28 January 2011

Experiments This Week

Bilingual "Plátiza"
Chalk talk = plática de tiza = plátiza

"Chalk talks" are a classic method of instruction at my school.  I don't know where they came from, and they are probably classic elsewhere too, but I believe I have taken it to a new level--a bilingual level.  Furthermore, it was the best essential question I have ever come up with and the most current and engaging topic I have dared address, if I do say so myself.  Plus, I think I was successful in lowering the affective filter for my more, shall we say, reticent charges.

Procedure:
  1. Question on the board ahead of time (and a lot of board cleaning as well): ¿Cuándo es aceptable censurar? (Note the simplicity, cognate usage, and general open-endedness)
  2. Establish rules: double points for Spanish responses, not necessarily complete sentences, sign your responses, and NO TALKING.
  3. Allot 10 minutes for students to post initial responses and respond to each other.
  4. Discuss common ground
The first class did well trying to stick to Spanish, and though the 2nd class had a lot of English, they were at least engaging with the essential question and responding to classmates' Spanish responses!

Glog-based literary cultural discussion with realia AND high interest interpersonal TL comunication
I'd already introduced the topic with the essential question in the plátiza and the realia with the YouTube video of "La Granja," (plus vocabulary), but it came together on the glog I made with the video, the lyrics, graphics, links to news sites, and response questions.  THEN, students commented with their responses to the questions--in SPANISH.  (To make it truly interpersonal, I will need to respond to their comments, but have not decided whether to respond with more comments or with personal messages through glogster.)

The 2nd class (that always gets short-changed at least an hour a week because of our schedule) has not gotten to this part yet, but watching the first class go was AWESOME.  There were students openly debating over whether the pigs had to be the government or if they more accurately represented northern NAFTA exploiting businesses.  There were jaws dropping and then dropping again over the extent of the drug trafficking problems in Mexico.  AND there was experimentation in the target language to respond and give reasons! (See for yourself on the glog link above!)  I'm apprehensive about the 2nd class, given their recalcitrant resistance to even looking at anything in Spanish, but I hope the topic will still grab them.

Kicking the Vocabulary Quiz
I'm trying @SECottrell's "regular vocabulary practice," starting today.  Spanish I went over their weather vocabulary out loud for 5 minutes, and I could hear them getting quicker with the associations!  There are a few whose pronunciation I'll have to address next time, but what an easy way to catch it.  I think I'm going to have them do it 3 times with this set of vocab and count that for a quiz grade (25 points), but also the kind of vocab quiz they're used to, just to see what happens. I also plan on trying the pop cloze listening quiz for 10 points, but that'll have to be next week.

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