Lesson Plan Version 4.0: Networked Learning Revision



I am furthering my revisions to improve upon the “ser” lesson plan by looking to add personal and professional learning networks and connect to others.  In this lesson, Spanish 1 students have to find the conjugations of “ser” (to be) by reading through a story that uses all the conjugations.  This is a very inquiry-based activity, since students need to use prior knowledge and patterns to find the conjugations. Since this lesson takes place during the first month of school, it is important that students learn what patterns or strategies they used to find these conjugations in order to apply the useful techniques to similar activities throughout the year. After the students made educated guesses about the conjugations and we take formal notes as a class, the students will begin to use these conjugations in sentences.  I have made many revisions to this lesson plan by adding in more technology and adding more accommodations or options for students, so it is becoming a strong and useful activity.  However, this lesson is contained to my Spanish classroom.  During this post, I will explore the ways I can connect this lesson to people and content areas outside my class specifically by using personal and professional learning networks.

First, I have to understand what a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and how I can use the networks available to me. According to Nussbaum-Beach (2013), “Personal learning networks (PLNs) are a reciprocal learning system in which educators participate by sharing with and then learning from others.” Teachers have always been collaborating with other teachers in their department, school, or district, but now more and more educators are sharing with other teachers around the country and world through online networks. “Today’s electronic social media tools allow for far greater and swifter access to people and resources than was previously possible” (Lenox & Coleman, 2010, p.17). Here is a diagram that illustrates all the possible networks available to teachers and students, which includes blogs, social networks, colleagues, communities, conferences, and more. My original lesson does not include any PLN outside of our immediate classroom.  I have thought of specific ways I can expand this lesson to incorporate other networks.

While thinking about my PLN and my lesson with “ser,” I knew there were some things I could change to enhance this lesson.  First, I thought of what I can do to connect to other teachers.  Recently, I have joined the Twitter world.  Since I wrote this simple story that uses the conjugations of “ser,” I can tweet out the story and a summary of the lesson.  This might reach other teachers who want to do an inquiry-based grammar lesson but do not have the time to write their own story or do not know how to use it.  Secondly, I can work with the English Language Arts teachers at my school. We can collaborate so that students know what a ‘conjugation’ is in English.  This way, students can positively transfer this information to Spanish.  Many Spanish 1 students do not realize what a conjugation is in English because native English speakers rarely think about verbs that way.  This collaboration would also allow students to make connections between the two content areas, which can help them to succeed in both classes.

I also thought about how I can add in PLNs for students to get them accustomed to reaching out to people.  Since this is the first of many inquiry-based grammar lessons, I think it would be interesting to have students keep a blog.  This is a blog that they could update throughout the year.  I would ask them to blog about the strategies they used to find the conjugations of “ser.”  I would want them not to be afraid to mention if they tried something and it did not work.  Students would reflect on what they thought was frustrating and what came easily for them. By doing this, I hope other students could read their blog posts and realize that they are not the only student who found something frustrating or found something that worked well.  In addition, they could read strategies that other students used that they might not have though of. I could have students add a new post when we do a new activity. (This would also be a great indication for me for how an activity went!) Then, at the end of the year, students can reflect on all their blog posts and see their growth throughout the year.  I would also tweet about this blog process with my students in hopes that other teachers would do the same thing so my students could read about the learning processes of other students around the state or country.

With these changes, students and I can become more connected within our PLN.  We will reach out to people who are in similar situations that we are and build relationships that we can learn from.



