Establishing meaning with Quizlet Live

quizlet liveHave you tried Quizlet’s new “Live” feature yet? I’ve always been a fan of Quizlet but with Live, they have taken online fun to another level. I have not seen such a strong response by students since Kahoot came along!

The way it works is students visit the site The teacher brings up a quizlet set that either they have already created or that someone else created. Click the “Live” icon (a purple rectangle). This will generate a code which students use to join the game. What sets Quizlet live apart is students are then automatically placed into teams. Each team has the name of an animal, which appear in your target language if the Quizlet set is in the target language. When gameplay begins, each student on the team will see a word on the top of their screen and 4 possible translations of the word. Their teammates also each have 4 possible translations. However, team members don’t know what options their teammates have. If a student answers incorrectly, their team is penalized by 3 seconds. Students quickly learn to communicate with each other!

I’m seeing students that normally don’t care actually getting competitive and trying to help their team win! I also shuffle the teams each round so they have to work with various people.

I’m not big on teaching with “drills,” but with Quizlet Live, I’ve discovered that students can play without any prior knowledge of the vocabulary. Because the words come up multiple times, student begin to recognize them as they play. It also goes really fast so you can play several rounds in just five minutes.

The way I am using Quizlet Live currently is “establishing meaning” or pre-teaching vocabulary before my students tackle a reading passage or chapter. Rather than using it to memorize vocabulary in isolation or as a review tool, I am finding that this is a great way to quickly and efficiently get words into students’ short-term memory (or more accurately, working memory) so that acquisition begins to occur as I activate the words through reading and discussion.

Give Quizlet Live a try. Your students will love it. And I think you will find that reading/listening will be more productive and less frustrating if students have the vocabulary in their working memory prior to beginning the reading or listening process.


Spanish Civil War Unit in Spanish 4 – Instagram Imagery

guerra civil insta SQUARE COVERI really love the concept of #instagramELE and I also love the idea of tying social media into lessons from history. Since I am home on my 3rd snow day in the last 4 school days, I am getting tons of work done! Too bad I didn’t bring home my stack of week-old quizzes to correct!

We have so far completed our Timeline Activity and we have watched the movie Butterfly. By the way, I only teach Spanish 4 every other year, and I realized that my movie only had English subtitles. I am going to have to get one with only Spanish subtitles because since we have been using El Internado weekly in class, my students really don’t need English subtitles! But Spanish closed-captioning is very helpful!  We are moving toward our final project which is creating an art gallery, but first we have a novel, some additional readings, 2 more films, Guernica, and the film short El Ambidiestro to study!

Since our culminating project focuses on imagery, I thought bringing Instagram into the mix might be a great way to get kids connecting their learning to images.

I created this project, which I am happy to share with you (It is a FREE resource). You may need to create your own calendar, but it provides a model for you of how you can implement the project.

I also have a couple of other items that you might find useful if you are teaching about the Spanish Civil War. I have a reading activity about the Niños Robados of Spain (FREE resource). I also have a packet I created with a mini-biography of Federico García Lorca and comprehension activity which I sell.

I will continue to update on how my unit is going in Spanish 4…if the snow ever stops! Happy Spring!

¡La música!

I LOVE using music in my classroom every day! It is motivating, cultural, popular, fun, and if you ask my students years later what they loved most about my class they will most likely tell you it was dressing up and acting things out and MUSIC! I’d love to share with you some of the ways I use music and hopefully you will leave a comment and let me know your favorite ways of incorporating music in your classes too!

My students receive a large music packet each semester. We spend about 1 1/2 weeks on each song. We begin class every day by listening to the song, and students are expected to have the lyrics out and follow along, cancionesand singing is ENCOURAGED but never forced. I have several words/phrases underlined that students are expected to know for the quiz we have at the end of the 1 1/2 weeks. After we listen for several days we do a practice cloze quiz (included in the packet).

Additional activities that I may or may not do for each song:

Extra cloze activity with a secret message.

Lyric line-up (put lyrics strips in order while listening – best in a small group)

Musical slap and grab with vocab picture cards

Storytelling with the song or with a music video

Connect a song to something else we are studying

Use a song to highlight a grammatical pattern

Use a song to compare cultures

Read about the artist performing the song

A reading which turns the song into a story

Use lyrics to create a “found poem”

Use to make a trivia activity based on a youtube music video example with Yerbatero by Juanes

Dance contests or flash mobs (Waka Waka is a fun song to try!)

Use a song as transition or “worktime” music or during passing time between classes.

How do YOU use music to spark learning in your classes?

Future ideas for stations

Stations are a fun alternative to traditional whole-class activities!
Stations are a fun alternative to traditional whole-class activities!

I am going to use this post to compile ideas for future stations, general or specific! Feel free to comment if you’d like to add your own ideas! – Using a reading that we would do in class, create a textivate. My station can be located in front of the big screen and use my wireless mouse and keyboard with my desktop computer! (Accountability: group takes a screen shot of completed puzzle and saves on computer at designated location.)

Commercials – Create a cloze activity, Q&A, put phrases in order, etc with any of these commercials.

Puppet Pals – Using my ipad in Guided Access mode (locks the ipad so that only the chosen app can be used until a PIN is entered by me), students create an animated video. NOTE: because ipad won’t turn off in Guided Access mode, bring a power cord! – Set up on a computer with a google doc listing several articles. Students choose an article to read together as a group and use lingro for when they need a word defined. A good introduction to this useful tool?

