Resources, News, Events

Immigration & Changing Demographics Strengthen French Programs

06-11-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Elizabeth Zwanziger

June 11, 2018

 

Five Weeks to AATF!

AATF in La Pointe-du-Bout, Martinique is only five weeks away! Here is the convention website. This will be my first time there, and I’m excited to celebrate Francophone language and culture in a new venue.

 

The French language has traveled from its birthplace in France and settled in many places around the world. We all know about Francophone Africa, Polynesia, and the Caribbean, but do you know that more and more French is being spoken in the U.S. thanks to immigration to many states across the country? Quebec is not the only place in North America where you’ll find French. In this post, I’ll be sharing a bit about the French language situation in what may seem an unexpected location: Iowa.

 

The Iowa flag resembles the French flag and reflects Iowa’s history as part of the French Louisiana Territory.

 

Iowa and French language and culture

Iowa has a significant French and French Canadian heritage. French has been the second most commonly studied world language in Iowan schools for many years. However, approximately 20 years ago, many French programs found themselves in danger and were even discontinued due to budget cuts for non-core courses considered as low hanging fruit. Many French teachers who still had positions advocated, promoted, and recruited to fill French classes. Little did we know that things were about to change.

In recent years, there has been an influx of French speakers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo, and Angola immigrating to many of the larger metro areas in Iowa. They have come to start a new life, and are enriching ours. A local school has begun a French-English dual immersion program. Banks, hospitals, and grocery stores want to better serve their customers by offering French language translations for their services. Thus, people are seeking ways to study French in order to communicate with our new neighbors, and French programs are holding steady or even seeing growth.

 

What an exciting time to be a French teacher!

Let me tell you more at my presentation at AATF on Saturday, July 21 from 8:20 to 8:50 in the Fort Desaix room au Carayou. 

Participants will take away knowledge of newcomer Francophone populations around the U.S. and ideas for partnering with members of their own communities to promote linguistic and cultural diversity as well as to bolster French language programs that mutually benefit both existing and newcomer populations.

 

 

 

 

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Hook, Line and Sinker

Introducing the Unit
05-29-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Deborah Espitia

May 29, 2018

 

In the previous post, Packing a punch with pictures, we talked about bringing James Bond into our classrooms.

Alright, so not actually bringing James Bond, but starting the unit off with an activity that pulls learners into the theme and motivates them to want to learn what we want to teach.  But, how about bringing that level of motivation to every lesson every day and not just reserving it for the start of a unit?

 

Remember, motivation emerges from a hierarchy of motivators. 

First, the subject matter should be intrinsically motivating. Think about how we can make the topic or theme interesting.
 
Second, instructor enthusiasm is key. Our excitement for a topic spills over to our learners.
 
Third, there needs to be a focusing event that gains the attention of the learners and hooks them into wanting to know more.  It should introduce or reinforce the content.
 
Last, and not least, elements of fun should be included - not just for the initial focusing event - but, woven throughout the unit.

 

All four of these elements can be integrated to get our daily lessons off on the right foot.  So, let’s take a look at how we can do this by revamping that warm-up activity that generally starts each lesson. Often, students do some sort of drill, such as fill-in-the blanks, conjugations, answering questions, or translations.  As rote exercises, these set a somber tone for the rest of the class. Let’s mix it up and have students engage their brain with higher-level activity that sparks interest, curiosity, or fun.

A great option for higher-level activity is the use of authentic print and audiovisual resources.  To that end, we’ll examine several types of resources and related activities that will provide a transition into the daily content, and in the process, reel our learners in - hook, line and sinker.

 

Still Images

Photographs, clipart, and artwork make up the bulk of the resources in this category.  We tend to use still images for most of our vocabulary presentation - as much as possible - and we’ve taken to using art from the target cultures that we speak the languages we teach as well.  For the lesson warm-up or introductory activity, there are a number of options for expanding our use of these staple resources. For example, have learners:

  • Identify items in the image and describe their use.

  • Tell where items are located.

  • Describe the surroundings.

