The most beautiful lesson plan book

Have you heard of Erin Condren?  You may hate me in a few seconds if you watch the video below.  My kindergarten teacher cousin introduced me to this planner, and it was love at first sight.  I seriously want to purchase everything on this site.  It’s ADORABLE!!!!  For now, I have only ordered my personalized lesson plan book.  It arrived yesterday and is everything I expected and more!  I highly recommend getting the extra check-list pages (I don’t keep records, but I plan to use them as additional notes pages), the personalized notepads (I attached mine in the front of my planner) and the pen clip.  The front and back covers are thickly laminated and the interior pages thick and sturdy–no worries about accidentally ripping some as you flip.

In case you don’t want to watch the 10 minute video from her site, scroll past it for a 2-minute picture slideshow of my 2013-2014 lesson plan book.

My Personalized Erin Condren Planner:

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Musical Partners

I am trying to think outside the box with partner work this school year.  I have a FABULOUS language lab in my classroom that my students feel I overuse.  While I will never give up opportunities to use the amazing tool, I have decided to mix it up from time to time and get students up and moving (and picking their own partners).

Today, my students completed an independent activity about their summer.  Normally, I would pair them on the lab and have them ask and answer questions with each other.  Then, I would mix up the partners a few times so they got an opportunity to learn about other people.  When sharing activities like this, I try to spend as much time as it took them to do it so they see that it was in fact worth their time.

Today, I decided to utilize that collaboration space around the corner by playing Musical Partners.  That is my name for the activity that I stole from an icebreaker at the AVID Summer Institute.  We went into the space (with their worksheet), and I played music on my iPad.  While the music played, students walked around and/0r danced around.  When the music stopped, they paired up,  asked questions of each other and shared information related to the activity.  I gave them about 2-3 minutes to speak before starting up the music again.  They walked/danced until the music stopped and found a new partner.  We did this 3 or 4 times (depending on the class) before returning to our room.  It was a lot of fun :).

In case you were wondering, my song choice was Shakira’s Estoy Aquí, a classic from when I was in Spanish 2 oh so long ago :).

Fun LOTE Homework

Before I share my idea, I feel it necessary to mention that I teach a performance-based curriculum, guided by the ACTFL guidelines for languages other than English. All of our assessments are performance-based graded on a rubric.

Recently, we had our first interpersonal speaking exam of this school year in my Spanish 3 classes. In order to receive the maximum credit in the task completion portion of the rubric, the students must maintain the conversation by asking personalized questions and by making appropriate comments. After listening to our first assessment, I learned that my students are still struggling to ask personalized question and that they need some help with making comments beyond, “How great!” and “How fun!”

I was looking for something fun and engaging when inspiration struck. I told my students to watch a TV show (if their parents allowed–if not, the alternative is to read a book or about a real person) and during each commercial break to think of or write one comment they would say to one of the characters and one question they would like to ask the character.

I’m not going to lie, the students were a little flabbergasted by my idea and many chuckled to themselves when I explained what I wanted. Nevertheless, I could see how intriguing the idea was in their eyes. Students can bring in the questions/comments, write them on the board and we can critique them together and add our own commentary. I’m excited to see how it goes!

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