End-of-Year Activities to Keep Everyone Sane

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 / 2 comments
It's May. Maybe the thermometer in in your classroom reads 90 degrees (unless you're more fortunate than I and have AC in your school). The end-of-year chaos is simmering just below the surface and the excitement is palpable. It probably a feeling you know well- when everything is threatening to come apart up the seams and you're trying desperately to keep everyone calm and engaged.  Be strong! We can do this, everyone! ¡Sí, se puede!

I don't know about you, but I'm about lose it at this point in the school year. After the students leave, I sit in the blissful silence of my 90 degree classroom and dream of getting home to air-conditioning, wine, and chocolate. Who is with me in the trenches? Hopefully, you've only got a week or two week left, right? Here in Michigan, I'll be rocking out until June 16. Yikes. However, I've devised a survival strategy that I'm excited to share with you.  

How will any of us make it until the last day? With carefully planned, fun, yet not-too-crazy activities, of course!  Check out this tried and tested list of activities that are low-prep and engaging enough to keep everyone-- students and teachers alike-- from losing it.

Quizlet Live

Ok, I know some of you are thinking, "Jen's already blogged about Quizlet Live; enough already!" It's just one of those things my students never tire of and it never seems to get old for me either.  Also, did you know that you can combine your Quizlet study sets to form a mega-set? Here are instructions how to combine sets. I have one combined set for my 7th graders that has over 200 terms. Talk about end-of-year review!

This would be great for the last week of school when you've already wrapped up assessments and are just trying to kill time to get through the week. (Wait, none of us are guilty of that in June, right? Guilty as charged.)

Movie Days

This goes without saying, right? Who doesn't love a good, quality movie the last week of school?  To keep the students focused, which means sanity for you, I always use some sort of movie sheet that requires kids to actually pay attention so they don't get that glazed-over expression when it's all in Spanish.  Sometimes it is specific to the movie, but other times, I use this FREE handy sheet that has my kids recognize words they know, cognates, and, if you so choose, words specific to a specific theme you've been working on.  For example, I show my 6th graders ¡Atlético San Pancho! and I have them look for hobby vocabulary because we always finish the pastime unit before watching.

Thankfully, Elisabeth's blog post from last week, "The Ultimate List of Movies to Show in Spanish Class," gives you a ton of great movies for every age level so you don't even have to do the research to figure out what you're going to show.  (P.S. I collect the handouts, but I almost never grade them this last week of school.  I've noticed kids are very motivated to turn them, but never seem to notice or care they don't go in the gradebook. Works for me!)



Yearbook Post-It Note Messages ¡En Español!

During the last couple of days of school, I always give my kiddos some time to sign one another's yearbooks.  Last year, however, I had post-its available and assigned each student 3 other students to write kind messages about using all of the Spanish they'd acquired throughout the year.  I might even have threatened to give them a presentational grade to encourage more quality messages.  Just so you know, I don't usually collect things and not grade them, but these post-it messages are just for fun and I really just want them to do it and try their best. Plus, it's a nice memory for a student whose yearbook they might not have otherwise signed. It's a win-win!


Last week, I tried Elisabeth's Categorías game from her blog post about "10 Interactive End-Of-The-Year Games" (see #8) with my 7th graders and we loved it! Print off these free sheets with different categories of vocabulary, give your students a few letters to use, and ask them to come up with vocabulary words that fit that category that start with the letters your provided. It's so simple, it's genius.

For warm-ups the last two days, I handed my 7th graders sheets with the categories la comida, la ropa, el cuerpo, la ciudad, y adjetivos and let them think of vocabulary words that started with C, P, and M.  I chose to make it a competition and that really motivated them.  It's a great way to kill 5-10 minutes (ahem, I mean activate prior knowledge) at the beginning or end of class and it's super low-prep. Honestly, you could have students do it on a scrap sheet of paper if you needed to.  Plus, this makes a great end-of-year review! Below is a sample of the categorías sheet my 7th graders did yesterday.


