Archive for the 'Vocabulary' Category

Flickr Vocabulary Pictures Based on Real Objects For Your Class

I have been having my Spanish students take  real life pictures of vocabulary items  that are in our textbook and  put those pictures in my class Flickr  account. The textbook’s drawings lack realism (what is that?).  Most students used their Smartphones. When students can see a real object such as a plate, they can  better learn the word.

Elementary teachers, special education teachers, modern language  / foreign language teachers, ESL teachers, and   people working with refugees can use these pictures.   The pictures usually have no words.  They can be used in any language.

There are about 600 pictures ; some categories such as comida (food) are very large with subcategories while others have about  ten pictures.   I will update this blog as the students add more categories.

To use these free pictures in your class   1) go to flickr.com, 2) click on the word Search,  3) Click on Tags Only at the far right,   4) Then in the search box, type in spancon + one of the following category names such as spancon +hora  (for clocks showing various times). spancon is the name for my class so you only see my students’ pictures of the category.

To show the pictures in a slideshow,  1) click on the slideshow icon (a screen)  in the upper right, 2) Click on Options in the upper right, 3) Adjust the time from slow  to medium to fast; slow  is about seven seconds between slides and  4) click on the X in the upper right corner to close the  Option window.  When the left  bottom side displays a triangle, the slide show is paused.  Click on the triangle and two bars appear, the slideshow is running. The first  slide will not change for a few seconds since it is on a time delay; just wait.)  You can also just click on the pictures at the bottom of the slide show to show select pictures.  Students can identify the vocabulary and even say very short sentences before the slide changes.

The category names are in Spanish (without accent marks)
actividad (common actions)
aparato (electrical devices – phone, headphone..)
casa  (house)  with cuarto (rooms), bano (bathroom), and cocina (kitchen)
ciudad (city -mainly traffic things)
clase  (classroom objects)
clima (weather)
color (color)
comida (food) with subcategories of fruta (fruit) , verduras (vegetables), bebida (drink),
cubierto (tableware)
cuerpo (body)
deporte (sports)
hora (clock time- digital)
joyas (jewelry)
naturaleza (nature)
numero (numbers)
oficina (office things)
ocupacion (occupation, jobs=
reflexivo (reflexive actions such as to brush one’s teeth)
ropa (clothing)
salud (health related)
quehaceres (household chores

I have over 15 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities  are at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students ; Successful Student Writing   Through Formative Assessment ; and Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment , can be purchased at  http://is.gd/tbook

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No Basic Differences in Textbooks in 50 Years: Go Virtual

I examined two textbooks that are fifty years apart, a Spanish textbook from 1960 and one from 2010

Both:
Teach the same grammar – present, present irregulars, preterite, preterite irregulars, imperfect, …..
Teach the same basic vocabulary- family, occupations, house, …. The 2010 textbook does have more modern words such as cell phone, computer…
Start each lesson with  written dialogue
Focus primarily on grammar- almost all the exercises are grammar focused
Have images – The 1960 has black and white illustrations and the 2010 has many colored photos.
Include cultural information
Have dictionaries

Some differences:
The  1960 textbook contains 200+ pages while the 2010 textbook has 500+ pages.
The 1960 has some testing/practice material while the 2010 textbook has  much online grammar practice.
The 1960 textbook has a story line of a family with a father who travels to Latin America.  The 2010 does not have a storyline.
The 1960 textbook teaches practical vocabulary essential to daily living and traveling while the 2010 teaches specialized vocabulary such as words to describe art in a museum.
The 1960 textbook follows the grammar translation methodology while the 2010 follows the grammar use methodology.

The 2010 textbook, once all the colored photos are removed, is essential the same as the 1960 textbook.
Do modern language teacher still want to focus primarily on grammar instead of communication?

For your subject area, how has the textbook, the staple of most classes, changed over the last 50 years?
Does it scaffold information to make it easier for students to learn?
Does it include strategies to help the students better learn the material?
Does it organize information in a way to help students see similarities and differences?
Does it build in self tests so students can measure their progress in a formative assessment manner? Does it provide formative feedback?
Has it gone to the “less is better” with more concentration on critical learning  or has it gone to “the bigger is better” way of thinking?

I’ve written several blogs about textbooks Smartphone (Mobil Learning Apps as Alternative Textbooks)  and Why a Physical Textbook?

Think of creating your own virtual textbook that truly matches the state goals and your district’s goals.

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

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

Smartphones (Mobile Learning) Apps as Textbook Alternatives

In a previous blog, I mentioned that physical textbooks seem so “yesterday” and suggested using online resources.

I would like to enlarge on that concept through the use of Smartphone or Mobile Learning Apps.  Let’s use a Spanish class as an example.  Spanish students need to go from mere memorization to high level language use.

Students can use apps for basic memorization of words.  For example, they could use a program such as

Spanish Flashcards Free  (http://freeapk.com/app/1093_android+app+Spanish+Flashcards_1.6.html).  Likewise, they could use an   app such as 1001 Spanish Verb Android App  Free (http://androidappsgames.com/android_app_1691.html)   to learn basic verb forms and to see the various conjugations of a verb

A step up from mere memorization on individual words  is learning language phrases. The free Hola Spain Tourism HandAPP (http://www.appbrain.com/app/hola-spanish-handapp/com.movinapp.hola) has Expressions organized into categories such as Greetings, Phone, shopping (22 expressions), directions, etc..Since these are grouped into categories, the student sees both the essential questions and answers. These cover many of the common vocabulary topics presently in the school curriculum.

