By the end of this revised lesson, Spanish 1 students should be able to identify and use the conjugations of “ser” (to be). This lesson has multiple activities and will take approximately two class periods to complete. Students will look for patterns in a Spanish story to find the conjugations of “ser,” take formal notes as a class, write sentences using “ser” to describe celebrities, and reflect on their thought processes and successes in a blog post. This lesson is inquiry-based, where students will use prior knowledge to find new conjugations before using them in creative ways. (See original lesson plan for reference.)
I have made several revisions of this lesson. First, I used the concepts discussed in the TPACK model to reevaluate how this lesson uses technology and if that use is effective. TPACK is the combination of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge to teach a specific concept. Teachers must know which technology is best to use with a specific teaching method so students learn new content. “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). After studying this framework, I decided to take full advantage of the capabilities in Google Docs. Now, students will open the story in the Google Doc and share it with me as they make patterns to find the conjugations of “ser”. They also make comments in the Google Doc while they are highlighting the patterns between subject pronouns and the conjugations of “ser” so I can see what connections they saw and why. Additionally, I decided to use the website www.socrative.com in the second activity. Students use their individual computers to submit a sentence to describe a celebrity. Students’ sentences will then appear on the board through the projector. I can see how well they understand the conjugations and their uses. This website adds a “game-like” detail that students enjoy. Google Docs and the secretive website are technologies with little constraints that provide me with valuable feedback so I can adjust my teaching.
Secondly, I thought about differentiating this lesson using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. The UDL guidelines are available to support teachers to provide options for students who have various abilities. “UDL is a framework for designing curriculum that addresses the diverse needs, strengths, backgrounds, and interests of students in today’s classrooms” (CAST, 2009). I looked at how I can improve my lesson to meet the various needs of students. During the first activity (finding patterns in conjugations in the story provided), I have added the option of using a speech-to-text tool for students who want to record their comments on the Google Doc instead of typing them. Since slow typers can get frustrated or distracted, they may choose to use an easy speech-to-text tool that will still let me see the students thought process without adding extra stress for students. Additionally, I have given students the option to record a video, audio message, written response, or speech-to-text tool to write their final reflection in their blog. This gives students a variety of options to show off what they have learned and what patterns they will use in the future (UDL Guidelines 5.1, 7.1, 9.3).
Finally, I tried to incorporate ways to get the students connected to other content areas and other people outside our classroom. Teachers and students need to develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN) to relate Spanish to other areas of their life. “Personal learning networks (PLNs) are a reciprocal learning system in which educators participate by sharing with and then learning from others” (Nussbaum-Beach, 2013). Before I begin this activity, I will work with the English Language Arts teacher to sync our lessons so students understand conjugations and syntax in both English and Spanish. Then, students will create a PLN too as they keep a blog throughout the year as a journal for their learning. The blogs will be shared throughout my classes and possibly with other Spanish classes around the country. During the final activity, students write a blog post to reflect on their thought process and success throughout the lesson. Since this is the first of many similar grammar activities, I want students to understand what worked for them or what they can improve on in future inquiry-based activities. They can do this blog post in many ways: a written paragraph, a speech-to-text tool, an audio recording, or a video recording. When they have finished their post, they must comment on a blog post or two of their peers in another class period. I want students to learn a technique they had not thought of, share a method they used that worked, or realize that they are not the only one who had a hard time.
Overall, this lesson assesses how well students understand and can use the conjugations of “ser.” The comments on the Google Doc and the final blog post will act as a formative assessment of how well students can find connections and patterns in the Spanish language on their own. This will affect how I teach grammar in the future or what critical thinking skills I need to polish with students before I assign another inquiry-based grammar activity. I gave students many options to complete these reflections, since I want to see students’ critical thinking skills, I do not care how they explain their reflection. Furthermore, I included the “game-like” feature of writing sentences on www.socrative.com. This will attract students who may not want to write their sentences on paper or are too self-conscious to share a sentence aloud with the class. By giving students these options and written variations in the blog post and on socrative, they may be more creative and interested. I realized that assessments do not always need to look the same for each student. As long as the student can show me what he/she is capable of, I will be able to formatively asses the class and evaluate if this lesson was successful or not.
As a professional, I will use these three frameworks (TPACK, UDL, and NLP) to reevaluate my lesson plans. I want to engage all students, so I will look at how I can use technology effectively to teach Spanish, how I can add options or accommodations to appeal to a variety of learners, and how I can connect my class and students to other teachers and classrooms around the country/world when I plan new lessons.
CAST UDL Online Modules. (2009). The challenge: learner diversity. Retrieved from http://udlonline.cast.org/page/module1/l134/
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, too. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 14-18.
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