 I don't know why it took me so long to try dancing with my students! Maybe I was self-conscious of my embarrassing utter lack of rhythm or maybe it just seemed too out there, but my students love when I let them get up, move around, and dance. Our very own Allison (Mis Clases Locas) is well known for her successful ideas of Música Miércoles and Baila Viernes.  Like Allison, I love using Zumba and Just Dance videos as those seem to be the most motivating.  I was planning to put together a YouTube playlist of videos for you to use, but it seems Allison already beat me to it with this amazing 96-song playlist.  You might want to check out the bottom of the list first for the most recent hits like "Soy yo" and "Despacito"  Go for it! Bust a move!


Lyrics Training

My latest obsession is LyricsTraining.com and my students are really into too.  Essentially, you watch a music video, listen to the lyrics of the song carefully, and then type or select words you hear like a cloze activity. It's really effective at improving interpretive listening skills, increasing vocabulary knowledge, and raising cultural awareness.

I love LyricsTraining so much that I may or may not have recently spent at least five hours of my life making custom activities for my students and I'm excited to share all of them with you here.  The beauty of it though is that you don't even need to spend time making custom activities as there are plenty of them already on the site, but it's just so darn fun! Your kids will thank you for letting them chill and listen to music at the end of the school year and you'll be thrilled as they'll be learning a ton while they do it.

So, which of these lessons do you plan to use or seems the most engaging? I really hope these activity suggestions help you and your students to make it through and stay sane at this crazy time of year.  Remember, ¡Sí, se puede! 

Also, if you still need more ideas, Sherry, from World Language Cafe, has 16 more awesome activities here: http://theworldlanguagecafe.com/16-guaranteed-to-work-french-and-spanish-end-year-review-activities/


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The Ultimate List of Movies to Show in Spanish Class

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 / 19 comments
Sometimes movies are just what you need in class. Used appropriately, they can be a perfect way to spark interest when beginning a unit, for subs who don't speak Spanish, or that day when you're getting over the flu and *just can't*! 

Personally, I always use subtitles, whether or not the audio is in Spanish. Unless students are fairly advanced, a bunch of native speakers talking to each other sounds like noise. My students love watching familiar movies like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles in Spanish, but list is focused on movies originally written in Spanish, or movies that showcase Hispanic culture in some way. Let me know what I missed!

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Best Ways to Teacher Appreciate Yourself

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 / 4 comments
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

I hope you work in a school with an administration that put something together for all the teachers or gave you something nice!

In case you're feeling like it's Teacher Under-Appreciation Day, here are some ideas to teacher appreciate yourself!

1.  Drink wine.  

This one is obvious, right? Moscato is my favorite, but go with a large glass of whatever you most enjoy. And then sit back, relax, and enjoy your wine (at home - drinking during your planning period is generally frowned upon). Because it's Teacher Appreciation Day!

2.  Eat chocolate.

Another obvious choice. Teacher Appreciation Day is an excellent reason to eat six handfuls of Hershey kisses. Or, if you're feeling extra fancy, these chocolatiers deliver nationwide:
Jacque Torres Chocolate
La Maison du Chocolat
Li-Lac Chocolates
Vosges Chocolate

3.  Eat cookies or cupcakes from somewhere special. 

If you live in New York City, I've got at least a dozen ideas of where to get great cookies and cupcakes (and donuts and giant marshmallows and ice cream). If you live outside of NYC, there are several (amazing) bakeries that deliver nationwide:
Insomnia Cookies
Magnolia Bakery
Milk Bar
Milk & Cookies Bakery

I would like to state for the record that I have not been to all of the above-linked chocolate places and bakeries. Just most of them. For research purposes.

4.  Get a workout.

Go to the gym, go for a run, play a game of pick-up soccer... whatever gets your blood pumping. You'll need it after all those chocolates and cookies you ate. Maybe check out Groupon and see if you can get a good deal on something new in your area you've never tried before?! Pilates maybe, or kickboxing? Or pole dancing?