Lenox, M., & Coleman, M. (2010). Using social networks to create powerful learning communities. Computers in Libraries, 30(7), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/749790200?accountid=12598

Nussbaum-Beach, S. (2013). Just the facts: Personal learning networks. Educational Horizons, 91(2), 26-27. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1347459216?accountid=12598



Networked Learning Project Post #1: Learning to use Canvas


Starting in the fall of 2014, my district is using the online learning management system Canvas after switching from Blackboard LEARN. Last year I took the “I’ll learn LEARN as I use it!” approach, which was not the best plan.  I ended up not using the website to its potential because I found it frustrating to learn on the go. Now, with a new management system, I do not want to make this same mistake. Over the next four weeks, I am going to learn how to set up and use the Canvas classroom website.   Now, I want to take the time to set up and organize the Canvas classroom. Specifically, I want to learn to set up discussion boards, upload documents, grade students’  uploaded documents, embed pictures and videos, create assessments, and incorporate any other helpful tools.

Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 3.36.33 PMTo do thiScreen Shot 2014-06-27 at 3.35.29 PMs, I will learn how to set up my Canvas classroom solely from YouTube and the Canvas community help forums. I also have some tutorials available on the Canvas website. I imagine the YouTube videos will be especially helpful since I am a visual learner and absorb more from watching and doing.

I am excited to learn from teachers who have already made a Canvas course and know the best ways to engage students.  The YouTube videos and help forum will be great to see how actual teachers use their Canvas account.  In addition, I can take what I have learned of Canvas through these learning networks and teach other teachers at my school the helpful ways to use Canvas. I will also tweet about my findings to help those who also use Canvas.

Lesson Plan 3.0: UDL Revision

What is the lesson I’m revising?

I am improving on a lesson plan I use to teach Spanish 1 students the verb “ser” (to be).  This is done during the fourth or fifth week of school. I want to expose students to this verb early because it is a complicated verb since all of its conjugations are irregular.  This is an inquiry based lesson, where students have to read a short story in Spanish to see patterns in the verb conjugations.  They will use their prior knowledge of conjugations, subject pronouns, and cognates to help them highlight these patterns. Since my school is one-to-one with computers, students will open the story in a Google Doc.  Then, they will highlight, underline, bold, or color code the patterns they see between the subject pronouns and the conjugations.  They will also write a few comments off to the side of the document to show their thinking process in making these patterns and conclusions.  Finally, they will share the Google Doc with me, so I have a better idea of their thinking process.  After they have had sufficient time to make educated guesses about the conjugations of “ser,” we will take formal notes as a class.  To wrap up and practice using these conjugations, students will engage with an online questions/response tool: http://www.socrative.com.  On this website, I have uploaded pictures of celebrities.  Students will have to type individually on their computers a sentence or two to describe these celebrities using the very “ser” (to be).  All their responses will pop up anonymously onto the board from the projector. From there, I can do a quick formative assessment of how the class is understanding these conjugations. I will discuss the responses further with the class and see any common errors or misconceptions.  At the end of the day, I can download a report that has each student’s name and responses so I can check in with a student who seems to be struggling with these conjugations.

So, how can I improve on this lesson? 

“Students in today’s classrooms present a wide mix of abilities and learning needs, e.g. differing degrees of readiness and background knowledge, varied educational and cultural experiences, differing rates of skill acquisition (either gifted or special needs), and broad diversity in the ability to maximize learning through traditional educational methods and materials” (CAST, 2009).  Knowing that there are many different types of learners in the classroom, I need to change my lesson plan to accommodate all types of learning. Specifically, I am looking to improve my lesson to help ADHD students engage with the material and stay on task. “Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity,” and I need to find a way to grab these students’ attention and focus their hyperactivity on learning (Harlacher, Roberts, & Merrell, 2006, p. 6). I have read about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines to help me reflect on my lesson and see areas where I can improve.  As Rose & Gravel (2011) suggest, “The UDL Guidelines, an articulation of the UDL framework, can assist anyone who plans lessons/units of study or develops curricula (goals, methods, materials, and assessments) to reduce barriers, as well as optimize levels of challenge and support, to meet the needs of all learners from the start.” I will focus on the three main guidelines of the UDL structure: Provide multiple means of representation, Provide multiple means for action and expression, and Provide multiple means for engagement.

