Posts Tagged 'Foreign Language'

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities ebook

90MobileLearning.SHaving been both a  technology integration teacher and a district technology administrator, I realize that teachers accept and implement a technology when they feel that the technology will help their students to learn and it is easy to implement. Often times, teachers have no idea of how to to use the technology in their classrooms.  Frequently, professional development gives general examples such as those from the technology company but it does not provide examples specific to a subject area. As I thought of how to help more teachers integrate mobile learning into their classes and, particularly, their modern language classroom, I decided to create a book which shows a wide variety of mobile learning activities.

I focused on a book  to improve  to students’ modern language communication and culture awareness through mobile learning tools and apps. I developed  in-class and out-of-class learning in fourteen different categories of mobile learning (mobile pictures, internet search, internet image search, timer, poll and survey, QR code, voice and video recording, phone, video chat, media, apps, texting, twitter, Facebook, Wikis and Websites).

Over 70% of these interactive mobile activities help develop students’ speaking skill; other language activities include listening, reading, writing and assessment.  The students participate in authentic culture through these mobile activities.

I developed mobile activities  that are easy to integrate.

Please share this ebook link (http://bit.ly/90mlact) with your modern language teachers, modern language chair,  professional development person, and technology integration person to help them see the many ways to use mobile learning in modern languages.

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

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed 25  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Modern Language Mobile Learning Apps or Tools

Although modern language teachers may be using mobile learning, they may not be aware of  the various categories of mobile learning apps or of tools.  The following list gives teachers new resources to use in their classroom.  Teachers can use some mobile apps to help flip the language classroom since students can pre-study the vocabulary  or pre-study  a verb video.  Likewise, the foreign language teacher can have students use specific  apps if they display a learning gap on a formative assessment.  Even more important, the teacher can have the students listen to native speakers, read target language newspapers, and see up-to-the-minute culture in the country.  To find a particular app, the teacher searches  with terms such as “Spanish radio app ipad” or “French  verb forms android app”.  Many apps and tools are free or have introductory lessons.

Words and Meaning:  Dictionary/ Thesaurus
Translation  including Google voice
Verb Forms
Vocabulary / Phrases / Traveling
Learn the Language  (language study course)
Flashcards
Culture- General  such as a  city tour and specific  such as French recipes
Radio and TV stations
Newspapers and magazines
Voice and Video recording
Camera pictures
Media production such as  written text on a picture, talking objects,  digital stories
Whiteboard Sharing
Communication (texting…)
Brainstorm / Graphic organizers
Search the  web / search for  images
Internet movies/ YouTube
Website Connectors
Collaboration – group writing/ project creation
E-readers
Calculators / Spreadsheets
Mobile videoconferencing (Skype)
Organizers / Schedulers
E Portfolios such as a student’s own wiki
Clock / Stopwatch /  Timer
Learning Management Service Connectors
Phone

So what apps do you use?

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

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Modifying ACTFL’s 90% Guideline

ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time. “ http://www.actfl.org/news/position-statements/use-the-target-language-the-classroom-0

ACTFL has a 90% guideline to indicate how much teachers should speak in the modern language in the classroom. However, I think that ACTFL should concentrate less on the teachers and more on the students. Basically, the question for a language classroom is “Who needs more language practice the teacher or the students?” if the students need more practice, then they should be the ones talking the most in the class, not the teacher.


I think that ACTFL should implement these student guidelines:


– Students’ modern language talking should be 70% of the total talk in each class.

– During each class students should talk at least once with at least five consecutive sentences.

– In each class, students should have at least one interactive  spontaneous speaking conversation with another student of three minutes.

– Each student should say at least 30 sentences in the modern language each class.

I do not believe that students simply saying grammar drills or doing vocabulary drills, no matter how fancy these drills are, constitutes real language use. I would not count those sentences as speaking the language. I would like students to move from practicing the language to using the language even at the beginning levels. I would them to communicate.

From now on, I will only post my modern language/ foreign language/ world language posts to my Improving Modern Language Learning  at modernlanguagest.wordpress.com   Within the next few weeks, I will move all old languages posts to there.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (21+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Common Core and Modern Languages- Do not panic

No, there are no common core standards for Modern Languages.    Yes, Modern Language teachers are looking at  the English Language Arts Common Core.      No, those teachers should not panic.

I  have been in education for over 40 years.  I have seen many many movements and new  approaches.  I have been in education long enough to see the same movement resurface with a new name.  With each new building principal came a new way of doing things, with each new superintendent came the newest approach, and with each new leader of  state education or professional organization came a new vision.  Usually the new approach, especially the common core in Modern Language,  does not require multiple days of professional development even a half day; most times modern language teachers can make the change within about an hour.

I have used a simple technique to change to any new  approach.    I analyze the new approach thoroughly and then determine
1. What am I presently doing that directly fits in that approach?
2. What am I doing that I can modify slightly to fit the approach?  Sometimes it is as simple as a name change or where something goes in a lesson. For example, what  is the new name for an anticipatory set?  I believe that Common Core English just uses different labels than we do in Modern Languages when we use the labels from ACTFL or state guidelines.
3. What do I have to change completely or add to what I already do?

I am waiting for someone to develop the magic cheat sheet that converts  the English Language Arts Common Core to Modern Language learning.  We already do  them, we just have to give our activities a new name or number.

