Monday, December 3, 2012


Podcasts in the Classroom

    Podcasts are new to me. I was familiar with the term but had never used one in my classroom. After reading and finding some that I liked this week I feel that podcasts have their spot in the educational setting.
    As a recorded lecture, for the most part, some podcasts are not very exciting for the student. It can require a lot of focus and listening, something that not all students have. Using this approach can be difficult to keep the students interested and engaged. However, I like the idea of using an audio podcast as a listening activity or to give authentic learning material to the students. Using this approach, they are able to hear authentic accents and also apply what they have learned.

   In this podcast on por and para (it is Podcast 28) Ben and Marina explain the uses of por and para with examples. I like the idea of using this because it is a different approach- my students do not have to always listen to me, they are exposed to others speaking the language and need to make the connection through listening rather than writing, which many are more comfortable with.
   At the end of the podcast, as well as the beginning of the next, Ben says several statements and says "beep" where por or para needs to be inserted. Marina then is asked to repeat the sentence and fill in the blank with the correct word. I would do this with my students by having them listen to Ben's original statement, ask which they would fill in and why, come to a class consensus and then check our answer with Marina's. If our answer was wrong, we would look at why and I would have a students explain to me why the other would be used. As they become more comfortable with this exercise, I would call on volunteers to repeat the statement and choose the correct word.
    Further thinking about how podcasts can be beneficial in a foreign language classroom, I could extend classroom time by assigning a podcast for homework and having the students complete a listening assignment with it. Also, as the students grow more familiar with podcasts, I could have them make their own for a particular topical, having them create their own lesson for it. This would help them become more familiar with the topic and help me understand their thought process and if they are understanding and explaining it correctly.

Monday, November 19, 2012


        Epals is an awesome website to connect with other language learners around the world. Using Epals, students are able to globally collaborate with other students by working on projects and sending emails, just to name a few. By looking at the join project section of the website, you can search for a project that appeals to your group of learners. You can then join that project, where the students can be on the other side of the globe! What a great learning experience for everyone involved!!

        Using the Epals website you can also look under find classroom to find a class that you would like to invite to join your project. In this section, the classrooms are easy to read- you can instantly see where they are located, the age group, how many are in the class and what languages they speak.
         The learning center part of the website has an array of games, discussions and activities for students to use with others around the globe. There is even a common core implementation center for teachers to use. Here you can share and use projects and resources that incorporate the common core state standards.  
          I love all of the features that this site offers! My students can learn from native speakers as well as teach them things about our culture and language.
         For my beginning Spanish-language learning students, I can join a project where they can exchange emails with Spanish speaking students in Europe. Through this project, they can discuss their school days, specific cultural traits of their language and compare and contrast the two languages. This will not only expand their knowledge of the language and culture but it will also allows for language practice through writing. We could even use voice thread to converse back and forth rather than just using email. This would be a great way to practice the spoken language and work on comprehension!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Using Animoto

     Using Animoto was much easier than I had anticipated. It is a great way to creatively tell a story, teach vocabulary, etc.; the choices are endless.
     I chose to use Animoto to talk about color vocabulary. It is a very basic concept but one that my students always understood better with pictures. Seeing an image helps them associate the color with something. I could use Animoto to introduce new topics, to reinforce topics we are working on or to even review material already learned. It is a fun way to get the students involved and they always love when technology is used!
     I would love to have my students create their own Animoto to show me what they have learned. For example, they could use pictures of weather conditions and insert text of what each picture is describing. They can present these little presentations to their classmates. In a higher level class, the students can choose pictures of cultural significance in Spain and write a little description about it.
    Animoto is a great way to assess students' learning, to promote technology in the classroom and to have them work cooperatively with one another.

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Voice Thread in the classroom

This week's voice thread lesson really grabbed my attention. I love the ease of using this tool. It also provides another outlet for students to express their thoughts and to be assessed. I chose to comment on Julia's  and Wen's voice threads. Both had wonderful images on their voice threads to go with their lessons.

Julia's STEAL acronym was a great reference and provided so much information for the students. I really liked that we were given the option to use a short story or story that we read in class or one that we read on our own. I think that simple choice appealed to all since some may not have been interested in the stories read in class but could still be a part of the lesson by using a story that they had read outside of class.

Wen's voice thread used a lot of visuals to tell John's story about his high cholesterol. Even if a student did not have his/her own suggestions to offer to John from the beginning he/she could use the food pyramid chart to come up with suggestions. I liked the visual aid to help those that may need it.

Voice thread is a great tool to use, especially for those that may not be comfortable in participating in class.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Prepositional phrases

    I used bookr to create my story, Where is my dog? Using this story, students will understand prepositional phrases. They will be able to label where objects are located using prepositions and will also be able to produce their own sentences using prepositions. I chose to make this simple story with prepositions because, as a foreign language teacher, this is something that my beginner level students always seem to struggle with. But, when they have a picture to go along with it it is much easier for them understand.
     As students become more comfortable with prepositions, they will be able to describe where classroom objects are located in their classroom and will work on developing their own bookr story to illustrate it.


ClassroomB Learning Space by Wootang01
ClassroomB Learning Space, a photo by Wootang01 on Flickr.
     Flickr is a tool that I can see myself using with all of my students. My students love to talk about their lives and tell about what they do or have done and this is such a creative and fun way to do these things! says that "digital stories let students express themselves not only with their own words but also in their own voices, fostering a sense of individuality and of "owning" their own creations." I like the idea of them being able to express themselves through storytelling without the face-to-face exposure. Some students, especially middle schoolers, can be so nervous to present to their class. Flickr provides an opportunity for the to feel more comfortable and to tell their story in a little different way.
     Using Flickr with my students would be a big hit! They LOVE technology and are very creative so this is definitely something that they would connect with instantly. I could introduce cultural aspects of the language through photos and narrate the presentation, stating what the photo is of, the importance it has, even ask the students questions to check for understanding.
     Once I started to read about Flickr I immediately thought about having my students use it to narrate a biography about themselves. In the past I have had them write a story about their childhood, talk about things that they have done and include memories that are special to them. They also have needed to include pictures with their story. Instead of having them write about their childhood on paper, they can use digital storytelling to tell about their childhood and narrate the pictures that they use.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Third World Farmer

    After looking at various games, I chose Third World Farmer. I think this game gives the student the opportunity to problem solve and by the choices made, they will either succeed or fail. I have played this game five times and I have to admit I was horrible at first! But, each time I am getting better and better! This game really forces the student to understand world problems and to use cognitive skills.
     Using Third World Farmer, I would have my students keep of log of how much money they have, what they spend for the year and how much they made, repeating this every year. The objective would be for the students to understand adding and subtracting figures in a non-traditional math way (solving equations). This would ready them for their own life, learning how to manage money. They would have to present the log that they have kept and explain to the class what money they used and what they made each year and if they had enough left over for the following year and the outside factors that affected this. 

    I could also use this game as a history/geography lesson. The objective would be to understand and discuss how resources affects life in third world countries. They will also be able to compare and contrast our own life with those in a third world, like Africa. Working in small groups, students can compare and contrast their own life to that of Africa's. Then, as a class, we can discuss the results before having the students write their findings. Talking in a small group (where some may feel more comfortable talking) and then in a larger class group will give the students plenty of ideas and time to ask questions before having to work on their own and write their conclusions.