Today's post is another #waybackwhen from the time I started recording videos for my lessons. As I matter of fact, I believe this one was the first one ever. One of the things that I love about teaching is the ability to play with that fine line between fiction and reality when designing lessons. Making videos like the one below can help incorporate those elements of magic and humor, to help create memorable experiences.
I remember this lesson fondly because of that reason. I made the video based on a campaign of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company at the time. It was an introduction to a lesson where students would share the videos they created as part of their culminating assessment (Integrated Performance Assessment), to then vote on their favorite ones (peer feedback). I will never forget how when the video finished playing, all the students in that eight grade class looked at me and said: "Really?!"..."Seriously?!" It was a teacher-student moment. It was a kind of a good inside joke of sorts that strengthen our bond.
So I encourage you to look for opportunities to use humor and create some magic in your lessons. For more information on this particular unit click on Viajando por Puerto Rico .
The first culturally thematic unit I ever created was based on the language of the fan. I remember how I struggled to come up with a theme. At first, I went with the regular ideas: traveling, food and clothing. As I wondered how to narrow down the theme, while seating in an extremely warm library in the middle of winter, I found myself taking the Spanish fan I always carry in my pocketbook and using it. It was my AHA moment! It was my cultural practice to carry this cultural product in case I needed it, because it was the cultural perspective I grew up in.
Once I became a certified K-12 teacher and started working, I was able to teach using my thematic unit. This video was a warm-up activity to introduce the lesson. I purposely planned it for a Character Day activity so that I could dress in traditional Spanish attire. Today, so many years later, I know better not to perpetuate stereotypical images through my lessons. However, the method of including elements such as audiovisuals, humor, characterization and culturally authentic props, works every single time.
For more information on this unit and resources go to: El Lenguaje del Abanico
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
As a teacher, my new year starts in September. I never think of educational goals in January. But I cannot help to join colleagues who have been sharing their plans for 2019, through social media. As I reflect upon my practice, I realize that there are three things that I want to focus on this year.
#1 Keep going back to the BASIC strategies – To me this means using puppets, culturally authentic props, playing games, making crafts, using crayons to color, and paper-pencil word puzzles, just to name a few examples.
#2 Use technology with a PURPOSE – If the tech tool saves me time, fosters independence, helps me spend more one-on-one time with students, and creates culturally authentic learning experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, then let’s use technology.
#3 NETWORK! – This year, I want to continue growing my professional learning network (PLN) and enjoy being a student whenever possible by attending conferences, and connecting with colleagues around the globe through social media.
What are your reminders for 2019?