As I began to teach the level 1 activities unit for the 15th time, I opened my Dropbox folder to look at my files. There was my PowerPoint with pictures and the vocabulary word for over twenty different activities that students like and don’t like to do. I’ve updated it by adding real photos instead of clip art, and then photos from Hispanic cultures. Then I stopped. Is this the best way to teach vocabulary? Is this vocabulary in context? Is this fun for me or them? No, no and no!! I remember once hearing a supervisor questioning a lesson plan that said students will learn by watching a PowerPoint.
So I thought about how to fix this. First I need to focus on a function for the day, not vocabulary. I decided to start with talking about sports. Since they are mostly cognates and they already know “I like,” I added that they will say whether they like to WATCH or PLAY each one. Now I have a focus.
Ok. Now how do they see the vocabulary in context? I sent them to espndeportes.com. They looked around the site and saw the different sports words being used. Also they could go to BBC Mundo or http://deportes.univision.com/. If I didn’t have the iPads for them, I would’ve projected the website and picked a student to click around for the class.
Lastly, they need to do something with the words. I gave them a graph to categorize whether they liked to watch and/or play the sport, or they didn’t like it.
This all worked so nicely! They were actively engaged. THEY were doing the work, not me. I was just walking around, asking questions in Spanish (¿Te gusta mirar…?) and answering questions. Some were trying to read articles. Others were comparing their culture to ours. “They really like soccer, don’t they?”
They made posters on ScrapPad about their favorite sports. Not all of them included “watch” and “play,” but I was impressed that they tried to express what they wanted to say. Now these are hanging in the hallway.
I’m so sick of PPT myself- I’ve been using Prezi more often and doing things like this- when I can find the resources like for food, clothing and school supplies.
Here is a video I found for kids about sports that might interest you…
I am doing likes and dislikes soon w/ activities (dance, play instrument, ski, etc…) do you have any resources so I can do something similar?
I agree with Marcy (So glad to know your name!). Prezi is the same idea of teacher-led instruction. There are good uses of PP (making games, Q/A cards).
Resources: think about where these things will sow up naturally and remember that you may not find all at one source. I’ve just starting looking myself, but maybe a Arts College or class webpage (draw, paint, photo, dance), or a dance studio, a book club facebook page, a club or festival flyer, a kids camp brochure (Infocamp in Spain), the YMCA website, etc. I’m thinking I’ll set them on a web quest or stations so they can learn a little about all, and then focus on the ones they love.
I don’t think it’s the platform that’s the issue. Rather, it’s the way the content is presented. Not sure why Power Point gets such a bad rap. Personally, I’m neither enamored nor impressed with Prezi. I gave it a try, and thought it was satisfactory, but it doesn’t offer enough to keep me coming back for more.
For an analytical person such as myself, Prezi is a nightmare! Haha… I use PowerPoint, but I avoid excessive details. It’s more of a visual guide for my students that need it. I think the problem is when ANY type of platform is used too much!
Kara: I think your idea is great but my school doesn’t have Ipads for every student to use nor can I get a computer lab everyday for 30 + students which is what I have in my classes this year.Our school uses common assessments so my kids have to know certain vocabulary words for the quarter exams. When I teach with the Powerpoint and pictures I only do it in Spanish even in level 1. Is Scrappad an app for the Ipad or can it be used on regular computers? Do you have any other ideas for me, since technology is kind of limited?
There is always a way around lack of technology! Stations. You can put your computer as one station with a site or a listening activity. For other stations, print off the materials (in color if possible). Then you won’t have to have a copy for each student, just five for the group. The point about them knowing the vocab, just pick authentic sites an materials focused on that vocab. Mine also have to RECOGNIZE a wide range of vocab and PRODUCE what is important to them. If it was only production, I could teach this unit in 2 days. I need longer because they are reading, listening and talking every day. I’ll get some more posts about these lessons as a teach them. It looks like Scrappad is only and app. Anyone know similar sites?
Glogster.com is a web based “poster” maker. It’s got some neat prepared layouts and ideas.
I have te same question posted before. I just took a look at Scrappad and they charge $4.99 for the app. IN my school we do not have Apple computers and Ipads. In case you can download the application, do you have to pay for each Ipad or computer that will be using it? How can all the students access it? I love the idea, but it won’t work where I teach.
Every teacher has a different situation. If you see learning value in an activity, think about how to adapt it. Instead of scrappad, they can do an old fashioned collage with magazine photos or their own photos (just ask them to bring them in). There are other collage makers online. Search in google. There are many versions of the scrappad app that are free. I haven’t used the 4.99 one.
