My Blog | Best PowerPoints for Spanish | Angie Torre

My Blog


Spanish Sampler Freebie- All My Free Products in One Place!

SpanishSamplerFreebie

     Do you need some back-to-school resources for your Spanish teacher-toolbox?  Now you don’t have to go searching about (Who has time for that?) to find all my freebies.  Here are all my free products in one place!  24 in all and that number will keep increasing as I add to it.  Make sure to follow me to get updates on the new products and sign up for my monthly newsletter (left).

Click on this link to see what’s included and to download the resources: Spanish Freebie Sample 

 I wanted to give you a sampling of some of the types of products I offer.  While this is only a drop in the bucket (Many of my resources are not represented) there are videos, PowerPoints, Interactive Notebook activities, Google Drive Activities, Paired Activities, Illustrated TPR Stories, and games.  

Not included are my Lesson plans, Textbooks and Curriculum Bundles.

Or my AP Spanish Resources.

Best Back-to-School Advice Ever!  BUY SHOES!

The best back-to-school advice ever!  Buy shoes!

I remember my first student-teacher job.  My master teacher looked at my stiletto shoes and said, “Are you going to teach in those?”  I didn’t understand her question. That’s because I was young and naive. 

The best back-to-school advice I can offer is, “Buy shoes.”  COMFORTABLE shoes, that is.  Who wears heels for standing and walking all day?  It’s documented that heels and pointy-toed shoes hurt your back and deform your feet.  Here are a few of many articles that go into detail on the subject:  ABC News    BACK PAIN

How many years have women let FASHION DICTATES damage their feet?  Has our thinking and culture evolved any since the subjugating practice of breaking women’s toes and binding their feet to force them into tiny shoes?  This custom continued for a THOUSAND years in China around the 13th century!  I don’t understand why women wear heels in this age of gender equality.  

Chinese Shoes

When I’m on my feet all day I don’t want to be distracted by the pain in my feet. I want comfort and the ability to get from Susy-on-Task to Bobby-Fidget-Spinner in smooth painfree strides.  To walk quickly around the room as I’m teaching.  To spin away from the board at lightning speed in order to shoot dragon-fire glares at misbehaving students.  Whom I love with all my heart - seriously! 

 One of the best classroom management strategies is proximity.  Proximity requires proper footwear.

Wear comfortable shoes to teach in.  The best back-to-school advice ever!

So now is the time to contribute to the economy by heading out to your nearest athletic shoe store or Birkenstocks.  Your feet will thank you.

Send me a picture of the shoes you teach in at altespoir@sbcglobal.net or on Instagram.  Use the hashtag #teachershoescomfy and tag me @bestpowerpointsforspanish.  The best picture will win a $25 TPT gift card.  Share your email address with me also so I can contact you if you win.  Contest ends on August 31.  Winner will be announced on Instagram.

The second-best back-to-school advice ever is,”Fill your teacher-toolbox with enough comprehensible input to provide tons of repetition in context."  Toward that end, you might like these popular videos.  Your students will love them!

In the next blog we will continue discussing strategies for motivating unmotivated learners.  Stay tuned!  If you missed the previous blogs on the topic, click here: How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners

Remember that new subscribers to my blog are eligible to receive a product from my Store of $3 or under.  Sign-up form is at the top left of this page.


Back-To-School-Sale!

TPT Back-to-School Sale on August 1st and 2nd.  Everything will be 15% off!

It’s here! TPT’s Back-to-School Sale!  On August 1st and 2nd, all my products, including the large curriculum bundles, the lesson plans, digital textbooks, EVERYTHING will by 15% off!  Use the code BTS2017 to get an additional 10% off!  That’s a whopping 20% off!

I have spent the past six months creating new resources that you might want to add to your teacher-tool-box:

For comprehensible input, you may want to take a look at my new videos: Spanish One and Two Videos

Get students engaged with Interactive Notebook and Google Drive Activities.

Go home early next year and see more of your family!  I have done the lesson plans for you!  Check out the Spanish One Lesson Plans and Curriculum for an Entire Year. Get your school to buy it for you!

The sale is two days only, so stock up!  Happy teaching!

