My First Month in Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Welcome to my home away from home for the next 3 months! In the highly populated city of Guayaquil, there is a wide range of social statuses. For example, I live in the center of the city where many of the business men and women work. However, right next to the city in a area known as Las Peñas you will see the vibrant but small houses, that make their living off of tourists who want to stop for a bite to eat or grab a souvenir or two. Making your way down the Malecón, which is the boardwalk, located along the Rio Guayas you will enter Puerto Santa Ana where the elite of the elite spend their luxurious free time swimming, relaxing, and enjoying life.

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La calle de Panama, is where I spend most of my time walking to school. I take classes at an english academy called Centro Ecuatorian Norteamericano (CEN). The school is always busy and the faculty are friendly and supportive to all their students.

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Streets are often crowded during the weekdays. Taxis are constantly beeping and pedestrians NEVER, EVER have the right of way. If you’re in the street they will run you over!

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Thanks to Ecuador’s previous president, Rafael Correa, museums are free and open to the public.

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I received a diploma for attending the Critical Thinking seminar at CEN. Such a great experience and review of Education 130 & 260 at Moravian. It was a pleasure to talk to other teachers in Guayaquil about the importance of developing critical thinkers in the classroom.

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Directors of CEN: Johnny González Maldonado, Hilda, ME, and

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Iguanas, iguanas, and more iguanas! I got to pet one of these guys in the center of the city at El Parque de Iguanas .

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Not only iguanas, but just like New York City and Philadelphia, pigeons are seen on the street. They also like to hang out with the iguanas in the park.

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Universidad de las Artes is a beautiful sight to see. The artwork is even more incredible.

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My favorite stop of them all… Sweet and Coffee. I don’t have to explain any further because it’s in the name. However, these coffee shops can be found all over the city and in many gas stations around Ecuador. The locals tell me that Starbucks wanted to buy Sweet and Coffee, but the company denied their request to do so. I’m happy they did!

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Lastly Colegio Americano, the school where my internship takes place. I love the teachers and the kids at this school. They have done everything to make me feel welcomed and I’m learning and practicing a lot of Spanish. I’m working in Segundo Basico which is around first grade in the U.S. The kids call me, “la Miss de Estados Unidos,” which I can’t help, but laugh every time I hear it.

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Field Experience: Fall 2017

Background

My first day of field, was without a doubt the most positive experience during my three years as pre-service teacher. In fact the faculty and staff have been very welcoming, friendly, and accommodating throughout the semester. My students were also friendly and welcoming. I had the opportunity to help with both AP Spanish and Spanish 1. AP Spanish kids are more independent and quite, while Spanish 1 kids are more chatty and immature. However, I enjoyed implementing strategies that were student centered for both classes.

Students 

I had many exemplary students like Cindy and George in my Spanish 1 class. These students always followed instructions, asked questions when necessary, and handed in proficient work that matched my learning targets. In AP Spanish, I wasn’t able to deliver a lesson, but I noticed the creativity and motivation that Group 1 had when they created a movie using Spanish vocabulary and shared it with the class. Other students in Spanish 1, like James and John, had a hard time listening and staying on task, but with guidance they were able to do the work that was required of them. 

Learning Targets and Formative Assessment 

I had the opportunity to teach for 3 consecutive Spanish 1 blocks (1 hour and 30 minutes) during my time in field. I used the following learning targets for my students:

  1. How to conjugate regular “AR” verbs in the present tense.
  2. How to conjugate the irregular verbs “SER” and “ESTAR”, which both mean “to be” in the present tense.
  3. Knowing when to use “SER” or “ESTAR” using the (DOCTOR) and (PLACE) acronyms.

I had the students work on a warm up activity that involved conjugating verbs and rolling dice. They all seemed to enjoy the activity and I gave out worksheets for “SER” and “ESTAR”. On the worksheet, the students had to fill out a basic conjugation table for both verbs and fill in the correct verb with correct conjugation for each practice sentence. At the end of class, I collected the worksheets. I was happy to see that most, if not all, my students completed both sides of the worksheet with accuracy. However, I don’t believe they fully mastered learning target #3. For this reason, in future lessons I will split up “SER” and “ESTAR” into separate lessons.