Provide Multiple Means of Representation:

First, I started looking at my directions of the lesson.  This is an easy spot where I can add in an auditory piece to offer alternatives for auditory and visual learners.  On the learning management website my school uses, I can put the directions in text as well as record my voice reading the directions aloud.  This will help students who have trouble focusing on the written material. CAST (2011) explains, “Learning, and transfer of learning, occurs when multiple representations are used, because it allows students to make connections within, as well as between, concepts.”  Furthermore, in the directions, I can provide options for language help by clarifying vocabulary so students can transfer prior knowledge between the two.  Since “conjugations” is not a word or concept we think about a lot in English, I can provide a link right in my directions to a document that reminds students what a conjugation is and how we write a conjugation chart in Spanish.  Similarly, I can clarify syntax and structure by reminding students of sentence structure in English and how they can positively transfer this idea to Spanish.  By clarifying the directions and adding helpful hints, students with ADHD know exactly what I am expecting and narrow their attention to those tasks rather than looking through their notes or getting distracted because they do not know the definition of “conjugation.” Finally, my lesson plan already has the suggestion to highlight patterns, critical ideas, and relationships as the UDL guidelines suggest.  Students need to highlight or color code on their own, and they have the choice of what method they want to use to show these relationships.  For students with ADHD, I could model this process for them and suggest using different colors to represent different patterns.  Colors “attract attention, categories, distinguishes objects, and help organization” (Fowler, 2010, p. 50). That way, students can self-monitor their patterns and learn to do this on other assignments as well.

Provide Multiple Means for Action and Expression:

Students are using Google Docs for a large part of this lesson.  I give students the option to work with their seat partner or alone to find these patterns in the language and the conjugations of “ser.” I also asked students to add comments on the document so I can see their thought process.  Students with ADHD, might find writing these comments distracting or difficult to switch from reading to writing.  Therefore, I am changing my lesson plan to give students the option to use a speech-to-text tool (many computers have this as a built-in feature now or they can use http://www.talktyper.com). “Instructional choice is associated with increased academic engagement and decreased behavioral problems” (Harlacher, Roberts, & Merrell, 2006, p. 9).  Having the option of writing out the comments or talking through their thought process using a speech-to-text tool, students with ADHD may be more focused and engaged with the activity of finding the patterns and the conjugations of “ser.” Additionally, I can help ADHD students set goals for themselves and monitor their progress. Executive functions are capabilities that “allow humans to overcome impulsive, short-term reactions to their environment and instead to set long-term goals, plan effective strategies for reaching those goals, monitor their progress, and modify strategies as needed” (CAST, 2011). Looking at my lesson plan, this is a strategy I can implement to help all of my students.  In the directions, I can have students set a goal for themselves for how they will look for patterns and then how well they will be able to write sentences using the conjugations of “ser”. At the end of the activity, I will have all students see if they reached their goal and have them comment on how well their patterns and strategies worked. This may help ADHD students focus and realize what strategies to use in the future.  Similarly, I will suggest that ADHD students use a resource like www.rescuetime.com, where students can see how they budget their time.  This website will tell users how much time they spend doing work, looking at email, playing games, etc.  This may help students visualize how they use their time and what changes they can make to be a better student.  Fowler (2010) also suggests using self monitoring strategies such as tracking time and using timers to help improve students’ performance.


Provide Multiple Means of Engagement:

“There is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential” (CAST, 2011). Within this lesson, I have pieces for individual choice and autonomy.  I allow students to choose to work alone or with a partner to foster collaboration and community.  I also give students enough time to think through their patterns of “ser” and do not rush them into a conclusion.  Finally, during the wrap-up activity on http://www.socrative.com, students need to interact with the website, which is fun for them.  Fowler agrees that interactive lessons with games or digital media can grab and keep the attention of ADHD students (Fowler, 2010). Finally, on the Google Doc that students used to highlight patterns in the conjugations of “ser” and added comments to explain their thinking process, I can give mastery-oriented feedback. I can give positive feedback as well as suggestions to help students in the future. For students with ADHD, positive feedback can be very beneficial. “Positive feedback helps them stay on the appropriate behavioral path and serves as a key performance motivator” (Fowler, 2010, p. 48). All students can benefit from positive feedback, but making a special effort to compliment ADHD students may help them repeat these good behaviors in the future.  Overall, this whole lesson gives many areas for engagement.  I have broken the class period into chunks – warm-up, inquiry-based reading to find the conjugations of “ser,” a whole class discussion about these conjugations, and a practice piece by using “ser” to describe celebrities on http://www.socrative.com. Since there are many different activities in one class period, students will be engaged as we change quickly enough that they will not get too bored.


