I have truly enjoyed teaching the Intensive Spanish classes this year and am looking forward to seeing your kids again in the fall! I have never had the opportunity of teaching a group of students from one year to the next and I am so excited to be able to continue to watch them continue to grow up and progress in their language acquisition while also reinforcing their science curriculum. I feel like I am heading into next school year with a much clearer understanding of each grade level’s ability level and what resources we will be using in each class to get the repetitions, exposure, and love for the language that these kids need to really make the language theirs for life.
As you may have heard, the school is moving towards a Blended Learning model which focuses on incorporating technology and empowering students to take more ownership of their learning. I have been scouring Spanish teacher forums and trying several different products and putting together what I feel are the best online resources available to use for each grade level. Here are a few advantages of moving toward a Blended Learning environment in our Spanish classroom:
– Parents are able to be more involved in the learning process (and even learn along with their children if you’d like!) Nearly all activities that we do in the classroom can be accessed from home through any device that connects to the internet. I just became certified as a Google Teacher and am really excited to use what I’ve learned about providing parental access and transparency into the classroom through a Google Calendar for each class with links to everything that we did in class that day.
– Students are able to get many more quality repetitions with the language and are accountable for their work through individual accounts that they log into. All of the work that they do is visible on my end through my teacher account and I would never be able to provide the amount differentiated instruction and individual attention to so many students that this technology has provided. Especially where we only have about 4 hours a week together in Spanish class (1 hour a day/4 days per week), it is imperative that we make the most of that time.
– Students become more technologically literate through using these devices and programs. For example, I have seen huge improvements with students’ typing skills in the last few months.
Here are the resources that we have been using in the classroom that I intend to keep using next year:
Quizlet- Great for reinforcing the science/social studies curriculum and as a warm-up activity. I have translated all of the state standards into Spanish and they do a matching test with the English and Spanish translation. I use this mainly in grades 2-4.
Kahoot! – Basically a trivia game where the students are all able to compete against each other. Usually related to science vocabulary (grades 2-3) or social studies (4th grade.) I alternate between Quizlet and Kahoot every other day.
Brain Pop Español- This is a great program that has outstanding science and history content. It has engaging videos with subtitles. The Spanish content of these videos is a bit advanced for most of the students, but it is a great opportunity for students to use context clues and illustrations to make sense of what they are seeing. The videos are only about 5 minutes long, which is about what I feel is appropriate for this type of input- I like the bulk of the instruction to be more comprehensible for the students. Used in grades 2-4. Feel free to login this summer and take advantage of the account that we pay for- the username is: opaspanish1 and the password is: Aguilas1
Epic! (Reading app- similar to RazKids) – Students choose a book to read in Spanish each day. They do charge to use this app at home (or it can be accessed at www.getepic.com on a laptop/desktop). They have an awesome special though for the summer- only $3 for 3 months for your child to have a selection of thousands of books in both Spanish and English. (It normally costs $5.99/month to use this app from home.)
Rockalingua- This is where the bulk of the student work has come from for grades 1-3. I assign them either daily or weekly task lists which they work on for about 15-20 minutes a day. We have also used it in 4th grade (although they are not always happy about it) but I feel their Concept Race exercise is an outstanding tool for them to work on their spelling and writing skills while reviewing important vocabulary. Please have your student login and practice this summer. I’ll have a “Summer Checklist” ready by the end of next week for each grade level- all students that complete it will get a special prize when we start back up in the fall and if the class completes 80% or more of the assigned activities, we will have a class fiesta! Go to www.rockalingua.com and your students username is their first/last name (no spaces) and their password is: Aguilas – They will know what to do if you just get them to www.rockalingua.com. Parents can login to access the content without disrupting their students work on their checklists through this username: OPA1 and password: Aguilas
Duolingo– this is the most popular language learning app in the world and it’s free. They allow teachers to create student accounts so I can assign tasks and monitor their progress. It’s a great tool for helping them recognize proper sentence structure and grammar and it’s individualized and they earn points and compete against each other so they get really into it. We use this in 3rd-4th grades. Your child can play either the web based version at www.duolingo.com or you can download the app to any device. Their login is the same as their Rockalingua login info. They can work on this over the summer and will be awarded prizes for the checkpoints that they pass when they return to school in the fall. You can create your own account if you haven’t already and have a little friendly competition with your child 🙂
Señor Wooly– This resource is only used in the 4th grade classroom because the content goes over the heads of the younger kids and those 4th graders seem to grow out of the children’s songs at about that age and complain when I make them sing too many of the kids songs. The students LOVE this resource and just plow through the material without even realizing they’re learning. You can create your own account and will probably enjoy the songs as much as your kids. The registration code to create a parent account is: BSVK4Q
YouTube- We watch a lot of songs in 1st and 2nd grades from a channel called Super Simple Español. Here’s that Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaFdmVz3N293pZO8aBp2W5AHMx93Y2Vyg The students are not allowed to get onto YouTube on their devices, we watch the videos together. Here is a link to my channel and all of the videos I use in different classes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUeRuEJqprngN8iYDolTnJw/playlists?view_as=subscriberYou can download the YouTube Kids app and set restrictions which only allow your children to view videos from channels that you’ve approved if you choose to let them view content from YouTube this summer.
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Thanks for a great year and please encourage your student to practice their Español this summer!!