  • Fill in speech bubbles for people in the image.

  • Engage in a conversation with a classmate, taking the role of two people in the image.

  • Work with a partner to take turns describing people or objects in the image and guessing who or what is being described.

  • Make comparisons between two images or works of art.

  • Tell what happened before the image was taken or what will come next.

  • Engage in guided imagery.

 

Guided imagery taps into students’ prior knowledge as well as the affective domain. It really empowers learners since they decide what images represent the vocabulary in question.  An example of this that I’ve used with my learners at the Novice level is around foods at the market. Have learners close their eyes and image they are going to the market with a family member.  The first section they see is the produce section with fruits and vegetables. Ask them questions, such as the following, based on the target vocabulary or previously-learned words and expressions:

  • What fruits and vegetables do you see?  

  • What colors are they?  

  • What shape are they?  

  • What do they smell like?  

  • What do they taste like?  
     

Then, have learners open their eyes.  Have them jot down in one circle of a Venn diagram, keywords for the items they saw, heard, smelled, etc.  Then, show learners an image of a market from the target culture (i.e., an open-air market, a corner store, a supermarket).

In the other circle of the Venn diagram, have learners note items from the image that are unique to that place. In the space provided by overlapping circles, have learners note what’s common between the two. 

Photograph: Mercado de Villa de Leyva, Colombia (photo by Debbie Espitia).

 

Images with Text

With the advent of more target-language comics, memes, charts, and advertisements available to us via the Internet, there are a myriad of authentic resources that flaunt the language in authentic contexts.  And, no doubt, the invention of infographics was designed with language teachers in mind. Try having learners:

1. Continue a conversation (i.e., Pon, Ten, Ven). 

 

2. Identify actions that should or should not be done based on what’s happening.

3. Add text to create a new meme (i.e., Tell where they are going and what they will do there).

4. Answer questions posed with original answers (i.e., Écris quatre raisons, Qu’est-ce qu’un bon poisson d’avril pour le 1er d’avril?). 

5. Summarize details.  

Example: Use the infographic to

Create taglines.

Make inferences.

Extract supporting details.

Create a survey.

Act it out.

Source: EntreCulturas 2, p. 299

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Clips

Authentic resources are not limited to print images. Inclusion of video clips brings language to life and can be directed toward visual literacy or aural skills. Select clips from sources, such as gifs, music videos, commercials, announcements, how-to videos, and documentaries. Remember to keep clips to under a minute and a half and don’t hesitate to replay them or have them loop as learners:
 

  • Identify key vocabulary.

  • Identify the purpose.

  • Label or create graphs or charts.

  • Sequence events.

  • Add examples.

  • Narrate scenes.

  • Make comparisons with own environment or experiences.

  • Compose true/false statements.

  • Draft interview questions.

 

Tweets & Headlines

In essence, tweets are the new version of headlines. Both, give learners a snapshot into the context, summary, nuance, or inference of a cultural event. Even at the novice level, learners can access the language used, and often get at the heart of the intent as they:
 

  • Identify cognates.

  • Answer WH-questions.

  • Match a headline or tweet to its accompanying photo.

  • Create a new headline.

  • Create an original tweet for a hashtag (use cloze sentences or sentence frames, as needed; for example, En el #soundtrack de mi vida, hay al menos una #Cumbia. or #5ChosesQueJ’aimeJouer  1) jouer aux cartes 2) jouer au football  3) jouer au softball 4) jouer au basketball  5) jouer au hockey)

  • Compare headlines or tweets across countries or individuals.

 

Mad Libs

While not actual authentic resources, mad libs are extremely popular among world language teachers and an online search will bring up many examples. These mini-paragraphs are great at reviewing vocabulary and language structures, but their zaniness and hilarity are what our learners find so attractive.  Once learners have written their words, have them take turns to:

  • Read aloud the paragraph with their words while classmates draw what they hear.

  • Act out the paragraph with their words while classmates determine which words they used.

