The Story of Art

I came across this idea from a blog. (I think…) I cannot for the life of me remember where I saw this so if you are the creator or know who had the idea PLEASE email me or put in comments below so I can give them credit. Also I am doing this for the first time this year so I will probably alter this after I try it.

  1. Choose 4-5 famous paintings- (can be from one country, one person or just random) I am choosing Spanish artist because I want to talk about where they are from. (Picasso’s Don Quixote, Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Velázquez’s Las Meninas, 
  2. Choose 1 painting to project to the class and lead a discussion about the painting in the target language. (What do you see? Where is this? How does the person feel? Why do they feel this way? etc.)
  3. (Optional) Create a story with your class about the painting using all the information the students can gain from looking at the picture WITHOUT telling them the actually story or history behind it.
  4. Divide class into groups- each group gets a different painting. Now they have to list what they see. There are options to scaffold this for a novice class
    1. Give them the out-of-bounds vocabulary they may need on a separate sheet.
    2. Give them a cloze passage with very basic sentences describing what is in the picture with the blanks being words they know.
  5. Groups create story about their painting.- you can put a minimum on this, make it an assessment or give them only a certain amount of time. That’s your call.
  6. Create a PowerPoint with student’s stories and the art- Each group shows their art and then reads their story. (The other students have to use their “You confused me” gesture for when they don’t understand a word.)
    1. You could project the story for the group to read, or make it a listening activity, and students just see the art and listen to the story.
    2. You could have a listening activity for the students like they have to write so many sentences about the story or they have to write three questions about the story, or they have to draw a part of the story. Or they just listen and enjoy.
  7. After each group presents show a short reading in target language about the creator and the real story behind the painting- This is were you get to read and personalize the information about the creator (Where are they from? Are they dead? Interesting facts etc.) and the real story about the painting (Who are they? Is it a political statement? Interesting facts about the painting.)
  8. Optional: A Gallery Walk where students get to read at their own pace the stories and the facts about the creator.
  9. Optional: Create sentence strips from each story and students have to match it to the correct painting. (This could even be a relay race.)

Have another idea to extend this activity or to make it better. LIST IT BELOW!! I can’t wait to try this. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!!

COMMENT BELOW- If you can think of a painting that would work well with this activity.

BIG ideas from iFLT 2016

I’m struggling to come down from the mountain of 450 people who will talk second language acquisition till you fall over from exhaustion.

There were so many GREAT presenters and SuperStars at iFLT 2016!! I am still working up my notes from Martina Bex, Jason Fritz, Leslie Davison and Linda Lee. If you are not following these people on their blog or twitter YOU ARE MISSING OUT!!!

Take-away #1- Take time to reflect on your teaching.

OK, so you may not be able to go to a conference. I was able to go this year because it was an hour and a half away. I also have an AMAZING support system at home to take care of my three little boys. I also work at an AMAZING school that will cover costs for me to go and provide lots of resources every year.

But even if you can’t do that, take some time to reflect. You know that blog you have been wanting to read or article that interests you. You know that podcast (TEA with BVP) or a webinar (TPRS publishing has a FREE webinar coming up this week on how to teach novels) DO IT! I know I get into a rush to get the next thing done. I need to work on lesson plans or my classroom, but taking time to get some Professional Development can not only change your teaching, it can change your whole attitude about your profession.

We all know those teachers that get stuck in a rut. I have heard many teachers say “What if it is just another trend?” “My school won’t let me teach that way anyways, so why bother?” But lots of times teaching is being brave enough to try something when you don’t know it will work. Being willing to be wrong or to not do something as well the first few times. Being willing to have a bad lesson. Also OK your school won’t let you do it all this way. What will they let you do? Have to teach with a textbook you don’t like? OK be the best teacher of that textbook you can be. Scott Benedict has a great webinar called “Textbook to TPRS” that is FREE right now. It can help you change a chapter in a traditional textbook to be more like the way we know to teach. Get out there and find some help in what it is you need to make yourself a better teacher.

