Reflecting on President Obama's Speech

We discuss current events everyday in our Dual Language Tech Class. Students read El Pais and another online newspaper of their choice such as  La Prensa, or CNN en Español. Today,  most students read about President Obama's farewell speech as it was plastered all over the headlines around the world. Only one student had actually seen a portion of his speech last last night.

After students placed the location and a description of the event on their My Maps, I gave them this BBC article to read. I had them read it with the help of Lingro. I like Lingro because the content (input) is in the target language and the Lingro dictionary gives each student the individual support they need. Students first add their website to the Lingro site and chose which dictionary they want. Then, they just click on an unknown word and the English translation pops up. For example, I learned tambalear this morning.

Lingro-the Coolest dictionary know to hombre

Lingro-the Coolest dictionary know to hombre

Next, at their tables (groups of three or four) they shared two or three messages of Obama's that resonated with them.

Side note: I had the person living closest to our school start. I like to sneak in simple requests that prompt questions such as, ¿Dónde vives tú? and language such as más lejos whenever I can. It also serves an authentic purpose as my students can be slow to start without structure or guidance. I gave them three or four minutes to share their thoughts.

Then, each student used Canva to represent their quote(s) visually.  Canva is simple to use and the templates are absolutely gorgeous.  Canva makes design stressless for even my most reticent high school designers. 

Lastly, some students shared their image under the hashtag #amigoweb and tweeted it out. I did have a few students want to share something negative regarding President-elect Trump but they refrained after we discussed their digital positive footprint and how we ought to follow Obama's vision of positivity, inclusiveness and hope. One student did use an image of Trump as part of her Canva poster but in a hopeful and respectful manner.


Depending on the level of your students, I would teach important language structures prior to students reading the BBC article or make an embedded reading/simpler version of the article, focusing just on the Siete Frases, making the content more accessible.

Another option for this reflective assignment could be to show the speech with the audio en español o inglés (which I still may do) and then students use EdPuzzle to crop/edit just a portion of the speech and add simple commentary, subtitles or questions in the target language.

Lots of options for sure. 

A special shoutout to Elizabeth Dentlinger for nudging me to share today's class with a few more details. 

I'm not sure about your classes but conversations around the election this year have often been tense. As a result of the election, many students have become quiet, nervous and unsure about what and how to share their opinions. I try and support all my students and their opinions but I had tears in my eyes today after reading a few of their tweets. I do believe, however, as a result, there is hope. 

How are you planning to discuss and mediate the current climate with your students in the months to come?

Footprints ... en español


This is my second year teaching a technology course to our grade 10 Dual Language (studying English and Spanish) students. We spend a large portion of the course learning how to create a digital footprint. Students are often hesitant to jump in. They have been exposed to the dangers and the what not to do discussion for years. The aim of the class is to help students cultivate a positive huella digital that will serve them today as well as in the future. Last week, students brainstormed reasons to create a positive healthy online presence.     

  • Help others (locally and around the world)
  • Employment (now and in the future)
  • Earn money (lots of examples of teens making 💰 online)
  • Improve communication in Spanish and English
  • Amor (a future girlfriend's parents will allow you (or not) to date their daughter💜)
  • Connect with others about school, sports, hobbies, jobs, health, college, etc.
  • Universities will see a more creative and comprehensive side of you  
                     One of our first #amigoweb Twitter Chats last fall.

                     One of our first #amigoweb Twitter Chats last fall.

Last year we created our own weekly Twitter chat. We revitalized #amigoweb which I saw online a few years ago. The idea is that teachers bring their students to a computer lab or use their Chromebooks to participate in a Twitter chat en español during class. Teams of students worked on topics that would be interesting to World Language students such as sports, holidays, food, music, etc. and created six questions to discuss during the 45 minute chat. The rest of the class also participated in the chat and encouraged others (from around the country or just down the hall) with replies and digital resources. Certainly, some chats were more engaging than others. We are learning to produce valuable content rather than just consume it so these chats give us a chance to practice. We will be starting our new #amigoweb chats in January and   would love your class to join us. Dates and topics will be shared out in December. 

Reflecting upon last year, I realized students needed a bit more guidance to be successful with their online content. So, this year, students created a  rubric en español for our first tweets and online communication. We also worked on a profile for our twitter account.  It is an awesome start but will take constant modeling and tweaking from me all year. Feel free to make a copy or alter the document to better suite your students needs. We would also appreciate feedback and how to make our rubric more effective if you or your students have suggestions. As always,  please share your thoughts on students building their huellas. 


Crafting their Twitter profile was their first experience sharing with the world.

Digital Footprints for Everyone?

no one on duty
no one on duty

Times are changing.  Just this past month, my principal said he is no longer opposed to social media, our secretary joined Twitter, the counseling department asked for a mini course on digital safety and there are even talks of 1:1 in the future. Fantastic news, right? Yes and no. As a building, we are starting to open our minds to the amazing possibilities of technology. However, we have LOTS to do to teach our students, teachers and parents about Digital Citizenship.  Just having the tools does not mean we know how to properly and positively use them in and out of school. I feel like Jim Steyer, of Commonsense Media,  who says that schools are often "late to the party."  We are late, very late. Educational leaders have been urging us for years to teach our students about Digital Citizenship.  Here are just five reasons why we need to teach Digital Citizenship in schools.

As part of Course Two, I thought I'd start to create and compile some resources that could move us all forward.  Who knows?  We may be late to the party but maybe in the near future we'll be hosting Digital Citizenship weeks like Los Angeles Unified School District or Yokohama International School. Or better yet, creating learning environments where becoming a global/digital citizen will be so embedded in everything we do that there will be no use for special classes, PD, curriculum or blog posts.

Until then, this first lesson was designed to be delivered during our Access period to the entire school. The learning is designed for both students and teachers. The concept of building a positive digital footprint will be just as new/scary/challenging/foreign to our students as it will be to our teachers. I'm looking forward to accessing how both groups learn and grow together.

UBD Lesson Template