a little funny translator mishap


In my 4th year honors class my students prepare 20 minute lessons to teach to the class. They get to choose their topics. We’ve learned to draw Mickey Mouse, binary numbers, field hockey skills, dance moves


and food.  This year was full of food. One of the last food items was bruschetta.  The student wanted to give the word for toast. Toasted bread (pan tostado).  Unfortunately he ended up using the word to toast as

in to honor someone (brindis). Oops!

Post #9 Evaluation (The E in ADDIE)

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
I will evaluate students on a Rubric (see end of post). As I stated in post 6 Design:

“The first  assignments serve as building blocks for the students to build their skills and knowledge about Google Sites. Students will use the site to house much of their work throughout the year. Those items will be graded on an as assigned basis. There will be Site checks each grading period which will be based on the three introductory lessons and how well the students maintain their site in accordance with the guidelines provided in those first lessons. Subsequent assignments will be embedded/linked to or typed into the site.”

I will ask the students to provide feedback for me at the beginning, middle and end of the year about their experience using the site. This combined with the use of the site will enable me to see if my learning objectives have been met. It is possible that I will design a quiz that asks students to describe how to do things on the site, but I am not sure this will be necessary. I think that by demonstrating their ability to maintain their page(s) and keep quality and organization they will provide me with evidence that my learning objectives have been met.

Page Personalization Rubric

Announcements/Comments Rubric

Insert/link/embed Rubric


Post #8 Implementation (The I in ADDIE)

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
The Administrative staff at my school is aware of what I do. Before I send a letter home to parents, I share it with them. I want them to know what is going on in my classroom. I invite them in and let them know what the students are doing and how we are using online environments. At the beginning of the school year I will include information about what I am doing in my syllabus and a letter home. I include the online content as a requirement to my course in my syllabus. I also send a letter home to parents a bit after the first week of school (when they aren’t being inundated with papers). I also make sure that my students have a signed district AUP (acceptable use policy)  on file with the school. I do these things to:

  1. inform
  2. protect
  3. advertise for my program

After all the forms are signed, I assign students to get a Google account. Once they have done this, they fill out an online form letting me know what their email address is that they will be using for Google assignments. I keep the form in a Moodle site. I do this because Moodle is password protected and it provides extra security for students filling out the form with their names and email addresses. Once this is done, I will begin the lessons I described in the Design post. I must then add the students to the appropriate site depending on what class they are in. Only people with permission my edit my sites.

The risks associated with this are, students posting inappropriate or too personal information. Or vandalism of the site or others pages. I have discussions with the students of my expectations and how to behave online with me and others in the class. I let them know what the consequences are. By starting small, monitoring and providing feedback, the students know that I am watching what they do.

Post #7 Development (the second D in ADDIE)

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
I will develop my site in Google sites. I will provide a link to this site from my classes Moodle page. I use moodle for testing and as a home base for the students. I like that it is password protected and by using one place, students don’t have to search for information. I don’t provide everything in the Moodle because the editing of Moodle can be time consuming and students do not have the ability to add content like they do on a wiki, blog or google site.

To make my site I chose a standard site. I then changed the color scheme to blue as it is one of the school colors where I work. I then changed the navigation bar to not add every page created on the site. I only wanted certain things visible via the navigation bar. I did this because I have created pages that we are not yet using. When we begin to use them, I will add them to the menu. I don’t want to overwhelm my user when they begin to use the site. I also changed the layout of the home page. I made 3 columns. This way I can display a calendar, announcements, recently uploaded files and extras. I created the calendar for the course with Google as well as an announcements and files page within the site. I have added documents to the site like my class syllabus and rubrics for assignments we will be working on in class.

I am overall pleased with how the site turned out. I don’t like how you have to have the site a certain size for it to properly display the columns.  I also don’t like how if I insert a document into a page, when I navigate to the page it tends to go to the doc and not display the page. I really like some gadgets I was able to find that show a Spanish word of the day, idiom of the day and a verb conjugator.

Post #6 Design (The D in ADDIE)

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
At the beginning of the school year I will get my students signed up with Google. With parent permission I will require a Google Account as part of the class. Students will sign-up for the account at home and provide me with the information via a google form.  Simultaneous to signing up students, in class students will be learning about technology vocabulary in Spanish to allow for instruction in Spanish around Google and the Google site. Once the students are signed up, the first lesson will be page personalization. The first  assignments serve as building blocks for the students to build their skills and knowledge about Google Sites. Students will use the site to house much of their work throughout the year. Those items will be graded on an as assigned basis. There will be Site checks each grading period which will be based on the three introductory lessons and how well the students maintain their site in accordance with the guidelines provided in those first lessons. Subsequent assignments will be embedded/linked to or typed into the site. Advanced and trustworthy students will have the option to create their very own site at this stage.

