Sunday, April 7, 2013

ePals - Connection to the world

     While exploring the ePals website I was extremely impressed with the various opportunities provided to teachers and students to connect globally with other language learners.  The first feature that caught my attention was being able to connect with other classes around the country and the WORLD.  This is something that I have always wanted to do with my students but I was unaware of how to do this.  I did not even know where to start looking for other classes to connect with and ePals has made this extremely easy.  You can search by age group, language and even country.  My school is currently planning a trip to Puerto Rico with our students next year and this would be a great way to expose them to Puerto Rican culture before going on the trip.  Students would be able to get a Puerto Rican pen pal and not only practice their Spanish but also learn more about their culture.  It would be interesting to do a collaborative project in which students must evaluate their own culture as well as their pen pal's culture.  This would show students another person's perspective as well as any stereotypes they might have.
     Another great feature that the website has is the "Join a Project" option.  This is where teachers can post a specific project with details so that I can determine if it is something I want to participate in or not.  There were a lot of projects listed, ones that could be used for other classes such as Global Studies or a Humanities class.  One specific project that I would be interested in further exploring is a class from the UK that is learning Spanish and is looking to form a partnership with another class outside of the UK to practice Spanish and discuss various cultural perspectives.  The site also offers resources to teachers as well as has a feature that has online field trips.  I also found a link regarding culture called "Children Around the World" which explores various cultures.  Overall I think the ePal site is a great resource for students and teachers that want to become globally competent members of society!

Friday, March 29, 2013

IMovie for the IPAD - SO EASY!

For this project I used IMovie - I wanted to created a video/photo story for a class I am teaching so I filmed various staff members at my school acting as though they were sick. My students are learning different illnesses in Spanish when we get back from break.  This video was so easy to make using the IMovie app for the IPAD.  The application doesn't have as many options as the software on a PC/Laptop does but it is easy and makes this type of technology easy to make and easy to use with students.  Here is my video:

Voice Thread - Students will be speaking!

The two Voice Threads that I chose to comment on are very different and I believe were created with different objectives in mind.  The first Voice Thread was by Kayla and was regarding hobbies.  I liked this Voice Thread because it was simple and I believe the objective was to review vocabulary as well as  have students use language to express personal information.  I think this was a great way to get students speaking in the target language especially because they were able to express their interests or hobbies.  The second Voice Thread I commented on was by Erin, and was about Mexican Culture.  This was an interesting Voice Thread because it was informational and set up more like a lesson on Mexican Culture rather than a review activity or follow up activity.  This would be a great way to introduce information to students and also get their reactions to culture information taught in the class.  I think both Voice Threads were great ideas but had extremely different objectives.  I can see using both types of Voice Thread in my classes to not only teach the material but also get students speaking in the target language.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mi libro

I wrote the following short story using Bookr, Mi aventura en el centro commercial to use with my Spanish 1 classes.  I am very excited about this tool and I can't wait to start using it in my classes as well as have my students start creating stories!  With the short story I created, I plan to use it as a reading comprehension activity in which I will give students questions they need to answer as they read the story.  Additionally, this will foster a writing activity in which the students will have to describe what they will wear to a party with their friends.  I can see using this tool in all levels, it is a great way to get students writing and reading without fear or apprehension because there are pictures for help and the amount of text can be minimal.  I am really excited about this! Learning objectives for this lesson are the following:

  1. SWBAT identify various vocabulary related to shopping.
  2. SWBAT describe their ideal party outfit in Spanish.    
Fortress on waterfront Photo by The Field Museum Library

In a Digital Storytelling World....

Digital storytelling is not a new form of storytelling, in fact according to this digital story telling website it has been around since the early 1990s thanks to pioneer, Joe Lambert.  As the name suggests digital storytelling is the art of telling story through technology.  Normally the story is between 2 to 10 minutes in length and the author will use a variety of multimedia in order to further enhance the story.  There are 7 major elements that are needed which include point of view, a dramatic question, emotional content, the gift of your voice, the power of the soundtrack, economy and pacing.  These elements help to make a digital story more powerful for the viewer.  This art form can be used not only by educators but also by students.  Several uses of this tool for student learning include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Students can create their own stories in the target language about various topics.
  2. Students can work collaboratively with a group to create a chain story (one in which one person starts the story and then the next person continues it).
  3. Students can create a book report/prezi based on a teacher made digital story in the target language.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A serious kind of game...

The game I found online is called Farm Tribe which is a game about creating and cultivating a farm.  I wasn't able to actually play the game as I have a Mac and the website told me that there was only a downloadable version for PC (I tried multiple games and this was the case).  The objectives of learning would be related to vocabulary development as well as listening skill development.  The game talks to you and has directions in Spanish - this would help students improve their reading/listening skills.  I would give students a quiz/assessment in which I gave them the same directions used in the game and assessed their action.  I would also compile a list of frequently used vocabulary words from the game and use that as a way of assessing the vocabulary development.