Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chromebooks in Spanish Class

Last summer I was thrilled and humbled to learn that I had been awarded a $3000 grant from Education Minnesota for Chromebooks in Spanish class.

My proposal was to facilitate digital website portfolios to show growth evidence. I purchased my Chromebooks in August and prepared to implement them on School Day #1, in my Spanish 2 class.

A summary of my observations and tips:

  • DO read blogs and articles about how others have implemented similar programs. (Pinterest, Twitter and Google are your friends!)
  • DO "play" with your devices as much as you can. The more you know, the better off you'll be.
  • DO NOT feel threatened if your students know more than you. They can teach you and others, and all will benefit. 
  • DO think carefully about what device you want if looking into a grant. Chromebooks are economical, easy to use, and convenient for a classroom. If I had to do it over again...I'd choose the same! 
  • DO plan for extra time. Assembling our portfolio websites and periodically adding content took much longer than I'd initially thought it would. 
  • DO NOT fret if something doesn't go as planned. That is real-life technology. Teach your students to go with the flow and trouble-shoot as best they can.
  • DO remember your overall objectives. Technology is not the goal, but a tool to help reach your goal.
  • DO be prepared to have fun!
Do you have a favorite device in your classroom? What are your thoughts on 1:1 in schools? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Blendspace for One-Stop Learning!

This past semester I had a unique group of students in Spanish 1. I knew I had to change some of my teaching and up my game in several areas. It was hard work, and exhausting at times, but I truly grew as a teacher--and am thankful for the experience.

One of the new procedures I implemented was Blendspace. Blendspace allows you to take different digital resources and put them together on one easy-to-navigate page with large thumbnails. Share the one link with students and you are done.

For Spanish, I used it as a review and practice center. One set might include:

  • Quizlet
  • Vocabulary Printable (via Google Docs)
  • YouTube resource
  • Practice Printable
  • Textbook website resource link
  • Audio resource
  • Video activity on (the soon to be extinct) Zaption
The students loved that everything was accessible on one page, and Blendspace is visually easy to navigate. 

My only shortfall when it comes to Blendspace is that it I wish it had an app for iPads or smartphones. Many of my students use phones for school work and although the site works on phones, etc., it is a little clunky. An app that integrated with other apps such as YouTube, Google Docs, etc. would be out-of-this-world!

I do plan to continue using Blendspace next year. How do you use Blendspace? Comment with some tips! Thanks!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bingo Number Generators

I teach Spanish and love to play Bingo to practice numbers--the students love it, too! But I am a traveling teacher and don't always have all my teacher stuff easily accessible. Instead of keeping a bucket of numbers or a Bingo set with me all the time, I have found 2 great ways to generate Bingo numbers with my devices.

The first is an iPad app called Bingo Number Generator. It is free and simple. It says the numbers out loud so for Spanish I just turn my sound off and call them myself.

One day I didn't have my iPad but did have my Chromebook, so I found a really clean and simple website called Online Bingo Caller and used that.

Both work great and I have less stuff to keep track of!