Monday, November 26, 2012

EDSS 521 Blog Post #5

This semester, I have been surprised by the literacy levels of my students. They are able to communicate in the target language without using any grammar translation in the classroom. Luckily, some students have some background with the knowledge. Some of them have taken Spanish classes in middle school, are repeating the class, or grew up with the language. Because of the students background knowledge, I am able to present communicatively new material by using pictures, visuals, gestures, or intonation, and they can eventually make connections to understand what I am asking. In addition, they are able to participate in listening activities, and fill out a chart to show comprehension, watch videos completely in Spanish, and understand a some parts. And they are able to write basic sentences and communicate small phrases and sentences in Spanish. They are not able to discuss culture, current events, art, or participate in debates in the target language. They also have a hard time writing cohesive paragraphs because they do not have enough vocabulary to create them organically without using google translator for help.

Journal Entry: September 30, 2013

My literacy rich classroom includes all areas of literacy; reading, writing, listening and speaking and also includes elements of culture in Spanish speaking countries. Students are being introduced to the Spanish alphabet, how to compose sentences, and they are learning how to listen and comprehend what they hear from listening activities, videos, and my own lectures which incorporate at least two learning styles each class period. My students are engaged in the classroom activities where they are communicating with their peers in low pressure situations where they feel comfortable making mistakes and learn from them. My students are reading children's books as a warm-up in the beginning of class at least once a week. At the end of the book, I will have them answer basic questions to show comprehension and be sure they are on task. Students are hearing native pronunciation, intonation, and the words are at a basic level they can understand. As  the semester progresses, I can move up with more difficult children's books and ask them to do more in depth reflections of the reading.

Journal Entry December 15, 2013

My literacy rich classroom is a fun, low pressure environment that provides universal access for all students. At this point, I have gotten to know my students as individuals and understand how to best accommodate them.
My students are engages in all aspects of literacy including reading, writing, listening, and speaking in the target language but still make many errors due to the influence of English. Students are able to communicate basic phrases and sentences but are beginning to acquire necessary vocabulary to talk about topics more in depth.
My students are reading children's books and basic readings in the target language with some comprehension and can communicate a translation in English.

Journal Entry May 30, 2014

My literacy rich classroom accesses all students and they are able to communicate basic needs in the target language. They are able to ask each other questions, answer them, and talk about topics such as school schedules, weather, calendar, birthdays, travel, and customs. They are able to write a cohesive paragraph with some errors, but have the vocabulary to discuss specific topics in depth. For example, students will be able to write at least 7 sentences describing their family members including how they look, what they like to do, where they live, etc.
My students engage in discussion about current events in Spanish speaking countries including cuisine, religion, economics, politics, customs and traditions and can formulate opinions and have friendly debates about these topics. I can bring in articles that describe holidays in the target language, and they can compare their own holiday celebrations to them.
My students are reading children's books but are able to understand all words, recognize cognates, root words, and connect sentences based on context clues because they have the skills to do so.
They are writing complex sentences in Spanish including verbs, nouns, adjectives, prepositions of location, and are able to talk about the past.
My students are in discussion about their likes and dislikes, their past as children, and are able to talk about things they are in the progress of doing. My students will be able to communicate basic needs if they traveled to a Spanish speaking country.
My students are capable of independent learning by using online resources to help them study and apply grammar concepts they have learned in class and can communicate with each other in the classroom with some prompt. Students are comfortable in my class and are able to talk about themselves and formulate opinions in a low risk environment.

EDSS 521 Blog Post #4

I read the article, 


This article talked about students using personal devices in the classroom, and the increase in percentages of administrators and educators with access to tablets, digital media, and smart phones. I was surprised when I read that teachers with 16 years of experience were only slightly less likely than teachers with 1-3 years of experience, because I would have thought that newer educators were more inclined to have smartphones, but after thinking about it, it makes sense that educational professionals have smart phones because it allows us to do our work on the go and stay connected. 
I  agree with the concerns in the article that stated that they felt that mobile devices will only serve as a distraction to students. I personally feel that there is a difference between students being able to use their cell phones as a mobile device versus a laptop or a iPad which do not have the ability to text message (for the most part). 