 

Mystery Box

We all love a good mystery and our learners are no exception. Hide an object that depicts the vocabulary theme, language structure, or topic under study in a box or a bag (if you have one from a country that speaks the language you teach, all the better). Have learners draft yes/no questions to discover what is hidden in the box or bag. Play a round of 20 questions to try to identify the object and the direction for the day’s lesson. Give clues, if needed.  

 

Tying it All Together

Keep in mind that these warm-up activities are short - 3 to 4 minutes, at most. They provide an introduction to the daily outcomes and a priming for activities to follow.  At times, we will use the same resource with additional, extended activities that further engage learners as they develop their interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational skills.  

Ready to have your learners eager to get to class to see what you have in store for them?  Then, get started and let us know in the comments section how you are using authentic resources to start off your units.

 

Resources

  • Schwenkler, C., Cory, M., & Carrión, P. (2017). EntreCulturas 2. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

 

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Packing a Punch with Pictures

Introducing the Unit
05-14-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Deborah Espitia

May 14, 2018

Planning a unit is like developing the script of a James Bond film.

That opening scene starts off with a bang! The viewer is immediately thrust into a high-powered action thriller, be it a car racing around hairpin curves, a speedboat jumping a dock, or a hang glider weaving between mountain crevices.  It’s only after this initial thrill, after the viewer is drawn into the story, that the plot plays out and the viewer discovers the connection between that initial drama and mission elements.

That’s how I want learners to experience each unit of study in my classes.
 
Realistically, we may not be able to bring that same excitement that we feel watching James Bond as he chases or flees from the bad guys, but there are a number of ways we can begin our units that connect learners to the content, help them understand why we’re learning that content, and motivate them to want to know more.
 
 

Motivation emerges from a hierarchy of motivators. 

First, the subject matter should be intrinsically motivating. Relevance or pragmatic utility usually play a part in this intrinsic motivation. 
 
Second, instructor enthusiasm is key.  High energy and excitement for the content on the part of the teacher fuels student interest.  And, it needs to be genuine; learners can tell when we’re feigning.
 
 

Third, and this is where James Bond comes in, there needs to be a focusing event that gains the attention of the learners and hooks them into wanting to know more.  It goes without saying that the focusing event should be relevant and connect to the content of the unit.  

 

Last, and not least, elements of fun should be included - not just for the initial focusing event - but, woven throughout the unit.

 

Let’s zero in on focusing events for opening a unit of study. 

A great option for these is the use of photographs, artwork, or even video clips from the target cultures.  Teachers have been using these kinds of authentic resources to introduce units, lessons, and segments of study for longer than most of us have been teaching.  Along the way, we’ve refined the technique to include strategies that move learners beyond simply identifying what they see in the images.  One such technique comes from TCI™’s social studies curriculum, History Alive!. Visual Discovery brings to life compelling visuals as learners discover key concepts. The strategy sharpens visual-literacy skills, encourages learners to construct their own knowledge through higher-level thinking, develops deductive reasoning, and taps visual, intrapersonal, and body-kinesthetic intelligences.

To begin, choose 2 or 3 images to introduce the key concept(s) of the unit.  Make sure they include a combination of the following:

  • connect to the curriculum and student outcomes;
  • illustrate key concepts;
  • graphically show human emotion, suspense, or interaction;
  • are interesting or unusual;
  • have the potential for learners to “step into the scene;”
  • are culturally relevant.

Ask learners carefully sequenced questions that lead to discovery of the key concepts.  Questions move through three levels, from basic identification to higher-order processing.

Level 1 - Gathering evidence (identifying the details)

  • What do you see in this image?
  • What are some details?
  • How would you describe the scene and the people?
  • What do you hear (or smell) in the scene?

Level 2 - Interpreting evidence (providing evidence to support answers)

  • Where might the scene be taking place?
  • What is happening in the scene?
  • What are people saying in the scene?
  • What might this person be thinking?
  • What might have happened prior to this scene?
  • What might happen next?