I have attended two workshops on Common Core and Modern Languages  and neither kept it simple. In fact, I walked out more confused than when I went in.  A Modern Language department could do a  CC to ML conversion chart  in about a fifty minute meeting.

If you know of anyone who has developed the magic conversion chart, please let me know so I can share it with other Modern Language teachers.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Analyzing a Modern Language Textbook for Authentic Communication

Recently I analyzed a textbook for its communication value. Of the 25 activities in one chapter, there were 17 textbook only activities.  A textbook activity deals what is in the textbook such as questions about a picture.   For example, the book showed a tv schedule and asked students about the schedule.  There were  8 activities that encouraged students to talk about their lives .  Each of the 8 activities followed a strict formula in which students substituted in their answer for the given one.   What did your father eat yesterday? He  ate …….  What did  your mother eat?…  Only one activity was longer than 5 lines. The students do answer  questions but they do not react. None of the activities lead to a  free flowing conversation  in which students honestly reacted to each other. None of the personal activities lead to  a  full conversation.

Some questions to ask about your textbook:

1 How many of the exercises are personal ones in which students tell about their lives?

2 Can students tell many things about themselves or does this exercise really focus on practicing a  specific grammar /vocabulary point?  For example, I get up at six. I eat at 7, I lunch at 12.  People really  do not talk that way unless they are recounting their day and then they would add in more details.

3 How long of a conversation does the book encourage?  Do the students say a 8+ line conversation?

4 What part of the conversation is spontaneous and free flowing as opposed to strictly following the formula/questions?

5 Do the students’ statements and questions follow the logical fashion they would in a real conversation ? Or does it twist, in an unnatural way, to present a grammar point/ vocabulary term?

6  Would a target language speaker actually say this conversation?

Let’s help students to communicate not “grammarate”.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Are Modern Language Students’ Real Questions Found in their Textbook?

I recently asked my  Spanish college students to make a list of questions that they w0uld want to ask of a person whom they are meeting for the first time. I was amazed at how uniform their answers were:

What is your name?
What is your phone number?
How old are you?
When is your birthday?
Where are you from?
What are you like? / Are you (athletic, …..)?
Where do you live? /How long have you lived here?
How are you?
What school/college do you go to? What is your major?
Where do you work? /What do you do?
What do you like to do?
How many brothers/sisters do you have?
What is your favorite (music, team, color, hobby, TV show)? / Do you like ( a particular music group, sport, TV show)?

My guess is that if we look at most modern language textbooks, we will not find these questions in the first few chapters.  We may not find these critical question grouped together.   For example, one textbook might not teach “to live” until the 4th chapter and the course only covers the first  5th chapters of the textbook.

I think that we can learn a great deal about what is important to our  modern language students by asking them what they would want to say about a common  topic found in the textbook.  Does the language textbook reflects things that are of importance to students?  Or does the textbook focus on its own  grammar and vocabulary without focusing on what students, their intended audience,  would normally want to say about a topic?  A communicative book focuses on  what real people would ask/answer about a topic in a normal conversation. A grammar focused textbooks presents a very limited amount of  questions but concentrates more on a specific grammar point that has been worked into the questions/conversation.

I have put together numerous speaking mats that present students with a wide range of vocabulary for a given topic so that they can say and ask things that are important to them.  Some speaking mats:
Spanish Activities / Sports Spontaneous Speaking Mat – Small Group
Spanish Clothing Spontaneous Speaking Mat – Partner Talk
Spanish Casa /House Spontaneous Speaking Mat – Partner Talk
I have many other activities where I supply the students with a wide range of possible answers such as
Spanish Friend /Family Member Detailed Description – Partner Talk

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Students Paired Oral Testing Better Than With Examiner Modern Language

Based on Brooks, L. (2009). “Interacting in pairs in a test of oral proficiency; co-constructing a better performance”. Language Testing 26(3): 341-366.

Brooks’  research shows that students who are tested in pairs outperform students who are tested one-on-one with the examiner.  In addition, the students’ interactions were more complex and revealed that students co-constructed a more linguistically demanding performance. In addition, when students worked in pairs, they more closely resembled the oral interactions typical of a real conversation.  In paired testing students demonstrated a wider range of interactions (17) to the individual format (10).   The paired students mostly commonly had these interactions: seeking confirmation, asking a question, asking for agreement, clarification requests, and prompting elaboration, finishing sentences, and referring to partner’s ideas.  Over half of all interactions in the one-on-one with the examiner was asking a question.

As Modern Language teachers, we will want to encourage oral communication in the classroom.  We can have our students do more oral work in pairs.  We can structure students speaking  from very basic conversations up to free-flowing spontaneous conversations about common topics. Our scaffolding will allow our Second Language students to have more complex and personally meaningful conversations.

Most of the  Spanish activities I have developed are for pairs. A few of them are

Spanish Tell Me About Yourself Substitution Sentences    (Partners substitute in their own answers to tell about themselves

Spanish Conversation Questions Spontaneous Speaking Partners  (Partners ask basic questions and then variations on those questions)
Spanish Friend /Family Member Detailed Description – Partner Talk   (Each partner talks about a family member using possible words)

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

 

World Language Students’ Scaffolded Speaking Output With Substitutions

We teach world languages so that our students can speak it yet we do not teach them  how to speak.   Students identify  speaking in the foreign language as creating the most anxiety in language learning.    Young, D. (1990). “An Investigation of Students’ Perspective on Anxiety and Speaking.” Foreign Language Annals. 23:539-553

Krashen explained the importance of input, students listening to us as we speak the target language; however, he stressed that comprehensible output is the goal of language acquisition.  Krashen, S. (2003). Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

The world language teachers’ overemphasis on input, their talking in the classroom, creates a myth of promoting  student speaking.