Why You Should Use Targeted Comprehensible Input 

Subjunctive TPR Story1

If you love using TPR Stories or comprehensible input, have you asked yourself, “Do I plan my lesson around the story or plan the story around the lesson?”  It depends on if you use targeted or non-targeted input.

Why you should use targeted CI

Targeted comprehensible input is the presentation and recycling of selected vocabulary or grammar, in the form of stories, questions, and auditory, written, or visual clues with the purpose of providing an abundance of repetition in context.  Non-targeted input does not focus on any particular vocabulary or structures but rather uses any language necessary to convey the message.  Both targeted and non-targeted have the goal of focusing on A MESSAGE AND COMMUNICATION, rather than grammar.

Those who argue that input should be non-targeted do not take into account the limited amount of time a junior-high or high school student is exposed to the language.  

If world language instruction began in elementary and continued until 12th grade, non-targeted input would be feasible and efficacious.  However, in the typical high school classroom, there is simply not enough instructional time for students to acquire the language presented with non-targeted input.  Thousands more hours would be needed to assimilate the different vocabulary and structures.

So why should you use targeted input?  For the following reasons: It is comprehehensible, provides interesting repetition in context and additional connecting words and syntax, focuses on the message and communication, easily provides L+1, and facilitates teacher-planning around themes and function. It also advances students to the proficiency level that allows them to understand authentic language and resources. 

Of course, the most important component of comprehensible input is that it be COMPREHENSIBLE.  That means, through whatever means, gestures, visuals, cognates, contextual clues, students understand the message.  For this to occur, the language must be only slightly above their understanding.

If I wanted to teach the verb, “ser”, for example, telling a story using random vocabulary, I would have to spend months or even years to provide enough uses of the verb for my students to acquire it.  If I purposely sprinkle an abundance of the word in an engrossing story and then repeat the verb in multiple questions and other activities, it will soon be part of students' working vocabulary.  

This SER TPR Story does just that:

Ser TPRS1


My students loved this story about a girl who meets a great guy but has to overcome obstacles in order to go out with him: Spanish Subjunctive TPR Story  

Once they heard the subjunctive used multiple times in context, they began to replicate what they heard and produce complete sentences, answer questions, put events in order, write their own ending, and, ultimately, communicate original messages.

Although it is basically true that we learn a second language the way we learn our first one, age is a limiting factor.  After puberty, students do not acquire a second language as easily, quickly or automatically as children. They also have a curiosity about and a capacity to understand the formal teaching of structures.  Although that teaching may not help acquisition it may boost students’ confidence. 

For these reasons, I teach the conscious mind first, then the subconscious.  After formally teaching the grammar, I repeat the structures multitudinous times in context, with meaningful messages so that students then ACQUIRE the language and syntax.  I make the communication as authentic and interactive as possible because language is also learned through interaction.  So- here’s the rule, now let’s internalize it through exposure and real communication.

Another benefit of targeted comprehensible input is that students learn more than the selected concept or vocabulary.  They also learn connecting words, syntax, high-frequency words and expressions not formally taught.  Many of the expressions my students use are not ones on their handout, but rather ones they hear me say repeatedly. ¡Caramba!  ¿Otra vez?

Discussion of the story naturally leads to the discussion of other related topics or themes that expose the students to the repetition of the same structure. For example, I told students about a problem I had when I was in college and asked them to give me suggestions.  I gave them the sentence stems:  I recommend that you… I suggest that you…. I advise you to… It’s important that you…

After they gave me their suggestions, I told them what I really did.  It was real.  It was authentic.  And they were using the structure that had burned into their brains after hearing and talking about the story.

For homework, I gave them more scenarios and asked for more recommendations, suggestions, etc.

Lastly, if the targeted input is interesting to the students, they will be so curious about what is going to happen next, or so captivated by the topic they will almost forget they are not speaking their own language. 

Sheltered videos have become my favorite resource in the world language classroom. They are the best targeted comprehensible input, in my opinion, for these reasons: Students are 100% engaged because the resource is visual and the story or topic hooks their interest; the teacher can monitor the students as they learn instead of doing a song-and-dance; students absorb the language almost automatically in a simulated authentic experience; they provide tons of repetition in context with slow-speaking native speakers; and students learn surrounding language, connecting words, and syntax not formally taught as they focus on the message, not grammar.  

