Friday, June 4, 2021

Highlights of the 2020-2021 school year

Even through a wild year of remote learning, when I look back at all we accomplished this year I'm so proud of the effort and growth I've seen from students. Here are the top 5 highlights of this year in our middle school Spanish classes.

7th grade playing Humans vs. Zombies

5. Games 

We had so much fun playing vocabulary games on Quizlet, Blooket, Kahoot and Gimkit. The most requested version of games was the Among Us version of Gimkit. I personally enjoyed when students played against me in Boss Battle on Gimkit, and I remember some really intense games of The Floor is Lava on Gimkit. The strategy aspect of many of these games added an additional layer of fun to review games. It was enjoyable to hear students in the class (or off mute at home) having fun and commenting like we were playing video games together!

4. Music

This year we had TWO music competitions, one in the fall (Locotubre) and one in the spring (Locura de Marzo). Similar to the NCAA March Madness basketball competition, we have a bracket of a variety of songs in Spanish. Students previewed the songs and completed their own bracket before the competition. Then each day we voted between two songs, and one song advanced to the next roun, until there was a champion! 

You can listen to all the Locotubre songs here, and all the Locura de Marzo songs here. If you love Just Dance or Zumba, check out some of the dance videos from Locotubre here!

These music competitions are a great way to practice listening to different accents and musical genres, as well as learn about culture through authentic music videos. 

Locura de Marzo 2021 Final Bracket

Locotubre Bracket Final

3. Class Characters / OWIs (One Word Images)

This year we imagined creative, complex characters in Spanish from scratch. The creativity of students made these so fun to make! We had a huge box of rice win rap battles against Gozilla, a mean pot of soup that wants to share their soup but couldn't because of Covid, and a non-binary ice cream cone that is always tired. 

6th grade characters

7th grade characters

8th grade characters

This activity was a great way to review high frequency vocabulary and practice describing people!

2. Growth in Checkpoint Assessments

Each quarter I assessed students' reading, listening, speaking and writing growth. I was so impressed this quarter with how much growth I've seen over the year! Students were able to understand so much of a familiar (and more complex) text this quarter. For the speaking assessment in quarter 4, students recorded themselves describing a character and used a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures with improved pronunciation and fluency! 

Students received personal feedback via email with a specific comment on what they did well and what they can focus on improving next year. 

The biggest growth was in our writing assessments, where students DOUBLED how much they were able to write in Spanish in 5 minutes from quarter 1 to quarter 4! 

1. We wrote books! 

My biggest highlight of the school year is that we wrote a 50-page book all in Spanish! Each week we discussed a topic (like what food or activities we liked, how we were as younger children, or how we would describe ourselves) and each class worte a summary of our conversation in Spanish. Throughout the year we wrote more complex sentences and increased our variety of vocabuly. See the work from quarter one herequarter two herequarter 3 here and quarter 4 here. We also used them for review activities on Quizlet

Through a generous grant from Obama's PTSA I was able to print 14 books of our writings that will be the basis for our classroom library we'll use next year. You can check out the master copy below.

We did it!

This year brought many challenges but as you can see our classes achieved something truly special that we can all be proud of!

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