Watch what EntreCulturas can do! In this brief video, authors and teachers talk about our groundbreaking Spanish language program. See how can do statements help teachers think about student performance in a new way and help students focus on what they can do with the language right from the beginning. EntreCulturas leads with culture, which helps students engage in language learning as they find themselves pushed to communicate on an authentic level.
It's summer, and that means it's time for Wayside Publishing's annual summer webinar series on EntreCulturas: Communicate, Explore, and Connect Across Cultures.
Wayside Publishing Instructional Specialists Debbie Espitia and Cristin Bleess will present the webinars throughout July and August, providing an opportunity for all educators curious about how EntreCulturas works.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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
Extract supporting details.
Create a survey.
Act it out.
Source: EntreCulturas 2, p. 299
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Schwenkler, C., Cory, M., & Carrión, P. (2017). EntreCulturas 2. Freeport, ME: Wayside Publishing.
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.
Motivation emerges from a hierarchy of motivators.
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?
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?
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/