Take-away #2- Take time to savor the lesson you planned

Sometimes we get so bogged down by the GREAT lesson we made we forget to actually slow down long enough for kids to savor the lesson. I do this all the time, and I had a student teacher a few years ago that would teach with one eye on her notes and one on the clock. Neither of those things were the most important thing in the room. Then she would be frustrated because she didn’t get everything in that she wanted and the kids did terrible on the assessment. After watching her a few times I tried to explain it like this:

A good lesson plan is like a good recipe. You can prepare all the equipment you are going to need and buy all the right ingredients. But if at the end you serve it to your audience you tell them they only have 30 seconds to eat,

THEY CAN’T SAVOR THE MEAL (and end up with a tummy ache).

So this year I want to stop looking at the clock. Stop checking the boxes off on my lesson plan, and think about the activity I am trying to do with my kids. If I have to rush through it then maybe I need to save it for later. If I don’t have time then maybe I need to reduce the time I spend on multiple activities and really SAVOR one/two activities. I don’t want to give the excuse that I didn’t teach the way I know is best because I didn’t have time. What am I there for if not to take the time to teach the way I know I should?

I am a multitasker. I think you have to multitask to some degree to be a teacher or a parent. But so many times I am so busy making all the plates spin that I forget to be in the moment with my students. I am so preoccupied with the next activity or the next class that I forget to help the people right in front of me. It is like the boy in “The Three Questions” story.-

What is the right time to begin everything?

The most important time is NOW. The present is the only time over which we have power.

Who are the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid?

The most important person is the person you are with.

What is the most important thing to do?

The most important thing is to do good to the person you are with.

Take-away #3 – FEAR is paralyzing

I have a secret. I am not a native speaker, and I have always had a fear of not being enough for my students. It has paralyzed me to not try and put myself out there for people to see. It has paralyzed me to not even pursue improving my Spanish because I might need help and then what would people think. I am the Spanish teacher. I should be perfectly fluent. I can’t help anyone. But NO MORE! I am going put myself out there. I am going to make mistakes. I am going to ask for HELP. If that person disapproves of me then I find someone else. It is no fun being afraid so I might as well strive for something different.

Take-away #4

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes I spend more time on the things I am not than the things I am. If you didn’t get a chance to hear Stephen Krashen Monday night at the end of the Fluency Fast classes then check it out on their Facebook page HERE. (you will have to scroll down a bit, there are two parts, but it is SO GOOD!!)

Leslie Davison told us at the end of the conference, “When you go back to your classroom, the only teacher that you have to compare yourself to is YOU before Chattanooga.” I am not those rockstars that I observed. I am not the awesome teacher down the hall. I am not the calm and quiet teacher that has kids doing amazing things without all the noise. I  am loud, dramatic, and goofy. I don’t plan out my lessons 3 weeks in advance like that great teacher next door. I am me. I want to be the best me. And I want to tell myself the same thing that I want to tell the new students next year walking into my classes with no Spanish experience- “Don’t compare yourself to those around you. Compare yourself to who YOU were yesterday, last week, or last year.”

Language Lab- Observations – Annabelle Allen (iFLT 2016)

Elementary Spanish – Annabelle Allen

Classroom environment and technology

DOCERI (technology to project from iPad and laptop at same time)

Deck less- turn and use your seat for a desk

Pre-planning- general order of a unit

  • 2/3 target structures
  • establishing- TPR, photos, PQA
  • Story
  • Reading
  • Alternative reading using same structures
  • Writing


Student draws the story instead of actors (novelty)- checking with them and whispering to them in english if needed- then student shows drawing to review the story

Designated sounds to certain kids. One kid always cries. One always does the car sounds etc. (**Jason Fritz idea-“try-outs” during TPR to see which kid does the sound well)

When asking a question- Ask questions and say ESPAÑOL ESPAÑOL ESPAÑOL (pointing to your brain to remind them to respond in español) then ask question again

Using current culture in story to engage students Example- Pokemon Go – la pelota de Pokemon