Here are some examples of some sheltered videos:


My students were mesmerized by these videos:

La ropa Video

SpanishLa ropaVideo

La hora y las clases

La  hora y las clasesVideo

El subjuntivo- Las cláusulas adjetivales

Spanish video cláusulas adjetivales1

Saber y conocer

Spanish video for saber conocer

Here is a FREE Video with many uses of the Subjunctive and the Present Progressive

Screen Shot 2017-05-27 at 8.47.57 AM

Another helpful blog that explains targeted comprehensible input is,  What is Targeted Input? , by Terry Waltz.

Stay tuned.  Next time we will talk about how to start the school year and set up your classroom.  After that, we will continue the discussion on how to motivate unmotivated learners.

If you would like to receive these teaching tips in your email, subscribe to our mailing list, above left.  Remember, new subscribers are eligible to receive one product of $3 or under from my TPT Store.  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-La-hora-y-las-clases-Video-3081884?utm_source=bestpowerpointsforspanishclass.com&utm_campaign=Blog%3A%20Why%20you%20should%20use%20targeted%20TPR.%20La%20hora%20y%20las%20clases%20video

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners - Part 3

Phone pockets for class

     The school year is almost over and I marvel that the hurricane of energy in my Spanish One class has funneled itself into an orderly group of students who speak Spanish and seem to love learning.  All along the way I have kept modifying my practice to address the different needs and learning styles of my younger students.  Here are some of the strategies that have kept them engaged.

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners by Angie Torre:  The school year is almost over and I marvel that the hurricane of energy in my Spanish One class has funneled itself into an orderly group of students who speak Spanish and seem to love learning.  All along the way I have kept modifying my practice to address the different needs and learning styles of my younger students.  Here are some of the strategies that have kept them engaged.

Tip #1 

     GIVE STUDENTS TWO OR THREE MINUTES IN CLASS TO BEGIN THE HOMEWORK.

This kick-starts them and ensures they know how to do it.  Once they get home, they won’t be able to ask questions and rather than try to figure it out, they won't do it.  

On the block schedule, I jealously guard my instructional minutes as if they were gold but, from time to time, it is worth the minutes to get students to do the homework, particularly if it is a difficult assignment.

Tip #2

     CHECK THE PHONES AT THE DOOR.

There is no way you will be able to compete with the lure of the cell phone.  Even I, the teacher, can barely restrain myself from peeking at it.  

Students must drop their phones into the phone pocket of the number to which they are assigned, right after they turn their homework into the homework basket.  A quick glance will tell you who has not turned in the phone.  (Learning Resources at Amazon.com for $15.00.)

     But don’t do what I did.

Phone pockets for students

I bought these pockets ($30 from Bed Bath and Beyond) and put the students' names on them.  As you can see, there is no way of knowing which students did not turn in their phones.  My T.A.s make a quick check and hand me a list of non-compliant students and I give them the eye while miming phone talk and they immediately surrender their precious possesion.  This actually works well for me as I don't have to check numbers but it will only work if you have good assistants.

Tip #3

    CHANGE THE SEATING CHART FREQUENTLY.

 I know, everyone knows this but do we remember to do it?  One of my top students recently asked me, “ Are we going to change seats again?”  I said, “No.  Wait, YES!  Good idea!"

I changed my seating chart four times this term and it was almost as complicated a task as the picture below depicts.  However, every time I identified the problem areas and moved students away from temptations, the class was more attentive and teachable.

Seating charts

   Tip #4

    DO ACTIVITIES DURING CLASS THAT MIRROR THE TASKS IN THE TEST. 

This will increase student confidence, reduce errors caused by ambiguous instructions, and ensure you are assessing the students’ proficiency, not their test-taking abilities.

And finally, here is one more tip from Smart Classroom Management

     Next month is the last installment on how to motivate students.  In case you missed the first blogs, here is the link: How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part One

You will, like me, probably be planning your trip to Hawaii but summer time can also be a good time to reflect on our practice and think about how we will make next year better.  I would love to hear your ideas about how to motivate students.  Share below or on my Facebook page.  

