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How to Write an Effective World LanguageLesson Plan- Simplified

Lesson Plans Learning Objective2

A lesson plan must contain certain essential components in order to engage students and lead them to proficiency.   

Are you overwhelmed with the task of writing lesson plans?  There is so much to consider and it can be paralyzing. This blog post is the first in a series on how to write effective world language lesson plans - simplified.
 A lesson plan must contain certain essential components in order to engage students and lead them to proficiency. The first, and most important, is the learning objective.

The first component, and the most important, is the learning objective.

Before determining my learning goals, I must first look at the standards.  Um…which ones?  The National Standards, the State Content Standards, the ACTFL Can-Do Statments, The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines ?

Agh!  I’m so overwhelmed!  

Using "Can-Do Statements" is helpful in finding objectives and you should definitely know your State Content Standards.  However, consider my simplified version:  Embed culture (with comparisons of students’ own and that of Spanish-speaking countries) and knowledge of other subjects matters; assign tasks requiring the use of the target language outside the classroom; and provide opportunities for students to read, write, speak and listen to authentic resources, not necessarily in every lesson. Now, let’s begin planning our daily lesson. 

Before creating a lesson plan I always ask myself, “What do I want my students to be able to do at the end of this lesson?  

If I don’t know where I’m going, I’ll never get there.  

First, what function do I want them to perform?  This function should be part of a THEME or topic.  Let’s pick “celebrities,” as an example, and compare some American stars to a few Spanish-speaking ones (Embed culture).

For example, students will:  Talk and write about famous Spanish speakers; write a comparison of American singers and Spanish singers; describe themselves and others orally and in writing; and write an essay describing the physical appearance and personality of friends, family members and celebrities. 

Below are learning objectives taken from my lesson on describing people.  (On the left is a list of items needed for this lesson.) 

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 8.41.34 AM


The goal statement must be specific, focusing on action verbs:  Students will write aboutlisten to, identify, talk about, present orally…”  The more specific it is, the more likely the students will reach the goal.

Second, what knowledge (vocabulary, grammar, cultural facts) do they need to know in order to achieve these goals?  At this point, I make a list of vocabulary and related expressions that will help my students express themselves on this topic.  Otherwise, my students will speak English or use Google Translate because I have not supplied them with the sufficient vocabulary to accomplish the tasks I've given them.

Vocabulary List

13.Los adjetivosStudentHandout copy


Related Expressions

page two-1 (dragged)

Necessary Grammar and Quizlet Game

grammar

Next, I develop an assessment and accompanying rubric to verify the students can demonstrate the learning objectives in real-life communication.  I always model what the finished product will look like (e.g., "Here’s an example of what an A looks like") and give the rubric to the students at the beginning of the lesson so they know exactly what is expected of them.  Otherwise, the results will inevitably miss the mark.

Slide1

Here is the model I used for the biography students wrote using the adjectives. (Of course, it will have to be modified now that we have a new president.)

Rubric_for_Story-2 (dragged)


Here is the rubric: (Later on, and in succeeding levels, the rubrics will be written in Spanish.)

La rúbrica para la biografía(1)


Once I know exactly what I want the students to be able to do, I begin to brain-storm the strategies, resources, and activities that will get the students where I want them to go. 

As I am brainstorming, I make sure to include the resources I will need in order to keep my class functioning in the target language - the subject of a future blog in this series.

I articulate the learning objectives with the students at the beginning of the class, explaining what we are going to do and what THEY will do at the end of the lesson to demonstrate proficiency.  That’s called tension which will be discussed in my next blog, so stay tuned!

I hope this blog was helpful and I look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to comment.

I hope your school year is progressing nicely.

Angie

Today’s freebies:

Sample Lesson Plan on Physical Descriptions 

Spanish Adjectives Listening and Writing Assessments

Click here to see the Spanish Adjectives PowerPoint and Interactive Notebook Activities

If you really dread the task of writing your own lesson plans, don’t do it! Go home early!  Why reinvent the wheel when I have spent thirty years writing and polishing lesson plans?  

Click here to see my Spanish One Lesson Plans and Curriculum for an Entire Year.  You will not need a textbook with these lessons but you can use them in conjunction with your textbook if you like.

Click here to see a short video about my lesson plans: Angie Torre’s Lesson Plans

For more information about how to craft a good lesson plan, click here: Teaching World Languages: A Practical Guide

ONE MORE FREEBIE: This is my first PowerPoint game and I would like your feedback. (I still have to figure out how to get rid of the sounds on # 5, 14, and 19 on the homepage.)  

