ASB English Programs Newsletter

March 2016

Happy Spring Break!

Thanks for making our February ASB English Programs Newsletter a smashing success with over 90 views and counting in the first month! As we enter the final stretch of the school year, this month's newsletter includes important upcoming dates, program news, teaching ideas and digital resources you can use in your classes. As always, thanks for all you do for our students. Enjoy!

Important Dates

Winter Program

Mar. 21, 23, and 28 - School closed (Spring Break)

Wed., Mar. 30 - First day of class after break

Wed., Apr. 13 @ 7:30p.m. - Riesgos Laborales training (more information below)

Saturday Program

Mar. 19 and 26 - School closed (Spring Break)

Apr. 2 - First day of class after break

Apr. 9 @ 9:00 a.m. - Riesgos Laborales training (more information below)

Summer Program

Sat., Apr. 16 @ 11 a.m. - Open House for New Families Interested in Summer Program. Presentation in lunchroom and tours (more information below).

June 4 - Summer Program Orientation for New Families and English language level testing.

Mon., June 27 - Fri., July 22 - ASB Summer English Program

Program News

Classroom Happenings

Being a classroom teacher, I know how hard we work to prepare the best possible lessons to excite and engage our students in their learning. Each month I want to "open our English Program classroom doors," so to speak, and celebrate all your hard work by sharing some of the impressive language learning that is happening around our school. This month, Early Childhood students are learning vocabulary related to the family, food, fruit and Easter by listening to stories, singing and dancing to songs, and coloring pictures. Students enjoyed an Easter egg hunt in the playground and made small baskets with plasticine eggs. Elementary students created a market to sell plasticine food they made, interviewed each other about favorite activities, played a board game and read stories about wild animals, and wrote stories about favorite sports and hobbies using content-related vocabulary. Easter bonnet hats, bunny masks and a "pin the tail on the bunny" game added festive cheer to our learning. Middle and high school students have been engaged in role plays about how to give advice to friends, plans they have for the future, and job and celebrity interviews using target language, specific verb tenses and grammatical structures. Although bunnies were not seen hopping down the high school hallway, I did see drawings of aliens to practice descriptive language!

Classroom Visits and Intervisitations

As you probably noticed by now, visiting classrooms and getting to know our students and what they're learning is my top priority. When I visit your classroom, if you are teaching a lesson, I will try to enter quietly and choose a student to sit next to. I usually lean in and whisper inquisitively, "What are you learning right now?" Students are always able to explain the activity and what the theme or topic is, and I thank them for filling me in. If students are working in small groups or pairs when I enter your classroom, I choose a group to listen to, trying to help them with language structures, answer their questions, and be an audience and cheerleader for their role plays. I try to get around to every classroom every day because I want our students to see me as someone who is there to support their efforts to learn English, and I really want our teachers and staff to see me as a colleague and ally in our collective goal to educate and inspire our students to achieve their individual potential.

In an effort to build bridges among classrooms, I would like to invite all teachers to take advantage of the opportunity to visit another teacher's classroom to observe or co-teach a lesson together. This collaborative teaching and classroom intervisitation model is not new to ASB and is deeply encouraged throughout our school. I would be happy to substitute for you during a period. If you are interested in visiting another classroom or co-teaching with a colleague, please speak with me, and we will arrange the details.

Textbook Orders for Next Year

Some teachers have inquired about the possibility of ordering a new textbook resource for their classrooms next fall. I have contacted the Come In English Bookstore in Barcelona, and they have sent me textbook catalogs from major publishing companies they work with. When we return from Spring Break, please stop by the English Program office to take a look at these catalogs. I am looking for suggestions on what textbook series to order for next year based upon teachers' extensive experience using different resources and what you think would be the best fit for our student population. Thank you!

Summer Program Update

On April 16 at 11 a.m., I will be doing an Open House presentation to prospective families who are interested in learning more information about our July summer program offerings. Following the presentation, we will be touring the ECC, Elementary and main buildings and classrooms as well as the outside sports areas. I will try not to disturb any classes, but I may open doors and stand in the hallway to give families an idea of the lessons and activities that are happening.

