Holiday 2014 Materials for Language Classes- A Countdown

December 14th, 2014

And we are almost at . . . Winter Break!  Congrats.  Pat on the back. But, we need to get through this week in one piece. Here are my survival tips:

See our SpanishFrench and ESL Holiday Materials. All materials have easy How To’s and Directions. 

1. I’m offering a No HOMEWORK week as a holiday gift to students and their parents. We’re all celebrating about this!

2. Hispanic holiday customs will be included every day this week, but for about 20 minutes of my 60 minute classes. Quizzes, skill building and content come for the first part of class, then the rest is holiday.

3. I’m using a different transition activity or ice breaker for each day when I change over to the Holiday section . . . .a Word Search with holiday vocabulary, a draw and color a Christmas tree or a Menorah contest one day, a partner-chat about family holiday traditions , a Guess What? guessing game using holiday vocabulary, and  the writing or speaking prompts: My Dream Stocking Stuffers, If I had millions of dollars I would give my mom . . . , I predict that I will get . . . 

4.  Quick Class Polls. Who wants to receive. . . for the holiday?  Who doesn’t want to receive . . . ?  Who thinks he will recieve . . . ?  Who thinks he will not receive . . . ?  Who is going to give . . .?  And so on. Affirmative answerers stand up. Then we can tally up answers for a poll or even a bar graph.

4. Santa is in the house.  Groups will write a simple narration of Santa arriving, entering, leaving presents along with a CREATIVE ENDING. A Narrator will then read it and group members will act our each sentence.

Check out our holiday freebies.



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Foreign Language House’s St. Nicolas Day, Hannukah & Christmas Activities for Language Classes

December 1st, 2014

 

St. Nicolas Day Paper Shoes

St. Nicolas Day Paper Shoes

December is here and who has the energy to dream up super-fun, cultural activities?  Here are some tried and true Holiday activities and lessons that we’ve created and used in the past. We always emphasize the importance of the winter holidays in the target cultures and we emphasize the secular nature of the customs. Students are ready now for some holiday fun. Spanish Holiday Materials.  French Holiday Materials.  ESL Holiday Materials.

1.  Hannukah. We love Hannukah in French and Spanish. I use a big bulletin-board visual of a menorah that I hold up for counting the candles and for descriptions. For more advanced high schoolers we read articles on Hannukah in Spanish language internet-newspapers, then we discuss it. Playing dreidel is fun for a review of numbers.  French Hannukah and Spanish Hannukah Materials.

2. St. Nicolas Day. French teachers it’s almost here! Present some French content appropriate for your students- a song, a brief story with gestures, or an article from a French language periodical. Here is a French St. Nicolas Lesson. Then play St. Nicolas! Have students make and decorate a shoe from this Paper Shoe Template. Then, put candy or treats in to the shoes over night for elementary students, or have students put their heads down while you fill the shoes for secondary students. My high school Spanish students loved this last year for Three Kings Day.

FREE GAME BOARDS- For All Languages. Use the Winter Holiday Picture Grids for games and activities.



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Thanksgiving Materials & Activities for Language Classes 2014

November 14th, 2014

Teach, practice, or review food and family in the Target Language along with table manners and requests. See French Thanksgiving Materials.  See Spanish Thanksgiving Materials

I.  Class Activities List

  1. Foods- flashcard games- tic tac to, bingo, matching, concentration, war
  2. Personal Descriptions- Piligrims and Native Americans
  3. Preferences- preference expressions and foods and holiday pass-times
  4. History-The Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock, The Spanish – Native American Thanksgiving between Don Juan de Onate and the Native Americans of Texas-Mexico
  5. Categorizing & Comparing and Contrasting- prepared foods and fresh foods, types of foods, pilgrims & Native Americans, Massachussetts and England
  6. Meaning & Significance- friendship, gratitude, sharing

II. Conversational Activities About Thanksgiving Break is available in French and Spanish.

The last lessons before Thanksgiving break can be challenging.  You could give a test, but then you have the grading.  Ugh.  Instead, try our activity. Students talk in the target language in no time!

A/B partner interviews using the immediate future tense & the simple past tenses.   What are you going to do over Thanksgiving break? What did you do?