Level 3 - Making hypothesis from evidence (formulating ideas)

  • What is happening?
  • What does this say about the concept or culture?
  • How do we know?
Have learners interact with the image(s) to show what they have put together by: 
  • taking the roles of characters in the image.
  • inserting themselves into the scene and acting accordingly.
  • creating captions for events depicted.
  • crafting summaries of events.
  • conducting news reports on the scene.
  • interviewing key characters.
 

Let’s look at examples from Wayside Publishing’s Spanish series, EntreCulturas 1, 2, 3

EntreCulturas 1, Unidad 5 - La vida es un carnaval (p. 252)

Productos de la República Dominicana y del estado de Nueva York

Observa las imágenes. ¿Puedes identificar las que representan la República Dominicana? ¿Y los Estados Unidos? ¿Puedes identificar algunas conexiones entre los dos lugares?

Each unit of EntreCulturas 1 begins with a collage such as this one.  Learners note items depicted in the photos (Level 1) and then, make comparisons and connections between the two places on which the unit focuses (Level 2).  From here, have learners make predictions about the kinds of things they may be studying in the unit (Level 3).  Refer them to the unit’s goals and essential questions for additional clues.  Then, have learners identify items in which they are interested and would to know about.

 

EntreCulturas 3, Unidad 2 - #CiudadaníaDigital (p. 58)

¿Cómo se defina la ciudadanía digital?

En esta unidad, vas a explorar el concepto de la ciudadanía digital, algo que afecta a todo el mundo. Para empezar, examina las siguientes imágenes. ¿Puedes adivinar la definición de la ciudadanía digital?

 
Chicos.net con el apoyo de Google. "Todo a un clic". Extrado de http://tinyurl.com/zw8s75h
 
Use the Cooperative Learning structure, “Jigsaw,” to have learners process six images taken from the video they will view, Todo a un clic.  Have learners work in small groups of six members each; assign each member one of the six images.  Then, have learners regroup and sit with classmates who have the same image.  In their “expert” groups, have learners discuss their image using the Visual Discovery approach.  First, they note what they see in the image; have them identify nouns, adjectives, and verbs that apply to the image (Level 1).  Then, have them make inferences about what is taking place in the image.  Have them extend their thinking to identifying consequences of the actions depicted (Level 2).  Finally, have them jot down advice for the viewer: what to do and what not to do (Level 3).  Then, have learners return to their original groups and work together to draft a definition of digital citizenship.  After viewing the video, Todo a un clic, and working through the tasks connected with the opening activity, have groups revisit and refine their definition.  Post the different versions around the room and have learners note similarities and differences.  Have them identify which one component they believe to be most important.  As learners proceed through the unit, have them refer back to the definitions and their choices.  Do they change their mind as they delve deeper into the theme?
 

Want to know more? 

Check out the resources in the reference section and let us know in the comments section how you are using images to start off your units!

 

Resources (used as references in this post):

  • Mar, A., Davis, R., Sloan, M. & Watson-López, G. (2017). EntreCulturas 1. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.
  • Espitia, D., García, P., Cornell, J., & Vásquez Gil, I. (2017). EntreCulturas 3. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.
  • For more information on Visual Discovery, visit TCI™ - https://www.teachtci.com/
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Acquiring Vocabulary, Part IV

Mental pictures and drawing
05-07-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Deborah Espitia

May 7, 2018

I see it, I say it, I know it... but, maybe not

In Part I of our series, Acquiring vocabulary: 5 strategies to create meaning in learning vocabulary, we noted that a movement is on the rise in which teachers are shifting from meaningless drill and practice exercises to help students acquire new content, such as vocabulary. Instead, teachers are moving towards authentic resources and communicative tasks to teach vocabulary and language structures in context.

In Part II, Acquiring vocabulary: 9 strategies for creating graphic organizers , we reviewed a few of my favorite types of graphic organizers that support vocabulary acquisition.  

In Part III, Acquiring vocabulary: 10 ways to get students moving with physical models and kinesthetic activity , we reviewed types of physical models and kinesthetic activities along with ideas for applications that support vocabulary acquisition. 