With these apps, students can practice on their own anytime and anyplace.The classroom time can be spent in creating conversations based on the learned words and phrases. If the student has done a practice conversation such as about health and has not remembered a certain phrase, the student can quickly review the phrases using app on the mobile device.

These few apps show that a language teacher can certainly replace a physical textbook. In a future blog, I show how students can use apps at a high language level.   Students can become more engaged and more active in their learning as they use apps

Are you app to use apps in your classroom?

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

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

Why a physical textbook?

It seems so “yesterday” to use a physical  textbook such as in a Spanish classroom. Any instructor can easily find PowerPoints, Youtubes, etc. that teach and practice the   grammar and vocabulary in Spanish.  Any instructor  can easily find online sites that explain grammar and drill that grammar.  An instructor can find Internet sites that have vocabulary lists or can easily post such lists to a class  wiki.  Imagine if a department asked each instructor  to create one activity such as a spoken conversation or  a listening comprehension that takes the grammar and vocabulary to the level of communication. The instructors can find current pictures of the culture from Flickr and other sources.  Students can converse about the daily culture that relates to  the situations in the virtual textbook.  Students can communicate about the situations.

With a few handouts made in Google docs and the links to the grammar, vocabulary, communication activities, listening, reading,writing,  and culture, the instructors could run a whole course without a physical textbook.   All the resources can exist in the class wiki.  Students can have access to theses resources 24/7.   Since the resources come from various sources, there is more of widening  of the students’ learning. When instructors use  virtual textbooks, they can add more resources in areas where students demonstrate weaknesses (formative assessment).

In addition, students can contribute to the virtual textbook.  As they do activities such as writing five important questions about the situation, these questions  can be posted to the virtual textbook for other students to answer.   I believe that within a year, instructors could have a virtual textbook that outshines the limits of the physical textbook. I have used  a virtual text and feel that it best meets the needs of my students.   The virtual textbook can fit the specific goals of the instructors while meeting national goals. The virtual textbook can be easily modified as better resources become available.

The virtual textbooks will not cost any money! Also as students migrate to smartphones, their phones become a valuable learning tool in class.

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

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

Talking to Babies Makes Them Successful in School

Christensen, Horn and Johnson in their Disruptive Class argue that one of the most disruptive ways to improve education is to have children 0-3 years hear more “language dancing” (Risley and Hart term) where the parents  engage in face to face conversation with the infant and talk in adult, sophisticated language.  The business talk  of  “Let’s get in the car”  or “Eat your peas” does not contribute much to language development. They quote research to show that a significant portion of a person’ intellectual capacity is determined in his/her first 36 months and the most critical is the first year. Risley and Hart affirm that some working class parents do talk to their children and some affluent parents do not. Race, age, or income are not factors, simply the amount of time that parents talk to their children.

I would like to propose a  serious change in education.  I advocate that the federal govt or state pay retired teachers to go to talk to young babies for two hours a day for five days a week. Even if the teachers are paid $10 an hour or twenty dollars a day or $100 a week for a total fifty two weeks or  $5,200 a year, that would be a tremendous Return on Investment (ROI).  Imagine students going into school having heard 48 million words as opposed to the 13 million words.   Hopefully, the children’s parents after hearing the sophisticated talk of the retired teachers will change their talk to their children. We could get rid of HeadStart and use that money.  Many of the reasons for universal Pre-K would be eliminated.  All students would start school at a high level of language.  All students could start off being successful and continue to be successful.

Let’s starting talking to babies now!

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

Reponding to Your Students

Common educational vocabulary Formative Assessment

I think that every six months or so every school district, state education, and educational publication should publish its current definition of all educational terms. I  have looked at four different educators’ definitions of formative assessment and those definitions differ drastically.  One educator feels that formative assessment focuses on teacher instruction.  Another feels that it focuses on the assessments that are given periodically. The third concentrates on formative assessment as the weekly quizzes that a teacher gives.  The fourth sees formative assessment as the feedback that teachers give students. Since these educators do not define formative assessment in the same way, they get confused when each other talks. They do not have the same language.  Therefore, they  do not work together.

When will teachers accept a common vocabulary for the good of all teachers?  When will educators become a community of learners instead of educators on different pages? Let’s work together to help improve student learning!

Use a district wide Wiki to share  and develop common definitions and provide examples of that definition. Have educators build on the components of that definition.

Pre-assessment: Open Eyes or Blinded

This semester I have given many pre-assessments to my students. Last semester, I made many mistakes in instruction because I did not know enough about my students before the beginning of the semester. I taught material that they knew and did not delve into material that they did not know. I assumed that they could read the textbook when their reading rate and comprehension which I tested once I saw a problem revealed an average class reading rate in the low 100s and a comprehension rate of 60% or lower. I thought that since they were college students they could organize their own writing.

So this semester, I have given them writing diagnostic, writing patterns past knowledge diagnostic, grammar diagnostic, vocabulary diagnostic, and reading diagnostic. I can hear the moans about wasting all the time on diagnostic. My students spend 45 minutes on the combined writing and grammatic diagnostic, three minutes on the vocabulary one, four minutes on the past writing patterns and about 15 on the reading one. So in just about one hour and ten minutes I have done six diagnostic tests that have transformed how I teach writing to the students.

What pre-assessments do you give and how do you change your instruction to better improve your students’ learning?


RSS Education with Technology

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    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
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  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
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      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
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  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
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  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
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  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
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  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
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  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
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