Thursday, July 31, 2014

A great authentic song for cleaning up materials

The activity or project is over and it is time to clean up those materials...the trick is to get them cleaned up efficiently and quickly! Considering I have only 30 minutes per class and want to maximize that time, I want material clean up to take as little time as possible. However, getting little 5,6,7 year olds to do this (let alone my Third and Fourth Graders!) can be a challenge. But then, a few years ago, I found this song 'A guardar', an authentic song sung in many Spanish speaking countries, that is exactly for this purpose! Only about 30 seconds long, it transformed my transition time. Always cued up on my cd player (yes, I still use one! lol), all I have to say is 'Niñitos, ya es la hora para guardar cosas', hit the play button, and watch the magic.

 However, that didn't happen all at once. As with all of our routines, I followed a process from Responsive Classroom called Guided Discovery (see a great article about this here). First, as a class we talk about the importance of cleaning up, taking care of our materials, and being respectful of other teachers in the building by being on time to our next class. Then, we talk about the different materials we may need to clean up at the end of an activity (our activity pages, our folders, crayons, pencils, erasers, manipulatives, etc) and how and where they should go. Note: I have a classroom set of pouches (pencil bags) filled with crayons, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, etc which are used in all my classes; kids do not have their own set- that would impossible to store considering I have approximately 375 students!

Once we have talked about how and where things need to be put away (I even go so far as to talk about rolling the gluesticks down and putting the caps back on), I introduce the song. I challenge them to put away everything in that 30 seconds...can it be done? Yes! We talk about being focused while the song is playing- I ask them questions like 'When the song is playing, are we talking with our friend?', 'When the song is playing, do we continue to color, write, cut out things, etc?', 'When the song is playing, are we putting our crayons back in the pouch?' 'Do you come up and show me your activity when the clean up song is playing? (No), and so on. It's important to be clear about expectations!

Then, we practice...yup, I play the song and we practice putting things away. This helps them see what the process actually looks like, allows them to literally practice the routine, and gives them a sense of the timeframe. Note: I do not put any of the materials away that the kids have used. I believe in personal responsibility- I am not there to be their maid lol. However, while the song is playing, I am picking up materials that I have used during the lesson, or erasing the whiteboard. This is me modelling the routine, which is an important part of our classroom dynamic.

I cannot say how useful this song has been and considering its cultural authenticity, I love it even more! The kids sing along as the song is playing, which is just too cute. To hear the song, you can view this video on YouTube and the song can be purchased on ITunes. Look for 'A guardar' by Sari Cucien, Patatín Patatero.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Go Fish Cards ¡A Pescar!

Our Go Fish Cards are a great way to practice vocabulary in a fun and enjoyable manner! Kids love to play games, increasing the motivation factor, an important ingredient in learning. Go Fish! games are great also because kids are familiar with how to play, reducing the need for instructions that may not all be able to be in the target language. These fishy themed Go Fish cards feature the numbers 1-10, are easy to print out and create... make one deck as a center activity, or make several so you can divide the class into groups and play all at the same time! Find them in our TpT store here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fun map activity- a puzzle!

My First Graders start learning about the South American map usually in January, after we've come back from the hoopla of Christmas and they are ready for some fun geography style! An easy way to practice where the countries are is a puzzle- but having a guide makes it a bit easier when putting some of those wee countries together. So, I printed out 2 sets of the same colored map (I just browsed Google Images until I found a map I liked), mounted both sets on stiff paper, then cut out one set along the borders of the countries. Working in partners, kiddos get a background map and a ziploc baggie with the puzzle pieces and away they go! For a more challenging activity, once they've put the puzzle together on the map side, I encourage them to flip the map over and put the pieces together without the background map. They love it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Taco Rubric Standards Based Grading

I am in love with this rubric! I made it a few years ago after discovering the 'hamburger rubric' and modified it to have a Spanish flavor. What I love most is the positive feel of each indicator; rather than highlighting what a student doesn't know or being punitive in nature in terms of grading, it emphasizes the progress of a student's work and gives him/her a direction to shoot in. When a student brings me something they are working on, I can say 'hmmm, it looks like you've got a shell and maybe some meat in there, but we still need some cheese and lettuce.' or 'Wow! This is a great start, I can see you are in progress. What are you going to do next to get to a full taco?'. Kids absolutely love the visuals and the concept, easily understanding the idea behind ordering something and getting it the way you like it, and are motivated to shoot for the free nachos on the side!

When introducing a new project or activity, I always share what a 'full taco' finished product would look like. This is important- kids need to know what is expected of them. I also mention some things that would make a 'free nachos' piece. This helps my elementary kids envision what going above and beyond looks like (often they have no idea!). 

My indicators are as follows:

No alcanza (1)- Getting Started
Pediste un taco pero sólo recibiste la tortilla. (You ordered a taco but all you received was the shell.)

Se acerca (2)- In Progress
Pediste un taco, pero sólo recibiste la tortilla con carne. (You ordered a taco, which you received, but all it had in it was the meat.
Satisface (3)- Right on!
Pediste un taco, que recibiste a tiempo, así como te gusta. (You ordered a taco, and you received it right on time, just the way you like it.)

Supera (4)- Above and Beyond
Recibiste el taco como te gusta, ¡y además te dieron unos nachos gratis! (You got your taco exactly the way you like it, but they also threw in some nachos for free!)

If you are interested in seeing the original hamburger rubric, visit this blog. You will need to scroll down a bit in order to find the rubric.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in the Taco Rubric, but have limited time we have the solution! Get it now in our store by clicking here! 

Get it now!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

¡Estamos locos por piratas!

We have caught the pirate bug! Long in the works, we are developing a minibook and activity pack designed around all things pirate- the minibook features clothes vocabulary and the verb ponerse... what will the activity pack contain? ¡Vamos a ver!
And here is a link to a great blog dedicated to pirates with great printables: Pata de Pirata So cool!