Teachers! Vote for 8 songs you'd like to see included in this years Locura De Marzo! Click here. I will leave the poll open until December 15!
I am excited to release a new song, "Una Navidad Extraña". I always wanted to do a song about with Holidays, and wanted to come up with something that would grab the attention of the students. I have four sons, but my 4 year old, Jacob is the one that is always the most interested in what is happening on www.senorashby.com. He has a love for music, and a love for learning! Jacob and I sat down to begin writing the song and he helped come up with a lot of the fun ideas in the first verse. He had the idea to have Santa's sleigh pulled by elephants (spoiler alert), and filled with turkeys. We started writing the song in October, and each day I came home from work he'd ask me if we could work more on the song. It was a lot of fun! He even has a small part at the very end.
My students joined me today during their free period to add their vocals to my new Spanish family vocabulary song to Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" They did a great job and it was a lot of fun! Check out the preview below. Sr. Ashby subscribers can access the full version here.
We have moved on to step 2 in our song selection process! Check out the songs different Spanish teachers have submitted for this years bracket! Listen, comment and prepare to choose your top 8 when we open it up for teacher voting in December! Click here to check it out!
I just finished this Simpsons video with comprehensible input to teach family vocabulary! Sr. Ashby Subscribers can access all of the corresponding resources here.
I am almost done finalizing the videos and resources for my comprehensible input video on the Simpsons. I expect to have the full version and resources completed by the end of this week. In the meantime, check out these two video previews! One is a ridiculous new music video and song I made about the Simpsons family, and the other is a quiz on the Simpsons family tree. The full music video is available for subscribers here. The full quiz video will be released with the rest of the Simpsons resources in the next week.
I am in the process of putting together a series of videos and resources to teach family member vocabulary. Some of those videos will be comprehensible input videos based on "The Simpsons" family. As I was beginning to put that video together last week, I decided to make a basic introductory video of myself repeating the target vocabulary. Kind of spur of the moment, I had the idea to make the video with Taylor Swift's new song "Look What You Made Me Do" playing as the background music. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out! It's an easy video/song that is repetitive and could be used with any grade level. Check out the preview below!
Sr. Ashby subscribers can access the full version and 40+ other original songs by clicking the button below.
Last week I released a new comprehensible input video and corresponding worksheets! It is based on the vocabulary from Unit 2 in the avancemos textbook which covers school schedules, classroom objects, prepositional phrases, and descriptive words for classes and feelings. Check out the video below!
Doesn't the title of this blog post sound fun to read? I was asked on Facebook to share a little bit about some of the ways I group kids in my class, so I thought I'd write a brief blog post about the student seating organization system I use.
First, I put the kids in groups of four. My classroom has desks, but this could be done with tables too. My desks are in rows, but each desk in the group of 4 has a desk tag on it of the same color. See the picture below.
In the example above, that would be the yellow group, or grupo amarillo. I have roughly 28 kids in each class, so I would have 7 groups of 4, each group with a different color. The desk tags provide me with a large number of options for grouping kids:
1. Each group of four has 3 different partner possibilities. Mexico partners (person right next to you), Cuba partners (person diagonal from you), and España partners (person in front or back of you). This is great for quick partner speaking activities, etc.
2. If you need students to work in a group of 4, obviously those are set-up for you with the colored groups.
3. If you notice on the desk tags, each student also has a number, 1, 2, 3, and 4. If you need to make 4 groups of students, you have 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s.
How can I use this system for differentiating instruction?
Okay, so this admittedly takes some time to set-up and think through when you make your seating chart. It also takes a little assessment and getting to know your students! It also depends on what type of cooperative learning activities you are familiar with. (see more on this below) However, the possibilities here are endless. Here are some strategies I have used before.
1. Organize your students so that the "1s" and "2s" in each group are strong students or heritage speakers, and the "3s" and "4s" are struggling learners. Then, choose which partner groups you use based on if you want to have a strong student work with a struggling student, or have the two struggling students grouped together. Of course if you think the students are catching on to this, you could have the 3s and 4s next seating arrangement be the strong students. This also allows for you to easily make groups for station work, etc. where maybe all of the "1s" do something more challenging, while you work with the "4"s on remediation. I highly recommend this sort of organization as it provides you a lot of different options as a teacher.
2. Put students in their color groups based on ability. This is pretty straight forward, but for a change of pace from above, you could put struggling learners in certain color groups, and high-level learners in other groups. It takes away the ability to have higher level learners working with struggling learners for partner work, but does allow you to know exactly which groups you need to provide more attention to, and which groups you may need to find ways to challenge.
Specifically, what are some cooperative learning activities that you could use within this organization system?
First, I encourage you to think of any sort of group or pair work you have ever done with your class. How could having students grouped in the ways I've described above help add to what you have done? How might you change the activity, or change your role in the activity knowing that you know exactly where your high-level students and struggling students are in the classroom, and who they are paired with?
Second, I encourage you to look into Kagan Cooperative Learning. Check it out a brief summary of it here. I am by no means an expert at this, but the "Essential 5" Kagan cooperative strategies are a great place to start! For example, The "Rally Coach" gives the higher-level learner a challenge, while guiding the struggling learner through remediation.
Feel free to download the word doc I use to create my desk tags below! Although I love the actual tags on the desks, I will say they were a pain to make, and keep on the desk! It involves laminating, then contact paper or some other way to adhere them to the desk so that students don't pick them off. Here is a whole teacher forum on that topic! This year, I actually took permanent marker (don't tell my custodian), and wrote a number on the back of each desk, 1, 2, 3, or 4. Each group of 4 had a different color I used. Then, instead of using desk tags, I just put a partner organization paper on each wall of the room. This has worked okay so far this year and was a lot less time consuming to set-up!
What ideas do you have for grouping and cooperative learning? Comment below!
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About Señor Ashby:
I am a K-12 Spanish educator specializing in creativity. I am passionate about learning through technology, music, and innovation. I have taught Spanish to K-12, and am a two time finalist for online teacher of the year (2011, 2014). l live in West Michigan with my wife and our four energetic boys!