If you have any photos of your classroom activities from any of the programs (Winter, Saturday or Summer) showing students working independently or cooperatively, special projects and events, or any other photos that highlight all the wonderful learning and fun that is happening in and around our school, please email them to me at, and I will happily include them in the Open House presentation. Thanks so much!

Absences and Substitutions

We understand that being a teacher means being exposed to vicious viruses and baracuda bacteria every once in awhile. The winter months are usually the worst with students and teachers needing a day off to recover when our immune systems scream, "Enough is enough!" By the same token, the American School of Barcelona recognizes that substitutes cannot make the same contribution to our students that our teaching staff does, so we expect that staff will make every effort to honor their professional commitment to our students.

In case of illness, teachers and staff are to contact Marta Gascón by sending her a WhatsApp, preferably during the day before your absence or in the evening before 10:00 pm. If your absence is due to illness, the ASB Business Office has informed me the school requires a medical note in order for you to be paid for the sick day. If you need to take a personal day, please note that you will not be paid for the day.

Riesgos Laborales Training

By law, ASB is required to provide workplace health and safety training to all teachers and staff working on the premise. This includes all personnel in our ASB English Language Programs. The training focuses on avoiding or decreasing the risks of workplace accidents and job-related illnesses and is vitally important to ensure your safety and well-being while working at ASB. There will be two training sessions offered to ELP personnel. All Winter Program teachers and staff are required to attend the training on Wednesday, April 13 from 7:30-8:15 p.m. All Saturday Program teachers and staff are required to attend the training on Saturday, April 9 from 9-9:45 a.m. Please mark your calendars for this important event. Thanks!

Teaching Resources for your Classroom

Are you constantly on the lookout for instructional and digital resources that you can use with your students? Do you enjoy that moment when you find a resource that fits perfectly with the content you are teaching and you know your kids will love it? In this section, I will share a few resources that ASB teachers use in our instruction. If you have a favorite resource you think other teachers would enjoy, please let me know, so we can share it with others.

Searching for Books in the ASB Library

Have you ever wondered how ASB teachers search for books by topic, author or subject for their lessons? It's as easy as surfing the web from the comfort of your couch! Just go to this link and type the title, author or subject you are searching for in the Destiny Quest search engine window. On the left-hand toolbar, you can narrow your search by genre, reading level, etc. An "Advanced Search" feature is located at the top of the page. Winter Program Teachers: Please remember that the library closes at 5:30pm during the week, so please try to arrive by 5:15pm to check out books. Thanks!

Online Songs and Videos

Super Simple Songs - Super Simple Songs is a You Tube channel used mostly by early childhood and primary educators that features a playlist of easy-to-learn kids' songs and nursery rhymes. Thanks to Cristina, Laura and Jenny for sharing!

Storybots - Storybots are short videos that combine fun and learning in short videos, covering concepts like the alphabet, numbers, colors, emotions, the body, dinosaurs, outer space, healthy habits, animals, time, seasons, months, days and more. Check it out!

Here Comes Science - A collection of science videos of the songs from There Might Be Giants. Topics include the solar system, light, photosynthesis, paleontology and more. Thanks, Anna C.!

English for Kids - This is a YouTube channel with videos from the Magic English, Pocoyo, and Sid the Science Kid series. These would be great to introduce a lesson or reinforce important lesson vocabulary. Thanks, Laura!

Classroom Management

Class Dojo - Class Dojo is a digital classroom management tool designed to help teachers improve student behavior and communicate with parents more effectively. Several teachers at ASB use it to reinforce positive learning behaviors by awarding points to individual students and teams who demonstrate attentive listening, speaking in English, teamwork, helping others, etc. Behaviors can be edited to reflect the routines and values you believe are important in your classroom. Sign up for a free account and watch this tutorial video to get started today!

Happy Easter, Everyone!

I hope you have a lovely Spring Break with your family and friends. If you are headed off to an island paradise or just enjoying a "staycation" on your couch watching Netflix, may you reap the benefits of rest and relaxation and enjoy a basketful of beautiful weather!

Please send along any photos you think might be useful for the Open House presentation. Thank you!