I agree with Marcy and Kara. I think it’s the way you use it. I LOVE Power Point. I just think that so many people are so bad at using it. I don’t like Prezi. It makes me motion sick. I use Power Point interactively rather than for presentations for vocabulary. Flashcards, fill in the blanks, scrambled sentences, questions, pictures scenes to use as springboards for sentence building, much, much, more. If you stick to keeping your power point slides big and clean, they can be wonderful. I also use provocative photos(not sexually)…but really cute animals or really gross out pictures, etc. that kids really respond to and remember. Or scenes from movies when I do movies. One scene from Beauty and the Beast can elicit tons of sentences about what the characters look like, what they are doing, what they are wearing, etc. Anyway, back to your original post. I really like your ideas of sending them to sites and having them see vocab in context as well. I did things with the Corte Ingles site you mentioned before recently and it was very successful. It adds culture in a natural way…why is there a comma instead of a decimal? How many Euros in a dollar? Etc. I want to add more sites and combine many of your posts in some of the activities. I want to have them find words they know as well as cognates, etc. Your posts have become so awesome they are starting to be combined into more lessons!
I don’t know that much about ScrapPad, but a good alternative might be Glogster. I’m still exploring Glogster, but it looks like it could be a fun, creative way for students to show what they’ve learned.
I have found that Glogster is down quite a bit. If you like Glogster, you’ll love Prezi. And it doesn’t have to make you seasick. 🙂 For anyone who’s bothered by upside-down type, just don’t rotate the text upside down!
How did you print from Scrappad? I like doing things on the ipad but haven’t figured out the printing. I would like to print and hang things up for others to see.
Do you just take a screen shot photo of it and then print the photo?
First you have to have a printer with iPrint or Bluetooth (I think that’s what it is). On Scrappad, there is an arrow in a box at the top right. That will give you what I call “send it to…” options. You will see “Print” listed. Another way is to save the photo to your Camera Roll and email to a regular computer to print.
I use fill in the blank sentences with picture clues for students that want extra practice with vocabulary. It is an optional activity, but works as a good study tool for those that do it.
I am rethinking how I teach vocabulary this year, and like the ideas above. My biggest question about having them find the words is when/how do you teach them how to pronounce these words. When I show the PPTs, I usually have students repeat the words after me…I know it’s boring and not very creative, but I know they need pronunciation practice to feel comfortable saying the words.
Most dictionary apps have a pronunciation button, so they use that. Also I reuse words they mispronounce in a followup question when needed. (Stdt: I loove you. Me: Ah! You LOVE me, huh?) I still mispronounce words, even in English, and I can communicate. At the novice level, “difficulty with pronunciation” is a characteristic. So as long as they are communicating, pronunciation comes with practice. Do they get the pronunciation perfect after the PPT/repeat activity? I found that it usually takes time, especially with the unique sounds.
Have you thought about creating a list of really “good” resources that you have found to use in presenting vocabulary and posting in on here for other teachers to use? I often feel that I waste way too much time search for good authentic resources and not really finding anything that meets my needs. I (and other teachers, I’m sure) would really appreciate it!
I haven’t made a list, but we have lots of authentic resources included in posts. The best way to find them is to search a topic in the search bar. So if you are doing a food unit, search “food”. I’ll keep that idea in mind though and try to do it this spring. Or maybe it would be a great “Share-a-thon” topic!
Thanks! That would be so helpful!! I just found a really cool weather website, so I thought I’d share it here 🙂
I was wondering if you had any ideas as far as introducing classroom objects vocabulary to students. I teach freshmen and sophomores that have never taken a language class before and it has been a challenge to INTRODUCE completely new vocabulary to them in a contextualized/authentic way. In the past, I have used PP’s with pictures so that they are able to see the way words are spelled, but I definitely see where this may become very boring for them. I just don’t know how else to introduce vocab they have never seen before.
My students learn best when they look at something authentic and “figured out” what they meant. The vocab words are embedded in rich context that they will pick up too as they advance in their language skills. In the time it takes to find/make a “good” vocab PP, you can find something real. For your topic, try searching for back to school ads (Google images: “vuelta al cole anuncios”), stores that sell the materials (http://www.elcorteingles.es/tienda/papeleria/browse/categoryFacets.jsp?categoryId=999.510&productId=&navAction=push&navCount=0&menu=left), a place asking for school donations (http://www.conejousd.org/Portals/55/K12_SPANISH.pdf & http://www.resurrection-school.org/es/apoyenos/lista-de-deseos/), etc. in TL in Google and/or Google images. The ones with pictures are great for learning. The ones without pictures are good for assessments.