|Moonshots|GAFE|ELA|Play|Dual Language|Music|Service|Global Collaboration
Quick video of our class trying the infamous durian fruit and sharing truths and lies about our friends in Singapore. We sent off the link last week. We hope they enjoyed it.
I first used kiva.org as part of a 5th grade Exhibition years ago with just a small group of students. It then became my go to item for gifts such as birthdays and Mothers Day. It was more recently when I thought about using it to help students acquire Spanish, learn about other cultures, and solve an authentic problem. My COETAIL Course Two reminded me of the power of connecting, leveraging the web, and then sharing the outcome.
So, this is the process by which my Spanish IV (DP I) class went about helping Edgar with his car, Brenda with her store and José with his farming equipment while acquiring Spanish in meaningful ways.
- Each student chose a Spanish Speaking country to investigate. Next they...
- Researched two or three people to support. Although in English, you can also VIEW ORIGINAL LANGUAGE DESCRIPTION which is just awesome.
- Chose a person or group to support.
- Created a two minute Elevator Speech as to why their person should be supported.
- Delivered the speech with a few pictures of the country, the owner and the purpose of the loan. They used the subjunctive mood such as "It's important that..." "I want you to..." and "I hope that you..." to make their case.
- The class took notes (en español) as to whom they liked best knowing they would have to cast a vote the end of all the pitches.
- Students voted at the end of class as to whom they would support.
- We then divided the class up among the top four winners.
- Each person in each group chipped in 2-4 dollars to add to the $25 loan amount.
- Once money was collected, each group officially made a payment toward the project.
- Each leader/winner also reported back to the class when the loan was paid back.
Evan made a motor. It was so cool even though it didn't work. Thomas saved money to send to his former surf instructor in Costa Rica to help pay for his upcoming wedding. Vivian taught us about different types of rice in Central America. Gerson took us through his journey from El Salvador to Colorado earlier this year.
Content for Spanish class this past month was not typical of most Spanish textbooks.
My students just finished up their 20% Time Projects. As reported in a previous post, this was my second round of projects. Their results proved inspiring content and rich language for our class this past month.
Students chose passions and interests to investigate by which they were able to improve their Español, connect with others, and save the world.
- Supporting nutritional organizations in Central America
- Learning more about the Bible in Spanish and reading stories from it to younger children
- Teaching karate to Spanish Speaking students
- Playing video games in Spanish with kids around the world
- Learning about fashion and design in Madrid
- Skiing through Chile
- Learning about the Spanish Guitar learning to play a song in Spanish
Wanting to know what my students thought of the project and not wanting to break into English, I sent them in the hall with another student who recorded their feedback in English. Here are a few examples of what they thought of the project.
My students' oral proficiency in Spanish improved because I was able to provide relevant vocabulary I knew they were going to need prior to their presentations. They didn't email me back, it surprised me that, and I had wanted to do... but changed my mind were common language structures we practiced and practiced before kids presented. There are even a few more structures I'll add to my list for next time like I could not find or I realized that... Students (me included) also learned specific vocabulary tied to their topic and their interest. This year's group was more comfortable with sharing as we discussed and modeled delivery and design. The reading of slides was highly discouraged. I didn't allow notecards, although a few students did bring up cards which I allowed reading the anxiety on their face. The biggest challenge for them was connecting with others. Most students picked someone they knew or friends of friends as their connection. I was hoping for more global connections or more specific communications with people specific to their particular passion. I get it. The concept of reaching out to strangers is difficult and even more so in a second language. Next time I'll spend more time on how and why to make global connections. We'll practice. I'll also give more time for student-teacher 1:1 conferences so I can individually help students brainstorm connections with similar passions or interests. This, however, is a challenge for me as class sizes seem to grow and grow but I think maybe offering online Google Hangout hours could be an option. Lastly, I'll put a time limit (with a friendly bell) on the sharing. Maybe something similar to a Pecha Kucha (or shorter) because with classes of 30, it takes a while. Some of my students felt comfortable going on and on. They were so darn cute that I didn't have the heart to cut them off.
What successes have you had with similar type projects?
After recently reading the Step by Step Guide to Global Collaboration, I was reminded of a project my students and I participated in years ago. My 4th grade Spanish class in Colorado connected with a 4th grade class in Costa Rica. Kids were paired together to create stories together using our wiki. As a way to get to know our buddies, we created a VoiceThread and my students talked about the others kids each student's personal slide.
For example. Sammi's favorite animal is a Lion or Carly's favorite color is blue.
Lots of language practice while also building community. We embedded the VT into our wiki and shared it with our amigos in Costa Rica.DVE meets CDS (link to the VT if it doesn't load)
Fast forward a few years. Students are in 6th grade. I decided to use the initial VT to assess students language. I added a current picture of the student and asked students to comment on each student as they did back in 4th grade. Student loved seeing their previous pictures and listening to their voice samples. This year, I'm doing it again as this group (8th grade) moves to the high school next fall. VT, already a fantastic collaborative tool, is also fantastic to capture growth over time. What tools are you using to track student growth (especially oral communication) over time?