UDL Guidelines and the Whole Class:

Although I have revised this activity for students with ADHD, these revisions are helpful for all students in the classroom.  Universal Design for Learning is inclusive of ALL students.  Differentiation and engagement strategies will help every student in the class.



CAST UDL Online Modules. (2009). The challenge: learner diversity. Retrieved from http://udlonline.cast.org/page/module1/l134/

CAST (2011). Guidelines examples. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/udlguidelinesexamples/home/

Fowler, M. (2010). Increasing on-task performance for students with ADHD. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 76(2), 44-50. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/815957396?accountid=12598

Harlacher, J. E., Roberts, N. E., & Merrell, K. W. (2006). Classwide Interventions for Students With ADHD: A Summary of Teacher Options Beneficial for the Whole Class. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39(2), 6-12.

Rose, D.H. & Gravel, J. (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (V.2.0).Wakefield, MA: CAST.org. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines

Lesson Plan 2.0: TPACK Revision

After reading more about TPACK (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge), my original lesson can be improved.  In this lesson, Spanish 1 students are introduced to the verb “ser” (to be) during the fifth week of the course.  This verb is difficult to learn since all of its conjugations are irregular.  Students will use their prior knowledge of subject pronouns and cognates (words that look or sound the same in English and Spanish) to read a paragraph in Spanish that uses all the conjugations of “ser.”  Since my school is one-to-one with computers, I make the document with the story available online.  Students download the document and mark it using Microsoft Word however they want to find patterns between the subject pronouns and the conjugations of “ser.”  After they have had sufficient time to see the patterns and make an educated guess about the conjugations, we discuss the conjugation chart and take formal notes as a class. At the end of class or during the next class, students write sentences in Spanish to describe celebrities using the verb “ser” in its correct form. At the end of the lesson, students should be able to correctly identify and use the conjugations of “ser.”

Currently, the technology used in this lesson is Microsoft Word on each student’s computer to read the paragraph and make patterns visible. Since every “technology has affordances and constraints, potentials and problems that we as educators need to understand before we can start using them for pedagogical purposes,” I must reflect to see if Microsoft Word is the best technology to use in this situation (Mishra & Koehler, 2009, p. 15). First, this lesson allows students to use inquiry to find common patterns.  The technology, Microsoft Word, allows students to color code, underline, highlight, or circle the text to make their patterns stand out.  This technology can be considered sufficient because students will use their patterns and prior knowledge to acquire the content: the conjugations of the verb “ser.”  However, I think I can make a slight change to give me more feedback as a teacher.  I could change the lesson so students read the paragraph and color code, underline, highlight, or circle the text to make their patterns visible in a Google Doc.  This way, I can see their patterns as well.  Also, I could have students add in comment boxes on the Google Doc to explain their reasoning behind the pattern they made.  This way, their thought process becomes more visible to me, and I can change my teaching methods based off of their common errors or misconceptions.  This lesson is very inquiry based, where students find patterns using their prior knowledge and transfer from English, but it helps me to see how students got to their conclusions.