  • Choose one of the “Videos from Speak Up” to view. In your reflection include your opinion, what surprises you, what doesn’t, and how the information informs your philosophy and practice of teaching. Videos are at the bottom of the page. (

  • Have a look at the “youthTEACH2Learn resources.” How would you start such a program at your school site? You will be leaving your site, of course, but find out how you can start programs, clubs, etc. at your school site. What would be the benefits of starting a “Future Teachers” type of organization? (

Monday, November 5, 2012

EDSS 521 P21 Blog Post #3

TPE 4 (In my own words): Teacher candidates address content standards that are reinforced, varied, diversified, and facilitate active listening, creativity and imagination for all students.

Creativity occurs frequently in my classroom because students are constantly critically thinking using the target language. For example, for homework the other night we assigned students to write a paragraph (at least 4 sentences) about the things the student family members “do”. The idea was for students to use their verb tenses and conjugate properly while critically thinking. In addition, when we have oral presentations, students are allowed to make up the dialogue using as many current vocabulary words as they want. Students are not confined to a list of phrases or sentences.

Critical thinking and problem solving are used on a daily basis because students are constantly using new grammar and vocabulary applications to communicate with their classmates independently, out of their seats. In addition, on units about health, travel, illnesses, environment, students are asked to solve problems such as “What would you do to help eliminate pollution?”

Communication occurs everyday for the students in a variety of methods. Students communicate informally with each other, they will ‘interview’ classmates and then respond to answers in writing. However, there is not too much discussion because students are very immature and need structure. In addition, students have not yet learned any culture which is often where discussion is involved. Students collaborate everyday and in formal settings for oral presentations which are often done in groups of two.

We have not yet had students participate in any researching using technology inside or outside of the classroom. I would like to have students create and post to a blog about an issue in Spanish culture such as art, literature, politics, health care, pastimes, customs, holidays...etc. We do however present material using a variety of sources including listening, reading, writing, communicating, playing games, watching videos’, all of these are done regularly in daily classroom activities.

I would like to have students research current events that are controversial and force students to see multiple points of view. However, in the current classroom I work in, there is none of that taking place right now in the curriculum. This is the area my CT is weakest in, and I do not feel comfortable forcing her to change her curriculum.

Currently, we do not use technology in the classroom. This is something I really hope is different and my next school site and I know will be changed when I have my own classroom. I think incorporating technology is appealing to all learners and helps them familiarize themselves with technology for educational purposes.

I think my CT and I facilitate self directed learning very effectively in the classroom. Students are always thinking critically and applying new concepts to relevant everyday activities. Students are also able to go beyond what is assigned because they have the skills to push themselves if they want to. For example, if I have a student who is really grasping the verb conjugations, they can write an entire paragraph, and as a narrative rather than in elementary style disconnected sentences.

Students interact with each on a daily basis in informal settings that are low pressure and allow students to utilize new concepts. Students are set up so they have 12 different partners in the classroom that they can work with, and these partners are not necessarily in their immediate social group, or grade level. I feel that students who would not normally work together are allowed to collaborate efficiently and build community within the classroom and the school in general.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

EDSS 511 Instructional Strategy

CLASS PARTICIPATION (Preventative)- Hawley Laterza

By designing different strategies to involve all students in class discussions and activities, the teacher can ensure that all students are participating despite readiness, interests, and learning profile.
1. Flash cards with student names to draw at random
2. Palomitas (Popcorn)
3. Divide the class in half and have the boys choose a girl, and a girl choose a boy from the opposite side of the classroom
4. Seating chart- have students go up and down their rows giving answers and write points directly on the seating chart
5. Class Dojo- App on phone that selects students at random and you tap on the student to award a point
6. Popsicle sticks with student names in a jar
7. Having students write on the board by choosing an article of clothing they are all wearing (ex. Any student wearing white shoes- go write an answer on the board)
8. Girls vs. Boys (When playing an activity, students go against each other by having one boy and one girl go head to head)
9. Student volunteer (raise hand when they have the answer)
10. Think/Pair/Share- have students choose a partner to discuss an idea, then call on all groups to share their collaborative idea.
11. Number students 1-4, ask someone from the 1’s share their answer, someone from the 2’s share their answer....etc.
12. Delegate groups of four students to turn their desks and work as a collective unit. 1 student will be designed the recorder, time keeper, speaker, and the person who gets the teachers attention when they need help. Students will collectively turn in one assignment but we will go over the task as a class.