Monday, September 29, 2008

Kiwi En La Clase De Espanol

Kiwi En La Clase De Espanol, originally uploaded by jillybean ( :.

It's going good!

Monday, September 22, 2008

msad21 worldcultures logo

msad21 worldcultures logo, originalmente cargada por Amity Beane.

I am now teaching a new class! It's wonderful! All in English.

Friday, September 19, 2008

c'est chouette!

School today flew by, and was highly engaging.

I'm officially assimilating the French classes to the tech culture at the East Campus.

All of the teachers worked together to make one large learning environment. Thank you, co-workers! We shared rooms, students, computers, the printer, highlighters.

My Spanish kids were buddies with my French kids and all made wikis, set goals, found themselves on-line. We talked A LOT about Internet safety, I overheard the Spanish kids spouting off very good advice about what passwords, what types of pictures, etc. The classroom was very alive.

New fruit today. Bananas. They really like bananas. And kids are starting to come in from other classes because they are hungry and want a snack. Snacks are so important. In French culture, and Dominican culture. In Venezuelan culture and Panamanian culture. I love the culture of food!

Monday: major furniture moving. The French room will now become a workshop. All my glue, scissors, paper will be in the room. Perhaps even the folders. I now have two rooms and two languages and over 40 computers and cameras and a very supportive environment. This is the year. The kids are going to rock it out and the payoff will last a lifetime.

Monday, September 15, 2008

words of wisdom

A wise woman once told me to develop negatives into positive, like a picture. Makes perfect sense to me, so here are the positives!

My students like to go outside and play!

My students eat a lot of healthy food.

My students design things daily. Each class is developing a dynamic that is, for the most part, focused on my agenda of creating, designing, sharing, moving, growing, cooking, etc. with the ultimate goal of being in Spanish.

My students love music!

My students create things daily.


Thinking about the design of my room. What if there were less computers and more collaborative work. I think I would reduce wasted "net time" if students were forced to prioritize the use of the machine.

Also, less table work. Floor work is good. I want beanbag chairs!

Setting the projector up in the middle of the room and projecting onto the southern wall is a very good way to show films. I can also use that space to project maps that we can trace as a class. Tomorrow I'll move those machines out.

I'm loving thinking about French and thinking in French as of today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

oh, the connections

If you look back in the archives of this blog, for a long time I was planning a unit with the guiding question: If we are what we eat, what are we? I love teaching a language because the opportunities to communicate with it are endless and this topic is dear to my hear (growing up on an organic farm and all). I switched my essential question mid-stream--"What drives us to follow our dreams?" but the food question was still a' burnin'. My take on food consumption is that we consume too much of the wrong stuff, we are disconnected from where real, healthy food comes from, and we have ridiculous portion sizes. My state, Maine, has a real child-obesity problem, as well.

So...what action did I take? I ordered two cases of fruit through the food service and started offering healthy snacks in my room for a quarter. This pricing was to cover the cost of the fruit. Every day, kids plunk their quarters into the mug and grab an apple or an orange from the bowl. I allow them to eat in my room and fill their hungry bellies with health, nutritious fruit. The apples are LOCAL APPLES (yay!) from the town I live in. The oranges come from Florida.

Now, kids are starting to ask me if they can eat OTHER snacks in my room. I did not anticipate this. When it first happened, I asked (in Spanish) "Is it a healthy snack?" So far the snacks have just been peanut butter crackers. I said yes to that. I am waiting for the bag of chips to brought in so we can discuss that!

Thursday night, I went to Walmart and picked out several different kinds of fruits. Bananas, melons, grapes, limes, pineapple. Friday I had my Spanish 4's chop it all up and record the process and take still shots with the Spanish names. We'll do post-production editing, sound track, voice overs and subtitles next week, but the point is instead of apples and oranges on Friday, kids were exposed to all different kinds of fruits with different countries of origin. The price was still a quarter and by the end of the day almost all the fruit was gone and I recouped my initial investment of 21 dollars. Kids *loved* the pineapple and limes and grapes. The melons were not such a big hit. One girl told me I was smart to sell them fruit!

Some class, soon, I'll set it up as a Spanish market and make the kids dicker for their snacks. It's such a good concept to teach them, especially if they ever travel to Latin America!!

My 4's were soooooo happy with their kitchen and video production time. I was so proud of them for cutting and photographing and presenting so much fruit in just 80 minutes.

My Spanish 1's munched happily on healthy snacks while we watched a Spanish telenovela designed especially for teens learning the language.

I love incorporating food into my curriculum and having content and full students for a class period.

For those kids who did not have any change, I let them give me an IOU for the day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

happy Thursday!

Today something happened that was so cool, I hope it happens again.

One of my students, when I first shared Skype, told me her dad is working in Afghanistan and has Skype. Would I allow her dad to Skype our class? At first I didn't give a clear answer, and then I decided, sure! So we set a time and date.

Today was the day. C. and I worked together to get the technology in place. My students moved furniture to make a better audience space. Instead of Skype we used Yahoo chat. He wore a headset and was located in a bunker. There was a lag but we communicated. I gathered two other classes in the room and we spent about 20 minutes chatting.

And this was not the most exciting part.

The most exciting part was when two other students approached me after class. They want to use Skype for their own communication with loved ones that live far away.

It is not about the technology. It is about what you do with it.

The interview process must be clarified for the students, but I see many more interviews in the future.

Oh, I signed up for a second class tonight--mo' skoo. Topics include mind mapping, concept mapping, GIS, GPS, Inspiration, and various other systems of storing, retrieving, and presenting data.

Monday, September 8, 2008

happy Monday!

Today just flew by.

My freshmen are learning the "big picture" words...words like Metas, Habilidades, Realizaciones...(goals, abilities, achievements). We used Wordle to visualize the words....soon we'll get to de-codin (aka grammar).

Spanish 2's finished Glogs on goals. I'll do a gallery of them and someone will make it to the Hall of Fame. Next up? Their first workshop on production--they'll produce short films for the elementary school.

Spanish 4's began the earnest work of storyboarding. So far, one team is showing how to play a game, one team is making a cooking show, and one team is demonstrating how to play field hockey. Should be interesting. I closed the wiki but interested parties can request to join.

J. is coming on Wednesday to chat with everyone and a student's father is Skyping the class from his military base. Should be a good week for distance learning.

Oh! My colleague and I presented this:

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: msad21 internationalclub)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

good things

Yesterday was the first day that my volunteer, J., came into the room. It felt very successful--she spoke with each student in Spanish, and several students interacted with her without my help. It was great! She'll be back next Wednesday.

Last night was my research methods first class. I think it will be a lot of work but very engaging. I shared Zach's graphs and this lovely image from Flickr. Lovely data!!

Today: the 4's will use Glogster for their first multimedia presentation. The 2's will use 280Slides to begin their elementary school work. The 1's will register for the wiki and begin their categorization of words. I teach a lot of grammar this way.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

jing and screencast

I'm psyched. Just did my first screencast and found it pretty simple.

Check it out!

I downloaded Jing and used it to capture audio and screenshots to teach people how to sign up for my wiki.

simple solutions

It occurred to me today that so far, no kids have been waiting by my door for the bell to ring at the end of class. Not having a clock in my room or a bell system forces students to be accountable/responsible for themselves and not let the machines do all the work of herding them from place to place. This effectively solves a dilemma I presented during a PLC session last year.


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