PLC question: Spanish I and II classrooms

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5 thoughts on “PLC question: Spanish I and II classrooms”

  1. “I may even try [Circling with Balls] now, but I don’t know that there would be much new vocabulary/structure for the Spanish II students. However, they love to talk about themselves and it would help establish class culture and norms better than I have done so far.”

    I like this Briana. I think you should make the class about them. You will naturally differentiate as you speak to your students, if you are following the basic tenets of CI or TPRS. That said, you might need to make the expectations different for each level in your class (sounds like a difficult situation, and you should make sure you do not blame yourself here for any perceived inadequacy of lessons). For example, you could treat the level 1 kids like you would if it were just them in the class (yes/no questions on quizzes or having them answer the question in Spanish, no required output beyond simple responses, speak to them one-on-one with slower and simpler language) and for the level 2 kids you might make your expectations different (answer questions in Spanish, speak to them one-on-one in a bit more complex language depending on their ability, quizzes answered in Spanish or have them translate what the lower levels are simply answering T/F). With regard to the general content and flow, keep it to the level one students’ level and make sure that everyone demonstrates the Interpersonal Communication (jGR) behaviors. Just my quick thoughts on your challenging situation. You’ll get more and better advice soon no doubt.

    1. Oops, I meant to say for the level 1 kids “having them answer the question in ENGLISH”… if they feel more comfortable doing that. This small difference of required Spanish responses for upper levels will probably make a big difference in the eyes of the students, if you feel like that is a distinction you want to create for these different levels. It may allow you to offer simpler input to ALL students without some complaining about it being “too easy”.

      Also, what Annemarie said about reserving the “how” and “why” questions for the upper levels… great way to put it.

  2. I am also curious to hear how people weigh in on this question. I am in Costa Rica about to start teaching Spanish to students in grades 10-12 in a semester program. Some have had Spanish for 3 years, one has had no Spanish at all, 3 are Costa Ricans (but I am thinking they won’t be in my class!)

    I am planning to do something like Circling with Balls at first as I gauge their levels. I am assuming that even those who have had 3 years of “normal” Spanish classes might still not be able to speak Spanish so whatever I do might work for everyone….

    I’d like to do a written and oral pre-assessment with students. Does anyone have anything they can share around this?


  3. My 7th graders are very diverse in terms of ability– in this situation my more advanced students have enjoyed creating an ongoing parallel story during the reading of the second Isabela story, which is very easy many of my students but very difficult for the rest who just started with me this year. I definitely ask different kinds of questions to these different students – I reserve the how and why questions for my faster processors and the yes/no, and/or for slower processors or new students.
    Briana, you have a challenging situation, don’t be hard on yourself at all!

  4. Hi Brianna, this is very similar to my mixed-class situation. Here are some things that have worked for me:

    Don’t do a class-within-a-class, you’ll go crazy!
    Have the native speakers do independent reading with double entry journals, one per day.
    More advanced students are your quiz writers, story writers, actors, count reps, ….give them demanding jobs
    In order to speak less English, I sometimes have my advanced speakers translate for me when I’m giving directions

    I started my level 2/3 class with stories from Cuéntame Más, chapter 6, and did the oral story in past tense. This is what you were commenting about past tense being new to everyone. Good idea!

    Lastly, don’t drive yourself nuts trying to teach all the levels at once. Differentiate questions, certainly, but keep in mind that students at these early levels need a ton of repetition of even beginning structures. They will claim that they’re bored, they did this already, but likely will not have deeply acquired them.

    Good luck, this is a tough situation, I know it! Don’t blame yourself if it’s difficult. Write to me off line if you want to chat individually.

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