Saturday, October 25, 2014

Making Paper Marigolds Step by Step in your classroom

Making paper marigolds is a wonderful way to bring a hands on activity to your classroom during El Día de los Muertos, something your students will surely remember! Over the years, I have found being prepared ahead of time, and going step by step, using kid friendly instructions, makes all the difference, especially when class only lasts a short time (in my case, I have kiddos for 30 minute classes). Here is what it looks like in my room:

The Prep:
I usually do this project with my Second Graders and since my classes are short, I like to have some steps done ahead of time to be sure we can get the flowers done in one shot. First, I cut green pipe cleaners in half. I also create name tags, put their names on them, punch a hole in each one, and attach a pipe cleaner to each one. Next, I take four sheets of tissue paper (I buy it already cut into squares) and make the first fold- folding the square in half. 



In class:
Since I have three colors of tissue paper, I call each kiddo up and have them choose which they would like (using manners vocab of course!) I also give them their stem at this time.

Once every kiddo has their tissue paper and stem, we begin the construction process. Here are two scripts, one in English (for those who aren't teaching Spanish) and one in Spanish, great for those  shooting for 90%. Projects like this one really lend themselves to using the target language, as long as you go step by step. Note the Spanish is much simpler and more direct than the English, making it perfect for novice learners. Don't forget to demonstrate each step as you give the instructions.

-"Holding the rectangle like a taco, open part up, fold the rectangle in half. Now we have a square."
-"Okis, tenemos un taco. Vamos a doblarlo por la mitad, así'

-"Now we are going to make a pizza slice. Put your scissors in the hand you cut with, and hold the square at the bottom, folded point." (I usually go around to every kiddo to be sure they are holding the right point. Otherwise, there is always at least one flower that ends up being cut in the wrong place and when unfolded, is no longer able to become a flower.)
-"Vamos a hacer una porción (trozo, rebanada) de pizza."

-"Now we are going to cut from one corner to the other in a curve. This will make our pizza slice shape." (I demonstrate before they cut so they can see how it should go. I then walk around and monitor the cutting to be sure they are cutting between the right corners.)
-"Corta el papel de una esquina a la otra así."


-"Now we are going to cut the fringe to make the petals. We are going to cut straight down, not the whole way, along the crust of the pizza slice." (Again, I demonstrate)
-"Ahorita, vamos a hacer los pétalos, cortando así."

-"Now we are going to put the scissors down because we won't need them anymore. Gently unfold the pizza back into the taco shape." (The key word here is gently! I demonstrate this)
-"Guardar las tijeras. Con cuidado, desdoblar las hojas de papel (las capas) así."

-"Now we will unfold the taco into a tortilla. Let's do this gently." (Some kiddos have difficulty with this step, so I go around and help)
-"Desdoblarlas una vez más."


-'Now we will need to insert the stem. Take one sheet at a time and poke the stem through the middle. If we do all four sheets at once, we will increase the chance of ripping the paper, so let's go with just one sheet at a time." (Again, I help with this as necessary)
-"Vamos a pasar el tallo por el centro de cada una de las hojas de papel (las capas), una a la vez, así."



-'Now that all four sheets are on the stem, we need to fold over the top of the stem so the paper stays on the stem." (I demonstrate and help as necessary)
-"Hacerle un doblez al tallo en la punta, así."

-"Right now we have a parasol, but we need a fluffy flower. We are going to scrunch each sheet of paper toward the middle to make it a poofy flower. Be gentle and don't pull the sheets off the stem :) (Again, I go around and help. There is always at least one that comes off the stem lol. Usually it is an easy fix to put it back on the stem. If it is completely ruined, I always have a few in reserve.)
-"Vamos a arrugar las hojas de papel (las capas) para realizar la maravilla, una hoja a la vez, así."



-"Now look at your flower and smile :)"
-"¡Y ya!"
I like to use the flowers to decorate my door and give them back after El Día de los Muertos is over. They make quite an impression! Have fun and enjoy making your own! (And let me know if you use different vocabulary- I love learning new things!)

And check out our printable Spanish minibook perfect for integrating El Día de los Muertos in your classroom. You can purchase it in our shop here.








Making Paper Marigolds Step by Step in your classroom

Making paper marigolds is a wonderful way to bring a hands on activity to your classroom during El Día de los Muertos, something your students will surely remember! Over the years, I have found being prepared ahead of time, and going step by step, using kid friendly instructions, makes all the difference, especially when class only lasts a short time (in my case, I have kiddos for 30 minute classes). Here is what it looks like in my room:

Step by step instructions for making paper marigolds for Days of the Dead

The Prep:
I usually do this project with my Second Graders and since my classes are short, I like to have some steps done ahead of time to be sure we can get the flowers done in one shot. First, I cut green pipe cleaners in half. I also create name tags, put their names on them, punch a hole in each one, and attach a pipe cleaner to each one. Next, I take four sheets of tissue paper (I buy it already cut into squares) and make the first fold- folding the square in half. 



In class:
Since I have three colors of tissue paper, I call each kiddo up and have them choose which they would like (using manners vocab of course!) I also give them their stem at this time.