5.  Take a long bath.  

Eat chocolate and drink wine in the bath. Maybe stop by Lush beforehand and get a bath bomb or just some good old fashioned bubbles for your bath! Relax and remember that you're the best Spanish teacher your students have! And if you teach Spanish 1, then you're the best Spanish teacher they've EVER had!

6.  Leave work on time.  

Leave as soon as the kids leave. Those papers you "have to grade" will still be there tomorrow. Unless you "accidentally" throw them out. I can't be the only one that has ever "lost" students' papers, right?

7.  Plan something fun for summer vacation.

You should relax this summer and enjoy yourself! Do you have any travel plans? Or stay-cation plans?

Teacher Appreciation Day is aptly timed for the end of the year when teachers are the most drained. Think about those fun activities you have coming up in a few months and remember, summer is coming! You can do this!

8.  Make plans with friends.  

#TeacherLife can be so draining. Make plans with friends SOON. Like this weekend. Or after work next week. Because you need more wine + socialization soon.

9.  Binge a couple episodes of your favorite TV show.

You do have to go to work tomorrow, so maybe don't stay up until 3am watching Ingobernable, but who said you can't watch a couple episodes in a row? If you're looking for good Spanish shows, then check out Allison's post on binge-worthy Netflix shows for Spanish teachers!

10.  Shop!

You need those new shoes you've been eyeing. Definitely. Or that new purse. Or that sassy sign on Etsy that says "I'm sorry for what I said when I was hungry". Okay, I know I need that sign - it will look fabulous in my kitchen. And you know what - it's Teacher Appreciation Day!  Teacher appreciate yourself and get that new (insert item here that is obviously missing from your life).

I hope these ideas have been fun and helpful in Teacher Appreciating yourself! If you're having trouble deciding which cookies to order, I must say that Schmackary's are my favorite, but you should just order some cookies from all of the places I suggested and report back your preferences to everyone - it's for research obviously. I look forward to all your feedback regarding cookies.

Feel free to share other fun ways you like to Teacher Appreciate yourself! Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

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5 Binge-worthy Netflix Shows for Spanish Teachers

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 / 9 comments
How many of you feel that your own language skills could use some work since you spend your day using novice or intermediate level Spanish with language learners? How many of you are end of the year exhausted and just want to lay on your couch when you get home? I have the solution for you, binge watching Netflix in Spanish!

OK. OK. I understand that you only have 24 hours in a day. If you are a full time teaching mom of two kids three and under like me, you may just sneak in episodes during weekend naps and after they go to bed over a long period of time. Maybe right now is too crazy, so you can file these suggestions away for the glorious summer that is coming. (It is just too bad you can not use watching Spanish TV for official professional development points).

*Please note that most of these shows would NOT be appropriate for students and are for your personal enjoyment only. As with anything, if you are thinking of using it in class, I would recommend watching it first to see if it would work with your students and school culture.

Here are binge-worthy Netflix shows for Spanish teachers, listed from least commitment to most.

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Cooking With Your Spanish Students, 5 Tips & Hints

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Are you brave enough to try a cooking day with your Spanish students, but wondering where to start? Here are a few tips & hints I've learned along the way!

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5 Ways to Use Plastic Eggs In Spanish Class

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 / 5 comments

The egg hunt is over, the candy has been eaten, and you are left with dozens of plastic eggs. Now what?? Use those plastic eggs in Spanish class, of course! (P.s. if you don't have any, stop reading this and immediately proceed to your nearest Target or similar store because they should have some 75% off or more since it is just after Easter! Grab some discounted chocolate while you are there, too. Go ahead, you deserve it.😀) Here are FIVE ways I love using those leftover plastic eggs in Spanish class.