I watched many Olympic swimming events. I watched for many hours. Can I swim any better now than  before watching them? No!
I watch musicals on TV, go to musicals in theaters,  and listen to choral groups.  Can I sing any better now with all that input? No!
Every day I  watch marathon runners go past my house early in the morning.  Can I run faster and do a marathon from all their input?  No!

Input provides the initial sounds, sentence patterns, etc.  for students.  However, students have to move to guided  or scaffolded output so they can produce the sounds and,  more importantly, the sentences to converse with one another.  Students do not  magically go from hearing our speaking to their conversing in the target language.  We need to give them some assistance as they begin to put together sentences.

One technique is to provide the students with  modern language sentences which contain choices. They select what they want to say from the available words/phrases. They say what is meaningful to them through the selection of words/phrases. They do create sentences on their own.

Scaffolded sentences provide a starting point for narrating and conversing.  In one substitution  exercise, the students change an underlined word to be true for them  such as  “I live in Syracuse.”   For example, I have for Spanish students a “Tell Me about Yourself Activity” in which students say 13 changes, 22 or 34 changes to tell about themselves (Spanish Tell Me About Yourself Substitution Sentences).  In another variation, the students change a word in over 30  questions such as  “¿Te gustar jugar al béisbol?” in Spanish Conversation Questions Spontaneous Speaking Partners .   Once  students do these scaffolded sentences, they better understand how they can recombine sentences and questions to converse with one another. They move toward spontaneous speaking.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics),  and Grammar speaking games. Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

World Language Speaking – The Power of Asking and Answering Questions

As I looked at a modern language  textbook, I saw that it had mini-conversations of 2-3 lines.  For example, “Who is looking at the car? ….. Chris is looking at the car.”   In reality, such conversations simply practice the recently introduced grammar of the unit. These conversations do not communicate anything other than grammar.

For me, the ability to ask and answer questions is key to being able to converse in a world language. However, students do need to practice in asking and answering questions.  They need not only to understand what the question word means but also to know how to answer the question word. For example, the Spanish question word, ¿Dónde ….?” means “where” and the student answers with a place.  My students practice in asking and answering questions.  During a recent summer school final, my students, working in pairs, asked  ten questions and gave ten answers based on a randomly selected  common topic in a three minute period; they had no time to prepare to talk. They just began their conversation.  To develop that skill, I have my students do activities like Spanish Question Words Speed-Asking Partner Speaking (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Question-Words-Speed-Asking-Partner-Speaking)  in which they practice seeing how many questions they can ask about a topic and Spanish Questions Modified Speed Dating Whole Class Speaking  (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Questions-Modified-Speed-Dating-Whole-Class-Speaking) in which they ask a question from a card and their partner answers the question, then the partner asks a questions.  Students need much practice in asking and answering questions before they can do it spontaneously  to find out information from a partner.

How much do you have your students practice asking and answering questions about common world  language topics?  How well do your students communicate in a conversation.

My 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking activities such as Modified Speed Dating -AR verbs, Modified Speed Dating -Leisure/Sports, Spanish Conversation Topics- Partners, Multiple Sentences  Speaking Board Game, Describing a friend, Talking about classes, Preterite Game & Speaking, and Clothing Spontaneous Speaking Mat are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Also, my book Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education,  includes a procedure to assess all students in the class in just three minutes. It provides, for each of fifteen language functions such as socializing, asking for and giving information, and explaining, ten different speaking strategies to help students to improve. http://bit.ly/Tutbks.  Also, my Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students, and    Student Writing Through Formative Assessment books.

Formative Assessment +Technology = Foreign Language Speaking Fluency ISTE 2012

Formative Assessment: continual improvement from where the modern language students are at present  to where we want them to be in their speaking through monitoring, giving feedback and providing time for improvement
Students speaking -> formative feedback ->  students speaking -> formative feedback -> speaking fluency

Technology: Motivates students since they talk about real things;  brings the  foreign language students’ world into the class and allows students to see the world of the new language area
Student talks about the teacher’s digital pictures or Flickr pictures  from target language area with question words data sheet
Student talks about the teacher’s digital pictures or Flickr pictures  from target language area  with a conversation data chart
Student talks about student taken picture posted to class Flickr account  for student’s number of consecutive sentences data list
Student talks about student taken picture  for conversation about last weekend with a conversation data chart
Student tells about his/her house using phone picture while partner monitors using a speaking chart
Student talks about a party, records it inVoki , moves it to wiki page where the student writes suggestions for improvement
Spreadsheet for analyzing students’ speaking per speaking function overtime.

Foreign Language / Modern Language Speaking Fluency (Spontaneous Speaking)  Students go from memorized sentences/dialogues to speaking spontaneously about common topics through scaffolded exercises that continually provide them with new speaking strategies. The students  demonstrate language fluency through speaking with minimal pauses about a new topic with no preparation.