Diverse and Exceptional Learners 

During my lessons, I always try to include visuals, use hand motions, and assign groups with students of different academic levels so they can help each other. I also make myself available by walking around the class to monitor student interaction and address any questions that need to be clarified during the lesson. I believe this is crucial for student centered activities to make sure students are on task and understand what is being asked of them.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed by field this semester because it allowed me to practice and reflect on my own teaching. It required me to rethink my own philosophy of teaching and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.

 

Teaching Practices and Instructional Techniques

How do we accomplish teaching, learning, and student relationships in the classroom?

This is a question we must ask ourselves daily as teachers. If we have a vision for education, we support that vision with valuable strategies and plans. Therefore, I have come up with 8 teaching practices and instructional techniques that I plan to use in my future Spanish classrooms. These methods will keep students engaged, motivated, and actively or experientially involved in the lesson for all subjects!

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1. Think-Pair-Share

How to: Allow students to engage in individual and small-group thinking before they are asked to answer questions in front of the class. This practice involves four steps: 1) groups of four listen to a question, 2) students are given time to think and then write their responses, 3) pairs of students read and discuss their responses, 4) students are called on by the teacher to share their thoughts and ideas with the class.

Why?: This technique is useful because it allows students to engage with one another and formulate their own responses to the teacher’s question. This could be used as practice with interrogative Spanish words like: Qué, Cuál, and Cómo.

Positive Learning Environment: This is a great way for your students to learn about each other and learn things about you as a teacher. It displays a positive learning environment because students are interacting with each other to learn the same concept or task.

Assessment Strategies: The teacher can give an exit ticket at the end of the class period asking for a response/ answer of the question or questions that were asked at the beginning of the class.

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2. STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions)

How to: Students are assigned to 4-5 team members in order to review and study the material that has been given to them by the teacher. The groups are divided and even distributed with students from all different academic abilities.

Why?: This is used to generate the students’ highest level of achievement.

Positive Learning Environment: Students are helping each other review for their test or quiz. They are able to help each other with material that they know or need to look over again. Teams can earn credit or other achievement based items if all team members progress.

Assessment Strategies: At the end of an activity like this, the students are all tested individually. This could be known as a review day before the next class period which would be a test day.

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3. Round Robin Brainstorming or Rally Robin

How to: There are 3 steps: 1) teacher poses a question that will have multiple answers, 2) the first student in the group will write down a response on a piece of paper and pass it counterclockwise, 3) at the end the students with the most possible correct answers receive a prize of some sort.

Why?: Develops a sense of accountability between students.

Positive Learning Environment: This activity will cover a lot of content, build team spirit in your classroom, and incorporate writing. Improves overall student cooperation.

Assessment Strategies: Responses can be collected and evaluated at the end of class.

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4. Jig-saw

How to: Each team member is responsible for learning a specific topic. The team will then split into groups with the same topic and become “expert” groups on that topic. After discussing with the “experts,” students will return to their original or “home” groups and explain what they learned.

Why?: Covering a wide range of topics at once.

Positive Learning Environment: Students all share their own ideas on what they learned and develop a well-rounded comprehension of the topic they had. Gives the opportunity for students to teach each other.

Assessment Strategies: At the end, the team members will be quizzed on the topics they learned.

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5. Three-Step Interview

How to: Step 1) teacher presents an issue on a topic with varying opinions. Step 2) in pairs the two students become the interviewer and the interviewee. Step 3) after this first interview the roles switch. Step 4) After each student has had their turn, they will read their interviews to the class.

Why?: Effective when solving problems with no specific right answers.

Positive Learning Environment: The class gets to listen to the responses from all their peers. Should be a fun activity!

Assessment Strategies: The teacher can collect the interviews at the end of class for a grade.

