I hope you enjoy this guest blog post written by Jessica Eresman. There are so many phenomenal things that world language teachers can do with technology to enhance student comprehension. Sit back and enjoy the read!
We have been there before; Staring into their glazed over eyes while you are introducing new vocabulary.. You wonder how many of them are going to raise their hands to use the restroom just to miss being called for their skits.
All the World Language teacher wants is for her students to feel the same excitement and passion they feel for the language...
But how can I get there???
How do I excite the students to want to learn the language and push themselves to do better?? Is there a way for them to get excited for other than it’s reward day or fiesta time?
I am a Spanish teacher trying everyday to change my students' view on language learning by using technology. I use technology everyday in my classes from signing in for class to creating a skit for class. By using something that most kids do and interact through already... Technology. The key to creating interactive lessons that will have students wanting to create and focus arduously on learning Spanish.
Is This the Key??
In my recent lesson, my students practiced their present tense verbs (to bring/to buy/to have) and foods vocabulary by creating an audio recording of their final skit. But instead of just sitting/waiting having them read or memorize their lines in front of the class they all created an animated picture talking. The students started by following a template with how to plan a party (asking 3 friends in Spanish about foods they like and asking them what they could bring to the party). Then, they asked to pick from one of the dialogues already read from the chapter, and plug in their new information. Once they had reviewed their speech and knew their lines they received an iPad and visited the App ChatterPix Kids. With the iPad in hand, students had to find one image from around the room to take a picture of (funny to see the random images in the room talking). The result... several students creating voices for all parts of the skit and enjoying the process of repeating their lines until it came out to their liking! They created these skits with enthusiasm and excitement, wanting to practice their verbal skills more than intended!
I also use Classdojo in my classes, and I let each student double tap themselves in every class period... they are responsible to come into class on time before it gets saved and loose a chance at “touching” the Smartboard. I start class by giving points to those that are attentive and participating when doing the date and the weather in Spanish ….and they love listening to those points Ding at the touch of the app on my iPhone. The excitements starts then, and more follow by being prepared with a notebook to handing in homework earlier than the deadline. I would have to say the first 10-15 minutes of class is filled with excitement for getting those points!
The excitement for the classroom doesn't have be limited to “reward day” or Fiesta Time, but can be all year round if planned carefully. Using devices in the classroom has created an environment for success and trials, but the best part is that I am not getting those “¿Puedo ir al baño?” phrases as much.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is an ASCD Emerging Leader, Bammy Award Finalist, ClassDojo Thought Leader and Google Certified Educator. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Middle School Vice Principal for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.