This can be done inside the classroom or outside in the much-needed fresh air! Before class starts, take a task card set and sort them into as many piles as you have different colors of eggs. You can either sort them so there is an even amount of work required for each group or use this as a great opportunity to differentiate. You will need an even number of eggs for each color (8 pink, 8 purple, 8 blue, etc.). I like to use 8-10 of each color. Once the eggs have been stuffed and hidden, divide students into as many teams as you have colors and give them instructions. Tell them they need to find all the eggs of their color, open them up, and work together to complete each task card on a separate sheet of paper. The separate sheet of paper is necessary because they will be turning in their answers and the cards will get reused. Once everyone understands, assign each team a color. I highly recommend not telling them their colors until RIGHT before the hunt begins or else you will have students looking early and not paying attention to instructions. After all the eggs have been found and task cards completed, have students check their answers. I like to project the answer key so students can self-check. Then they write the number they got correct at the top and turn it in. Once they have turned in their sheet, I let them put the task cards back in the eggs and hide them for the next class. Give them some guidelines so they don't make them absolutely impossible to find or put them all in the same area. After class, I can quickly scan their answer sheets to see if the class is understanding whatever the task cards were about and adjust the next day's lesson. It's a really fun formative assessment!

For this activity, draw a clock face with hour and minute hands on one half of the egg and write out the time in Spanish on the other. Repeat on all the eggs. Students then need to match the clock face with the time in Spanish. This can either be done individually, in partners, or in small groups. Want to make it into a competition? Divide students into teams and have them race to put the eggs back together correctly!

Is your Spanish class not loud enough? Make maracas! Check out this blog post from A Thrifty Mom for step by step instructions on how to construct these fun little music-makers (hint: it's really easy). I love how students can put their own creative spin on them when they decorate. Ties in a little culture, too!

Even if you aren't good at art, you can still do this activity! (See picture below for proof. I am NOT an art teacher for a reason. Ha!) Draw a picture of an emotion on one half and write the corresponding emotion in Spanish on the other. Have students match the picture with the emotion vocabulary word that describes it. 

This activity works GREAT with adjectives! Write an adjective on one half of the egg and its antonym on the other. Students need to think about the adjectives they have learned and which ones are opposites as they match up the halves correctly. You could also add another layer to this and have masculine and feminine versions of adjectives in the mix so students have to not only match the opposites, but also make sure they agree in gender.

Have you used plastic eggs in your Spanish class? I would love to hear how in the comments below as I think we are all looking for fun new ways to use those leftover plastic eggs! Have fun!

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The 10 Commandments for Language Learning

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 / 4 comments

What makes for good language learning?  What are the strategies and techniques that will aide our students in their language journey?  Language teachers sometimes need to refresh
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Time Saving Tips for Spanish Interactive Notebooks

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Do you use interactive notebooks in you Spanish classes? If you're not familiar with interactive notebooks, I suggest you check out this post for info on the basics. If you'd like some tips to get started, you can check out this post on essentials for interactive notebooks.

I developed a love for teaching with interactive notebooks several years back. While many teachers share that same love, there are those who consider them "a waste of time". I have had email and in person conversations with other Spanish teachers who have kindly told me that teaching with interactive notebooks is a not a good use of time and that students should not be spending precious time in Spanish class cutting and coloring. Is this a valid point? Absolutely! However, could it be worth it to spend a bit more time incorporating these hands-on notes and activities in order to provide a more engaging learning experience for students? Absolutely! Now, the purpose of this post is not to convince you to use or not to use INBs. As a disclaimer, if you are using interactive notebooks, I firmly believe that this should be ONE part of your class and not the whole class, which is why it is so important to reserve as many minutes as possible to incorporate other learning experiences for our students. With that being said, check out these time saving tips for Spanish interactive notebooks.

1. Establish a Routine
Just like anything else in your class, INBs have to have a routine or it can become chaotic quickly. Think about how this looks in your class. What are the procedures for gathering notebooks, materials, and adding inserts to notebooks? Taking the time to establish these routines definitely pays off and saves time in the long run. Cherin at This Teachers Sweats Glitter talks about her routine for INBs here and then shows her set up using different bins here. I love the labeled bins so that groups know what they need to get quickly without waiting around for materials to be handed out.

