Some of my best teaching moments come from spur of the moment ideas and adjustments. Today I was introducing Chapter 2 of La Llorona de Mazatlan and felt that I needed something that included more CI and opportunities for comprehension.
I frontloaded 8 key phrases and vocabulary words and used them to talk about myself. We circled and created unique phrases with these vocabulary phrases.
Then we moved into Quizlet Live. I created a set of phrases copied from Chapter 2 of the novel. During the Quizlet Live game, students had to read and select the correct ending for the sentences. It was not an easy task and required a lot of reading comprehension and discussion of probable statements that could make sense. The activity took a little while but by the time we finally had a winner, students had previewed several key statements and moments from the Chapter we were about to read.
After the game, we made predictions about what would happen in Chapter 2 based on the phrases they remembered from the Quizlet Live game.
Overall I felt very good about the level of comprehension we achieved today in a short time. Doing something like this to preview the material in the chapter was beneficial and I need to think of ways to continue to do this more in the future.
I’ve been a fan of Quizlet for a long time and often use it with my students as a way to drill and review vocabulary. I consistently tell my students that the best way to feel comfortable in learning a new language is to master the vocab, and drilling sites like Quizlet have been very helpful.
Recently I’ve heard great things about two other sites: StudyBlue and WordChamp. I decided to invest a chunk of my summer in setting up my vocabulary on these three sites.
I’ve always found Quizlet simple and fun for the students. They love SpaceRace, a game within each set of vocabulary that lets them type the translation for our word before it runs off the edge of the page. I have documented evidence that notes a correlation between Quizlet use and academic performance. Most of my vocabulary was already added to Quizlet in previous years, so setting it up for this year was a breeze.
Final thoughts: Great games, user friendly, a must for a language classroom
I came across some rave StudyBlue reviews last Spring and thought it sounded promising. It’s much like Quizlet, although a little more exclusive. Each student has an individual “backpack” and can join courses and share materials with any students also enrolled in those courses. After about 5 minutes in StudyBlue, it’s easy to figure out that it is tailored to college students looking to share notes and materials with other classmates. I went back and forth with some support people asking questions about how a teacher might share material with students and/or make vocabulary lists public for all students enrolled in the class. I’m still not really sure if it’s possible, how easy it will be and how troublesome the sharing process will be. I know I can “invite” students to view my list by individually emailing them, but I don’t want my students to have to check their email to access a vocabulary list through StudyBlue’s website.
I’m really on the fence about this program, but it has a nice flashcard program for both IOS and Andriod systems. The flashcard programs track difficult words and gives students statistics about their studying. That could be really useful but I’m not sure my students nor I will be able to get through the confusing setup phase. We’ll give it a try though.
Final thoughts: Possibly confusing and too technical/not-user-friendly, great mobile app
WordChamp is not a flashcard or vocabulary drill site like StudyBlue or Quizlet. It is a site specifically designed for language teachers and language learners. I created an account (free) and a course (I created three). I can create vocabulary lists, similar to the other sites, but WordChamp does a really great thing when I put in my vocabulary. As I added the words, I saw a little speaker icon next to some of the words. WordChamp recognizes (most) words in all languages and has audio of those words being spoken. For example, I put in “lawyer/abogado” and I have a recording of someone saying the word “lawyer” and a recording of a native speaker saying “abogado”. If audio isn’t available for a certain word or phrase, you can record or upload your own.
Once vocabulary lists are created, a teacher can create homework assignments for different classes. Students complete these homework assignments online. There are dozens of different types of assignments, and I’m still trying to sort through them. There are simple translation exercises, audio exercises, speaking/recording practice and conjugation drills. There are some more options too but those are the ones I’ve practiced with so far.
Final thoughts: Love the audio options, customizable homework assignments and potential