Tell in present tense and review in past but with the same pictures. (only list the structures with translation to prompt oral review, not the whole narrative)

Slides of places for the characters to go in story- use local location pictures

Slides- use .gif for action then have students mimic

lots of brain breaks (see below)

“va a”- use the maps to ask where the character goes

Use KIDDLE to google information during a story to show kids real pictures. (It is a kid friendly Google search)


Reading chorally- using laser pointer to read together. when you get to a word you want to focus on then repeat them over and over. El gato tiene…el gato tiene…

Sentence strips- “Carlos” messed up our story and now we have to put it in order again with a partner- (drops the sentence strips “accidentally”) Change a detail and then in review you ask about the change.

Comprehension Checks- Example: Teacher says “¿Cómo se dice ‘tiene’ en ingles? 1,2,3” Students say  – he or she has (with gesture) The counting allows for think time for students.

Classroom Management

  • REGLAS (15 minute explanation/discussion on the first day in English but review other days in Spanish) Talk about processing speeds, you make mistakes and I make mistakes
  • Story-asking- Freeze, no audience interruptions
  • If you have a funny slide then pause to laugh at first then move on to the language
  • Spend the time training your kids
  • Training- build community letting them know it is safe, run off of relationships (know their stuff)
    • Told them about me
  • Picking groups- “Without words put yourself in a line in order of birthday month” Students use fingers then go down the line to check in Spanish. Then pair up the students by 2s down the line
  • On-going tally PUNTOS for good response to directions. Class vs. Teacher (puntos)- then change – points don’t really count for anything
    • Speaking Spanish (points to students)
    • Speaking English (points to teacher)
    • Not responding to questions or call & response (points to teacher)
    • Following her directions correctly (points to students)
  • Change up your classroom management point system to create novelty (, Puntos etc.)

FRASES de Annabelle

  • Teacher “pero”- students -“buuuut”
  • 30% of Spanish is cognados
  • “se me olvidó” – I forgot
  • Gestures- tiene (cross body) tenía (cross body then thumb back to indicate past)
  • Teacher – Yo Yo Yo when the verb ends in O it means “yo” What does Yo mean? Students – I, I,  I
  • “Se sienta normal” (desk less)
  • “¿en serio?” – Really?
  • “I need 100% for a class response.”
  • Primero (writes “1st”) Segundo (writes “2nd”)

Brain Breaks 

  • Follow the leader dancing to a song clip (starts class with a dance)
  • Evolution Rock Paper Scissors (egg, chicken, dragon) 1, 2, 3, DALE- when a dragon beats a dragon then that student wins (María ganó)
  • MIX- They dance around to song and then do Rock paper scissors with the person next to them when the music stops
  • Rock Paper Scissors- if you lose then you go behind the winner and create a “conga line” as the winner finds someone else. If they win again the other person’s “chain” joins them until there are only 2 lines. Winner of that wins or pays the teacher.
  • TPR- (in 3rd person) OR “Simon dice”

There is a revenge video – Check out the YouTube channel

Establishing Meaning

Project structure with translation on screen for whole class, student draws on her iPad and class tries to guess (“QUIERE-WANTS” students draws a dog.) Then PQA around the picture. Erase the picture on iPad and have another student draw something else using the same structure.

Cheat Sheet (vocabulary sheet) Name in Spanish for the word “cheat sheet” from certain region (POP-UP Culture)-

  • Dictionary page with the structure and English translation. Then at the bottom students add a picture and out-of-bounds vocabulary from the board. They can only add 3/4 of the words from the board.


¿Cuántos?- Ask students to come up and have students show on hand then bring up to front to cover


Practice OUTPUT (Not to introduce vocabulary)  – Yo quiero ______ . Practice saying. Each student gets a card with an animal. Practice again. Ball up and snowball fight when you hear music. Pick one up and find a partner. Say the phrase (Yo quiero ______), high-five then wait for music to snowball fight again. Rinse and Repeat.