Mobile learning (mlearning) Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL)

Two Youtube videos  on the importance of speaking in modern language class http://bit.ly/mlspeaking and of monitoring students’ speaking http://bit.ly/MLFAP2

A few technologies for modern language students to demonstrate their  speaking so they can receive feedback for improvement  Harry Grover Tuttle
https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com
Pictures – on phone/mobile learning device
Picture + music Animoto
Picture + voice Voki (avatar), Fotobabble, Audioboo
Pictures + voice Yodio
Voice – phone call / leave a message
Voice recording – phone/ mobile learning device
Video recorded – – phone/ mobile learning device
Live video – Skype

Other resources:

Free Flickr Images for common vocabulary collected by my students for full info go to Blog, http://wp.me/p262R-De  1) Go to http://www.flickr.com, 2) click on the word Search, 3) click on Tags only, on the right side of the search box, 3) then, enter spancon +(subject) such as spancon +casa– search the blog for the full listing. No words, just pictures. Can be used in any language for quick vocabulary review using real objects and for speaking in short sentences.

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. My book includes a procedure to assess all students in the class in just three minutes. It provides, for each of fifteen language functions such as socializing, asking for and giving information, and explaining, ten different speaking strategies to help students to improve. http://bit.ly/Tutbks.  Also, my Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students, and    Student Writing Through Formative Assessment books. If you did not get a discount for the books at the session, please email me.

My 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities such as Modified Speed Dating -AR verbs, Modified Speed Dating -Leisure/Sports, Spanish Conversation Topics- Partners, Multiple Sentences Board Game, Describing a friend, Talking about classes, Preterite Game & Speaking, and Clothing Spontaneous Speaking Mat are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Search for modern language or foreign language on my blog https://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com


Scaffolding Modern Language Speaking For Fluency Through Questions

In the Modern Language / Foreign Language  class, speaking is the least developed skill .  Teachers may spend much time in teaching a new grammar concept but they usually do not spend that same amount of time in helping students to become better at speaking. One way to help students improve their oral communication involves scaffolding their speaking from very structured speaking to  spontaneous speaking.

Students can start off by  looking at a sheet  of questions and asking one of  the written basic target language question such as “How are you?” and   “Where do you live?”to their partner who answers. Then, the partner  asks them a different question from the sheet. They continue asking and answering for many questions.   A next baby step incorporates the students modifying these basic questions.  I have included  italicized words  for  Spanish students to change (http://bit.ly/squestc).  For example students might change ¿Cuántas clases tienes? to  ¿Cuántos libros tienes?

After students have reviewed question words, they can ask question words about   randomly given common topics such as school and home.  Their partner checks to see which question words they used and tells them which they did not use.  As students develop their ability to ask questions about a topic, their partners answer these questions (http://bit.ly/squestw).

Next,  the students move on to asking and answering questions about a  common topic as presented through a graphic such as clip art picture of a girl at a birthday party or  a family at a beach. The  students randomly select the topic to speak about and begin to have their conversation about the topic (http://bit.ly/scontop)

As students become proficient at asking a wide variety of questions and answering those questions, they increase in their ability to speak. They become more fluent; they begin to speak spontaneously.

I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook  including Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

Spontaneous Speaking in Modern Languages – Not Just Saying Grammar Exercises

I recently heard a modern language teacher brag about how much speaking her students did in the classroom. She said that her students orally did every book grammar exercise. She was amazed at how much they were speaking.  Yes, the students were orally saying the grammar exercises but they were not spontaneous speaking.  They could do the exercises perfectly but they could not use those  grammar concepts in their own conversation about a topic.  I asked her how closely the exercises resembled a real world conversation and she countered that the students  had to know every grammatical form to be able to communicate.

To change grammar exercises to real speaking, we have to ask ourselves, “How would a target language person  use this grammar point in an authentic conversation?” and try to duplicate that in the classroom.  We can start our students off with just responding to their partners. For example, in teaching the Spanish preterite tense, students can start on their path to  spontaneous speaking by seeing a long list of common verbs, selecting 10 verbs that describe what they did do in the past and then saying a past time word like yesterday or the past week  and the verb in   the “I” form.  I always have my students  do at least a three part sentence (Past time word +subject/verb +what or where or how such as “Yesterday I ate at McDonalds.”  As a student says the sentence to his/her partner , the partner agrees or disagrees by repeating it or modifying it; a modification may be “Yesterday I ate at Burger King.”,  “Last week I ate at McDonalds.”, or “Yesterday I ate two hamburgers and French Fries at McDonalds.”  Once students realize that their partners are listening and responding to what they say, they begin to make more realistic sentences.  Then the partners say a sentence and the listening students respond. They alternate until they each have said eight sentences. By saying their sentences and having their partners respond, they find out more about their partners. They start to use  language in an interactive manner where they have to listen carefully to their partner and respond accordingly.

Harry Tuttle has  over 15 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Tuttle’s formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Learning Disease Epidemic: Textbook Dependency

Many students suffer from the academic disease of textbook dependency.  You can help cure your students of this affliction.

Symptoms:
Students
Are always looking in the textbook for answers
Never thinking for themselves
Cannot make connections between two concepts found in different chapters
When told to close the textbook and do an activity on their own,  they  show a wide range of emotions from a dazed look to high anxiety plus physical signs of mild to severe panic.

