A new tool: Prism

prismHere’s a picture of what the Hispanic Civ class’s homework looks like through a tool called “Prism,” which was a part of the presentation by our keynote speaker, Alan November, on the first day of school. In this picture, you can see that students have made highlights in 3 categories that I chose: unfamiliar words, suggested vocabulary words and important content. The bigger the font appears, the more students felt that a particular word would be a good choice for a vocabulary word. I love this tool and hope that it will help us to choose more relevant vocabulary as we read! I will be interested to get my students’ feedback on ease of use!

Learning about learning

In Hispanic Civ, we are beginning the year with the theme of Families and Communities,” and our first focus will be communion itches centered around learning. In class today, we used an Answer Garden to visualize our class’s learning preferences and came to the conclusion that having fun, being motivated and collaborating with others are important to us, as a class, in order to create an environment conducive to learning. Students gave some specific suggestions for class activities and my goal will be to include those into our class time as much as possible. 

As soon as the students in 21st Century Skills are done defining just what these skills are, they will also embark on a journey of self-discovery related to learning styles, personality and multiple intelligences. Knowing what works for you personally as a learner is vital to studying efficiently and effectively as well as keeping things fun! I hope that I have a classroom full of life-long learners!   

The language we speak can impact the way we act!

The first week of school has come and gone – along with our long Labor Day weekend – and it was a good start to the year! I think that my new 2nd floor classroom is a bit cooler than the 3rd floor was but I’m still hoping that the temperatures drop soon! Students in Spanish 1  participated in an activity on the first day in which they were asked to find something in a photograph of a person from another culture that reminded them of themselves. Student did a great job and we able to identify the main purposes of the task: getting to know one another, getting used to speaking in front of others and, most importantly, finding something familiar in the “foreign.” We now use the term “world” instead of “foreign” language to describe our department, but beginner language students will be exposed to words, ideas, and traditions that are different from those they know.

I mentioned in class that sometimes the words that a language uses have an impact on the way speakers of that language view a topic or think about an idea. Here’s a link to an article by Jessica Gross titled “How languages affect the way we think”  that contains great examples of how the words we use to describe an idea can actually impact our behavior. Check it out!