I woke up this morning feeling super pumped about the Follow the Comprehensible Road to Proficiency workshop being given by Martina Bex that’s happening in just three days! This 2-day conference in upstate New York is focused on how to infuse a range of Comprehensible Input (CI) strategies into one’s respective, existing curriculum(s). At a time where CI strategies and methodologies are being explored and spreading like wildfire, it’s important to really understand the “why’s,” “how’s,” and what’s” of CI as Ms. Bex puts it.
I’m also super pumped because it has been a while since I have been to a conference. If you are a conference-goer, you know how much excitement, knowledge, and fun conferences can be! Additionally, there’s such a rush when a group of like-minded professionals get together and explore this whole CI thing together. I’ve missed this, especially since last year I was not a Spanish teacher. This conference is also happening at a great time—late in the summer (leaving plenty of time to plan), but close enough to when school starts.
In regards to Ms. Bex, I have followed her blog for many years and have been using her resources throughout my teaching career. Her SOMOS curriculum really helped me out when I was transitioning to be a more TPRS® and CI oriented teacher. Thankfully, I met Blaine Ray and his son Von Ray during the TPRS® conferences that I have attended. Now I really look forward to meeting Ms. Bex in person and learning her tips and tricks firsthand.
Currently, I am working on planning my school year (big picture/units) so that I am better organized and have a more complete idea of what I am going to cover and when I am going to cover it before the conference begins. I look forward to receiving wonderful new insight on the how by attending the conference. A goal this year is to have units that are infused with more culture. Therefore, I look forward to creating more culturally rich materials and resources.
Eek! I can’t wait! I'll tweet conference highlights and moments.
Are you going?
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.
have you ever felt like a fish out of water?
I have! And not too long ago. You see my grandmother recently turned 90 (#blessed), and for her surprise birthday party tons of puertorriqueños came from Miami, Orlando, California, Pennsylvania, Tennessee (I know, right?), and the island. It was a huge gathering, and I was very excited to see everyone. There was family there that I hadn’t seen since I was three and now I’m…well, much older (you know better than to ask a woman her age). So, in the thick of it, Spanish was the main form of communication. Easy peasy for me, right? I mean I teach Spanish for heaven’s sake! Um, not so much when you are overanalyzing every little word that is coming out of your mouth, not to mention your accent to boot. Oh, Arelle.
A BUMBLING, MUMBLING, at times RAMBLING FOOL
It was distressing. Here I was so painstakingly considering my word choice, my tense, and my pronunciation that I could hardly produce any sense of conversation. I got weird looks, sympathetic pats on my back, asked to just quickly take a selfie, or told to just eat more food. I felt crummy and isolated. I was having a pity party for one. And then, I began to just laugh. Yes laugh! You see, two things had occurred:
(1) My perception was most likely much worse than what was happening. I internalized this feeling of not being good enough and feeling out of my league. Growing up, my parents, for the most part, spoke to me in Spanish. I can understand it 100%, but I usually replied to them in English. This put me in an awkward situation. I was a Puerto Rican who couldn’t vocalize in her native tongue as easily as I could in English. I remember feeling embarrassed by this. It wasn’t until late teens/early twenties that I began to see the importance of not only understanding Spanish but speaking and writing it as well. The understanding and the writing came easily, but the speaking, oh boy the speaking… How can I be authentic? How can I come across as a true Puerto Rican? You see, those were the wrong questions to ask. All I needed was to snap out of my abysmal view of my language skills and instead take risks!
(2) Which brings me to thing number two. To this day, I ask and expect my students to take risks. I ask that they just throw out self doubt and relish in their mistakes because mistakes are needed to become better in language acquisition. Instead of focusing on just letting myself speak naturally, organically, and without filters, I trudged through choppy bits of conversation. I just couldn’t get out of my head. I was too worried about appearances, and we all know how that goes. I clammed up. But then I saw the light. I saw this big mistake that I was making, and the party raged on as did my new-found confidence as I enjoyed the Despacito remix that was blaring through the playlist (curated by D.J. Arelle especially for the party).
I FLUSHED THE GOLDFISH DOWN THE TOILET