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Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to create a great anticipatory set for your lessons

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Creating lesson plans is an important part of teaching even if you merely create an outline. The anticipatory set is an important part of your lesson and lesson planning. Too often teachers begin their lessons by saying “open your books to page…”  Our students end up looking like the people in the picture above, bored and uninterested.

The anticipatory set, often called the hook, is basically the attention getter for the lesson.  It is supposed to generate interest in your students.  This should be something that focuses the students’ attention on what they are about to learn and it should relate to some prior knowledge.

You will need to review any vocabulary, terms, concepts, or grammar that the students will need to recall in order to proceed with the next lesson.  For example, with Spanish, if the students are going to be learning about how to say the date in Spanish you should do a quick review of the numbers and days of the week.
Sometimes you might want to incorporate a KWL chart.   This is a graphic organizer in which students write down what they know, what they want to know and what they learned.  There are some great printable templates out there.  Just google KWL chart.

You can even print a KWL chart in Spanish!





As the teacher you need to be excited about the new material.  If the teacher is not excited how can he/she expect the students to be excited?



Try to incorporate ways to target the various multiple intelligences. (Howard Gardner came up with the theory of multiple intelligences in which people tend to be stronger in different areas: verbal, mathematical, musical, visual, bodily-kinesthetic,  interpersonal, natural, existential)

Work at doing 3-4 different techniques each week.  Soon it will become a habit.  Here are some ideas:

Do a short question/ answer review





Tell a short story that gets students interested about the lesson

Get students moving.  This could be a game, or something where they respond to you by standing.  Or do some sort of total physical response activity.

Ask a personal question.  For example if my students were about to learn about the weather in Spanish I might start class by asking “what is the worst kind of weather you have ever been in” and/or “what is your favorite kind of weather?”  Students will say various things like “I like the rain.” And you can reply, “Si, te gusta la lluvia.”…
This is easy to do and so much more interesting and motivating than “open your books to page…”

These are just some ideas to get you started.  This should increase student motivation and excitement in your classroom.  Have fun!


Other Graphic Organizers in Spanish

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spanish CSET subtest 1

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 Spanish Subtest I: General Linguistics; Linguistics of the Target Language (40MC total &3 short response)

This site is a good starting point if you need to study linguistics.

I began to make my own glossary. This is by no means everything you need to know but I did find a lot of these terms on the test.


Linguistics: the study of human language. Webster's dictionary: "the study of human speech in its various aspects (as the units, nature, structure and modification of language or languages or a language including esp. such factors as phonetics, phonology, morphology, accent, syntax, semantics, general or philosophical grammar and the relation between writing and speech)."


Linguist: someone who engages in this study.


The components of grammar


Phonetics: the articulation and perception of speech sound
Phonology: the pattering of speech sound
Morphology: word-formation
Syntax: sentence formation
Semantics: the interpretation of words and sentences
Pragmatics: how to use things with words


Morphology: the study of word structure

Morpheme: the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning; the minimal unit of language which carries meaning

Morph: the phonetic realization of a morpheme.

Allomorph: one of two or more complementary morphs which manifest a morpheme.

Free morpheme: a grammatical unit that can occur by itself. However, other morphemes such as affixes can be attached to it.

    Example: The morpheme dog

Bound morpheme: a grammatical unit that never occurs by itself, but is always attached to some other morpheme.

    Example: plural morpheme -s in dogs

Affix: a bound morpheme that is joined before, after, or within a root or stem.

Inflection process: the process by which affixes combine with roots with the aim of indicating basic grammatical categories, for instance, tense, plurality (dog-s, call-ed: 's' indicates plurality while 'ed' indicates the tense of the verb and are inflectional suffixes).

Derivational morphology (e.g., rules for forming derived and compound words).

Changes the meaning of words by applying derivations, the combination of a word stem with a morpheme, which forms a new word, which is often of a different class. For example, develop becomes development, developmental or redevelop.

Derivational morphology focuses on ways in which morphemes can be combined in order to form new stems or words. For example, the root noun child can combine with the adjectival morpheme -ish to become a new adjective, childish. The addition of derivational morphemes does not always change the syntactic category of a word; for example, the adjective happy can combine with the prefix un- to form a new adjective, unhappy. Understanding the principles of a language's derivational morphology aids in understanding how roots and morphemes such as these can combine to form new words.

Derivational morphemes: change the part of speech or the basic meaning of the word (-ment added to 'judgement')

Derivation Process: process by which affixes combine with roots to create new words.

Speech Act theory:
When we speak, our words do not have meaning in and of themselves. They are very much affected by the situation, the speaker and the listener. Thus words alone do not have a simple fixed meaning.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Spanish is a category 1

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Did you know that there are 3 categories of language acquisition based on their level of difficulty for English speakers to learn.  Spanish is a category 1 meaning that it is listed in the easiest category.  But here is an interesting comparison.  Those who participated in the study were mostly in their late 30's had a good aptitude for formal language study, plus knowledge of several other foreign languages. They studied in small classes of no more than 6. Their schedule called for 25 hours of class instruction per week with 3-4 hours per day of directed self-study. After 23-24 weeks and 575-600 hours of study they achieved superior proficiency in Spanish.  Compare this to our high school students who get a little over 4 hours per week of class time instruction and maybe if we're lucky 2-3 hours a week of self-study.  Click here to read more.