    If you would like more tips and freebies, sign up (top left) for my monthly blog / newsletter. Remember that everyone who signs up is eligible to win a free product from my TPT Store of $3 or under.  

End of the Year Tip that will Make Next Year Better

End of the year tip that will make next year better.  Now is the perfect time to get ready for next year to ensure a peaceful, successful experience for you and your students.  Which did NOT happen this year.
BlogHopBanner2

               Now is the perfect time to get ready for next year to ensure a peaceful, successful experience for you and your high school students.  Which did NOT happen this year.

     Every year around this time, I recruit teacher's assistants.  I send letters home (so parents can see them) to my brightest, most diligent students listing and extolling their qualities and asking them to consider being my T.A.  The letter is uplifting to the parents and the students.  And I get top-shelf help.

     T.A.s can be life savers or keep-you-awake-all-night stressors.  This year, the first semester witnessed sleepless nights and hair-pulling days.  Since I retired last June I hadn’t planned on teaching and therefore I did not recruit.  As a result, the only helpers who came my way were those who signed up for an easy class, who exhibited consternation when I interrupted their eternal texting with a request, who didn’t follow instructions, and whose loud socializing destroyed the learning environment I had worked so hard to create.

    This semester a few of my previous students signed up to help and the others had to move on (with a little gentle persuasion).  My new T.A.s find my mistakes, remind me to do things, grade most of my tests and generally support me in a myriad of ways. Don’t be the first-semester me.  Be the second-semester me.


     If you would like to see a copy of the letter I sent out, here it is: TA Recruitment Letter

Stay tuned!  Next month I will continue the series, “How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners”.




     

How my Student Became Fluent in Two Years

How my Student Became Fluent in Two Years: The best way to become fluent in a second language is to converse, one-on-one with a native speaker. In a regular classroom, the typical student-teacher ratio is anywhere from 1/36 to 1/25.  How is a student going to get the required exposure to reach proficiency with so few opportunities to speak and interact in the language?


      The best way to become fluent in a second language is to converse, one-on-one with a native speaker.  Actually, that is, in part, how I learned Spanish.  In a regular classroom, the typical student-teacher ratio is anywhere from 1/36 to 1/25.  How is a student going to get the required exposure to reach proficiency with so few opportunities to speak and interact in the language?


When I was working as an illustrator/graphic artist, a co-worker asked me to tutor him in French during our ten-minute breaks.  TEN MINUTES!  I agreed.  For two years, I spoke to him in French, guiding and teaching him as I went but, mostly, speaking to him in French.

Approximately two years later, he was fluent and ready to travel to France.  Which he did.  He speaks French to this day.

How can we duplicate that experience for our students?  

When I first began teaching, I was greatly frustrated by the impossibility of the situation.  So, I sat down and thought about how I could expose my students to more one-on-one language. 

Then it came to me-- MULTIPLY THE PRESENCE OF THE TEACHER in the classroom! 

And that’s what I did. 

I created an activity that allows EIGHT times more language interaction than normal and I am offering it to you for FREE.  It is one of my most popular products.  You can use it for repetition in context of any vocabulary or concept or as an END-OF-THE-YEAR ACTIVITY to recycle the vocabulary and provide tons of language in context.

I created a short version just for the future tense.  To access it, just type in your name and email address in the sign-up form in the upper left.

Here is the same activity for the Preterite Tense.

Here is the same activity for the Subjunctive.

Here is the Present Tense activity in action in my Spanish One class.

If you would like more freebies and teaching tips, sign up for my monthly blog.  New subscribers are eligible to receive one free product of $3 or under from my  TPT store.

 


 

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners, Part Two

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners, Part Two.

As soon as the students get accustomed to the classroom procedures, they will be more motivated.  As soon as I get some (better) T.A.s, the class will run more smoothly.  As soon as ….  One day I realized that motivating and challenging students to do more than they thought they could was a DAILY TASK, that every day I will be tested and required to show students that the bar is up here, not down here.  So, every day, I pull strategies out of my teacher bag to engage and motivate students.  Here are a few that have brought my students to proficiency.