Little POMPOM game- Student throws pompoms into the cup their partner is holding for each Spanish phrase (starting with the same structure). Example: “Yo quiero un carro. throw pompom Yo quiero un perro. throw pompom” with language that they have heard and understand MULTIPLE TIMES. (not new language) **My idea- Maybe groups of three- 2 students throw to the other holding the cup but they have to agree before they throw saying the nosotros form. Example “Queremos un perro”

After story listening/writing the story in simple sentences with drawings- “Do I care about your spelling??” NO NO NO

  • Students write the sentence as the teacher says the sentence of the story multiple times. Then the teacher writes it on board so kids can check their work. Then on to the next sentence of the story. (There is a box next to or above the sentence for students to draw the sentence)
  • GREAT opportunities for pop-up grammar

TRUE/FALSE quiz “This quiz is for me not for you. It is to see how well I did today.”

  • Teacher says Spanish sentence from the story. Students write if it is true or false.



(All her activities up till now were about Mickey.)

VERY SIMPLE SENTENCES – corre rápidamente, llevan/tienen ropa rojo, ¡Qué chistoso!

Ask questions: ¿Es un animal pequeño? Es un ____ toro (draws a picture on the board with Spanish word)

¿Al toro le gusta rojo?

Stopped and paused for the first 3 minutes then just let the video run.

Reading activities for the cultural parts of the video- La Tomatina, Running of the Bulls


Kids said about Annabelle Allen “You are much more fun” “Exciting” “You are the best teacher of my life” “It is different because you have energy” “Best teacher in the universe” “You are funny””We don’t fall asleep because you aren’t boring” “You have happiness in your voice” “There was a lot more Spanish than English” “We do a lot more acting” “They (stories) are fun to act out”

**Check out Annabelle’s blog- She is planning to post her resources from this week on her blog.

If you see any typos, feel free to email me. Typed up quickly.


MovieTalk Magic w/ Carol Gaab iFLT 2016

What is MovieTalk?

***MOVIETALK is NOT A TEXTBOOK. It is a PROP to interact with students ***

NOT – narration and paraphrasing

YES- Focusing on high-frequency structures and ask questions to clarify what is happening, DISCUSSION

Why are you using a video in class?? 

To engage students with comprehensible input, to provide mental representations for the target structures, platform to interact with students, something to talk to them about in the target language

TIP #1 Don’t pick random videos, match your kids or your culture PLAN IT OUT

  • Can you understand the video without the dialogue? Don’t pick a video that you can’t know what is going to happen if you can’t understand the dialogue
  • Pick a video that is short and minimal dialogue/words – You have more freedom to pick the words you want.
  • We shouldn’t be doing the same kind of videos (keep it novel)
  • NOVICE- commercials, movie trailers, Mr. Bean, just for laughs/prank shows (Just for Laughs on Youtube)
  • INTERMEDIATE- extend the length as you go up in proficiency level: movie shorts, news reports, interview speech, dialogue driven plot

TIP #2 TAKE THE FOCUS OFF THE VIDEO- You are only going to get so much of the MovieTalk in the actual video so front load with pre-viewing activities (PQA and discussion)

BEFORE viewing:

  • Students make predictions on the image of the video- What is it? Where are they? Who are they? What are they doing? Why?
  • PQA of those predictions (voting on opinions)
    • Start with the image and branch out from there
    • When you hit a dead end then go back to the image and pick up something else
    • Get to your out-of-bounds vocabulary in this discussion and go ahead and post it on the wall
    • Get repetitions of core structures BEFORE so they are comfortable when you go through the video
  • ACTIVITY- Have screenshots and kids make predictions of the order. What is going on? Students talk to a partner about what is happening. Class discussion- Which one goes first? What do you see? Do you have that? Come up here. What do you have? Show us!(PQA) DON’T TELL THEM THEY ARE RIGHT or WRONG- Create your own class story
  • Prolong the introduction for a long time to get the repetitions