In Part IV, we'll maximize the adage, "a picture paints a thousand words".

 

1. Generating mental pictures

Guided imagery taps into students’ prior knowledge as well as the affective domain. It empowers students since they decide what images represent the vocabulary in question.  An example of this that I’ve used with my students at the Novice level is around foods at the market. Have students close their eyes and imagine they are going to the market with a family member.  The first section they see is the produce section with fruits and vegetables. Ask them questions, such as the following, based on the target vocabulary or previously-learned words and expressions:

 

  What fruits do you see?  

  What colors are they?  

  What shape are they?  

  What do they smell like?  

  What do they taste like?  

  Photo of Mercado de Villa de Leyva, Colombia (photo by Debbie Espitia)

Then, have students open their eyes.  Display pictures of fruit labeled in the target language and ask students to jot down in one circle of a Venn diagram (there are those graphic organizers again) the fruits they “saw” in the market and what color they were, what shape – in Spanish, of course.  Next, have students share with a partner, record the partner’s fruit in the other circle of the diagram, and add in the overlapping space the items they have in common. Debrief by asking a series of yes/no, choice, and wh-questions (this supports pronunciation practice as well as vocabulary building).  Have pairs of students share with others by pointing to and naming the items they have in common. Have a couple of students model this for the whole class, then have students share simultaneously in small groups. Repeat the process with vegetables.


Extend the activity by having students close their eyes again and note where items are located.  Then, have them open their eyes to describe the scene to their partner, who has to draw it. Provide a list of prepositions of location (i.e., on the right, underneath) to use as a reference. Make a cultural connection by displaying a photo of a market from a country that speaks the target language and having students make comparisons between it and the one they imagined.  

 

2. Drawing pictures and pictographs

Creating pictures that are meaningful makes learning personal. Allow students to refer to labeled images or definitions of the new vocabulary as they engage in these activities.  As they use the vocabulary more and acquisition builds, they will not need to refer to these kinds of supports. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

Un desfile (A parade):  Give students a copy of a Venn diagram and show them a video clip of a parade for a holiday celebration in one of the countries that speaks the target language, such as el carnaval en al República Dominicana. As students watch the video, have them draw pictures of the items they see in the parade in one of the circles on the diagram.  For example, they might draw masks, costumes, musical instruments, dances, etc. Then, have students draw items they would see in a parade in their community.  In the overlapping area of the diagram, have students write the words for the items the two parades have in common. (Novice Mid)

Llena mi plato (Fill my plate):  Give students a paper plate and have them draw foods that represent a typical meal from the target culture (this can be assigned for homework). Next, have students sit back to back with a partner and take turns describing what abuela served last night for dinner and where it was located on the plate.  As one student describes the plate of food, the other draws it on the flip side of his or her own paper plate.  When finished, students can compare what they had on their plates and how accurate they were at drawing the other’s plate of food. (Intermediate Low)

Dibuja la lectura (Draw the reading):  Have students read a text or a segment of a text and draw one or more scenarios that summarize that text.  Then, have students retell what they have read by using the drawings as a guide. A variation of this is to have students exchange their drawings and write summaries or captions for their classmate’s drawing. This works best when students have read different texts. (Intermediate Mid)

 

Tying It All Together

Don’t hesitate to share in the comments section ways that you use mental imagery and drawings in your classes. Want even more ideas?  Take a look at the appendix of additional instructional strategies in the Teacher’s Edition of EntreCulturas 1, 2, 3.  

And those drill and practice exercises?  You’ll want to shred them; you won’t be needing them anymore.