TIP # 1    Wait Time

     Wait time is necessary, of course, to give students time to process the question and to form a response in a language not their own.  However, it also provides a bit of suspense, what I call, “good tension”.  If I say the name of the student, and then ask the question, 99% of the class is off the hook and tempted to look at their phones.  If I say the question first, then pause, pause, pause, while giving eye contact to each student in the room ALL students are engaged because they might be the one called upon to answer.

TIP # 2  Include All Students

     Closure activities should include ALL students.  Which activity should I choose, “Fly Swatter, Jeopardy,” or “Tic Tac Toe?”  I use the one that engages ALL students.  My Go-To competition is Team A against Team B in which each student is given a number.  I project or say the question, pause, and call a number.  Every student is on alert because his number may be the one called.  Another good closure activity is Quizlet Live because it not only engages all students, it is hands-on.

TIP # 3  Choose Hands-on Activities

     Choose activities that are hands-on or use as many senses as possible.  Passivity is replaced by enthusiasm when students stand, run, type, dramatize. I can’t force all my students to act out the vocabulary with me, but they WANT to tap away during Quizlet Live, Kahoot,  Google Drive activities and other games that involve both hands or movement. Here is a blog by teacher Sra. Shaw about Quizlet Live if you would like to know more.  (Students do not have to sit together.  Teaching them how to say, “Lo tengo” and, “No lo tengo”ensures students stay in the target language while collaborating with their group members.)  

Quizlet Live

The night before, I assign homework on Quizlet.  The next day, we play the game.  Here is the Quizlet Live we played.

TIP # 4 Use student Photos in your PowerPoints

     Use student pictures in your PowerPoints and the names of your students in your activities.  As soon as students see their photo on the screen, they are immediately attentive.

TIP # 5  Hold Students Accountable

     Hold students accountable for completion of and quality of homework.  I know there is research that argues that homework doesn’t produce proficiency.  However, my empirical evidence proves otherwise.  I doubt those studies take into account the TYPE of homework assigned and whether or not the teacher grades the homework on quality.

     I tell my students I never assign homework unless we have first thoroughly practiced the concept in class. However, when they do it, I first grade for completion only, checking to see who did it and who didn’t.  If a student did not do the homework (because of reasons other than absence) he/she may (and must) do it during tutorial.  If the student does not come to tutorial, he/ she is assigned 30 minutes tutorial, then a Saturday School.  The first two weeks, my board is covered with the names of students who did not do homework.  By week three, the list is considerably smaller as students begin to realize there is a consequence for not doing the homework.

     After partners correct the homework students turn it in again.  This time, my assistants grade it for quality.  The students who do quality work get high grades AND become proficient.  Of course, the homework must be as proficiency-based as possible.  By that I mean, not as much drill, and more real language. 

     For example, instead of a translation activity for adjectives, have students describe visuals using adjectives they have learned or ask real questions they must answer.

     In the next blog I will share a few more ideas that have kept my students hopping.  Stay tuned for part THREE of HOW TO MOTIVATE UNMOTIVATED LEARNERS.  There are so many effective strategies I couldn’t fit them all into one blog.

     In case you missed part one click HERE.

     If you have any ideas  about how to motivate students I would love to hear them.  Feel free to share on this blog or on my Facebook page: Best PowerPoints for Spanish 

     If you find these tips useful and know other teachers who would benefit from subscribing to this newsletter, make sure to tell them they will receive a free product of $3 or under from my TPT store for subscribing. They can subscribe here:

Best PowerPoints for Spanish




How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners- Part One

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners:  For the past six years I have been teaching upper-level Spanish classes working with highly-motivated students.  In order to sharpen my skills so that I could give my students the best education possible, I read in Spanish daily, researched complex grammar topics, and scoured the internet for relevant listening activities.  

    During that time, my instructional skills for lower level classes got a little rusty.

     For the past six years I have been teaching upper-level Spanish classes, including AP Spanish, working with highly-motivated students.  In order to sharpen my skills so that I could give my students the best education possible, I read in Spanish daily, researched complex grammar concepts, and scoured the internet for relevant listening activities.  

    During that time, my instructional skills for lower-level classes got a little rusty. 