After I lead a whole-class discussion about the patterns the students made and take formal notes as a class, students begin to use these conjugations.  In the original lesson, I made a PowerPoint and had students write a few sentences on a scrap piece of paper to describe the celebrity or celebrities using the verb “ser.” Then, they shared aloud as a class.  Again, I think this activity can be updated with technology.  As Mishra & Koehler (2009) suggest, “Teachers need to develop a willingness to play with technologies and an openness to building new experiences for students so that fun, cool, tools can be educational.”  The website “www.socrative.com” can take this lesson a step further while adding more fun thus engaging students.  Students individually log onto the website from their computers and then see the pictures of the celebrities they need to describe.  Again, students will simply write a sentence or two to describe the celebrity or celebrities using a conjugation of “ser.”  This time, however, their sentences will show up anonymously  in real-time on the board.  Students enjoy seeing their answer and it encourages students to be more creative with their sentence because their peers will see it.  Also, I will get quick feedback to see if students are understanding the content and are using “ser” correctly.  At the end of the activity, I will receive a spreadsheet from the website that details each student and his/her responses. That way, I get an “exit ticket” of sorts to see who is understanding the content well and who needs more help.

Overall, I need students to walk out of class after this lesson and have a good grasp of the verb “ser” and its conjugations.  Google Docs and Socrative are resources I can implement into this lesson to make the students’ thought processes more visible to me and to give me more feedback on whether they understand “ser” or not. These technologies still give students the freedom to explore and question the Spanish language to find patterns in the language and the conjugations as well as use the language creatively to write sentences about celebrities.



Original Lesson Plan

Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, tooLearning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.

TPACK and Whipped Cream



Technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) incorporates teacher’s knowledge of the content area, how to teach that content, and which technologies to use to support that teaching method to result in learning. As Mishra and Koehler (2009) explain, “Teaching requires the transformation of content in ways that make it intellectually accessible to students” (p. 15). Technology provides this accessibility of the content to students as it can be interactive and engaging.  For these students, technology can be an excellent tool for students to understand, learn about the content, and explore further.

Today in class, my partner Chris and I were given the simple task to create whipped cream. Sounds easy, right?  Well not so simple when all we had to work with was a small bowl and a rubber spatula/spoon.  First, Chris and I poured all the cream into the bowl, which we quickly realized was too small for all the liquid.  After pouring some back into the container, I began to stir the liquid rapidly in the bowl for a few minutes.  The cream started to foam a little bit, but no major transformation took place.  Chris began to shake the remaining liquid in the carton.  We both continued our jobs for a few minutes.  My liquid was slowly thickening, and it seemed like it would be hours of stirring before I had real whipped cream.  During this same time, Chris shook the carton continuously.  In no time, he poured out beautiful, fluffy whipped cream onto the plate.  I couldn’t believe he had made whipped cream already!  We quickly realized that although I was using the technology made available (the rubber spatula and bowl), the carton proved to be more efficent and useful way to get to the end goal: whipped cream.

This situation resonated with me, as I currently teach at a school where a lot of technology is made available for student and classroom use.  This forces me to think about how technology will aid students’ learning, or what changes I need to make to my teaching methods and the available technology to result in student growth. “The idea of creative repurposing is important because most technologies that teachers use typically have not been designed for educational purposes” (Mishra & Koehler, 2009, p. 16). A rubber spatula/spoon and a small bowl were not designed to specifically whip cream.  I redesigned the rubber spatula/spoon to turn rapidly like a beater, which is not its intended purpose.  Furthermore, this technology of beating the cream with the rubber spoon may have gotten the job done, but with more time than the “non-technology” route of shaking the container the cream was packaged in.  In a similar sense, when redesigning technology for the classroom, I need to make sure it aligns well with both my pedagogy and the content being taught.  If the technology will slow down the learning process or make the learning more frustrating for the student, I need to redesign that technology or use a different technology.  I should not use technology for the sake of using technology.  Chris did not use the intended technology and ended up with the whipped cream.

