Songs & activities for Spanish learners

We just created a new library of activities related to Spanish songs for your mid- to intermediate-high Spanish learners. They are designed to be posted via a discussion forum like the Wayside Learning Site Classroom Forum or Google Classroom.  Activities for each song can be posted all at once for students to complete at their own pace, or posted daily for completion as a class exercise.

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Using Triángulo APreciado to prepare for the modified AP® exam

Last week, The College Board revealed its modified 2020 exam structure, in which learners will have 45 minutes to complete two free response questions (FRQs). The full webinar of Thursday’s announcement is available on the College Board website, as are numerous resources supplied directly by College Board, including online AP® class sessions on YouTube. Regardless of personal feelings on if this format provides equitable opportunities for all learners to succeed, we wanted to provide resources that learners using Triángulo APreciado 6.a edición could use to prepare. 

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Day of the dead; day of the living

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@diegoojeda66

Celebrations such as the Day of the Dead allow us, Spanish teachers, to reflect on the purpose of our classes. Do we teach Spanish so that our students learn to decode the language? Or is it also our responsibility to teach about culture? A language is not only its syntax, but also its semantics, and it is semantics combined with cultural expressions that allows us to find the ultimate meaning of each interaction.

The Day of the Dead is one of those celebrations that can cause problems for more than one Spanish teacher. In Western European culture, death is a dreary, sad and sometimes even forbidden topic.

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Beyond the piñatas: An authentic celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@diegoojeda66

It was my first year of teaching Spanish in the United States when just a few weeks after I started the school year one of my colleagues approached me and asked me about my plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I confess that I was a bit perplexed because I had never heard about this celebration. For a moment I thought she was referring to Día de la Raza, a celebration of Latin American countries where we honor our roots and our identity.  But I soon realized that we were in September and that Día de la Raza is celebrated on October 12, the same date of the federal holiday that celebrates the life of the man who left so much poverty and sadness after the “discovery” of America.

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It’s a risk worth taking: Helping students overcome their fear of mistakes

By Elena Spathis
@ElenaSpathis

As a high school Spanish teacher I often ask myself: would my students feel comfortable using the target language with a complete stranger in a foreign country? Or would they feel paralyzed by their fear of saying something incorrectly? As a perfectionist myself, I can relate to many of my students who hesitate or who always “play it safe” in fear of making a mistake. But in order to see our students really use the language successfully and authentically, we must encourage risk-taking in our world language classrooms. We need to put the right supports in place and equip our students with the ability and willingness to use the language in real contexts—errors and all.

So how can we encourage risk-taking?

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Salvador Dalí meets Lady Gaga: Art and culture in the language classroom

By Cecilia Herrera

The role of emotion has been referenced in language acquisition theory for decades. One of the most effective ways to elicit emotion-driven learning in language classes is through the universal medium of art. Unfortunately, visual art appears too often as a haphazard add-on or a decorative afterthought to other types of cultural content. If you feel like you lack time or resources to successfully include art in your lessons, keep reading for ideas on types of artwork and artists that will engage your high school students and promote relevant cultural learning.

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The new Triángulo APreciado is here!

The newest edition of this cornerstone program provides an in-depth exploration of Spanish language and culture while preserving the intensive AP® preparation educators have valued in previous editions. 

Watch coauthors Lou Baskinger and Frank Masel talk about what inspired them to create this groundbreaking resource for advanced Spanish learners and what they hope teachers—and students—will get out of it.

Want to know more? Visit our website and request a sample.

Music: The instrument for language acquisition

By Deborah Espitia
@despitia
Instructional Strategist

Get your students jazzed about learning languages and motivate them with some rocking strategies by incorporating music into your instruction.

The benefits of using music in language instruction have long been known. From his work beginning in 1982, Principles and practice in second language acquisition, Stephen Krashen addressed the use of background music as a way to lower anxiety associated with learning a second language. Others in the field, such as Annette De Groot, in her 2006 article for Language Learning, “Effects of stimulus characteristics and background music on foreign language vocabulary learning and forgetting,” have addressed the increase in retention of target language vocabulary.  

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Acquiring vocabulary part IV: Mental pictures and drawing

By Deborah Espitia
@despitia
Instructional Strategist

In Part I of our series, Acquiring vocabulary: 5 strategies to create meaning in learning vocabulary, we noted that teachers are moving towards authentic resources and communicative tasks to teach vocabulary and language structures in context.

In Part II, Acquiring vocabulary: 9 strategies for creating graphic organizers, we reviewed a few graphic organizers that support vocabulary acquisition.

In Part III, Acquiring vocabulary: 10 ways to get students moving with physical models and kinesthetic activity, we reviewed types of physical models and kinesthetic activities along with ideas for applications that support vocabulary acquisition.

In Part IV, we’ll maximize the adage, “a picture paints a thousand words”.

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