     Spanish One students have different needs and it took me a while to get that ship sailing smoothly.  Some of these students don’t do homework just because you assign it or pay attention just because they are sitting in your classroom.  Part of my job is to motivate students to want to perform as instructed. Here’s how I do that.

    TIP #1  FREQUENT ASSESSMENTS

     I did two interactive notebook checks in Spanish Two, one at semester time and one right before finals.  If I want my Spanish One students to keep their notebook organized and completed, I need to check it weekly.  Every Friday I randomly choose a page in their notebook to grade.  My T.A. uses a rubric and quietly goes around the room checking the notebooks according to the rubric.  Here is the rubric: Interactive Notebook Weekly Rubric

     I break up all the vocabulary and concepts into smaller pieces and test more frequently.  This keeps students hopping.

    By the way, If you haven’t used interactive notebooks in your classes but are curious about them, here is a short video that shows my Master Spanish Two INB.  

     In case you missed my previous blogs about it, you can click here: How to Use Interactive Notebooks in the World Language Classroom.

   TIP #2 SMALL CHUNKS  

     I teach for five to ten minutes and immediately give students a practice activity (check for understanding) to reinforce what they just learned.  I use white boards, interactive notebook activities, TPR (Gets students moving), question / answer and other activities. Longer segments of direct instruction require more mental focus and risk disengagement.

      TIP #3 POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE 

     Many of my closure activities involve positive peer pressure.  This influence holds students accountable but doesn’t humiliate them.  

     For example, while Team A is writing the answers, Team B is throwing a ball into a box. Every time the ball falls into the basket, Team B gets a point.  Team A can’t stop the opponents from scoring until EVERY STUDENT on their team has correctly written the answer. This is a favorite game of my students.  If you would like to know how to play it, click here: Ball Throwing Game  When planning my closure activities, I try to include activities that require positive peer pressure and collaboration.

      TIP #4 COLLABORATION 

   In the above example, in order to win, students need to collaborate.  During most competitions I say, “Ayúdense”, or, “Ayúdenlo”.  Students know what that means and hustle to help each other.

    Most of my closure activities are team competitions which, by their nature, require collaboration unless it is disallowed.  They also motivate students who typically strive to win regardless of their enthusiasm for the subject.

      TIP #5 NO PASSES 

    Once students know how to say, “No sé” they think they now are off the hook.  I tell my students they can say, “No sé” or, “Je ne sais pas,” from time to time if the concept is difficult.  However, most of the time they must answer.  If they don’t know the answer I’ll wait.  Until they get out the handout they are supposed to have in front of them.  Until they engage.  Until other students help them.  Peer pressure again.  “¡Ayúdenla!”.  Students soon learn they can’t turn their brains off because you’ll wait.  And wait.

      TIP #6 REMIND

   OK, it’s another form of, “Nag, nag, nag”.  But it works.  I post my homework on Schoology every day with helps, attached documents, examples, etc.  But not all students check the website.  But ALL students check their phones.  Constantly.  So, I post the homework  on https://www.remind.com.  Sometimes I post twice a day. (It’s a bit like twitter in that you have to be succinct.  That’s not always possible.)

     I asked students how many of them checked REMIND.  Most hands went up.   Then I asked how many checked Schoology.  Fewer students raised their hands.

     Over the past holiday week I posted a message congratulating students on their last test scores and reminding them to keep up the good work by doing their homework.

     Stay tuned for part TWO of HOW TO MOTIVATE UNMOTIVATED LEARNERS.  There are so many effective strategies I couldn’t fit them all into one blog. It’s been a very educational few months.  

HAPPY TEACHING!  I hope you had a restful break. As always, I appreciate any ideas you have about how to motivate students.  Feel free to share on this blog or on my Facebook page: Best PowerPoints for Spanish 

If you found these tips useful and would like to read more, make sure to subscribe to my mailing list (top left).  If you know other teachers who would benefit from subscribing, make sure to tell them they will receive a free product of $3 or under from my TPT store for subscribing.

How to Use the Target Language 90-100% - Part Three

How to Use the Target Language Part 3. If you are serious about using the target language you will strive to use 90-100% even in level one.  And I do.  But not from DAY ONE.  I strive to provide as much authentic language, comprehensible input, repetition and language in context as possible in all levels.  But, before that can even be accomplished, classroom procedures must be well-established and the teacher has to train himself/herself, NOT the students.