In addition, I need to focus on which technologies I should use to teach specific content.  If we had a whisk or a hand mixer made available to Chris and me, we could have whipped the cream much faster and easier.   “Each technology has affordances and constraints, potentials and problems that we as educators need to understand before we can start using them for pedagogical purposes” (Mishra & Koehler, 2009, p. 15).  Before I bring new technology into the classroom, I need to play with it to assess whether it will be helpful or problematic to acquisition of content.  Will technology be too confusing? Will it make the process of learning faster or slower?  Will it help students engage with the material? Will it be frustrating to use and learn? I must consider all these questions before introducing or even reconstructing technology for the classroom. Using a rubber spatula/spoon and a small bowl was somewhat problematic, as it slowed down the process of making whipped cream more than using a hand mixer would have.  In my classroom, I need to look over these situations and think whether my teaching would be improved by giving my students the hypothetical “rubber spoon” or the “electronic hand mixer” as their technology.



Mishra, P. & Koehler. M. J. (2009). Too cool for school? No way! Using the TPACK framework: You can have your hot tools and teach with them, tooLearning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.


Lesson Plan: Version 1.0

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“Ser” (to be) is a very common, but challenging, verb in Spanish, and many Spanish 1 students tend to forget its conjugations since they are irregular (and a bit tricky!).  Therefore, I prefer to introduce this verb at the verb beginning of the year – just after learning the basics. They know subject pronouns (I, you, he/she, we, they), how to introduce themselves (say name, where they are from, how they are doing), and the concept of “cognates,” which are words that sound or look the same in English and Spanish.

When the day comes in late September to introduce “ser,” I first have students engage in a short conversation with a partner to remind them that they already know some conjugations of “ser,” although they might not be aware of it (“I am from Michigan,” “He is Ryan”).  In each pair, the students alternate asking each other for their name and where they are from.  Then, I give students a paragraph about Ellen Degeneres and her famous friends.  Students are able to use their prior knowledge of subject pronouns and cognates to understand the paragraph.  Also, students will recognize the conjugation “Yo soy” (I am) in the first couple of sentences and apply that knowledge to the other subjects to read through the story to find the conjugations of “ser.” Finally, students fill out a conjugation chart for the verb “ser” based off the patterns they noticed in the short story.  When they are finished making conclusions, I start a discussion about the patterns the students observed, and we fill out formal notes as a whole class. We also discuss when to use “ser” and how adjectives change with gender and number in Spanish.

To put their new knowledge of “ser” conjugations to use, I have a PowerPoint with celebrity pictures.  For each picture, students write a sentence describing where the celeb is from and another sentence describing what the celebrity is like (physical description or personality). They write their sentences first before sharing them aloud with a partner.  During this time, I walk around to see and hear if students are using the correct conjugations.  This time gives me a good idea of who is understanding the conjugations and who needs extra help.


Lesson Plan

“Ser” Introduction with Ellen Story

Mystery Box – Presenting artifacts from Spanish-speaking countries with the help of MakeyMakey

photo 1

When planning a lesson, I always try to find that “hook” that will grab my students’ attention and engage them in the Spanish language and culture.  The Maker Movement provides great opportunities to “hook” all students and motivate them to learn more by incorporating technologies and putting them in charge of their learning. “By embracing the lessons of the Maker Movement, educators can revamp the best student-centered teaching practices to engage learners of all ages” (Martinez & Stager). Since students are at the center of their learning, they can customize their inquiries to their individual interests while using these maker kits and technologies as the tool for acquisition.

Today, I was able to play with different maker kits and discover new ways of learning!  As a Spanish teacher, the use of maker kits in my classroom has a less obvious application than a science classroom, for example.  Michelle Hagerman, however, responded to this thought when she shared a lesson for her English Language Arts class using maker kits. “This activity can support the integration of ideas across content areas and build problem solving skills” (2014). I realized that I can build on students’ prior knowledge of circuits to use this technology as a tool to present information acquired through an inquiry-based project about Spanish culture. With that thought, my team, consisting of a Social Studies teacher, an International Education specialist, and me, constructed a lesson plan that puts students at the center of their own learning while using the maker kits.

