Here is what is working well so far this year…..
This has been a great start to the school year, one of my best. I have tried some new things and have improved all of the “old” things. My classes are better and therefore my students are becoming more proficient. Furthermore, they are having fun and I am having lots of fun! Here are the things that have been working well for me so far this year:
- Brain Breaks. Though I have always done brain breaks, I am getting better at consistently doing them. At the TCI Maine conference, I learned some new brain breaks that have been quite successful. Whether they last 30 seconds or a minute and a half, brain breaks are very powerful.
Toro, matador, corrida brain break! pic.twitter.com/5PF9Sz4H9l
— Dustin Williamson (@williamson_ci) October 18, 2018
- Baile Viernes. I have never done Baile Viernes before and quite frankly, I was a little sceptic to try it. I though that my high school students wouldn’t want to dance. Boy was I wrong! Baile Viernes is one of the most anticipated activities that we do. While not everyone dances when we do it, it has been very successful. In fact, we actually have done two dances on Fridays because they like it so much. It also has been a great way to introduce latin music and dancing.
- Jaja Jueves. Every Thursday, I tell jokes in Spanish to my classes. Here is one that I did. You can find more HERE. It has been a great way to start class on Thursdays with not only more comprehensible input but also laughing.
- Snapchat/photos. I have always had a photographer as a student job and used class photos for a variety of activities but this year is the first time that I have a class Snapchat. So far, I have been snapping photos and videos of dancing, reader’s theater, brain breaks, reading, and from my photo booth. We will be doing Booksnaps in Spanish 4 while we read Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha. Follow me on Snapchat (senorwilliamson) and check out some of the things that happen in my classroom.
- Took some things off my plate. This is the first fall since I started teaching 16 years ago where I am not coaching cross country running. I have been ableto focus more on my classes and it has made a difference.
- Story listening. I absolutely love doing story listening. I do it with songs, legends,and with other stories like Ferdinando the bull. There are so many great things that you can do with story listening and it really provides some compelling comprehensible input. Kara Jacobs has incredibly good resources for story listening.
- Reader’s Theater. My favorite thing to do while reading anovel is reader’s theater. I love making the text come alive and being the book. It adds great visual and it is fun. I actually had a student tell me that reader’s theater is their favorite thing to do while reading because “it helps understand the book and I can see what happens.”
- Adding movement. Last year, my school did a survey and the entire student body said that my class has the most movement than any other class. Every class I try to add movement. I ask myself: what can we do today that requires movement. Quizlet Live relay, running dictation, scavenger hunt, Goosechase, volleyball, gallery walk are some of my go to movement activities.
- Whole staff reading. We are reading the book Focus by Mike Schmoker as an entire staff. I believe it has helped the entire school redefine what is important to teach. It also has reminded us what an effective lesson is and what exactly is essential. It is nice to have a school year that is focused on improving student learning and not on complaining about grading.
I hope that your school year is going well despite all of the extra responsibilities that we all have.
….and don’t worry, there are some things that aren’t going so well which may be another blog post in the future….
My principal just gave me the book Focus to read as well because we have chatted at length about what I see as an endemic failure to teach kids to read. I have just barely started, but am looking forward to what I can learn from it. Do you have a resource for your legends??
Focus is actually a decent book. It does have a good section about reading. Unfortunately, school kills the joy of reading.
For the legends, I do la Llorona (https://www.brycehedstrom.com/product/la-leyenda-de-la-llorona-embedded-reading-student-readers-set-of-10) , Chupacabras, and plan on doing some from Bolivia this spring (http://www.ceauthres.com/2018/09/ubd-el-ekeko-y-las-minas-de-bolivia.html).
Can you explain how Quizlet Live Relay works? Sounds awesome! 🙂
It is very fun! Mis Clases Locas has a great description of it: http://misclaseslocas.blogspot.com/2018/04/quick-tip-quizlet-live-relay-race.html