What is a recipe for an engaging lesson? As you might suspect, there is no one perfect formula as all types of lessons can be engaging. However, starting out with the ingredients of an authentic audience, an open ended product, a multi-grade level approach, and an interdisciplinary focus greatly increases the chances for success.
In recent weeks, Sunset High School Spanish Teacher Carol Baltazar, partnered with kindergarten dual language teachers, Marjorie Rios-Nogales and Aura Haddad, at Barnes Elementary School to provide a unique learning opportunity for their students. Baltazar wanted to give her Spanish III students an audience to practice and rehearse their speaking and writing skills as well as a chance to teach younger dual language children. Here are the directions she provided to her Spanish III students:
1) Create an interactive project (e.g. board game, interactive book, video, etc.) to share and teach our Kinder buddies.
2) Your interaction will be entirely in Spanish. Make sure your instructions and text are all in Spanish. Practice what you will say and how you will help your little buddies understand.
3) Use previously learned material (e.g. preterite tense, commands, vocabulary, etc.) that makes the most sense for the project you create.
4) Present your idea to the class and walk us through what it will look like in action so that you are prepared on the day of the field trip.
To help make her idea become a reality, Baltazar asked Library and Instructional Technology teacher Colette Cassinelli if her students could create interactive projects using the supplies of the Apollo Press Student Publishing Center in the Media Center. With some quick tutorials and hands on learning, the students created participatory Spanish lessons for the kindergarteners. To accomplish this goal, there was no one size fits all assignment, and that can be disconcerting for some students. However, once the creative energy was released there was no turning back!
SHS Spanish students created movies using green screen technology and stop motion animation videos. They designed board and card games and added interactivity using an electronic controller called a Makey Makey. Four students teamed up with SHS Computer Science teacher, Jason Galbraith, to create an interactive Virtual Reality experience for their Kinder buddies. Kindergartners had a close up view of an underwater coral reef and then were able to discuss their VR tour with the older students in Spanish.
Taking a risk and trying a totally new “recipe” for learning can sometimes be nerve racking as it is much harder to predict the outcome. It is also difficult at times to break out of the traditional scope and sequence of a course. Baltazar, Rios-Nogales, and Haddad, however, were willing to model what innovation looks like for both their own students as well as fellow staff members. The result was a wonderful morning filled with learning, laughter, and Spanish!!! Felicidades a todos!!!
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