Beginning lessons and requirements:

Page personalization

  • Add a picture,
  • a mini biography,
  • change the color of your font,
  • change the size of the font,
  • add a link
  • add an announcements sub-page
  • add a recent announcements widget

By having the students personalize their page they will and adding these basic items to their pages, they will experience the basics of how to edit and manage content on their page. This will be a graded assignment but there will be a lot of scaffolding and help provided. This initial assignment will boost confidence of the students in their abilities to use the site as well as provide them with the beginning skills to later edit and create in the Google site for their portfolio.


  • Respond to the comment left on your page
  • Create a new announcement

This assignment will teach how to use the comment feature of the page as well provide them with a knowledge base of how the announcements page and widget work.

Linking, Attaching and Inserting (Embedding) other Google items:

  • insert a doc
  • insert a presentation
  • insert a map
  • link to a doc
  • link to a presentation
  • link to a map
  • attach a doc (offline item)
  • attach a presentation (offline item)
  • attach a file

This lesson will teach students how easy it is to embed/insert items that they have stored in their Google Account. This will also help to teach the difference between linking, attaching, and inserting (embedding). This lesson will also deal with how to provide access to Google items via publish or share.

Formatting your page

  • Create a way to easily navigate your page either by a Table of Contents, Headers or Page layout.
  • A part of this assignment will be to keep up with the formatting of the page. There will be specified times each grading period where the site will be checked and the formatting will be a part of the grade.

Post #5 Analysis (the A in ADDIE)

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
letter A
For my final project I would like to redesign my class Google sites. My students need to understand how to effectively use the site to keep documents, notes and projects. I want my students to be have ownership of the site and be content producers. I don’t want them to be passive about the site.

A problem for many high school students is how to effectively organize and mange the materials given to them in class. What is important? What to keep? How to take meaningful notes? How to get questions answered? Where to find homework?

Many teachers answer these questions with some sort of notebook checks or requirements, in class buddy systems, or an “it was on the board” attitude. I want to create a Google site to use as a classroom hub. The site will be the place to go for information on the class. All handouts will be available, announcements and homework will be posted on the site. All resources we use in class and extra study help with be linked to via this site. Class notes and grammar help will be student generated and maintained.  Students will also have their own pages or sites that are linked to the main site.  I want to create a system in class where the students will be required to post information to the Google site and keep it updated with their work.

  • Who are your users? Students of my Spanish classes grades 9-12.
  • What do you want them to be able to do as a result of using your web site? Maintain an online portfolio of their work. Be able to compare performance from beginning of the school year until the end. Reflect upon their learning and their work. Access important class information and notes. Contribute to a class bank of notes.
  • What have others done that is similar? There are a lot of online art portfolios and resume builders. Visual CV is for professionals. Pupilpages Has a nice format, it is a for fee services.  Teacher Tap has a lot of examples and articles on creating online portfolios both for teachers and students. Unfortunately many of the links are broke.
  • What performance drivers might prevent them from learning with this tool? (skills/knowledge, motivation, environment, incentive) My experience this year has shown me that there are and will be skills/knowledge issues with using the site. I plan to provide the students with mini lessons on how to use the site, as well as time in class to experiment and play with the site. I will also provide links to tutorials for the students and I plan on creating a job aid for some of the basic functions that the students will need to be able to do on a regular basis. When we work in class I will identify student “experts”. I will then task the experts to help others.  Motivation may be an issue, but the majority of my students are motivated by grades. By creating a clear rubric and assignment requirements and expectations, the motivation driver should be take care of. Environment has been an issue this year. Some students are access Google Sites from an older browser that is no longer supported by Google. I plan on addressing this issue by providing lab time and access to computers in the class, before school, at lunch and after school.

Post #4 Wiki wiki wiki

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
I currently use wikis with my classes. This year I have been using Google sites with my High School students. I have set up class sites for each of my classes. I really like how Google works with Google. It is easy to embed and link to other Google items. This year I had all my students get a google account and this had made access to the Google site fairly easy. Students have been using  the class sites as a place to turn in work, but there still a lot of kinks in this process. I believe that to make the class site stronger and the students more capable I will need to spend more time giving them instruction on how to use, post and share information on their individual pages. I think that next year part of their assignment will be to personalize their pages and to maintain them. I would like to use it as a sort of interactive notebook in lieu of a paper spiral notebook.

