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THEORIES? WE AIN’T GOT NO THEORIES!

“The overwhelming majority of teachers ...are unable to name or describe a theory of learning that underlies what they do in the classroom.” —Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards This quote challenges me to evaluate what I am doing as I plan and teach. Am I making it up as I go along or can I describe how each of my lessons relates to theories of learning? When I think about Kohn's quote I can't help thinking of the famous clip from the Humphrey Bogart movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre. You know it. It's the one where the leader of [...]

By | March 24th, 2017|Categories: Growth & Change, SLA Theory, Uncategorized|0 Comments

SPANISH CLASSES FOR NEXT YEAR

These are the Spanish classes our department will offer next year and  I couldn't be happier. Our school is medium sized (900 students), but we offer a diverse course listing. Traditional Courses: Spanish 1, Spanish 2, Spanish 3, Spanish 4 and AP Spanish Language. Other courses: Native speakers have different needs than non-natives, so we have offered these two classes for some time: • Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1 (for those that have had little to no formal schooling--limited literacy in Spanish) • Spanish for Spanish Speakers 2 (for those that have had schooling and are close to grade level [...]

By | March 8th, 2017|Categories: Change, Compelling Input, Innovation, Multi-Level Classes|0 Comments

PRESERVING YOUR CLASSROOM LIBRARY

I spend most of my classroom budget on books. Every school year I buy a box of dry erase markers and maybe some post it notes, but they rest of the money the school gives me is spent on books for our classroom library. My students need these books because they read. A lot. At this time of year some students are complaining that they have already read almost all of the books in the classroom library at their level. Many students have already read more than 15 titles, so I am always looking for more books and trying to [...]

By | February 17th, 2017|Categories: Books, Classroom Library, Reading|Tags: |0 Comments

SELF-SELECTED READING REACTIONS

Students in my Spanish 3 classes are required to select and read a book every two weeks. The only criteria are that the book be interesting and comprehensible to them. After reading they write a reaction, usually in the form of a Light Reading Book Report ( http://www.brycehedstrom.com/…/LIGHT-READING-BOOK-REPORTS3.… ). This week the contrast between two students in one class could not have been greater. I will explain below, but first these questions: • How could two novels with extremely different reading levels both be the right books for two students in the same class? • Could a teacher justify giving [...]

By | February 11th, 2017|Categories: Compelling Input, Light Reading, Reading, Weekly Routine|Tags: , |0 Comments

SPANISH 1 FUN

In my Spanish 1 classes last week students read a version of Hansel and Gretel written with high frequency vocabulary and drew stick figure drawings to show they understood the story. On Friday, for fun I drew this picture on the board (I colorized it this weekend) and asked the students to come up with sentences describing it. In some classes it was every kid that said a sentence or two, in others, just 5 or 6 students spoke up. These are the sentences they came said. You can get the Hansel and Gretel download here: http://www.brycehedstrom.com/product/ebook-hansel-gretel 1. Hay una [...]

HOW TO GET YOUR STUDENTS TO DO SUSTAINED SILENT READING (and like it!)

Some of out students say that they just do not like to read. While I realize that this might be true, I also know that when students say that they are just mimicking their peers and elders--they may not really feel that way at all–they do not know enough about themselves to have an informed opinion. They have been misinformed. They have been raised in a culture where reading for pleasure is not modeled, access to books is limited and few have quiet time to read. I instead of surrendering to the idea that they are non-readers, I think they [...]

By | January 27th, 2017|Categories: Light Reading|0 Comments