  • You can keep it super simple (1 sentence per scene)
  • Watch the video in chucks over several days


  • Create the reading with the class
  • Read a narrative of the video with your target structure of one scene
  • Then go back to the video to watch again then ask questions that have the answers in the reading
  • Cloze passage

POST VIEWING- DISCUSSION based on language proficiency

  • Compare and Contrast your predictions to the video
  • List the emotions (basic recall)
  • Do people treat you differently as a rookie (compare and contrast)
  • What is the figurative and literal meaning of “Oh man!” (compare and contrast)
  • Describe a time it happened to you (create)

POST VIEWING- WRITING (not novice learners)

  • modified cloze passage – instead of a word put in a phrase
  • Sequence Prompts. Start the sentence and they fill in the blanks.
  • Screenshots
  • Prompts to write about a simular situations you have had, and then SHARE

Have a kid that saw the video already?? Then their challenge is to convince the class that it is a different story.


  • Write out transcription and have students read it. (Circle, PQA, compare, act out)
  • Make your own predictions of the video based ONLY on the transcript in class then compare and contrast to the real video

**Carol tied this video to hostage situations around the world (PRE-VIEWING)

Narrow-listening hypothesis (Dr. Stephen Krashen)- video driven not just audio listening

  • Listening along a similar NARROW topic with similar vocabulary
  • Listeners can listen as many times as they want

VIDEO FOR USELESS TRVIA (that uses your target structures)

  • Pre-viewing ACTIVITY – Reading on Cheetah (transcript of commercial) – How fast can a Cheetah run?
  • Reading ACTIVITY- Highlight words in transcript then have a word back of synonyms . They have to replace the highlighted word for the synonym.
  • Reading ACTIVITY- Give the brief main idea of each paragraph/section and then students match the paragraph with the brief description.


CONTENT-BASED / INFORMATIONAL VIDEOS – content videos (lots of dialogue)

  • LOWER levels-
    • mute and discuss
    • write out transcript and create narrative (SIMPLIFY)
    • unmute watch & listen as you read
    • listen repeatedly until you understand (put it in a station so they can independently as many as they want)

** STATIONS- reading the transcripts from previous videos, listening as much as they want

A-Z READING– site with fiction and NON-FICTION simplified readings

PRE-VIEWING- pre-load vocabulary so you don’t have to stop the video as much or at all

  • PQA with narrow vocabulary (Do you work out? Do you work out in the morning?)
  • Read some informational text first
  • Ask the questions about a screenshot
  • ACTIVITY- Possible or Probable- set of statements and partner then class discussion to decide if a statement is possible or probable
  • Tie the NARROW vocabulary to their context (baseball players want to know the word “lead”)
  • QUIZ- using a website like Kahoot/Photo Peach to create a quiz within the video


  • Students have access to the video to LISTEN as MUCH AS THEY WANT and fill out a “quiz” online quiz reporting (add in high-order thinking and/or new reading)
  • ACTIVITY- Find 3 imposters (simplified)- Write up a text of the video but replace the important words/concepts with false information and students have to find the wrong information.
  • NOVELTY- PLAYPOSIT – website that has the video and a quiz next to it. (FREE) Video won’t continue unless you answer the question.

***BEST ADVICE EVER- Don’t tell them it is a VIDEO!***

Once you play the video it’s THE END- Change it up and ask the questions first  (FRONT LOAD the discussion)


** All these videos were with Carol’s baseball players in mind. (Endurance, Speed, Hostage situations in their countries, Dealing with the disappointment when people are not excited to meet you when they realize you are not the All-Star)


  • Novice’s look at a small chunk of the speech that can be broken down to comprehensible containing target vocabulary
  • ACTIVITIES in stations- newspaper articles about racial discrimanation, readings on important people, listening to videos about other famous people who dealt with discrimanation (Felipe Alou, Jackie Robinson etc.)


