Resources, News, Events

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/
Read More


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.

Read More


Acquiring Vocabulary, Part II

9 strategies for using graphic organizers
04-16-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Deborah Espitia

April 16, 2018

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

In Part I of our Aquiring Vocabulary series: I see it, I say it, I know it... right? , we set the scene for a movement in which fewer and fewer teachers are exposing students to meaningless drill and practice exercises to help them acquire new content. Instead, teachers are moving toward truly authentic resources and communicative tasks to teach vocabulary and language structures in context.

Hand-in-hand with contextual learning is making input comprehensible so that learners can then produce comprehensible output. Leading experts in the field of education, such as Robert J. Marzano, address the need to include such non-linguistic representations to create context and meaning in acquiring content. But, it’s what the teacher has learners do in relation to these non-linguistic representations that’s the bridge to acquiring the content.  

Through his research, Marzano (Classroom Instruction that Works, 2001) outlines five strategies that use non-linguistic representations to assist learners in acquiring content:

  • Creating graphic organizers;

  • Making physical models;

  • Generating mental pictures;

  • Drawing pictures and pictographs; and

  • Engaging in kinesthetic activity.

In Part II of our series, let’s take a closer look at creating and using graphic organizers to support vocabulary acquisition. We can’t wear out the use of graphic organizers – there are so many variations.  Here are just a few that we use in our new EntreCulturas 1, 2, 3 series that you may adapt to your lesson plans on vocabulary development.

 

Interpretive Mode

Graphic organizers help students process what they are reading, hearing, or viewing.


​​​​​Evidence Chart 

Defiende las ideas (Novice High) – Gather evidence from two infographics to support the notion that Miami is more than just a city in Southern Florida, but also “la capital, comercial, y global de las Américas.”  Chart source: EntreCulturas 1, Unidad 6, Actividad 41, p. 348

Information Gathering 

¿Cuánto vas a gastar? (Intermediate Low) – Listen to three students talk about what clothing they will buy in a Peruvian shop with the $100 they each have.  Note that the rate of exchange is 3.29 soles per dollar. Record the price in soles and dollars; then, indicate how much money is left over. Chart source: EntreCulturas 2, Unidad 5, Actividad 13, Paso 3B, p. 265

Main idea and Supporting Detail

Beneficios de los primeros trabajos para adolescentes (Intermediate Mid) – Watch the video to discover the five main benefits of a young person’s first job and write them above the appropriate description in the newspaper article.  Then, read the benefit listed in the article, and on the organizer, add more benefits. Chart source: EntreCulturas 3, Unidad 5, Actividad 3, Paso 3, p. 233

 

Interpersonal Mode

Graphic organizers assist students in collecting their thoughts before having to engage in a spoken or written conversation with someone else.

Interview

Mi identidad/Tu identidad (Novice Low) – Ask and answer questions of classmates to discover who they are. Record their responses. Targeted vocabulary is listed on the organizer along with a model conversation.  Chart source: EntreCulturas 1, Unidad 1, Actividad 5, Paso 1, p. 43

Checklist

Aprovechando una oferta especial (Intermediate Low) –  Take advantage of a sale while shopping for clothes with a friend.  First, review three different scenarios that may occur and make notes of vocabulary, phrases, or questions that may be useful. Chart source: EntreCulturas 2, Unidad 5, En camino B, Paso 3, p. 281

Main idea and Supporting Detail

Beneficios de los primeros trabajos para adolescentes (Intermediate Mid) – Use the information in the organizer in which you captured the benefits of working, along with your own ideas, to engage in a chat on the class forum. Explain why having a job now will benefit you in the future.  Read classmates' responses and reply with a comment or a question. Chart source: EntreCulturas 3, Unidad 5, Actividad 3, Paso 3, p. 233

 

Presentational Mode

Students can use graphic organizers to plan spoken and written presentations.

Planner

Turistas en Santo Domingo (Novice Mid) – Put together an itinerary of things to see while in the Dominican Republic with your class for Carnaval, using charts and exercises in EntreCulturas 1, Unidad 5, Vive en culturas.

 

Circles

Iconos que nos representan (Intermediate Low) – Identify icons (i.e., places, animals, clothing, food, people) that represent the communities of which you are a part. Use the icons to create a t-shirt to sell to visitors to your area; be prepared to explain your concept to the shop owner selling the shirt. Chart source: EntreCulturas 2, Unidad 3, Actividad 5, Paso 4, p. 130

 

Main idea and Supporting Detail

Beneficios de los primeros trabajos para adolescentes (Intermediate Mid) – You would like to work this summer, but you have to convince your parents who want you to use the time to study. Use the information in the organizer in which you captured the benefits of working, along with your own ideas, to prepare the rationale you are going to present to them. Chart Source: EntreCulturas 3, Unidad 5, Actividad 3, Paso 3, p. 233

 

Tying It All Together

Did you observe that throughout the Intermediate Mid tasks, we used the same graphic organizer for the various activities in the different modes? The repeated tasks with the same vocabulary and language structures, but in new contexts, will add to language acquisition.

These are just a few types of graphic organizers available and kinds of activities in which students can engage.  Please share in the comment section ideas you have or connect with myself and the rest of the Wayside team on social media! Stay tuned to this blog space for the next in our series of strategies to link vocabulary acquisition and communication.

