Cannella's Classifieds

Blog 5


Juanes-La Luz (Tribal 2014) by BACHATA NIGHTS RADIO

What's Happening in my Classroom?

What has gone well:

I have taken on my CT's full class load for just about a month now! I will of course admit that at first things were a little rough. Spanish IV is truly a different breed of Spanish class. It is not based on vocabulary or grammar at all! Instead, it is a history class taught in Spanish. I really do love the curriculum, but it has taken me some time to learn how to teach this kind of curriculum. I think I am finally getting the hang of it! In Spanish IV, I have had to teach both history and literature. As challenging as it seems at times, it has helped me tremendously in teaching my Spanish II students. I have been able to enhance my Spanish II lessons by bringing in some of the strategies I use from my Spanish IV class. Chances are that I will start out teaching lower level Spanish classes, so I am super thankful to have had this time to play and learn with Spanish IV! I think I have done a great job with managing all the planning as well. I try my best to stay on top of things. I may not always be a week ahead in my plans, but I am close. One thing in particular that has gone well is my introduction lesson on the history of El Salvador. The text book my Spanish IV students use covers the history of each country over several pages of reading. It can be long and challenging to understand. To make things a little more fun, I broke the students into 6 groups of 3. I gave each group a different section to read in the text that covered some part of the history of El Salvador. The group had to read their section, answer some comprehension questions, create two possible quiz questions that are covered in their section, and come up with at least three symbols to represent their section. Then each group got a big piece of butcher paper. They were asked to draw a mural to represent their section and include the three symbols they had just come up with. The following day each group presented their murals and information from their section to the class. The students took notes over each presentation. This was really fun and successful. It was a lot more effective than having students simply read the entire history portion of the book! Overall it was really successful. The best part for me is that the students came up with their own quiz questions that I can just adjust and use!

What has not gone well:

Nothing has been terrible thus far, but I have definitely learned a lot from the small mistakes I am making along the way. Last week, I gave my first test to my Spanish IV students. My CT is really great in that she allows me to see and use any of the materials she has created in the past. This has been a great help in my Spanish II class. However, Spanish IV is in the process of restructuring their curriculum on a county wide basis. The files my CT has created in the past do not match the curriculum I am currently teaching. Basically, we are re-designing it from scratch. It is super beneficial for me to see, but also super challenging. The test I just gave to my Spanish IV students covered the Violence and Conflict chapter which included Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, and Chile. My CT taught Mexico and Colombia, and I taught the remaining 3 countries. My CT asked me to come up with the assessment for this chapter. The first challenge I faced was coming up with appropriate test questions that covered Mexico and Colombia. Because I was not the one that taught this section, I wasn't really sure what to emphasize on the test. My second issue was that I designed the test after teaching the material. NOT A GOOD IDEA! I am now a huge fan of backward design. In teaching my 3 countries, I just covered the material. I did cover all the material that I needed to, but I just briefly covered everything and did not really emphasize anything. By doing this, I know that my students would have a hard time really picking out the most crucial information. Had I made the test, before teaching the material, I would know what to most focus on and emphasize as I was teaching. In order to make up for my mistake, I made a detailed study guide for the students to use to prepare for the test. I did not want them to be unsuccessful, You definitely live and learn, and in the future, I will always create the test first. This way I can know what to emphasis as I teach. Also, I can provide my students with practice activities that mimic the test.

Bring On The Change

Gwinnett County has come up with a very interesting way to make up all of our weather days. We have added 30 minutes to each school day for the next 48 days! My host school has decided to create a new bell schedule every single week. Each week a new class period will be extended by the 30 minutes. I have survived 1st period's (Spanish IV) extension. Since I only teach the one Spanish IV class, we simply just kept pushing through with curriculum. Last week 2nd period got the 30 extra minutes. That is my planning period, so it was beyond wonderful. This coming week will be the first week one of my Spanish II classes gets the extension. If I were to push on with curriculum, it would mean that all three of my Spanish II classes would be in different spots at all times! My CT and I did not like that idea at all. Instead we have come up with a 5 day enrichment plan which will be implemented during that extra 30 minutes. Each class period will just receive the enrichment at a different time! I came up with three days worth of preterit/ imperfect review and practice. Some of the activities are just basic individual practices. Some are practice activities where students can work with a partner. The final day is a preterit vs. imperfect version of Hollywood Squares that students will be playing in pairs. The final two days will be a review of the Spanish pronouns (indirect and direct object pronouns as well as reflexive and reciprocal pronouns. I have worked really hard on getting these plans done on top of the regular plans I have to do each week. It has certainly been a challenge and a huge change! I am trying to make these activities both meaningful and fun when possible. I do not want them to feel like they are just doing busy work to fill the time. However, these students could really benefit from the extra grammar practice. This has obviously been a MAJOR CHANGE in my plans. I am thankful for the experience though. It teaches me that I have to be flexible at all times. There are going to be changes both good and bad thrown at me constantly in this career, and I have to be able to adapt to them! These 30 extra minutes each day are certainly preparing me to handle future changes to the best of my ability!

Discovering New Things

I am constantly learning throughout this process. I have learned more about myself and my own limits than I ever have. I know that during first semester Zyck, Mary Beth, and even Dr. Tolosa all said how it would take multiple years to really reach your full potential and have things down as a teacher. It's one of those pieces of advice that you hear and acknowledge, but you don't really understand until you are out there. I am doing the best I possibly can, but I know now that teaching is a profession that takes time to be great at. It is a constant learning process. You have to stay positive and motivated, and know that you are making improvement along the way. I have also discovered how challenging it is to balance planning for multiple subjects with grading! The grading can be super time consuming alone, and it piles up really fast! I am discovering ways to stay on top of it all, but still have free time. I know that in time that balance will come!