Jenga game / Don’t Break the Ice game – both of these games can be labeled with a permanent marker with numbers or letters. Provide the students with a list of questions or “problems” that correspond to the letters or numbers on the game. By answering the questions/completing the task/problem correctly students get to play that game piece.

Good old-fashioned flash cards. A simple idea but could make a good station!

I have a large “library” of children’s books and magazines in Spanish. I would LOVE ideas for incorporating these into stations. Currently we do Sustained Silent Reading twice a week for 5 minutes in my level 2 classes. Ideas?



Today I tried stations in my class for the first time! It was great! I had 7 stations (since my largest class is 34!).

Station 1: Waka Waka (the “song of the week” this week)

Waka Waka Station

I cut the lyrics of this song into strips. I also wrote a 33-letter sentence along the left side of each of the 33 strips. “Shakira is from the country of Colombia.” I plugged a Belkin 5-port headphone jack splitter into a desktop computer and attached 5 sets of headphones. Students played the music video from Vevo on the computer as many times as needed to line up the lyrics in the right order.

Station 2: Superman es ilegal (song from movie “La Misma Luna” which we are in the process of watching right now–they heard the song in the movie yesterday).

Superman es ilegal Station

I made a large cloze activity out of the song lyrics. Instead of writing the missing words in, the words were on little slips of paper which had to be physically placed on the space in the lyric sheet. The whole lyrics sheet was the size of 8 sheets of paper which I taped together.  I plugged a Belkin 5-port headphone jack splitter into my classroom’s Chromebook (thanks so much to @edbacker, an anonymous donor, and Hudgins Real Estate for the financial support on that!) and attached 5 sets of headphones. Students played the song from Youtube on the computer as many times as needed.

Station 3: Esperanza

Book on CD Station with Esperanza by Carol Gaab


Students listened to the next chapter of their novel, Esperanza by Carol  Gaab on the audio CD.  I plugged a Belkin 5-port headphone jack splitter into a desktop computer and attached 5 sets of headphones. I provided novels for students to use if they wanted to follow along as well.


Small group conversations with Señora Placido!










Station 4: Conversations!

I sat with students in this group and we chit-chatted en Español about their plans for that afternoon, what sports they play/watch, and the book we are reading in class. SO FUN!


La misma luna scene description station

Station 5: La Misma Luna

I made some screen shots of the DVD and printed them out. In this group, students worked together to describe their photos based on their knowledge of the movie. I started out also having them make a puppet pals video (an app I have on my ipad) but I abandoned that for lack of time after the first class.

Find the cognates in the children’s books!

Station 6: Cognates

I made a large alphabet on a huge sheet of paper. I put a sticky note next to each letter. Students searched through my large collection of children’s books trying to find at least 1 cognate for each letter, and no more than 5 for any given letter. This was pretty easy, but hopefully tricked them into finding some new books to read for SSR next week!

Station 7: Bananagrams

Students played bananagrams in Spanish!

A game makes a quick station and a nice brain break!














Collecting student video for speaking assessments

I’m looking for a little tech support from my PLN (personal/professional learning network) today. I just found out our school will be getting wifi at some point in the near future (yay!). I’ve already been encouraging a “BYOD” (bring your own device) atmosphere in my own classroom, namely cell phones and ipods so far. I am envisioning what wifi could do in terms of our ability to be productive with a multitude of devices, especially considering the large numbers of kids with ipod touches.

My question is, what would be the best and most efficient way for me to be able to have students making video recordings of themselves engaging in interpersonal speaking tasks with others and sharing those clips with me?


  • Limits on data storage
  • Access outside of school and inside school (need cloud)
  • I don’t want to have to visit many locations to find clips
  • Must be easy to use and readily available
  • Multi-platform is a must
  • I need access but I don’t want other kids to be able to take vids of classmates and upload to youtube, etc.
  • App or utility needs to stick around for a while, not disappear on me
  • Should be free or very cheap


  • Dropbox
  • Google
  • Skype
  • MMS

So, my friends, how can you help me with this? Thank you!

MiWLA Handouts and Links

Rejoinder List  we dicussed in Carol Gaab’s workshop on Friday

Transforming the World Language Classroom With Formative Assessment 1:00-4:30 pm University 1

Formative Assessment MiWLA 2011

Angry Birds Article

Robo en la noche Choice Board Projects

Formative Assessment Teacher Tools

Reading Comprehension Assessment

Writing Rubric

Cute “Secret Message” Activity

Formative Assessment Card Sorting Activity (if you are a coach feel free to borrow and use!)

Online Resources for Maximum Learning Impact  2:30-3:20 pm Ballroom F


Leave your impressions of these resources here!

Webinar on Using Technology in the FL Classroom

I will be presenting a webinar for TPRS Publishing on August 24.   4-5pm Mountain time/7pm Eastern.

Technology Tips for the FL Classroom

Are you tired of new technologies that leave you scratching your head and thinking “this is very cool but I don’t have the time to learn it”?  Believe it or not, there are some things you may not have heard of that could actually SAVE you time and make everyone envious of your techie skills! Discover easy tech tools to create lessons that are embedded in comprehensible, compelling input in both written and verbal forms.
PRESENTER: Kristy Placido60 minutes – $25

* Please check your time zone for your local time. Note that Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time.

**Registration should be a made a minimum of one hour prior to start of webinar to insure connectivity.

Helpful links – TPRS Publishing’s Cancún Multicultural Conference