Sample cases:
1) A Modern Language  teacher asks his students to  find an Internet picture of a street scene in a country such as Ecuador  either on their Smartphone / tablet or print out the picture and bring to class.  When the teacher asks the students to talk about that street picture which is not in their textbook but based on the vocabulary in the chapter which they have reviewed many times, students show visible signs of agitation. Eyes are wide open as their mouths may be.  Visible nervousness. Inability to speak.  Students feel pressured. Pulse becomes higher.

2) When a Social Studies  teacher asks his/her  students to compare the Occupy movement to the American Revolution, students quickly look in the textbook’s  index and are shocked not to find Occupy listed. They  nervously flip through  the textbook pages.  Mild panic sets in. They cry out in emotional trauma, “It’s not in the book. What do we do?” Faces become red or pale, sweat may appear.

One cure:
Have the  students  do at least one activity beyond the textbook on a weekly or even better, on a daily  basis.  Scaffold their transition from the textbook to applying  the critical  information/concept.

The teacher can relate the learning goal to the real world.  He/She can  start small.

Example 1: In Modern Languages, before students talk about a street scene,  the teacher has them find either on their Smartphone/ tablet or print out a street scene picture and bring to class. The students identify the key street vocabulary from the book in the actual picture; they point to the object/person and say the word.  They review any words with which they had difficulty.  Then, without using their textbook or any review sheets, the students use the vocabulary in basic sentences to talk about the picture such as “There are many pedestrians in the street.  The cars stop at the stop light.”

Example 2: In Social Studies the teacher has students use their Smartphone/tablets or their home computers to find out what the Occupy movement is and what the movement’s goals are.  The teacher may start them off with some categories to explore such as purpose, method, etc.  The teacher has them create a similarity-contrast chart for Occupy and the American Revolution. Students use the chart as a basis for their critical thinking.

How do you move  your students from their dependency on the textbook to their  independent thinking?

I have many Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

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

Modern Language Spontaneous Speaking Find Someone Who +

Many modern language/ foreign language teachers use a form of the common Find Someone Who activity to get students speaking. For example, the teachers may ask, in the target language, for the students to  find someone who has five pens, has two books, has a blue notebook or find someone who sings, bikes, swims, etc.  Students enjoy asking each other questions and hearing the answers. Usually, the answering student simply repeats the question as a sentence.

However, with just a slight modification, this modern language activity can turn into more spontaneous speaking.

1) Usually, if the answering student answers in the negative, Do you swim?  No, I do not swim, then  the asking student moves on to another student. In a variation, if  the student answers No, he changes his/her answer to be a positive.   Do you swim? No, I do not swim.  I do bike or No, I do not swim.  My father swims.

2) When a student answers in the positive, he /she adds at least one more piece of  information.  Do you swim? Yes, I swim when it is hot,  Yes, I do swim in Lake Ontario, Yes, I swim with my friend, Bob.

3)  When a student answers in the positive, the asking student asks a follow-up question such as Where do you swim?  When do you swim? The answering student answers the additional question.

4)  After the answering student answers, the asking student agrees, “Me too” or Me neither” or  disagrees, “I do not like to swim.”

How do your get your modern language students to speak spontaneously?

I have  nine + Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Spontaneous Speaking in Foreign Language/Modern Language: Contrasting Spontaneous Speaking to Structured Speaking

There are two very different types of speaking in the modern language  or foreign language classroom.

Very structured speaking- mechanical speaking

…. Focuses more on the correctness of vocabulary and grammar than on the actual content. “What did you buy on Monday? I bought shoes. What did you buy on Tuesday? I bought a blouse.”

…. Uses the same vocabulary and grammar of the question in the answer. “Does she go to the store? Yes, she goes to the store.”

… Uses convergent questions (When? Where? Who?) which only have a few limited answers. Each answer is highly predictable.

… Often has different forms of the same verb in subsequent statements/questions. “I go to the store. My father goes to the store. My brothers go to the store.”

… Limits the questions/ statements to one topic such as places such as in the following fill-in-the-blank exercise. “I go to the store. I go to the mall. I go to the park.”

… Does not follow the logical order of a conversation in subsequent sentences/ questions but these sentences/ questions exist only to practice the indicated grammar or vocabulary. “Where is the bed? It is in the bedroom. Where is the stove. It is in the kitchen.”
… Is not interactive except in that the partner asks a predetermined question which the person answers.

… Is not personal. Usually a student does not express his/ her own opinion but follows the prescribed format.

… Most like a textbook/ workbook exercise

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Spontaneous speaking / free speaking

… Focuses on the actual meaning/content of the answer, not on the form (grammar or vocabulary). “Do you like winter? No, I hate it.”

… Uses different words in the answer or subsequent statements. “How was class? I took a test.”

…Uses divergent questions (Why? How? which leads to a huge array of possible answers. The answers probably are unpredictable. “Why do you think the team will win”?
… Moves the conversation/ monologue forward through subsequent statements/questions “After I left school, I went to my favorite restaurant. I had two hamburgers with fries.”

… Guides the conversation /monologue through many related topics. Students may start talking about school, then talk about sports, and then talk about things they will do this weekend.

… Requires the partner to react with the conversation. There is give and take during the conversation. “I thinking of going to a horror movie. How does that sound to you?”

… Is very personal. The speaker offers his/her opinions and views and tells how he/she does something. “ I never order onions on my pizza. I do have double cheese.”