III. “Find Someone Who” circulating activity using the immediate future.

  • Students circulate around the room, asking classmates if they are going to do various activities.  Students write down the name of a classmate who responds affirmatively, then move on to talk to someone new.
  • Teacher follows up by asking individuals who they found for various activities.
  • Another fun variation is to play HUMAN BINGO.  The teacher must participate in the activity, collecting the names of students are going to do various activities.  When time is up and everyone returns to their seats, the teacher reads the answers s/he collected during the activity, such as “Suzanne is going to watch football, Jean is going to watch a parade, David is going to

Free Materials until 11- 23-2014:

Spanish, French, ESL Thanksgiving Tic Tac Toe Games,

Spanish Conversational Activities,

French Conversational Activities.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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Protected: ACTFL 2014- Targetlanguagapolooza

November 6th, 2014

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Spanish Día de los Muertos 2014

November 2nd, 2014

 

The Day of the Dead or El Día de los Muertos is the opposite of morbid and macabre.  It’s a spectacular, colorful, happy, but respectful time to honor loved ones who have passed away. Think Memorial Day to the thousandth power. Check out our Spanish Dia de los Muertos Materials.

Celebrations, Imagery, & Symbols

Mexicans have an ingenious way of combining symbols and adding a distinct humor to the heavy concept of death, or La Muerte. La Muerte is both personified and humorized into the dancing, laughing skeletons. This can be a new concept to American students. The colors used on decorations, pastries, and candles are bright and contrasting.  Here is the vocabulary I use:

Da de Muertos Vocabulary

  • death= la Muerte
  • candle= la vela
  • bread of the dead= el pan de muerto
  • candied skull= la calavera
  • decorative crepe paper hangings= papel picado
  • decorative memorial= la ofrenda

Day of the Dead Activities

1. For Spanish beginners, I do pass out an English reading describing Day of the Dead.  Then we use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast Halloween with Day of the Dead.

2.  Story or Context.  I then use a simple story or a very basic descriptive reading.  More advanced students can read from Spanish websites.

3.  Activities. Beginners play games with picture vocabulary cards, basic memory activities and even some Question and Answer.

4.  Mini Projects.  Any and all levels can do variations of these.

  • List for a Day of the Dead picnic
  • Situation- pretend you’re in Mexico and you need to pick up specific items for a Day of the Dead picnic, or to create an ofrenda. Make the list, or enact buying the itmes.
  • Tribute.  Write a eulogy or simple tribute to a famous person who has passed away.
  • Create a Calavera. Bring out all of the visual artistry. Include a written description.
  • Create an Ofrenda.  Draw, label, and describe an ofrenda. Create an ofrenda with a group for a deceased celebrity or historical figure. You can limit the choices to historical figures en the Hispanic world.
5.  Authentic Materials- Mexican Site Mexico Desconocido- Día de los Muertos articles & spectacular photos. Use a listening, speaking, reading, or writing task that is appropriate for your learners. Consider their age and Spanish proficiency level to carefully create activities that foster their acquisition and use of Spanish.

Get your free Day of the Dead picture game board set: 1 in color, Free Dia de Muertos Boards



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Halloween 2014

September 30th, 2014

Halloween or Fall Festival Fun

Can you believe we are already here? Back to School materials are packed away and it’s time to plan Halloween materials.  Here are our Halloween Materials for Foreign Language Classes- SpanishFrench.   We use Halloween to the Hilt and here are just a few ways to use Halloween or Fall Festival in your Foreign Language Classes:

1. Adjective Agreement Practice. This suddenly becomes fun with ghosts and goblins. I use singular, plural, masculine, and feminine charts for nouns with lots of repetition. More advanced students can write all sorts of descriptive projects as well as conversations, poems and other presentation pieces.

2. Verb Conjugations.  Again, floating, flying, and shrieking and their conjugations are memorable. All sorts of time frames or even modals can be used too. It’s awfully fun for students to choose a Halloween character and then a verb and come up with sentences to a timer.

3.  The Haunted House.  Never Gets Old. NGO.  So much is there– rooms, furniture, prepositions, ordinal numbers and all of the above. I might make this a big deal project this year with a designed, drawn and labeled haunted house with characters and a story.  Phew.