 

For more of the Acquiring Vocabulary blog series:

Part I: 5 Strategies to Create Meaning in Vocabulary 

Part II: 9 Strategies for Using Graphic Organizers

Part III: 10 ways to get students moving with physical models and kinesthetic activity

 

References:

  • Espitia, D., García, P., Cornell, J., & Vásquez Gil, I. (2017). EntreCulturas 3. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

  • Mar, A., Davis, R., Sloan, M. & Watson-López, G. (2017). EntreCulturas 1. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

  • Marzano, R., Pickering, D. & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • Schwenkler C., Cory, M., Carrión, P.  (2017) EntreCulturas 2. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

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Acquiring Vocabulary, Part III

10 ways to get students moving with physical models and kinesthetic activity
04-16-2018  Featured Post

By Deborah Espitia

April 26, 2018

In Part I of our series, Acquiring vocabulary: 5 strategies to create meaning in learning vocabulary, we set the scene for a movement in which teachers are shifting from meaningless drill and practice exercises to help students acquire new content, such as vocabulary. 

In Part II, Acquiring vocabulary: 9 strategies for creating graphic organizers , we reviewed types of graphic organizers, and sample activities to go along with them, that support vocabulary acquisition.  

In Part III, let’s get students moving, both in terms of engaging with physical models and engaging in physical activity.

 

Making Physical Models

Physical models represent the 3-D versions of visual input and range from models to manipulatives. Here are five versions that you'll find in the Teacher Editions of EntreCulturas 1, 2, 3.


Human Graph

 

Post certain categories or responses to questions on the wall in the classroom.  Pose the prompt or question and have students line up under their response, perpendicular to the wall. Have students then explain or justify their choice to a partner. Examples include:

  • (Novice High) What is your favorite Friday night activity? (Homework, Movies, Mall, Sporting event, Home)
  • (Intermediate Low) What kind of volunteer work would you like to do? (Summer camp, Hospital, Daycare, Sports camp, Other)
  • (Intermediate Mid) Which social media would you use to promote a can drive for the local food bank?  (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube)

 

Pack a Suitcase

This activity can be done using a paper or digital suitcase and clothes, but it’s more fun with the real objects. Ask for donations of old suitcases and clothes from colleagues or parents. Have students work in pairs or in small groups and give each group a suitcase and selection of clothing. Have them pack their suitcase for a trip (give them a destination or let them pick their own) by taking turns selecting an item of clothing to include in the suitcase and explaining why they want to take that item.

 

Virtual Tours

Engage students in tours of countries or museums virtually.  Create tours for students to look for specific points of interest or artifacts.  Or have students develop their own tours using the software, such as Google Earth, Google Arts and Culture, or Google Street view, or any of the virtual tours offered by museums and centers in the countries that speak the languages we teach.

 

Taste Test

Depending on your school’s policies regarding food in the classroom, this can be one of the most memorable activities your students take away.  Have students prepare recipes from the target cultures (in my classroom, we focused on tapas from Spain) or have a local restaurant cater the event (the neighborhood Mexican restaurant was more than happy to come in to my classes and provide demonstrations). Prepare a tasting sheet with the names of the foods and a rating system based on appearance, taste, etc. Have students try a minimum number of different foods, rate them, and then describe their favorite(s).

 

Foldables (Dinah Zike)

Foldables are 3-D representations of graphic organizers which serve to organize and analyze learning. Most of them take one or more sheets of paper which students fold into organizational tools. Three of my favorites include:

  • 3- or 4-door Foldable (1 sheet of paper) - Have students fold a sheet of paper in half and then in thirds or in half again. Then, have them open the paper, fold it again in half, and cut along one side of each vertical fold to the center. Have students label the “door” and then add images, definitions, descriptions, questions, etc. on the inside flap.
  • Layered Book Foldable (2 or more sheets of paper) - This is similar to the previous foldable, but allows for more categories for note-taking.  Try using different colored paper as an organizational tool with this foldable.
  • Folded Tables and Charts (1 sheet of paper) - Have students take out a sheet of paper and lead them in folding the paper in half, then in half again, and again, and again until they have the number of columns and rows needed for the task.  Then, have students label the header row and column accordingly.

 

Engaging in Kinesthetic Activity

There is strong evidence linking movement and learning.  Take for example, the growth in the number of teachers embracing John Asher’s Total Physical Response (TPR), which integrates gestures and language, and the subsequent, Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS), created by Blaine Ray and enhanced by Carol Gaab, to provide movement, context, and meaning – a triple whammy.  Here are five more strategies that incorporate movement to enhance language learning (note that “movement” doesn’t always mean moving around the room)..