… Most like a real conversation.

Do your  modern language/ foreign language students do more spontaneous speaking or structured speaking?

I have Spanish activities that lead to spontaneous speaking at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, New Book

 

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

 

By Harry Grover Tuttle and Alan Robert Tuttle

Want a quick way to get your students conversing more in the target language? Want an easy way to help your students improve in their speaking on a daily basis? This practical book shows you how to use formative assessments to gain immediate and lasting improvement in your students’ fluency.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Help students climb the ACTFL proficiencies
  • Guide students as they develop in over sixteen language functions such as socializing and persuading
  • Embed the three-minute speaking formative assessment into every lesson with ease
  • Engage students successfully in peer formative assessment
  • Teach students to give each other formative feedback
  • Provide struggling students with over ten improvement strategies for each language function.
  • Engage students in over 170 speaking activities.
  • Use Web 2.0 tools to foster speaking
  • Move from summative assessment to daily or weekly formative evaluation of speaking

Each speaking assessment include instructions, the assessment form, extension activities, speaking topics, and at least ten strategies for improvement. There are ready-to-use checklists including the “I Can” log that helps students plot their own progress.

Research has confirmed that when teachers use formative assessment, students can learn in six to seven months what would normally take a school year to learn. You’ll find yourself using this book every day because of the gains your students will achieve in foreign language fluency.

These speaking assessment energize the class as the students have the opportunity to use a language function for a full minute. The students use language instead of practicing it.

Please share with your Modern Language teacher, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

Improve Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment -Presentation Notes

Improve Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment
Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D

Importance of Speaking:

Reasons for increasing the amount of student speaking in the classroom:

Formative Assessment (Tuttle, 2011): The process of helping students to immediately move forward from their present diagnosed learning to the expected learning.

Formative Assessment process:

Student response → Monitor → Diagnose → Give feedback → Time to incorporate feedback →

Re-assess → Celebrate success

Formative assessment create a culture of success, of constant improvement

Base speaking on ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

Focus on language functions, not topics, such as socialize, ask questions, persuade, …

Use peer assessment to maximize assessment

Provide speaking assessment for fluency: Identify the specific language function and level.

Frequent short assessments that provide immediate feedback

Do a peer assessment in groups of two

Supply multiple strategies for speaking improvement for a language function

Narrate – Identify three strategies for describing what is happening in a visual

1

2

3

 

Have different speaking formative assessments:
1 Narrate a visual
2 Ask and answer questions – Walk
3 Tell preferences – 3×5 cards
4 Tell a story – Image
5 Give info -Ws
6 Mystery/Gap – Visuals
7 Provide rich details – Fluency +Variety


Resources:

Tuttle, H. G. (2012). Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment

Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. Description of book: http://wp.me/p262R-z0. Website:

Tuttle, H. G. (2009). Formative Assessment: Responding to Students. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education. Website:

Teachers Pay Teachers. (Website of Teacher Created Resources -with some speaking activities I ‘ve made) http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ Search for Harry Tuttle

Consistency in learning

Do we have consistency in learning in our classes?  Do we translate our ending goals into daily learning?    Do our tests, quizzes, and daily classroom activities reflect that same learning?  This backward planning follows the Understanding by Design model. For example, if a social studies curriculum wants students to  answer  the universal questions of Why is there war?,  How do people fight wars? and What are the consequences of wars?, then social studies book tests should  not have  students memorize the names and dates of battles for a particular war in a specific country.  That microscopic view does not help students answer the essential questions.

Likewise, if modern language teachers want their students to be able to converse in the target language, then do students spend most of their time in class conversing?  Do the language tests reflect conversations or do these tests focus on discrete grammar and vocabulary?

Do English teachers who want their students to be better writers  really focus on writing?   Do  these teachers spend more  class time on  doing punctuation exercises than on  developing good ideas?  Do they have their  students spend more time watching a movie than writing about the movie?

When teachers  want to improve subject area learning through Web 2.0 tools,  do the students spend more time on the technology or on the content learning?

I do not believe that we need to add more days to the school year to improve student learning.  I believe that we can increase learning  best when we are consistent in what we want students to learn and then following through in our daily activities, in our quizzes and in our tests.

How consistent are you in your students’ learning?

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.

Class increase of 12 points over last semester

I give a pre-test and a post test in my Spanish course.  From the pre-test I can measure the students incoming knowledge.  From the post-test I measure their departing knowledge.   More importantly, I analyze the results of each unit test by the various categories on the test. If many students do poorly on a certain section, I reteach it.  The next semester I start out that particular point with  the reteaching material.  I also do many formative assessments so that I can give students new strategies to do better.  This semester my students did an average of 12 points better than last semester’s students.  I have analyzed the final to see the area in which they lost the most points – writing mini-compositions and have begun to figure out ways to help them. We will do more writing in class and on our class wiki. I will focus on the verb forms to tell a story such  as what I did last weekend. I will have them write out their weekend in a chronological order and make sure that they use a different verb in each sentence. We will do mini-writings over several class periods. For the final they do not need complicated sentences; they just need simple sentences that communicate different ideas.  My goal is to increase this coming semester’s average by 10 points over last semester.

By how much will you increase your class average  this coming year?

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.