4.  Prepositions. Pile on the pumpkins!  A great mini-lesson for prepostions.

5.  Fashion Show.  Goth-Chic. Definitely for the high school set, but so much fun for clothing and shopping expressions.

This list is going to grow daily . . . 

Halloween Images Board for All Languages- Project on your classroom screen for class and team games. Or print and laminate a class set to keep for years to come.

Black and White Printable Halloween Images Board- For all languages. Print out, pass out and let the games begin!

Spanish Halloween Counting Book



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Fall Football Fun 2014

September 22nd, 2014

And it’s Fantastic Football Season! Use American football as a context for a vast array of vocabulary groups, some content, culture, and lots of verb-based action packed grammar. Football brings relevance and some much-needed ENERGY to the grammar. I’m thinking of teaching a thematic unit on American Football at this time of year because it’s a great bridge after the first-of-the-year review and so much of any level’s content and grammar can be taught within the American Football context with a high relevance and interest to students that is hard to beat.

Check out our Spanish, French, and ESL Football activities.

Gouin Series

Ever heard of the Gouin Series? The Gouin series is one of the simplest and most effective ways to create a simple context for verb conjugations. This is ideal for sports and physical verbs. Hard to believe it was created in the 1900?s by Francois Gouin! It is a series of logical sentences that describe an action or process in sequential order. Examples are: PLAYING IN A FOOTBALL GAME, GOING TO A FOOTBALL GAME. OR WATCHING A FOOTBALL GAME ON TV. Here is a free Gouin Series Explanation & Examples.

Activities for using American Football in Class

Each one could be a daily warm-up during Football season:

  1. Describe your hometown or closest hometown professional team; college team too. Use it/them for expressing preferences. Stand up if you like . . . if you don’t like . . .
  2. Football TPR Fiesta- Every time a football verb is said the entire class has to do the full-body action or charade. Create a strenuous script about a player or a team that is understandable.
  3. Dictate a list of a team’s players and their jersey numbers. Students can write them down in the target language, as numerals, or for memory activities.
  4. Football Player Categories calling on Verbs— Runners, Passers, Blockers, Receivers, Kickers. Write the infinitive or a third person conjugation as a heading and list players who fit the verb under it.
  5. Football Player Description-Categories. Big, small, fast, strong, slow. Do the same as above.
  6. Team Mascot Categories. Mascot types—- animals, people, etc. Be careful with this one; there remain some pretty sensitive team mascots so choose carefully.
  7. Football Team Geography. Match the team with its city, state, and region of the USA.For older students throw in time-zones.
  8. Football Player Autobiography- as brief or as long as age and language proficiency and time allows.
  9. Football Team History– for the older more advanced student
  10. Compare American Football with a popular sport in the target culture.Use a Venn Diagram.

Get our American Fall Football Materials Now!



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Teach Mexican Independence Day: Culture & Activities

September 7th, 2014

Celebrate el Día de la Independencia or Mexican Independence Day with your classes on September 16th! Often students are surprised to learn that Mexican Independence Day is NOT the super-commercial 5 de mayo. Use this opportunity to bring some history and culture in to your Spanish classes at any proficiency level.

I teach elementary school beginners this year from PreK to grade 5, so my lesson will be extremely simple.  I’ll use Mexican Independence Day for Novices.  For your free Mexican Independence Day Lesson Plan enlarge the image on the left.

AV Materials.  I will have Pandora.com on a channel of Mexican Corridos at the class-opening. I plan on showing a Corrido video from youtube at the end of class. **I chose one that wasn’t covered with guns and bullets.Here is a super cool blog about Latin music and this is a post about the CORRIDOS. Most here deal with 5 de mayo, though.  Vocabulary from the reading: un cura, declara, grita, gana, ciudad, desfiles, zócalo, pueblo, baile, mariachis, charros, celebra, come.

Video- El Grito de la Revolución. The Revolutionary Call. Every year the President of Mexico stands on the balcony of the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City and calls out the traditional battle cry that was used on the first 16 de septiembre. Students of all ages love shouting El Grito:  ¡Viva México!  three times.

