I have been teaching my Cultura y Civilización course now for five years and I mostly share what I do in there on this blog. When I first started that course, it was a major paradigm shift for me. I was teaching culture and content in a communicative way, instead of vocabulary list, quiz, grammar, quiz, review, test. I have developed that course to now have 14 different units that rotate so that some students can repeat the course as "part 2". I am very proud of what I do in that class and I love teaching it.
During the last five years, I have also taught Spanish 2 and 3. I have made some changes in those classes like using more authentic resources, doing speaking assessments, and reading 2 TPRS novels in each class during the course of the semester, and that has helped me to be able to teach in a more CI way with a higher percentage of TL being spoken by me and students. But, those courses are still heavily based on a textbook, with chapters with long lists of vocabulary, specific grammar points, fill in the blank activities, and much more English than there should be.
I have been reading the book Languages and Learners: Making the Match (highly recommended), by Helena Curtain and Carol Ann A. Dahlberg, and it is validating everything that I think I should be doing, but haven't been doing completely. Reading that book, along with attending CSCTFL and seeing some powerful student examples of what they do with the language, pushed me to (finally) drastically change what I am doing in my Spanish 2 classroom. (Note: I am only two weeks in to this change.)
I am still teaching the same content (clothing, reflexives, past tense, etc.), but in a different way. One of my biggest goals is to stay in the Target Language for 90% of the class - me and the students. My other goal is to change the evaluaciones that I use; so the ones I have created are more communicative. In order to that, I realized that I cannot continue to teach with a vocab/grammar/textbook focus.
So, where to start? I decided to start with some Martina Bex units. I am very thankful to her because she gave me some ideas about where to start. The first unit I did was Ladrones unit (script here and entire unit on Teachers Pay Teachers). I really liked the unit, but some students found the story to be a bit silly (they are 10th graders), so we adjusted it a little bit. Martina's other resources for this unit were excellent.
I have compiled some of Martina's resources for the unit here and this slideshow has my preguntas esenciales, the evaluaciones, and part of the unit (the part that Martina shares freely on her site). There is also a rubric so that students know what is expected of them as far as speaking Spanish in the classroom is concerned.
We spent about 7 days (80 minute classes) on this unit, including the day of the evaluaciones. My students (a non-honors class at the end of the day) were excellent! I think they see the validity in this approach (even if it is difficult at times).
My next unit is called, "Mi Rutina Diaria." I have compiled the preguntas esenciales, resources and evaluaciones here.
Below is the first part of the unit. I am going to do three "segments" of this unit with three cortometrajes - Alarma, Destino and El Monstruo en el Armario (very engaging - thanks Elena López) and then explain how reflexive verbs conjugate (using Martina's notes). **Note** I edited the cortometraje below because the real ending has a gun and I wasn't quite comfortable with that. Students could definitely relate to this guy (who has a hard time waking up).
Below are the evaluaciones for the unit. By focusing on these evaluaciones, I am focusing on having students talk a lot and stay in the Target Language.
- Evaluación hablada (weekly quiz grade): Speaking "solo español" in class.
- Evaluación escrita y hablada (quiz grade): Write a short description of what happens in the video "Alarma". Use the Target Structures. Draw some illustrations and use them to tell what happens in the video.
- Evaluación escrita y hablada (quiz grade): Write a short description of what happens in the video "El Monstruo del Armario". Use the Target Structures. Draw some illustrations and use them to tell what happens in the video.
- Examen (en tres partes):
- Evalución de leer y escribir: Read about someone's morning routine and compare and contrast yours to his/hers. This is from the Martina Bex Packet.
- Evaluación de hablar: Describe your morning routine. Describe 5-8 things that you do each morning before you come to school
- Evaluación de escuchar: Watch some commercials, understand the basic message of each one, describe what the people are doing in the commercials, and read sentences about the commercials and identify which sentence goes with which commercial.
I should also mention that Martina's unit packets are very helpful because she explains her methods and how to teach with TPRS, in addition to giving great resources.
My goal is use Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos (from TPRS Publishing by Carrie Toth) with this group for the last 3 weeks of the school year. I think they will be ready by then and it will be wonderful to just focus on the book, instead of having it "on the side."