Using Modern Language (FL) Apps Even When …

I have written a blog about identifying and categorizing Spanish apps. As I’ve been thinking about the present state of modern language /foreign language apps, I’ve realized that the inadequacies of these language apps present great learning opportunities for our students.

Students can look at and do a vocabulary or phrase modern language app /foreign language app such as Learn Spanish ((Droid) or Hola (Droid)

Then

– Students can analyze what important vocabulary is missing from the topic and make a supplementary list. For example, the housing category may have tableware but not bed or chair.

– If the app only presents individual words, the students can create a meaningful target language sentence or question for each word. For example, for the word “lake”, the students may ask “What is your favorite lake?”

– Students can analyze what important phrases or questions are missing and can create those lists. They may see look at a “time”category but they find that the question “When?” is missing. They make up a question using that question word.

– They can analyze what important topics are missing from the app. Perhaps the app has housing and animals but does not have occupations and city places.

– They can see how many meaningful sentences they can create from the present vocabulary list.

– They can answer any questions given in the app. For example, they can answer “How much does this cost?” with the price of a shirt.

– They can rearrange the questions or statements to create a logical conversation about the topic.

– They can think of a typical language task for a topic such as having a dirty spoon on the restaurant table and use the existing sentences and add others to be able to get a clean spoon.

In this way, students go from consumers to producers. They analyze what they are doing to see what is missing. They think about critical vocabulary, phrases, and topics instead of simply doing a drill program. They do not just repeat but they answer or comment on. They build on. The students become language users!

How do your students deal with modern language apps that do not do everything  well?

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.

Android Apps for Spanish – categorized for your use

Many wonderful learning apps exist for the Android devices.  However, neither the Android Market or AppBrain list the apps within any categories. For example, a search for Spanish reveals a random listing such as a vocabulary app, then a grammar app, then another vocabulary app.

Therefore, I have created  a categorized and alphabetical within that category listing of Spanish Android Apps at http://spanishandroidapps.pbworks.com.  I have the categories of dictionaries, vocabulary, grammar, culture, and lessons. So far I have gone through all of the Android Market and am half through AppBrain.  I have not listed every app;  for example, I limited the dictionary apps to about 15.

I am amazed at the number of droid apps that exist for the learning of Spanish.  I am hopeful that newer apps will be context based and develop communication skills.

What are your favorite Android learning apps?

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.

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.

Make classroom Web 2.0 use interactive, not static

I thought that Web 2.0 was all about interactivity- someone does something and others respond. However, I’ve noticed that numerous Web 2.0  programs are used primarily in a one way mode  (publish and run mode)

Students use Voki to record their ideas.  However, the recording  usually serve as  the end product.  The recording does not encourage others to respond or build on the recording.  Yes, others can listen to it but they usually do not do anything after listening to it.  For example, Modern Language teachers may have their students record what they did last weekend in the second language.  Once the recording is done, the “learning” is done.  No one will probably listen to it except for the teacher.  I propose a transformation  so that class use of Voki goes from being in a static mode to an interactive  Web 2.0 mode.  Modern Language teachers can have students make Voki recordings that are questions that other class members can answer. For example, students can ask questions in the imperfect tense of their classmates “When you were a child, what was your favorite milk?” and the classmates can answer, “Yes, when I was child, my favorite drink  was chocolate milk.”

Likewise, students produce multi-media Glogster eposters.  However, their eposters occur at the end of their learning. Usually, no one is expected to take their information and react to it or build on it. For example, Social Studies students prepare country reports.   I propose a transformation  so that the class use of Glogster  goes from being in a  static mode to an interactive mode.  Social Studies teachers can ask students to compare/contrast the various county reports to see what commonalities show up about the countries. For example, what do the country reports from South Africa have in common? How do they differ?

How do you have your students use Web 2.0 interactively?

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.

Carefully teaching another culture to promote positive feelings

Anyone teaching about another culture has to be very careful in how the person presents the culture.  The person may create negative feelings toward the culture instead of the positive ones he/she had hoped for.  In addition, students enter our classroom with stereotypes about other cultures.   We tend to teach culture as a series of facts or as a feeling about a country.  Research shows that initially students become positive toward another culture by seeing similarities, not be seeing differences.

Salychivin analyzed that students respond to culture in a grid of similar/different  and positive/negative .  If they view the cultural item as similar and positive such as baseball, they feel positive about it.  If they view the cultural item as similar and negative such as pollution in Mexico City,   they see are    If they see a difference and that difference is positive such as all the parties during the Posadas in Puerto Rico from Dec 16 through Jan. 6, they feel positive.  However, when they see a cultural item as different and negative such as the Mexican Day of the Dead, then they feel negative. How we word information about the other culture can determine students’ reaction to the other culture

We can show our students culture in a positive way by

1) Showing how it is logically within the culture.   If people work 8 hours a day and work from 9-12, take a two hour break, and start work again at two, they will work until seven. By the time they get home, they probably will eat at eight (in Spain).

2) Showing how the same thing (a positive) happens in US culture.  Hispanic men tend to embrace frequently which may be seen as a negative.  However, if a teacher shows USA  football players embracing as a positive and then shows hispanic men embracing, the embracing becomes a positive.