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6. Socratic seminar 

How to: The teacher questions are open- ended and students are encouraged to use the text as evidence in their responses. Students do not raise hands to speak but begin on the spot.

Why?: Challenges students to think analytically and critically through a discussion. Careful guidance is provided by the teacher.

Positive Learning Environment: Students all engage in a discussion led by each other. They can learn from their peers by doing this.

Assessment Strategies: No assessment is necessary for this kind of assignment, unless you grade for active participation.

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7. Role Play

How to: Students use different ways of representing knowledge through this technique. The better they think about and recall learning, the more they increase their opportunities to visualize, model, and role-play within a dynamic situation. Role Play is great for foreign language classes because it promotes curiosity, exploration, problem solving, and understanding.

Why?: Helps students invent, experiment, and practice interpersonal skills in a low-risk environment.

Positive Learning Environment: Allows students to work together and be creative.

Assessment Strategies: After performing a skit, the teacher can collect the skits or have them perform in front of the class.

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8. Three Minute Review

How to: Used after a lecture in which the teacher will stop at any given time so students can have 3 minutes to review what has been said with a group. Students are able to ask a question to their group members or answer questions of others.

Why?: Makes sure that every student is on the same page and that they are somewhat engaged in the lecture.

Positive Learning Environment: Allows your students to learn from each other and clarify questions that they might still have.

Assessment Strategies: Used for review!

 

 

 

Group Work-Collaboration

In one of my college courses, I was very pleased with the group I collaborated with during some online meetings. We were all able to take time out of our busy college schedules to meet on google docs, and have some very insightful discussions. During one or two of our meetings I included my group in a tweet about the progress we were making. Our group was on the larger size which made me a bit nervous in the beginning because I feared that it would be harder to all meet online at the same time, but we all managed to commit our time to this class. I can also say that we all put in an equal amount of effort into all our inquiry discussions which is not always the case in a group project. It was interesting to discuss all our different ideas in one google doc and response to each other’s thoughts. Most of the time we had similar thoughts, but sometimes we had those moments when one of us had never thought about a specific topic in a certain way. This was the most positive group project I have ever experienced, and I’m one to hate group work. I’m very happy with the outcome, and how I learned from my peers.

Below are two documents that were made by my group through Google Slides. 

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My First Ignite Talk

Make sure to have a glass of water close by after your first Ignite Talk. I really enjoyed this experience because I like to talk, but it went super fast! I felt confident, professional, and relaxed up in front of my classmates and my professor. I received positive feedback from my professor, and I am excited to present one in the future. I hope to include an Ignite Talk in an interview for a job or to discuss something about education. This activity was beneficial to me for my career in Spanish Education.

Check it out, and leave your own feedback or questions you might have. 

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My Vision of Education for ELLs

Characteristics of ELLs

English Language Learners have different characteristics and educational needs like any other student. The definition of an English Language Learner is someone whose first language is not English, and may need extra help in the classroom with reading, listening, and comprehending information. ELLs require special attention, and need more motivation and determination. They’re usually not willing to volunteer, and may need extra help in the classroom. ELLs might require a longer amount of time to finish assignments, projects, worksheets, and other activities. Sometimes speaking in front of others can be a challenge for ELLs because English is most likely not spoken at home, and therefore they also struggle with subjects related to English. English can be an ELLs second, third, or fourth language, and not only is the ELL learning English, but they are also learning the common core things that American students learn everyday. Their education is a process that the teacher will have to consider in their individual lesson plans.

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Culture and Family Factors

ELLs are very diverse and have many different cultural backgrounds depending on where they came from or their family’s background. Therefore, American culture can be overwhelming or outside of the ELL’s comfort zone, this is known as culture shock. Cultural knowledge is a great way to get your ELL to feel comfortable in a classroom where they might feel extremely different from those around them. Having all your students in your class bring in items that resemble their own culture is a fun way for you ELLs to realize that everyone is different and their culture shows that. Culture for ELLs can be food, dress, values, religion, and home life. It is important to research your ELLs family and culture to get an idea about what your ELL might be going through when they come to class.