Realia- Stuff.  Mexican flag(s), sombrero(s), world map (Spain), photos of celebrations in Mexico for Independence Day

Higher Proficiency Levels

Here is a collection for Spanish II. Spanish II’s enjoy news videos of El Grito, listening to and analyzing a corrido, newscasts about Mexican Independence Day. They can read educational sites for kids on this topic. Using a Venn diagram to compare & contrast 16 de septiembre celebrations with our 4th of July or comparing 5 de may with 16 of septiembre works great.

Authentic Spanish Slide Show on the Mexican Revolution’s History



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Getting Organized for Back To School 2014

August 15th, 2014

Student Information & Formative Assessment Aid

Get to Know Student Learning Styles Quickly

We’re headed toward reporting back to school, and at about this time I start cleaning up my computer files and re-doing documents.  I came across this Learning Style Inventory.

I have students answer this handout during the first few days so that I can have a general idea of what their learning styles are like. It helps so much to know some basic student information as I put them in pairs, in groups, and start picking up their work.  When I have encouraged students to write more about themselves on the back in English or in the target language, I have received some frank, personal, and sometimes fascinating information. This form is CONFIDENTIAL. It is invaluable information for connecting with parents and other teachers.

  1. Connecting with Students Personally. Set up a 3 minute one on one conference with each student and discuss his or her answers from the inventory. Take notes.
  2. Differentiation. Rotate students into mixed-talent groups according to their strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Differentiation. As students select project-choices make sure they don’t choose the same type of project all year.
  4. Differentiation. Assign students tasks, assignments, projects, and assessments based on their strengths and then then based on weaker, emerging areas.

Formative Assessment Data Tracking- The Visual Seating Chart

Need to keep track of how your students participate and informally perform in class? We can’t teach without the VISUAL SEATING CHART because it does both for us.  It’s a simple, paper and pencil tool to track the participation and the behavior of your students. And, it doubles as a written record of student participation and behavior. Great Documentation!

Blank Visual Seating Chart
  1. Draw or CAD the seating arrangement of your classroom using squares, rectangles, or circles as the student-desks. Maker sure these desk-symbols are big enough for the student’s name and your notes.
  2. Make several copies of this empty seating chart to use for all of your classes.
  3. Label each empty seating chart with the class section number or name.
  4. Write in the students’ names on to the desks; one filled out form for each class.
  5. We put these on a clip-board every class and we put the exact class section’s seating chart in the schedule’s order.
  6. Explain to students that you’ll keep track of their participation and you’ll take notes on them each and every class. I encourage teachers to show students their notes too; complete transparency.
  7. Transfer the daily information or data in to your grade book as participation points or in another way that you use.
Completed Visual Seating Chart

Here is a printable Visual Seating Chart handout of How To’s



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Getting Your Classroom Ready 2014: Target Language Tools

August 7th, 2014

Getting my classroom designed and ready to go is my favorite Back to School undertaking. It feels like getting a set ready for the opening night of a play. I spend lots of mental time visualizing the classroom, the student desks, the front screens, the walls and other spaces. For what we do as foreign language teachers, the walls are especially important.

Environmental Print

Our language students learn by just feasting their eyes on our walls— so use the wall space well. The target language they see, figure out, and eventually read is Environmental Print. Designing exactly which environmental target language to use is so important to your students’ target language experience.  But . . . ..don’t clutter the walls with too many words, posters, and wall-decor. You need to Edit and Curate exactly what you put on a wall.  Why are you displaying something?  For What purposes?  For how long?

Learners do pick up and figure out target language environmental print on the walls, screens, or bookshelves, so be sure to include:

  1. Target Language Use Only Signs. (see below)
  2. Target Language Question Words or Interrogative Terms
  3. Target Language Vital Classroom Phrases (see below)
  4. Current Target Vocabulary- This should change as you move in to different units
  5. Student Artifacts of Current or Recent Units. (Make sure you rotate student-work; younger students really keep track of which students get display time.)
Spanish Question Words To Post All Year

Target Language Activation Sign

Bon jour– It’s Diane.  :)  One of my most vital classroom decorations is my French/English sign.  When I “activate” my French sign, no other languages are allowed!  It’s activated for 90-98% of class time, but I do allow a few minutes in English at the beginning and/or end of class.  I need something really eye-catching because I use this technique for assessment–my students receive a participation grade for staying in the target language.