If you found errors in these notes then feel free to email/message me. It was typed during the session and quickly. 🙂






iFLT 2016- Kristy Placido’s Hands-On Input

DAY 3- Kristy Placido’s session on Hand-On input

Comprehensible Input needs to be novel, unexpected, social, and thought-provoking.

  • Twitter/Blogs/Facebook = Profesional Development
  • Listening for the Lull- When you have kids talking to each other, they will do your task and then there is a LULL, a decrease in volume, where they switch to more off-task conversation and the volume goes up. Catch them at the lull.
  • The Clipboard Accountability- Walk around with a clipboard and kids think you are taking notes on their participation but really you are just walking around holding a clipboard. *Or you are taking notes on their participation
  • Role of Output- It is good for assessment, good for confidence builders. Output is not creating new language.
  • Why do students need to feel good in class? to feel safe and to have a chance to have successes, be shown their progress, to feel honored, positive place to be their developmental selves, physical comfort
  • It is only input if they are engaged.
  • Music is not always comprehensible input, but songs are compelling, and students connect emotionally to the language.
  • The more compelling something is the more you can use a source that is not completely comprehensible.


GAMES/ACTIVITIES to get your kids up and moving or to create novelty

  • Hula Hoop (credit to Carrie Toth) Venn Diagram– overlap two hula hoops, then sentence trips with facts about text/story, comprehensible input= reading facts about the text/story
  • Sentence strips– Sequencing song lyrics/story, *Label the sentence strips with a letter that will be a secret message. It makes for easy checking for teachers, and a little nugget of novelty for students.
  • Padre Antonio Song- Each student gets a small card with a line from a song. Students illustrate the lyrics on their card before listening to song. Students then put their cards in order as they listen.
  • Timeline- Create a timeline of a novel/story. Students have parts of the timeline and place on a large bulletin board paper from the big roll of paper.
  • Sorting & Matching- A pair/group receive a paper with text on one side and a blank space on the other. Students draw a picture to represent each text. Then they cut it all out separating and shuffling the text and pictures. Pairs/groups switch tables to match the other pairs/groups pieces and possibly put it in order.
  • Cloze activities- Story/song/text- Make a large font of your text with missing words. Make cards of the missing text. Students cut that out and place the cards in the large copy of text.
  • Gallery Walk- Students walk around to gather information for another activity- pre teaching culture- map with questions, small text/article for students to read and answer questions, photo and students add commentary.
  • Inside-Outside Circle/Cut the line- True/False questions, Fill in blank, Which came first?, short answers. Each students gets one question and they move around the circle or down the line to share and answer each other’s questions. *Have students switch cards when they are done so they see lots of different cards.
  • Four Corners- Make a sign for different opinions or feelings then students go stand next to their reaction to a question. *True/False/Falta información *I agree/I disagree *voting on the ending of the story
  • Numbered Heads Together- Using whiteboards/markers Groups of 3/4 students. Each member gets a number 1-4 and a white board and marker. Use questions about a text of information or story. Teacher reads the question. Students work together to get the right answer and write on their individual board. The teacher then calls out a number, and that team member raises their answer. Groups get points for correct answers. *You can give a silent time at the beginning for students to have think time independently to search a text or just think.
  • Paper Dolls- (credit to Cynthia Hitz– Students are in pairs and small groups. Students get paper dolls of characters and/or a location or map. As the teacher reads the chapter students manipulate the characters to different places or to interact with other characters.
  • Game of life- Make game pieces of the characters (front and back if you need a second version of the same character) to manipulate.

El Bebé Malo

If you teach elementary, middle, high school, adults, or any other group then you need EL BEBÉ MALO!!

I first heard this from Jason Fritz – El Bebé Malo in NTPRS in Chicago.

He adapted it from Jalen Waltman (Waltmania) and the story is apart of her book

Level 1 Spanish for middle school- Spanish 1A & 1B 2005 Version


camina– s/he walks

corre- s/he run

ve- s/he sees

My kids LOVE this!!!

I use it in 4th grade as a part of the Storytelling Unit #2: El encierro de toros from Martina Bex’s curriculum.