3)  Using images and questions to present the culture.  As the teacher shows a picture of a heavy rainstorm in  June in San Jose, Costa Rica, the teacher asks about the rain and  the month and then explains that Costa Rica like many South American countries has two seasons, the rainy and the dry season.  Flickr provides a great source of fairly current images

4) Showing the variety in the other culture.  Do not only  show Lima (Peru) as the only part of Peru, show the cost, the mountains, etc.  If you show Machu Picchu, also show a  modern city.   Show how things change within the country such as in Spain paella changing from a seafood paella near the coast to a chicken paella inland.

5) Avoiding negative statements about the other culture:  “These poor people”;  “This war-driven country”;  “They only…”;  or “They are the opposite of /backward from us.”

How do you teach culture of another country to help your students feel positive about that culture?

Here are a few links to some Spanish images based on topics:

Deportes

Restaurante

Spanish Streets

(Type Spanish in the search engine for this site to find more).

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.

Advocating for a program

In this time of tight money, we might want to rethink how we advocate for our programs.  The old show-them- the-wonderful projects has to give way to more academic proof.  We have to go beyond just test scores or state tests.

Let’s look at Foreign Language as an example.

Traditionally, teachers have  invited principals and other administrators in for special culture events such as a “Cinco de Mayo” celebration.

However, here are some more convincing ways of advocating.

– Have a principal or other administrator time as students talk for two minutes in the language about a picture.

– Print out a list of all the language skills that the students in your classroom presently have achieved such as “can ask and answer questions about major businesses in town” and “can elaborate when asked questions”.  Word them as “Can do” statements instead of the official syllabus descriptions. Do not list the chapters covered in the textbook!

– At a Board of Education meeting, have your students talk in the target language with someone who speaks that language natively either in a face-to-face conversation or a videoconference conversation.

– In cooperation with the local Chamber of Commerce, have your language students produce signs in the target language for local businesses. Have part of the sign say something like, “Produced by Foreign Language Students at ……”

Each of these moves from the advocacy of talking about the benefits of language study to the advocacy of the students performing in the second language.

How do you plan to advocate for your program?

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.

Improve FL Speaking Fluency With Formative Assessment

NYSAFLT  Conference Oct. 16, 2010

If we want students to be speakers of the language, then we have to let them speak more in the classroom.  Engage them in real language use.

Formative Assessment my definition: The process of helping students to immediately move forward from their present diagnosed learning to the expected learning.

Formative Assessment components:

Student does something in the language →

Is monitored →

Is diagnosed (determine present status and assess the gap between the present and expected learning; identify a strategy to improve) →

Is given formative feedback →

Has time for improvement →

Is re-assessed to show improvement →

Celebrates success

Formative assessment  create a culture of success, of constant improvement

Two Formative Assessment videos from the UK:

Secondary Assessment for Learning

Modern Foreign Languages Peer Assessment


Formative assessment advantages and concerns. You do not grade formative assessment or it becomes summative. It is critical that students be given a new strategy or a new way to think about the learning.

Success or Failure Grading?

Importance of Peer assessment. When peers assess peers, students can talk more in class and get more feedback.

Speaking Assessment: Identify the specific language function and level.

Student 1 speaks for a minute while Student 2 records number said. Student 2 reports back to Student 1 and gives additional suggestions. Student 1 practices the improvements.

Student 2 speaks on another topic  for a minute while Student 1 records number said. Student 1 reports back to Student 2 and gives additional suggestions. Student 2 practices the improvements.

Record the information on this baseline.

Students may need teacher given strategies if they do not show sufficient improvement from peer-to-peer help.  The  teacher has to have a large variety of strategies, each of which leads directly to the students’  being successful.

I have worked on 16 different speaking assessments and each one has about ten different strategies for the students.

Tuttle, H. G. (2009). Formative Assessment: Responding to Students. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Hopefully, my book, Improving Students Speaking Through Formative Assessment, will be out in late April. To be put on the mailing list, email me at htuttlebs@gmail.com

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.

What Did I Learn From Giving the Final? What do I Do Differently?

I recently gave my Spanish final. After correcting each part, I put the grades for each part onto the final sheet and totaled up the score to get their final exam score.  However, the process for me was far from done. I then opened a spreadsheet, created a column for each category of the test and a column of student names.  I then entered the students’ grades for each part of the final and had the computer calculated the class average and the percent of that average out of a perfect score such as (class average of 22.4 out of a perfect score of 25 for a 90%).  I found out that   my students achieved a class average of  85% for speaking, 90% for listening, 76% for reading,  and 77% for culture, and a 62% for writing.  I instantly thought of  what I could do differently next semester to help the students do better. I focused in on their writing which was their lowest score.  I have decided that each week that they will write at least five sentences. I will correct their sentences more frequently (at least once a week). I realized that I have to help them understand the critical difference between the preterite and the imperfect tense since most students mixed up the two tenses in the each tense specific writing on the final.   I also thought of several strategies to improve their reading such as writing more questions for them to answer about the book “conversations”; have them practice answering questions words in class so that they are sure of the type answer. For example, the Spanish question word,  Donde,  has to be answered with a place; and have them find similar words in the question and the answer.  My goal is to increase each  of these two lowest scores so that they both are in the 85% for the next time.   I realize that I have to give my students different strategies than I gave this semester’s students. I will give formative assessments frequently to measure their growth. I look forward to the challenge and their success.

So what does your final tell you about the different strategies you might need to give your students of next year?

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


RSS Education with Technology

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