2. Model Assembly for Students
This may seem like it a time suck, but, trust me, when you have students that are asking to start over because they "messed up", it's a time (and paper) saver in the long run. I always choose one student and use their handouts as the class example and cut and fold in front of the class. This also demonstrates to the class that cutting and folding can be done quickly and efficiently.

3. Give Time Limits

As with anything else in the classroom, you will have students who will take absolutely AS LONG AS POSSIBLE to create their interactive notebook inserts. I avoid this by giving set time limits. Students are given a reasonable time limit to cut, fold, and attach a template to their notebooks. When the time is up, we move on to adding information. Students that are not finished with the assembly process, then have to finish for homework. This is enforced by projecting a countdown timer on the board.

4. Use Simple Templates.
When I first started interactive notebooks, I didn't have a clue about how the templates I selected could affect the time involved. While it's fun to sometimes use flower and circular templates (I definitely still do!), these take more time to prepare as the cutting is not as simple. Foldable templates that use straight lines are easier and less time consuming for students to cut.

5. Prepare Templates Ahead of Time

Another tip to avoid using class time for notebook preparation is to have students prepare templates in advance. Students can prepare their templates the night before for homework and then bring them to class ready to add the information. Additionally, if you have a student assistant that needs some extra work, this could be delegated to your assistant as well.

6. Add Color Last/Use Colored Paper
While some students love adding color and some don't, my rule regardless is that color is added to notebook or templates LAST. This ensures that you save some time there and gives students the options for adding color when other activities are completed or at home. Another option is to print templates on colored paper if available. This adds some automatic color with little effort involved.

What about you? I'd love to hear your time saving tips for interactive notebooks!


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Why I Don't Teach Conjugations Until December

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 / 3 comments

If you're like me, you rely on the internet and social media to stay updated on teaching language. Among hot topics you'll encounter online, grammar might just be the hottest.

Mention you don't teach explicit grammar in some groups, and they'll react as if you'd said you hate tacos:
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How to Plan a World Language Lip Sync Night at Your School

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 / 1 comment

Looking to spice up your World Language Department?  
Organize a World Language Lip Sync Night!  
Here's a quick overview of how it works.  The whole department works together to create a night of music, dance, and entertainment in French, Spanish, German, and 
whatever other World Languages your school offers.  
(If you are a department of one, hang on, I have suggestions for you, too.)

Each junior and senior class (or just seniors if you have a huge school), picks a song, combines movement and props to go with it, and presents it on stage.  Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to attend with free homework passes.  
Most of them secretly want to attend anyway, but a free homework pass never hurts.      

The older students have a blast performing songs in the target language and the younger students love watching the older students having such a good time on stage.

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How to Start Collaborating with Spanish Teachers on Social Media

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 / 4 comments

In last week's post, Jen talked about the power of social media for finding authentic resources. This week, we continue the social media discussion by talking about how to get online collaborations with other Spanish teachers started.

My Experience

Over the past three years or so, I've slowly joined a number of Spanish teacher online professional learning communities on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Facebook and Instagram are going strong, but my Twitter is pretty sad. I have maybe 5 tweets. Follow me and maybe you guys can inspire me to get on this platform more - I see huge potential!

By connecting with Spanish teachers on social media, I am amazed at the simple, and meaningful interactions that I have with teachers from all over. I stretch my own thinking about what good language learning looks like. I learn about authentic resources, project ideas, and different instructional approaches. Just one example was learning about that awesome Soy Yo music video when someone mentioned it in a Facebook group the day after the video came out. Also, I am able to share my own stories and ideas, so I feel like I'm helping other teachers too. This connection has become a daily thing for me. I just love it.

Why Bother?

We've all heard about the importance of sustained professional development (PD) within the teaching profession. Central to good PD is building your Professional Learning Communities or Networks (PLCs and PLNs). Forgive all the acronyms... but what teacher doesn't love a few?!

