not by the end of the first chapter (2 weeks). 
      • I used La Hija del Sastre and students really enjoyed it. The novel is interesting, suspenseful and full of things to talk about. The grammatical structures and vocabulary are rich and although I am not teaching past perfect and imperfect subjunctive, this book exposes them to it.
      • *The TPRS Publishing novels listed are not only excellent Comprehensible Input material, but are cultural and/or historical. Some with excellent Teacher Guides and audio as well.
    • How will I incorporate more Authentic Material?
      • First, let me define Authentic Material: It is a resource in the TL that was created by native speakers for native speakers. 
      • Zachary Jones is my go-to for these resources. I will use a song in every unit. Hopefully, one that is thematically linked, but some will have to be gramatically linked (I don't think he has any activities with songs about fire fighters and natural disasters... yet). I am going to use Te fuiste de aquí by Reik for the first unit. Last semester's students loved this song.
      • I will use websites like this one for authentic reading and listening activities. Here is a worksheet to go along with that website (might need to be updated). Here is another worksheet that uses authentic hotel websites; it is an activitiy leading up to this project
      • I will also try to use a lot of commercials and PSAs. I had great success with that last semester, particulary in this unit in which students viewed a commercial a day for 9 days. They were our "audio activities" (instead of the book activities, which they do not like). There is so much you can do with commercials. Here are two examples for the first unit: En las noticias: Un acto heroico
      • This is what I plan to do when I use commercials (see worksheets linked above):
        • Show it to them and have them watch it.
        • Salk about what they see. They do not have to be speaking in complete, grammatically correct sentences. I am happy with words to start.
        • Ask for key words that they hear.
        • Do a cloze activity. Listen to the commercial 3 or 4 times.
        • Go over and watch again. 
        • Say the commercial with a partner. Try to imitate the person who talks in the commercial. This is fun and funny! Great for pronunciation.
        • Answer a few questions about the commercial.

    • And, finally, how will I use the textbook? 
    • Thematic - Actually, the chapters in the book are not all bad: Natural disaster, accident and hospital, television, movies, food, travel and the environment. It is much better than the "themes" for Spanish 2! And there is a lot of authentic material for those themes.
    • Grammar - I will give notes, do some practice and then expose them to it in context. 
    • Assessments  - I will try to use authentic materials on my assessments. I will hopefully have a speaking assessment for each unit. I love the ideas here (from @lisamjch) and here (from @sonrisadelcampo) for assessments, and I hope to do some similar things. Also, I should probably develop these before I start the unit. I do have some good assessments already but need to make them more proficiency based.
    I still have a lot more to think about and implement, but these are some ideas to transform my  textbook driven class into a more engaging, authentic, and comprehensible-input-driven class.

    sábado, 19 de enero de 2013

    Thematic Unit: Los Miedos

    **UPDATE** I am still using parts of this unit, but I have greatly enhanced and improved it! It is now called Miedos y Leyendas - click here to see what the unit looks like now.

    This unit about fears is one that I developed after seeing a activity from Zachary Jones. I have changed the activity a bit and made a unit about Fears. This unit is the first on in my Cultura y Civilización (Spanish 4) course. The song Azul by Natalia Lafourcade is a fun, catchy, comprehensible song for a level 3 or 4 class. The video is engaging and there is a lot that students can analyze and talk about.

    The other song that I will use for this unit is "Miedo a caer" by Ruido Rosa. Zachary Jones suggested this one for this unit and it will fit perfectly. I like to have two songs per unit if possible, as it can be great to compare and contrast.

    The essential questions for the unit are the following:

    1. ¿Qué efecto puede tener la ansiedad sobre nosotros?*
    2. ¿Tienes "miedo a caer" con respecto al aprendizaje del español? ¿Qué riesgos tenemos que correr? ¿Cómo podemos superar esta ansiedad?*
    3. ¿De qué se tratan las canciones “Azul” y "Miedo a Caer"? ¿Cómo son similares y diferentes?
    4. ¿Quiénes son Natalia Lafourcade y Ruido Rosa?
    *Questions taken from Zachary Jones worksheet.

    The students in this class are CTP students with varying levels of ability. They have been in very traditional Spanish classes, and this class is a major shift in how/what they will be learning. These are the goals I hope to achieve with this unit:

    • Overcome fears of speaking Spanish
    • Enjoy speaking Spanish
    • Enjoy listening to Spanish
    • Become comfortable with authentic resources (songs, interviews, commercials, Facebook, twitter, Wikipedia)
    • Gain confidence with speaking and listening abilities
    • Become comfortable with being a little uncomfortable

    Some of the activities that students will do are the following:

    • cloze activities with the songs
    • investigate and talk about the singers and answer questions about them
    • sing, sing, sing
    • talk about the fears that students have
    • watch some commercials that Natalia Lafourcade is in and do some cloze activities
    • translate the songs
    • illustrate some lines from the song
    • compare the fears of the singers to the students' fears
    • listen to an interview with Natalia Lafourcade and discuss how she came to write Azul 
    • watch and listen to an interview with Ruido Rosa and try to understand some words and/or ideas that they talk about 
    • talk about the videos
    • analyze the relationship between the videos and the songs (the video for Azul (in my opinion) shows the growth of someone who has overcome her fears)
    • discuss the essential questions

    The assessments for the unit will be:
    • a spoken interpersonal discussion about what fears students have
    •  a written interpretive assignment answering all of the essential questions.
    • maybe some others 
    Hopefully, after this class and unit, they will feel like the 4th grader after she went down the ski jump.
    What do you think? Suggestions? Other ideas?