Archive for the 'Comprehension' Category

Let’s Show, Not Tell

In a few weeks I’m off to Costa Rica to take pictures to supplement the Costa Rican  cultural information and to show the  Spanish vocabulary in the Spanish textbook  that I use. Although I can tell students about Costa Rican life, they learn so much more from seeing it.  I have found the same to be true for most of education.  Telling is an abstraction. We  tell students something and they  can imagine anything or nothing. A good visual or metaphor focuses their thinking.   For example, we tell students that a paragraph has a topic sentence, three sentences of supporting ideas and a conclusion and their eyes gloss over since these words do not have meaning to them.  However, when we have them use their hand (thumb-introduction, three fingers for three supporting, and little finger for conclusion), they have a definite image of what we mean. In fact, they can always check their paragraphs against their hand to make sure they have all the parts.   Likewise, when we show the students a sign of a fruit store with the word “Fruteria” over it and a  perfume store with a “perfumeria” sign; they quickly learn that -eria is the ending for a speciality store in Spanish.   When we show them a picture or an illustration, they can see what we are trying to tell them. Many students need to go from the abstract to the concrete in order to learn information.

Do we use technology to tell or show?  PowerPoints full of text only “tell”. Blogs, wikis, tweets are often  text based; they can “show” by including links to pictures of movies of the content. Do  you use Web 2.0 tools to tell or to show?  Do your images or metaphors clearly show the concept you want the students to learn?

My  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment

My book,  Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Reponding to Your Students

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Reading Speed and Comprehension Online Test

Have you every wondering about the reading comprehension of your students?

The following are some sites designed for high school or above to test both reading speed and comprehension. Most of these have about ten paragraphs to read

http://www.readingsoft.com/ – a reading of about 8 paragraphs. Times and then has comprehension questions

Rocket Reader of http://www.rocketreader.com/cgi-bin/portal/fun_tests/perception has a reading test that includes specific vocabulary

ExecuRead of http://www.execuread.com/speedtest.htm has reading test timed and comprehension

Unless we give the students diagnostic reading tests such as these, we may never know their entry level of  reading. Is it really far to assign ten pages of reading to a student who reads less than 100 reads more minute (If a  textbook page has 400 words, it will that that student four minutes per page or a total of 40 minutes to read ten textbook pages.)?

What other reading diagnostics do you give your students?

YouTube Songs for Spanish Learning

YouTube

One way to make a World Language Class come alive is to play songs and clips. You can search YouTube for Spanish and find many songs, commercials, and movie clips.

Here’s a small sampling to share with your Spanish World Language teacher:

Jose Jose– songs in Spanish -his words are quite clear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhOr6tR3cp4&mode=related&search= Jose Jose El Triste

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ynE68kFHUk&mode=related&search= Jose Jose Exito

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UDiFHGj3Hw&mode=related&search= Jose Jose Anda y Ve

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVe6_sbhnGY&mode=related&search= Jose Jose Amnesia

Musicals and famous songs are translated into Spanish

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ldtZsOJ3fk High School Musical Breaking Free (with Spanish subtitle) Are others in this series

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pik3sDIXBjk Lion King We Are One (with Spanish subtitle)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1PCRxVMbBg Yesterday (with Spanish subtitle)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ_WlR82jvg Cat Stevens Father and Son (with Spanish subtitle)

 

Anime, Movie, or Commericals

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkQb5gA8Onc Dragon Ball Z ending (with Spanish subtitles) – karaoke style

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPC_LmvW-AA Spanish Angelus-anime (with Spanish subtitles)-begins at 25

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tqXw6eLnMw Star Troops (with Spanish subtitle) turn sound off

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71TqJul85GE Chad Vader Day Shift Manager (with Spanish subtitle) turn sound off

Why not make it an assignment that each student has to find three songs in Spanish done in the karaoke style (with the Spanish words written out) from YouTube and prepare listening comprehension questions on one of them? If they label each and give you the annotated links, you can have a huge selection within a very short period of time. They will enjoy listening and learning in Spanish.

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Other Spanish (Hispanic images) for conversations or writing

Spanish streets – Calle
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/spanish-street-callescenes-photos-from-flickr/

Spanish sports –Deporte
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/spanish-sport-deporte-pictures-from-flickr-for-student-conversations/

Spanish transportation Transportes
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/spanish-language-transportes-transportations-from-various-hispanic-countries/

Spanish restaurant Restaurante
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/09/16/restaurant-pictures-from-flickr-for-spanish-and-other-language-conversations/

 

Spanish Language Menu
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/learning-hispanic-culture-through-spanish-language-menus/

If you have ideas you would like to share about the problems that students have in being fluent speakers and, if possible, the possible solutions, please add as a comment.  For example,  some students can not keep a conversation focused on the topic – a solution is to start them with a series of pictures about the topic or for them to focus on a specific problem such as an ordering problem in a restaurant.

——

 

Reading for Meaning Through Technology

Reading T-chart

When I was in middle school and high school, I remember that reading Social Studies and Science textbooks was a matter of finding the answer in the passage. For the math textbook, I had to understand and solve problems by applying the formula or concept. For the English textbooks, I had to do literary analysis, a very specific type of reading. There was the textbook and myself, sometimes a weak combination.

So how do we help students to read for meaning today through the use of technology?

Do we

Model our thinking process as we read a passage to the students? An English teacher may ask “If Don Quixote becomes crazy by reading books, will we become crazy by watching tv?” We can digitally record this thinking for the first chapter of the book and then have students record their thinking aloud for subsequent chapters. These digital recordings can become podcasts or web movies that capture the deep thinking in the reading.

Have students answer questions as they go through the text, readings, or websites? In Social Studies, a question can be “What other rivers have been the center of civilizations?” In Science, a question may be ” What other reactions have required heat? Why?” Students can respond in a class blog so that students can see the many possible answers.

Ask students to compare/contrast what they are reading to a previous reading using a T-chart in a Word chart form or in an Inspiration-like form? In what ways are Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night’s Dream similar?

Assign students to find images that prove the idea that they are talking about using Google or Flickr? Images of “bread” from around the world show the universal need for food.

Ask students high-level thinking questions about the topic and have them respond with a personal response system. Sancho is most like which other sidekick? A- B- C- D-

Have them use a Smartboard-like device to underline all the words that show the same meaning or emphasis? Students can read a website passage and underline all the words or phrases that show the author’s bias.

How else do you have your students read for deep meaning through technology? Share your ideas. If I get them within the week, I might include them in an article I’m writing on reading and technology.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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RSS Education with Technology

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