Inside Out Circles

This strategy works well for assigning students partners with whom to engage in interpersonal conversations. Form two concentric circles; the students in the inner circle face a partner on the outer circle. Students all move to their right one partner. If space is limited, students can stand in two rows facing each other. In this case, have all students take one step to the right to find a new partner. The students at the end changes sides.


Bumper Cars

This is another strategy for pairing students to exchange information. Students prepare notes on an index card in response to a prompt. Then, play music and have students walk around the classroom as long as the music is playing. When the music stops, so do the students. They then pair up with a classmate nearby and take turns discussing their responses to the prompt. When the music starts again, students exchange cards and start walking again until the music stops. They then find a new partner and discuss the items on their new cards. Repeat several times so that students have the opportunity to hear and share a variety of viewpoints. As an example, prepare sets of cards labeled: Comer bien; Ser activo; and Ser feliz. To distinguish one from the other print the cards out on different colors of paper (i.e., Comer bien on yellow paper, Ser activo on red paper, and Ser feliz on blue). Distribute the cards randomly so that each student has one card. During the sharing period, have students pair up with a classmate who has a different colored card and take turns discussing examples associated with their label (i.e., Comer bien: Comer frutas y verduras; No comer alimentos con azúcar).

 

Graffiti Wall

Divide the class into small groups and post large sheets of butcher paper or chart paper – one for each group – on the walls of the classroom. Provide different colored markers and invite students to express their feelings in words after viewing a video or reading a text. Students may create their own cloud of words, work with a partner, or build off the clouds of their group members. After a few minutes, have students stop and stand back. Have them note if there are any words repeated or categories of feelings that have emerged (i.e., sadness, happiness, anger). Then, have students visit the Graffiti Walls that are not their own and have them add words, make comments, or draw labeled images that add to other groups’ work. Be sure to set ground rules about being respectful and appropriate in their comments and drawings. Follow this activity up with reflection writing or free-form poetry writing.

 

Placemat

This strategy is a spinoff of a graphic organizer, but has students engaging in a form of Think-Pair-Share.  Give each small group of students a copy of the placemat organizer or have them create their own using chart paper. Have students take notes (i.e., write keywords, draw pictures, brainstorm options, etc.) in their section of the placemat. Then, have students take turns sharing what they have written. At their turn, students share one item; group members look at what they have written to see if they have a match. If they do, they can highlight the match in some fashion. Have groups use the information they captured in the placemat to pool ideas which they write in the center section.

 

I Think I Have

Divide the class into small groups of three or four members each. Give each group a set of vocabulary words. Have one of the students in each group shuffle the words and place them face down in a stack. Have students take turns drawing a card from the stack and - without looking at it - name the word they think they have drawn and give a definition, a description, or an example. Then, have them turn the card over to verify their guess. If they guess correctly, they keep the card. If not, they return the card to the bottom of the deck and the next group member takes his or her turn. When all the cards have been collected, have students count the number they have to see who the winner is.

 

Tying It All Together

 

Think of the kinds of applications for which you can use these strategies and activities to engage students in acquiring and using vocabulary or other content.  Please share in the comment section ideas you have.  Stay tuned to this blog space for the next in our series of strategies to link vocabulary acquisition and communication.

 

Part I: 5 Strategies to Create Meaning in Vocabulary 

Part II: 9 Strategies for Using Graphic Organizers

Part IV: Mental Pictures and Drawing

References:

  • Espitia, D., García, P., Cornell, J., & Vásquez Gil, I. (2017). EntreCulturas 3. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

  • Mar, A., Davis, R., Sloan, M. & Watson-López, G. (2017). EntreCulturas 1. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

  • Marzano, R., Pickering, D. & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  • Schwenkler C., Cory, M., Carrión, P. (2017) EntreCulturas 2. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Deborah Espitia
Instructional Strategist, author, and educator
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