This lesson could be adapted for any subject area, but the focus of my lesson is to have students research and discover an important artifact from a Spanish-speaking county of their choosing.  Students will research, question, and use prior knowledge to become “experts” on this artifact that has an impact on the country (and ideally the world).  Students will then write ten facts or clues about the artifact and create a three minute presentation about the artifact’s origin, importance, and impact on the world. Finally, students will use the MakeyMakey kit and their prior knowledge of circuits to present their information to the class.  MakeyMakey allows students to attach their physical artifact (or representation) to the computer and the MakeyMakey kit, thus creating an electrical circuit between them where the artifact acts as the computer’s mouse. So, when the artifact is touched it is as if you clicked the mouse.  Students will place their artifact one-at-a-time in a box so that the rest of the class cannot see the object. Students will create a PowerPoint with their ten facts that will appear one-by-one with each click of the “mouse.” Finally, a student chosen randomly from the class, will come to the front, reach his or her hand in the box without looking at the object, feel the object,which will set off the “click” that will reveal one clue about the artifact. This process will continue until either all the facts have been revealed or the student correctly guesses the artifact. Then, the creator will give their presentation about his or her discoveries and artifact.

By allowing students the freedom to choose any Spanish-speaking country and any relevant artifact, I hope students find a personal connection and find the artifact important in their own life.  “Giving kids the opportunity to master what they love means they will love what they learn” (Martinez & Stager). If they are interested in what they discover, they will be more motivated to dig deeper and learn more.  As a teacher, I aim to act as the behind-the-scenes director of their learning.  It is more important for students to be at the center of their learning, as “the most important element of classroom making is allowing the students to have agency over their own creations” (Martinez & Stager). Finally, I like the idea that the students learn from one another when they present and guess the other artifacts.  This lets students see each other’s thought process of why an artifact is important and what implications that has on life today.  In addition, students will sharpen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills when they use prior knowledge to make educated guesses about the artifact from the clues given throughout the activity. The MakeyMakey kit adds that extra level of connections between content and provides that engaging “hook” for students.

Link to Mystery Box Lesson Plan


Hagerman, M. S. (2014, March 21). The Maker Movement and English Language Arts.The Maker Movement and English Language Arts. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.reading.org/reading-today/post/engage/2014/03/21/maker-movement-and-english-language-arts#.U5ieto1dVR5

Martinez, S. L., & StagerW, G. (n.d.). 8 Elements of a Good Maker Project. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.weareteachers.com/hot-topics/special-reports/how-the-maker-movement-is-transforming-education/8-elements-of-a-good-maker-project/

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (n.d.). Making Matters! How the Maker Movement Is Transforming Education. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.weareteachers.com/hot-topics/special-reports/how-the-maker-movement-is-transforming-education

One Sentence

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As cliche as it sounds, trip to Mexico City as a 16 year-old changed my life. For the first time, I was able to have a conversation completely in Spanish with a native speaker.  This moment ignited a love for Spanish culture, and with it, the Spanish language.  Before this moment, Spanish had just been a class I took consisting of vocabulary and grammar structures I memorized. In Mexico City, I saw the significance of learning another language and, more importantly, another culture. I decided then to continue studying Spanish and travel as often as possible.

Now, as a Spanish teacher, I have the opportunity to encourage and ignite students to feel this same passion towards Spanish culture.  I believe that if students get excited about the culture, they will be excited about the language.  I chose this picture more for the story behind it.  I took this picture on study abroad in Santander, Spain in 2010, just moments after Spain won the World Cup.  The emotions, love, and excitement of everyone in the country rang through the streets.  They have a cheer that I heard time and time again, “¡Yo soy Español, Español, Español!” (“I am Spanish, Spanish, Spanish!”) The Spaniards put their arm around me and declared that I, too, was Spanish.  I was immersed in their culture and chanted right along with the natives.

Although nothing can take the place of standing in a Spanish speaking country, technology can let students experience Spanish culture easier.  I hope to excited my students to use their technology to discover other cultures.