ELLs go through stages of acculturation which is also known as the U-curve hypothesis. Each stage is fairly different for every ELL. This first stage is known as the honeymoon stage which is when everything is very new and exciting to the ELL. They are fairly happy, but also do not know what to expect. The second stage is hostility which is when the ELL starts to hate their new home, and they might not want to learn the new language. During the hostility stage, ELLs become very upset and homesick. The third stage is humor. During this stage, the ELL is starting to progress and realize that it is okay to make mistakes when they are learning. They begin to feel more comfortable and accepting of their new home. The final stage or fourth stage is home, and this stage is when the ELL can finally feel fully accepted and apart of their new environment.

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Classroom Environment and Best Practices

In the classroom, teachers should try to incorporate basic hand gestures, visuals, and auditory lessons. When teaching ELLs their education requires a lot of assistance, and as teachers we want to make all our students feel included. A great way to do this is by having students respond to questions or lessons as a group so students, especially ELLs, do not feel signaled out or embarrassed. Getting the ELL’s parents involved in their son or daughters education is also an important aspect for any teacher’s classroom. Ways that you can get parents involved are through back to school nights, meetings, and having a staff member contact home in the family’s native language. Families are great support systems for ELLs, and for their education in the classroom.

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Assessment

ELLs are tested through the World Wide Instructional Designed Assessment Stages of English acquisition. The stages are 1) Pre-Production, 2) Beginning, 3) Developing, 4) Expanding, 5) Bridging, and 6) Reaching. Each stage includes ways to group ELLs, and meet their educational needs based off their stage and scores. The Pre-Production and Beginner stages are when ELLs might be in the silent period meaning they can’t produce much language. Therefore, as teachers there are things that we can do to improve learning. We can slow down our speech, and give ELLs bilingual signs like nonverbal language to help them follow along with the lesson. Other stages like Developing, Expanding, and so on are advanced stages where the ELL is learning to become more and more native. Assessments allow us to know our ELLs better, and help them progress.

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Check out my own work on English Language Learners

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Infographics: A way to grab a student’s attention.

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What is the goal?

As teachers, our goal is to keep our students interested and engaged in our lessons. Occasionally, we have that one student that is falling asleep in class or their imagination is wondering. How can we overcome the constant battle of keeping our students attention? The solution is infographics! Infographics are great ways to use visuals that capture the sleepy student’s attention. 65% of the population are visual learners, therefore we have to meet the needs of those learners through images, media, and so on. Using infographics, helps us as teachers increase learning efficiency.

Infographics in the Classroom

  1. Instead of doing the standard lecture or “chalk and talk” lesson, try creating your own infographic that highlights all the points you would have made in your lecture. This way students have to look, and read all of your points instead of listening to you read them or copy them off a screen. Make sure to include pictures that correspond to the topics and the lesson you are trying to teach.
  2. Change up your lesson plan by having the students make their own infographic. The students can then reflect on the things they have learned during the lesson, and will increase their need to pay attention because the won’t be bored with the same material. By changing up your lesson, the students are eager to learn, and need to pay attention in order to learn. Infographics are unique and a fun way to see your students brainstorming.
  3. Create your classroom objectives in an infographic. As teachers, we want to lie down the line, and instill respect, integrity, and cooperation in all of our students. Instead of highlighting those discipline rules or class objectives in a normal bulleted style. Try to switch it up with an infographic that displays your expectations.
  4. Display community or school events using an infographic. They’re organized, and a great way to draw a student over to a poster or flyer.
  5. Comparing and contrasting lessons are a great way to use infographics in the classroom along with other lessons like science and math. Comparing and contrasting data through an infographic could replace a boring venn

Check out the site below which gives you free downloadable templates for creating your own infographics!

https://venngage.com/?gclid=CJqgqOLL09ACFUdYDQodGBALBw