 

For more of the Acquiring Vocabulary blog series:

Part I: 5 Strategies to create meaning in learning vocabulary

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

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
Tweet to @despitia Tweet to @WaysidePublish

Follow Wayside Publishing on Facebook

 


Spring 2018 conferences

Join Wayside as we attend the season's top language conferences
01-26-2018  Events, All News

Wayside will attend the following conferences this year. Join us in the exhibit halls to meet our friendly staff and learn more about our products and programs! 

Date Conference Location Keynote Speaker

February 2-3

Alabama World Language Association (AWLA)

Mobile, Alabama

Dr. Mary Risner

February 8-10

Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL)

New York, New York

Dr. Eileen W. Glisan

February 15

Utah Foreign Language Association (UFLA)

Ogden, Utah

Katrina Griffin

February 23-24

Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Juan Carlos Morales

March 8-9

Foreign Language Association of Maine (FLAME)

Portland, Maine

TBA

March 8-10

Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languags (CSCTFL)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ethan Zuckerman

March 8-11

California Language Teachers Association (CLTA)

Ontario, California

Tom Welch

March 15

Vermont Foreign Language Association (VFLA)

Colchester, Vermont

Paul Sandrock

March 15-18

Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT)

Atlanta, Georgia

TBA

April 5-7

Ohio Foreign Language Association (OFLA)

Cleveland, Ohio

Dr. Paul Toth



Acquiring Vocabulary, Part I

5 strategies to create meaning in learning vocabulary
01-26-2018  Featured Post, Teacher Resources, Author Spotlights, All News

By Deborah Espitia

January 30, 2018

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

There is an exciting movement underway. Fewer and fewer teachers are exposing students to meaningless drill and practice to help them acquire new content, such as vocabulary. We are moving away from the practice of showing an image with the word, saying the word, and having learners repeat it. We have had enough of handing out the vocabulary list, turning on the projector, and hearing that audible, collective sigh that indicates learners have also had enough. 

And, it isn’t stopping there. Teachers (and learners) are also moving beyond the series of rote, fill-in-the-blank exercises that can be done mindlessly with no connection to meaning and hence, no acquisition. They are experiencing an integration of presentation and practice in context that supports acquisition.

Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language—natural communication—in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances, but with the messages they are conveying and understanding.(Krashen, 1981).

Integral to this new movement is the use of gestures, visuals, or objects to have our learners apply new vocabulary in authentic, communicative tasks. We know that there is immense value in using visual input to reinforce what learners listen to or read. Leading experts in the field of education, such as Robert J. Marzano, address the need to include such non-linguistic representations to create context and meaning in acquiring content. But, it’s what the teacher has learners do in relation to these non-linguistic representations that’s the bridge to acquiring the content.  

Through his research, Marzano outlines five strategies that use non-linguistic representations to assist learners in acquiring content. Let’s take a look at the five strategies applied to the learning of vocabulary in context.

1. Create graphic organizers

Have learners organize words and phrases into patterns using symbols, arrows, shapes, or illustrations in order to: identify and classify what learners hear or read; or make recommendations.

For example, have learners listen to a classmate describe what school supplies she needs to buy for four classes and create a shopping list. You could also have learners take notes while listening to various family members talk about what they need to do before leaving for school or work in the morning in order to make suggestions about what they should do first.

2. Build physical models

Have learners engage in hands-on tasks in order to indicate placement of objects or describe how to do something.

In this instance, have learners rearrange furniture in the classroom according to directions the teacher has left, or demonstrate a recipe for a favorite family dish. 

3. Generate mental pictures

Have learners visualize words and phrases while incorporating the senses in order to make comparisons or set a scene.

For this strategy, ask learners to visualize a map of the western hemisphere, its continents, its countries, and the bodies of water that surround it; then, compare your mental map with a map from Latin America. Or have learners visualize how they feel when they have a particular ailment, such as a headache, a cold, or a broken bone; then they can explain their symptoms to the nurse over the phone.

4. Draw pictures and pictographs

Have learners create illustrations of content in order to: describe people, places, or things; or outline a sequence of events.

For this, you could have learners listen to a Costa Rican learner talk about his school uniform and draw the outfit he describes. For outlining a sequence of events, have learners draw pictures of a series of activities they took part in on a camping trip and place each activity on a separate sheet of paper. They can exchange papers with a classmate; as one classmate narrates when she did each activity, the other student can arrange the drawings in the appropriate order. Then, switch roles.

5. Engage in kinesthetic activity

Have learners connect physical movement to mental images in order to show relationships between and among people and things and predict next steps.

For example, have your kids read a description of a Colombian family tree; but, first, assign each learner a family member to portray. As they hear the description, learners organize themselves to create a physical model that shows the relationships among the various family members.

Another example for predicting next steps would be to distribute each learner one step of the instructions for what to do prior to boarding an international flight. Have classmates take turns reading aloud their step, acting it out, and lining up in order of when each step occurs.

These examples are just a few of the applications of these five strategies. Please share ideas you have in the comment section. Stay tuned for the next in our series of strategies to link vocabulary acquisition and communication.

 

For more of the Acquiring Vocabulary blog series:

Part II: 9 Strategies for Using Graphic Organizers

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

Part IV: Mental Pictures and Drawing

References:

  • Krashen, S. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press Inc.
  • Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

 

Read More