jam-packed sessions full of valuable information to over 140 participants from all over the US (and even from Switzerland). She was extremely gracious and kind and humorous too (bonus!).
I didn’t want to come off as a creepy stalker so I limited my interactions with her to an introduction and a selfie, which turned out quite wonderful if I do say so myself. I hope that if she ever reads this post, or my blog in general, she will know how influential she has been in regards to my teaching career and making the switch to TPRS® and CI.
So, after my initial, “OMG that’s really her and OMG I’m really here!” moment, I got down to the business of trying to soak up every bit of information that came my way. Since my head is still processing all the information (yes, 5 days later!), I’m going to list 5 main takeaways of information that stood out to me to be essential and relevant when it comes to comprehensible input as I understood it.
Disclaimer: To reiterate, these are my “notes” from the information provided as I understood them.
Ultimately, if you ever have a chance to see Martina Bex at a workshop, Do It! The amount of information, tips and tricks to create impactful CI units, and experience that she encompasses are invaluable. For her to impart such knowledge is a genuine treat. I can say I am well-prepared to continue my CI journey, and I feel pumped about it. No matter where any teacher is on his or her CI journey, there is always something new to learn. I was happy that I walked away with tons of new perspectives.
In a nutshell, I am grateful and blessed that I could attend this workshop. And after two days of cramming my brain full of great information and fresh ideas, it was time to leave. You know there’s just no place like home!
Important Note: The hashtag for the workshop was #CIwizards. Search this hashtag if you want to see what others have posted via twitter.
I have literally gone bonkers with Gran Hotel! I never tire of Julio making googly eyes at Alicia, Diego's (and Doña Teresa’s) psychopathic resolve to be in control of nearly everything, or Ándres' delightful facial expressions like the one above. Sigh. Well, since I’m practically in love with the series, I set out to create various activities that supplement the first episode of the show. I wanted to create resources that could be used with any level of Spanish and supply substantial amounts of comprehensible input in novel ways. I came up with an assortment of game activities, which can easily be differentiated for any class.
COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT WITH A COMPETITIVE EDGE
I created a bundle of 5 games and activities that can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. The purpose of these resources is to enhance the video and give your students continuous amounts of comprehensible input (CI) with a competitive edge. Through game play students will receive lots of repetitions centered around vocabulary and target structures (if you use them). Additionally, your students will improve their understanding of key events that happen in Episode I, as well as the essential characters (12 total) that are introduced.
WHAT is CRISITINA HIDING?
A bunch of secrets obviously! I created a previewing guide to help students build a solid foundation and to understand the premise of the series. The guide provides contextual reference points that will spark discussion and intrigue as you introduce Gran Hotel. This guide also jumpstarts vocabulary and target structure dissemination. For example, students can begin their journey into the world of Gran Hotel by analyzing the letter Cristina wrote to Julio.
WILL JULIO OLMEDO AND ALICIA ALARCÓN EVER BE TOGETHER?
HOW ABOUT READING EXCERSISES?
Well, since I’ve created a previewing guide and an assortment of game activities, I guess the next step is creating some impactful readings for episode I. Since I just wrote that down, I’ll have to follow through! Expect reading guides and activities in the next couple of weeks! However, I do want to mention that Mike Peto and Kara Jacobs have developed wonderful readings for a few episodes of Gran Hotel, which are great for upper-level classes. My readings will be geared towards lower-level classes.
It's confession time
Ya'll, I have something to tell you. I've missed you! This past year I was not a Spanish teacher; I was a Special Education teacher/Case Manager. Not teaching Spanish for an entire school year made me realize how much I truly missed it and how passionate I am about it! Even though teaching special education was rewarding, I knew that my heart truly ached to go back to teaching Spanish. So, I put in for a transfer in the hopes that I'd pick up a Spanish teacher position somewhere in my county. And guess what? Not only was I offered a transfer, I was offered a transfer to the very high school that I graduated! And to top that off, I was offered the Department Chair position to boot!
Even though last week was my first week of summer vacation, I've already started planning for next year—I am truly type ‘a’ when it comes to this sort of thing. Consequently, I began to immerse myself back into the world language community (specifically #langchat)—and it was as if I had never left. Seriously, the amount of sharing, giving, caring, and support that teachers have provided for each other is nothing short of absolute wonder.
As I am reading tons of blogs and connecting on twitter, I am inspired by my colleagues to share my resources and experiences as well. In fact, that is a huge reason for why I started blogging in the first place: to join the conversation and add my voice. And of course, the more voices the better! Creating and maintaining a collaborative environment is necessary: we improve and become better educators and people by lifting others.
paying it forward
Personally, having such a strong sense of community pushes me to continue learning, sharing, and improving my practice. In short, I am thankful! And when you are thankful, you share.
For those of you who are using Gran Hotel this school year, here is a (free) resource that I created to use with my Spanish I's (in case El Internado doesn't work out). Also, check out my additional free resources here.
If you like this resource or any other, please leave feedback (on TPT). I’d love to hear from you! And as always, catch me on Twitter to connect.