Would you like to have access to more PowerPoint games like this one?  They are super fun, great practice during the recognition phase for comprehensible input and they are self-correcting.  You don’t have to correct anything!  Take a look: Numbers PowerPoint Game  


If you would like more freebies and teaching tips, make sure to sign up for my blog!  See form in the top left. 


How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners - Part Four

How to Motivate Unmotivated Learners2

Here are my final five tips based on my experience with challenging classes. 

This is the last part in a series on how to motivate unmotivated learners. In case you missed the first three, here they are: Part One,  Part TwoPart Three.

One of the difficult aspects of teaching for me is having to maintain a calm, detached expression when I want to smile, having to discipline when I want to embrace and nurture.  “Don’t smile until Christmas,” mentality.

Basically, I have to be a parent, not a friend.  I hate that.  I must create a learning environment by teaching my rules and consistently applying them.   But then, I LOVE the stability that standing firm brings to my classroom and the relationships that develop when students see how they can communicate in the target language.  Then, after that relationship is built, I can be a friend.  Sort of.  OK, after they have graduated and I see them in the mall.

Tip #1

     WRITE A GOOD LESSON PLAN.  

Seriously, a well-crafted lesson plan is the best classroom management.  What does that look like?  It has all the components that I will outline in my next series of blogs.  It is imperative to work from a good template and fill in the template with activities that meet your goal(s), NOT the other way around.  

Hmm, what a neat activity for teaching the present-tense verbs!  I’ll put it in tomorrow’s lesson! 

Stop!!  Does it achieve your learning goals?  

This topic is lengthy so I will address the details in future blogs.  Until then, I will share with you my lesson plan template which serves as the structural foundation of all my lessons.  Lesson Plan Template  

Tip #2

     HAVE A REPERTOIRE OF ENGAGING GAMES that you can use for any learning goal.  It’s easy to get into a rut, repeating the same practice activities.  Interested students stay engaged.  Ask your colleagues or search the internet.  Make sure the games include ALL learners, that no English is used, and there is ample comprehensible input. If the game fits that criteria and achieves your learning goal, put it in your teacher basket.

     Below are a few examples of engaging games: 

Vocabulary Board Game

Speed Dating

The Dating Game

Preterite Jeopardy

Bingo

Throw the Ball Competition

Tip #3

     When showing a PowerPoint, DISPLAY THE PAGE NUMBER of the student handout, document, or book where students can find the information on the topic you are discussing.  Show the page number on every activity and practice. (Most students will not look it up.)  If you don’t want them looking perplexed, getting lost, and then playing with their fidget spinners (or someone's hair) help them with their organization so they can quickly retreive the information they need.

Tip #4

     BE PROACTIVE.  CALL PARENTS.

I have found that talking to the student one-on-one can be effective in changing behavior but if that doesn’t work, my next step is to call parents. 

Honestly, it works only 50% of the time but that’s enough for me.  I begin by saying something positive about the student in order to establish a connection with the parent, (and there always IS something positive to say about each child) then describing the behavior I would like to see change and enlisting the parent’s help in achieving that change.  I am exploring a future blog topic on strategies for speaking with parents.  

Tip #5

     USE A SIGN-UP SHEET.

 How do you cover the material and still get all the students to do their presentations, especially on the block schedule?  Presentations can eat up days of instructional time.  

On the third day, I give students the option to present during lunch or after school.  However, since the students who have not yet presented are the least motivated, they are less likely to come in.  I create a calendar sign-up sheet and have students sign up for the day they would like to come in.  Once they have committed it to paper on a calendar, they are more likely to meet with their partners and present at the agreed-upon time.

And, of course, I nag, nag, nag every day.  (I think they call that enabling?)  I read the list of students who still need to do their presentations (or take tests).  These students need  and often benefit from reminders.

Stay tuned for the next blog on how to write compelling, successful lesson plans. 

If you would like to receive more teaching tips in your email, make sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter, top left form.

Remember, new subscribers receive a free gift of $3 or under from my TPT Store.  (Make sure to email me so I know how you became a subscriber: altespoir@sbcglobal.net)

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 (Click on photos to see previews):

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.  

Here is another excellent blog about strategies for acquiring language: http://spanishmama.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/TPRS3.png

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 

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