Good PD with your PLC/PLN is a great way to keep our ideas fresh, our classrooms effective, while helping to reduce teacher burn out. Finding a PLC/PLN on social media has the added benefit that your learning is 100% optional and totally self directed. There's no principal forcing you to attend the PLC meeting! You choose when to login and how much to contribute. You also can stay relatively anonymous online. Ask any and all questions in a "judgement free zone," where Spanish teacher peers will be happy to provide you feedback, without any pressure or local school politics involved.

Better still, online PD even aligns with the ISTE standards for teachers. By participating in online communities, teachers stand to construct knowledge together in virtual environments (ISTE Standard 1), maybe even becoming virtual teacher leaders, who contribute to the effectiveness and renewal of the teaching profession (ISTE Standard 5). Look at how amazing you could be!

Where to Start?

Step 1. Identify what social media platform is best for you.

No one has time to jump on every platform out there. The top three for teachers seem to be Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To pick which of these platforms is best for you, ask yourself:

  • Which platform do you already use in your daily life? 
  • Which platform seems easiest to navigate for you? 
  • Which platform do your local Spanish teacher colleagues use? They may be a great resource as you are getting started.
  • Do you prefer visuals? Go with Instagram!
  • Do you want to be able to search easily through archived discussions? Do you want your discussions to be private? Go with Facebook groups!
  • Do you want a diverse, large community and open access? Go with Twitter!

Note: You might want to use your own personal account (I do this for the private Facebook groups that I'm a part of - since they are not publicly viewable), or create a new "professional account" (I do this for Instagram and Twitter - since they are public).

Step 2. Figure out who to follow.

For Instagram and Twitter: You can always start by following the 10 of us Secondary Spanish Space teacher bloggers. On our About Us page, there are clickable links to each of our social media accounts. Also, check out Spanish Plan's Instagram post and Sra Cruz's Instagram post for a list of popular Spanish teacher related Instagram accounts and hash tags that may be useful. Carolina at Fun for Spanish Teachers provides a list for Facebook and Pinterest, too.

Once you follow a few Spanish teachers, find more connections by "stealing" from the list of people they follow.

I also suggest searching for new people by using hashtags.

Popular Spanish Teacher Instagram Hashtags:

Popular Spanish Teacher Twitter Hashtags:

For Facebook: It works a little differently. You'll want to join closed (private) Facebook groups, where Spanish teachers work together. You can search Facebook for "groups," using key words like "Spanish teacher(s)". I really enjoy these groups:

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How Find Authentic Resources on Social Media: #AuthRes

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 / 1 comment

Hi! I'm Jen from the blog Spanish with Sra. Shaw.  By far the most popular of my blog posts has been a 6-part series about how IPAs (Integrated Performance Assessments) transformed my classroom. As more districts move toward proficiency-based curricula, IPAs seem to be an ever-increasing topic of discussion and a source of frustration for teachers as they begin to create these uniquely-styled assessments, which is why I wanted to help. 

I initially set out out to write the IPA blog posts to support my colleagues as they began using these assessments in their classrooms. Specifically, I wrote about the background of IPAs and made suggestions on how to create, manage, and break down each of the 3 performance tasks (interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational) with the hope of clarifying each task and giving examples that would help teachers to envision activities that would fit their units. 

The response from readers and fellow teachers was much different than I expected. First, I was surprised that anyone on earth would want to read my blog at all.  I had anticipated perhaps some questions about the interpersonal task, which people seem to find to be the most challenging. However,  what I found instead was that people wanted to know more about where to find authentic resources to create the interpretive task. I've found this as this seems to be a major stumbling block for teachers implementing IPAs, which is why I'm writing this post.