My beautiful laminated sign that I created almost 15 years ago went missing a couple of years ago :-(  Once I got over the loss, I had a brainstorm:  car door magnets!  I love, love, love the ones I created using templates at Vistaprint.  They are sturdy and will last me a good, long time.  I can simply place one on top of the other, depending on the student speaking requirements.  What do you think?

Spanish Target Language Activation Sign

Environmental Print Item 2: Classroom Survival Phrases

We believe strongly in equipping our students with the linguistic tools to speak in the target language from Day 1.  The investment of time at the beginning of the school year to present, model, teach, practice and even assess Classroom Survival Phrases pays off big-time, allowing you to successfully conduct your classes almost entirely in the target language all year long.  So, how do you put it all together into a 50 minute lesson?  The possibilities are endless, but here is one sample for secondary, novice level learners:

1.  Greet students in the target language as they enter your room, but begin the class briefly in English to handle any announcements and other nuts & bolts.  Prepare your students for the day’s theme . . . Survivor! State the objective:  Today you will learn how to survive in your French/Spanish class when NO English is spoken.  We will act out what we do to come to class, and you will gesture and say several survival expressions such as “May I go the bathroom?” and “I don’t understand.”

2.  ”Activate” your target language time.  We often say a chant and flip over a sign that indicates “Français” or “Español.”  No more English!!! Use a posted symbol, wear a hat, wave a wand, etc. Do something.

3.  Introduce a “Going to French/Spanish Class“ Gouin Series.  We put together a series of sentences in a context to act out with props and gestures.  For example:  I have my pencil, book . . . and all other school supplies that you expect your students to bring to class each day.  Then model:  I go to class.  I sit down.  I listen.  I don’t understand!  I have a question, etc.  etc.  Demonstrate the Gouin Series, then invite your students to perform the gestures as you say it.  The third time through you can begin drilling techniques to get your students saying the lines of the series.  Methodically practice and add on one line at a time until your students can say it on their own.  Our opening day Gouin is included in our First Week French and  First Week Spanish printable materials.

4.  Encourage a volunteer or two to perform the entire Gouin Series for the class.  Cheer!  Offer a bonus point!  Give candy!  Anything you can think of to reward risk-taking in the target language.

5.  Project the written text of the Gouin Series.  Up to this point, the entire lesson has been aural-oral. Underline the survival expressions used.  Continue to add on more by using the Survival Classroom Expressions Power Poin- French Survival Expressions Power Point and Spanish Survival Expressions Power Point.  Show the expression with the image.  Say it with gestures and/or lots of expression.  Ham it up!  Encourage your students to repeat after you.  Use lots and lots of creative drilling techniques for TONS of repetition.  Say it louder, softer, higher, lower, 3 times, etc.  Boys repeat, girls repeat, this half of the room, that half of the room, etc.  Say it to your partner, say it to someone new . . . you get the idea!

6.  Play games to reinforce the new survival expressions.  You can print out the PowerPoint images to create flash cards.  Here are some activities to pick and choose from (not necessarily in this order):

  • Students work in pairs to match image to written sentence/question.
  • Play charades.
  • Students each receive one flashcard, then circulate around the room asking classmates to identify the phrase that corresponds to the picture on the card.  Students trade cards and continue on to do the same with someone new.
  • Form small groups and give each group one set of flashcards.  The groups will arrange the flashcards on the floor and try to be the first to hit the card that the teacher calls out.

7.  Do written activities in class or as homework to reinforce the survival phrases. Our FREE Spanish and French Classroom Expressions downloads include student handouts and worksheets.

Spanish for Native Speakers Environmental Print

8.   Flip your sign back to “English” and answer any questions your students might have about the new expressions.

So, are you done?  Have your students mastered the material?  Not yet!  (Though they are well on their way!)  Create a useful expressions “ladder” on your wall so students can see them all the time, encourage students to keep their handouts on their desks to refer to if necessary, review the Gouin Series and Power Points as part of the warm-up every day for the next week or so, play a different game (see #6 above) every day.  Practice, practice, practice!  Encourage, encourage, encourage!  Once you feel confident that your students can SURVIVE, begin to hold them accountable to use ONLY the target language in class.  Then watch them soar :-)

Whew.  Questions?  Feel free to contact us foreignlanguagehouse@gmail.com; we’d love to talk, and help.  :)



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