Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K–12

A Library of Classroom Practices

Spanish: Routes to Culture
Analyze the Video

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • What kinds of warm-up routines do you use to motivate students and get them thinking in the target language?
  • What strategies can encourage students to communicate beyond the sentence level?
  • What strategies can help integrate learning about cultural products and practices with the language task of the lesson?
  • How can reading work as a model for creating written texts?

Watch the Video
As you watch "Routes to Culture," take notes on Mr. Muirhead's instructional strategies, particularly how he groups students and how he encourages them to make cultural observations. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.

Reflect on the Video
Review your notes, and then respond to the following questions:

  • Which activities help students move beyond sentence-level responses?
  • What cultural observations are students confident in making about the African presence in Latin America? What perspectives are they beginning to understand?
  • What evidence do you see of students moving toward independent practice with language?
  • How does the excursion into the local Latino community seem to impact student learning?

Look Closer
Take a second look at Mr. Muirhead's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment: Semicircles

You'll find this segment approximately 5 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 5 minutes.

Students rotate through a series of pairs discussions; they speak first about their personal lives and then about the Onama stories.

  • What are the benefits of a semicircle rotation activity?
  • What instructional goals underlie Mr. Muirhead's choice of questions?
  • Observe the student groups closely. How would you describe their interactions?
  • As students begin to discuss the Onama stories, how do their interactions change?
Video Segment: Dramatizations

You'll find this segment approximately 18 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes.

Student groups narrate stories that they created based on cultural aspects of the Onama stories while their classmates act them out.

  • What role do students' drawings play as each group prepares the story?
  • What guidelines does Mr. Muirhead give for the assignment?
  • How is the dramatization activity designed to produce the greatest student involvement?
  • How successfully do students in the first group convey the meaning of their story? How do they work together? How do you know they understand the story?
  • An actor in the second group doesn't understand the word orar (to pray). How does she show that she does not understand? How does the narrator negotiate that meaning? How does the actor then confirm her understanding?

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