     If you are serious about using the target language you will strive to use 90-100% even in level one.  And I do.  But not from DAY ONE.  I strive to provide as much authentic language, comprehensible input, repetition and language in context as possible in all levels.  But, before that can even be accomplished, classroom procedures have to be well-established and the teacher must train himself/herself, NOT the students.  The classroom has to run like a well-oiled machine.  The teacher and the students must be organized so that the teacher can actually teach.  

     It’s amazing what one can forget in six months, 

the amount of time I thought I was retired.  I have to reteach myself not to answer questions of students who do not raise their hand, to write down which team won the daily homework competition, to do the Friday raffles and on and on it goes.  We are in week three of Spanish One and the students are just now accustomed to the routines and procedures - OK, barely.  They turn their homework into the basket upon entering, check the website for homework, and perform their classroom chores (passing out papers, etc).  If I am busy handing out papers, answering homework questions, dispersing raffle tickets, I cannot instruct. All of this was explained to them in English so that I can now speak Spanish.

     Another demon that will sabatoge your efforts to stay in the target language is a lack of organization.  Since I use Interactive Notebooks as my textbook, there is an unmanageable mountain of handouts.  


Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 9.14.10 AM

Students were taking precious instructional time rummaging through the handout binder at the back of the room to find the papers they were missing.  (which had not been a problem with the more advanced students I am accustomed to teaching who do not lose their papers every other day.)  I began implementing a new system my colleague told me about and since then, I have had no more trouble with handout frenzy.  It has saved my life!!!  I label files from days 1-31 for the month.  My student distributers put the surplus handouts in the slot for that day. Absent and absent-minded students get the missing handouts from the appropriate slot.  Voilà!  Problem solved.  My TAs put the old handouts in the binder at the end of the month.

File

    Another strategy to keep students focused so they actually hear the target language is proximity.  I rarely sit down when teaching.  I am almost always walking around, sometimes even when showing a PowerPoint.  Those nifty clickers let me stand right next to the would-be-talker who, despite himself, is acquiring language.  Fred Jones calls it, “working the crowd”.  

    Once all these strategies are routine and your procedures are established, it’s time to begin speaking the target language in earnest.  But not 100% to level one.  No, no, no.  If you do that, students will rebel.  AND it won’t be comprehensible.  I start with 50%.  Next week 60%.  Then 70%.  Before the students realize it, I am speaking almost exclusively in Spanish and, just like the contented frog in warm, hot, then boiling water they are caught unaware.  Except my froggies don’t die, they just start thinking in another language.

     Not only do second language teachers have to be organized, they must be super-prepared.  In order to stay in the target language, they must have their visuals ready so they won’t have to resort to English.  I use images to let students know what I’m saying.  Here is an illustrated story whose visuals provide meaning for language not-yet acquired: Pedir vs. Preguntar   I use this PowerPoint to provide comprehensible input for PEDIR and PREGUNTAR after teaching the stem-changing verbs.

    Here are some slide examples from my SER PowerPoint: 

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 8.22.35 AM


Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 8.22.46 AM


In my videos, I pop in images to provide meaning for unfamiliar words as in this snippet for the future tense: 

And these samples for the imperfect and preterite:

Videos are one of my favorite resources for providing comprehensible input.  Here is one you can use for the subjunctive.  It even has subtitles in Spanish to aid in comprehension. 

Here is one for the present progressive.

I recently added three new videos for  Spanish One to my Videos Bundle: Las salutaciones y despedidas; ¿De dónde eres?; and SER and I have not yet raised the price.  I will be adding four more: Clothes and shopping; time and classes, possessive adjectives and guitar.  When all are added, I will increase the price.  Anyone who buys before the price goes up gets those seven videos for FREE plus the already discounted price of the bundle.

Remember, anyone who subscribes to my blog/Newsletter will receive one free product of $3 or under from my TPT Store.  If you would like to continue to receive teaching tips and freebies, sign up and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe!  Subscribe here.


If you missed the first two blogs about how to use the target language, you can access them here: How to Use the Target Language, Part II