Once every kiddo has their tissue paper and stem, we begin the construction process. Here are two scripts, one in English (for those who aren't teaching Spanish) and one in Spanish, great for those  shooting for 90%. Projects like this one really lend themselves to using the target language, as long as you go step by step. Note the Spanish is much simpler and more direct than the English, making it perfect for novice learners. Don't forget to demonstrate each step as you give the instructions. And see my video step by step in Spanish on Youtube (please forgive any errors!):



-"Holding the rectangle like a taco, open part up, fold the rectangle in half. Now we have a square."
-"Okis, tenemos un taco. Vamos a doblarlo por la mitad, así'

-"Now we are going to make a pizza slice. Put your scissors in the hand you cut with, and hold the square at the bottom, folded point." (I usually go around to every kiddo to be sure they are holding the right point. Otherwise, there is always at least one flower that ends up being cut in the wrong place and when unfolded, is no longer able to become a flower.)
-"Vamos a hacer una porción (trozo, rebanada) de pizza."

-"Now we are going to cut from one corner to the other in a curve. This will make our pizza slice shape." (I demonstrate before they cut so they can see how it should go. I then walk around and monitor the cutting to be sure they are cutting between the right corners.)
-"Corta el papel de una esquina a la otra así."


-"Now we are going to cut the fringe to make the petals. We are going to cut straight down, not the whole way, along the crust of the pizza slice." (Again, I demonstrate)
-"Ahorita, vamos a hacer los pétalos, cortando así."

-"Now we are going to put the scissors down because we won't need them anymore. Gently unfold the pizza back into the taco shape." (The key word here is gently! I demonstrate this)
-"Guardar las tijeras. Con cuidado, desdoblar las hojas de papel (las capas) así."

-"Now we will unfold the taco into a tortilla. Let's do this gently." (Some kiddos have difficulty with this step, so I go around and help)
-"Desdoblarlas una vez más."


-'Now we will need to insert the stem. Take one sheet at a time and poke the stem through the middle. If we do all four sheets at once, we will increase the chance of ripping the paper, so let's go with just one sheet at a time." (Again, I help with this as necessary)
-"Vamos a pasar el tallo por el centro de cada una de las hojas de papel (las capas), una a la vez, así."



-'Now that all four sheets are on the stem, we need to fold over the top of the stem so the paper stays on the stem." (I demonstrate and help as necessary)
-"Hacerle un doblez al tallo en la punta, así."

-"Right now we have a parasol, but we need a fluffy flower. We are going to scrunch each sheet of paper toward the middle to make it a poofy flower. Be gentle and don't pull the sheets off the stem :) (Again, I go around and help. There is always at least one that comes off the stem lol. Usually it is an easy fix to put it back on the stem. If it is completely ruined, I always have a few in reserve.)
-"Vamos a arrugar las hojas de papel (las capas) para realizar la maravilla, una hoja a la vez, así."



-"Now look at your flower and smile :)"
-"¡Y ya!"
I like to use the flowers to decorate my door and give them back after El Día de los Muertos is over. They make quite an impression! Have fun and enjoy making your own! (And let me know if you use different vocabulary- I love learning new things!)

And check out our printable Spanish minibook and theme pack perfect for integrating El Día de los Muertos in your classroom. You can purchase it in our shop here.

Days of the Dead Theme Pack for Spanish Class









Monday, October 13, 2014

Rigor is a new buzzword



This past Friday we had an inservice workshop in my district to discuss rigor in teaching. To be honest, at first I was at a loss...how do I create rigor with my littles who are still learning and digesting the concept of a foreign language, let alone using that language for communication? And then it hit me- that alone is the rigor (or at least a big element of rigor) in the elementary foreign language classroom! Just saying 'Hola' to me instead of 'Hello' is a change in mindset, answering questions posed in the target language, comprehending instructions, interacting in the TL all require a new way of thinking. But, I wanted to know more- what are other teachers experiencing? thinking? doing?

 I found an interesting article about rigor in the FL classroom on 'Latin Best Practices' which, in my opinion, encapsulates what we are striving for. Here is an excerpt which highlights the main points:
(*TCI- Teaching comprehensible input)

There are four elements of rigor:
1. Sustained Focus – you ask students to do that daily by being physically and mentally present and attending to the class conversation (see jGR)
2. Depth and Integrity of Inquiry – you pursue topics in depth by remaining with a subject until students have explored it satisfactorily
3. Suspension of premature conclusions – there are many ways that TCI meets this
4. Continuous testing of hypotheses – it is here that TCI is far superior to any grammar-driven method; students are asked to test their hypotheses about the language continuously as they hear the language and formulate ideas about how it is constructed (Grammar-driven methods tell students without giving them opportunity to test their own hypotheses)
In their discussion of this, the Department of State includes asking “mediative questions”, which means we ask open-ended questions that encourage students to think about their thinking instead of just producing a single correct answer.

Relevance is addressed as well. Here are elements of relevance:
1. prior intellectual or emotional connection to content – how can they not have it if the topic is about them; we also explore topics in which students are interested (I have talked extensively about films and Harry Potter, for example) and with which I as the teacher have a connection that I can mediate to my students. (Yes, students will often get excited about something because the teacher is excited.)
2. It is connected to real life – again a “duh!” for TCI
3. It is appropriately timed – not much we can do about this one except observe, for example, that first and fifth periods are not optimal times for class
4. It actively engages or involves us – we demand that students become engaged; we can also plan activities that are both comprehensible input as well as engaging
5. Someone else has a contagious passion or enthusiasm – we should teach our passions; I’m sure that part of the reason Ben’s students engage with “Le Petit Prince” is because Ben loves it so much, and they have a prior connection to him; I once had a student tell me that she wasn’t terribly interested in the Middle Ages but enjoyed my unit because I was so obviously enthusiastic about it
6. It is novel – which brings us to the much-maligned flying blue elephants; there are, however, other ways to make something novel

How do you bring rigor to your classroom? What are your opinions about this blossoming trend?