If you've ever looked for the perfect video, photo, or audio clip, you understand. I do not exaggerate when I say I've spent entire days (honestly, perhaps weeks) of my life looking for the perfect authentic resource.  It's so incredibly easy to fall into a black hole scouring the internet for just the right video clip because you can just keep looking, and looking, and looking. Also, it doesn't help that I'm a perfectionist about authentic resources because I insist they are 100% authentic and were created by a native speaker for a native audience. If not, I won't use it. I actually could write an entire blog post about how to choose an appropriate authentic resource, but that's another topic for a different day and the amazing Julie from Mundo de Pepita has already written a really helpful post about it here.

Who wants to waste valuable time looking for authentic resources? Today I'm here to share some tips to help you find the perfect resource quickly and efficiently.


Tip #1: Search in the Target Language (TL) 

 If you haven't tried searching for  an authentic resource in the target language, make this your first priority. If you search in English, you'll mostly find other WL teachers' suggestions of resources, which may or not be authentic.  More often than not, I've found it's not what I'm looking for and that they are often teacher-created AKA not authentic.

Example: You search "school schedule Spanish." You'll mostly come up with schedules fabricated by Spanish teachers, students, and maybe a few truly authentic texts. However, if you change your search term to "horario de clases," almost everything you find will be authentic. 

This works for every form of social media and internet search. I've had lots of luck on Google and especially on YouTube. It's shocking up much great stuff I can come up with on YouTube searching in the TL.


Tip #2: Go Where Your Search Leads You

 Sometimes, I've found I have a tendency to force a search and look for something that doesn't even exist. However, I've found if you can search in the TL, you might be surprised where that will take you and that your first search might lead you down a much better path than the one you were originally on.

For example, I recently redid an IPA for a school unit. I started out on YouTube with the search term "Mi Colegio." I found some decent hits, but nothing I'd want to use as my resource and some non-authentic items. When I clicked to watch a video that looked like it might be worthwhile, I found that I didn't like it, but that the suggested/related videos along the right hand side were a jackpot. There were literally dozens of videos that I wouldn't have otherwise found because I don't know exactly the exact terminology a native speaker will use to title a video.

For example, check out the this YouTube video,  which may or may not be worth looking at, but more importantly explore the "good" and "bad" authentic resource suggestions along the right hand side. You'll notice some are actually created by Spanish teachers (yuck), but that there are some helpful leads to refine your search based on the video titles created by native speakers. 

So, in summary, start out with a basic TL search and look for even better search terms from a native speaker and refine your search accordingly.  I've got a ton of authentic resources pinned by unit on my Pinterest account and then I actually recently started an "AuthRes" board of cool things I find that don't currently fit in one of my units, but I want to save. Follow me on Pinterest and you'll be able to stalk out all of the resources I pin.


Tip #3: Pin your Authentic Resources 

 If you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, you need to. It's incredible. It's where I save and organize all of the ideas and random resources that I know I want to use, but don't have time to deal with at the moment.  I love that it keeps me organized and inspired and I consider it one of my favorite forms of social media professional development (although read on about my newfound PD love of Twitter).

Now, how can Pinterest help you find authentic resources? It's tricky because honestly Pinterest has a TON of non-authentic material created by non-native speakers and it's hard to filter through. I recently discovered a  Pinterest trend, however, that has helped me find some ideal authentic resources in almost no time at all. #yayefficiency!

In December, I couldn't find any intriguing videos for the school unit I discussed above in Tip #2, but once I started pinning some decent or even just O.K. YouTube videos, Pinterest started making some amazing recommendations.  Based on the videos I pinned, the Pinterest algorithims started sending me all kinds of quality authentic resources! Some were related to my school unit and others were just really cool resources that I pinned for other units. Guess what happened when I then pinned those recommendations? Pinterest sent me even MORE authentic resources and a beautiful cycle began in which I pin something, I receive recommendations for related pins, I pin some more, and on and on it goes. It's beautiful. Gosh, I love Pinterest. 

If you'd like to follow me on Pinterest so you can see everything I'm pinning, here is my page. This is board where I've been pinning all of the authentic resources board (discussed above) and this is a collaborative Realia board from our very own Sherry. 
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