While I like how well Google Sites plays with Google products. I am still a lover of Wikispaces. I really like the simplicity of their wiki and the ability to customize. In fact the one project I did with Wikispaces this year resulted in less confusion or problems than the Google sites. That may be due to the assignment itself or a combination of the easier/more user friendliness of Wikispaces.

I have a current assignment that has the students research a country and then place information onto a google map. Once they have done this, they write a story about the places they researched meeting certain grammar and vocabulary goals for the class. Currently they each have a dedicated page in our class google site where they post their information. I would like to instead have the students create a wiki that showcases what they found. Each student would need to either create a Google site or a Wikispaces wiki. They could choose whichever one worked best for them. They would need to have a page that is an introduction describing in Spanish what their wiki is about. They would need to create a way to navigate within the wiki. The wiki will need to include all the components of the project, but they must organize it in a way that a visitor can take a tour through their project. They will need to include their research, citation page, map, and story. They will need to decide if they are going to make pages, embed the objects or link to these items. They will need to justify their choices to me and the class when they present their project to us.  By publishing their story into a wiki they will be able to hyperlink to their maps and add pictures to illustrate and show how what they researched is included in the wiki.

Reworking a Blogging Lesson plan Post #3

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.
My Blogging Empire Sweat Shop
Looking at how I use blogs this year, some things I would like to change and improve on for next year is involving the students in the posting. Currently they rely upon me to come up with the weekly posts and they then respond to me and each other. I would like to have them create more ownership for the posting, at times I feel like they are just going through the motions and playing school.

We have debates in class that are student driven and run. Students in groups of 2 research a topic and then provide the topic/issue to the class. The class must then debate the pro/con of the issue. This has been incredibly successful and fun to do. I have been amazed at how my students rise to the occasion and are able to express themselves in Spanish about issues they care about.

This year I had students post to the blog regarding their topic, but the requirements were fuzzy and the outcomes of those posts were  mediocre at best. Next year I would structure the blogging so that the group who’s turn it is to lead the debate create a blog post with their side of the argument ahead of class time. The blog post will contain the pro and con of the issue. This would also be a place for the students to deliver vocabulary the class needs to study in-order to be successful in the in class debate. The class would then be responsible for posting questions prior to the in class debate for the Student leaders to answer and provide clarification. After the debate is over I will have the Student leaders post again a reflection on how they think their debate went the good and the bad. The class would then need to respond to that post providing a reflection of their performance as well as the overall performance of the class debate. They will be required to read the comments before their post and the will be required to mention/respond directly to at least one of those comments.

March 11 Blog Post 2 – Reading Blogs

This blog post is for my EDTEC 700 Course at SDSU with Karl Richter.

Blogging Research Wordle
I use iGoogle as a rss reader for Blogs. This year I have been unable to read and follow the blogs in my reader as often as I did in the Past. I follow blogs on Educational Technology, Spanish, Language Instruction, News and Entertainment.

I really enjoy reading Sherry Amorocho’s Blog More Spanish. Sherry is a Spanish Teacher in Ohio and we connected via Twitter. She and I have shared ideas and currently we are working on a project with our 3rd year Spanish Students. Sherry blogs about teaching Spanish and integrating technology into her classroom. I started using Google voice because of Sherry and I am excited to start using lingt with my students.

I read Ideas and Thoughts. Dean Shareski writes this Blog. He works with adults getting their teaching credentials in Canada. Each semester he asks for people who are using technology in their classes to participate with his teachers. I did this last year and I had 2 of his students guest blog with my students. I know the student teachers really enjoyed the experience and my students got a kick out of having other teachers work with them, read their blogs and tell them about Canada. He writes about teaching and blogging and the struggles of integrating online environments with students. Some of my favorite posts are about personal identity and help students understand their understand how to guard and create an identity online that they would be proud of.

One of my favorite blogs to read is Dy/Dan I started reading his blog last year. I was/am fascinated with how he approaches teaching and the teaching process. I spent a lot of time going back and reading his posts. Here is one I commented on.

Two more blogs I read are edte.ch by Tom Barrett in England and The Thinking Stick by Jeff Utecht in Bangkok, Thailand. Tom writes about his experiences using technology in his classroom. He has done a series of 10 ideas for using… for various technologies. I like that he talks about the successes and failures. He is very reflective and he discusses in detail how he integrates technology into his lessons. He also provides useful pictures. His posts at times are job aids to the technologies themselves. Jeff writes about Teaching and Technology. He wrote a recent post about Blogging. I found it very interesting because it touches on a struggle I’ve had. Blogging regularly. He talks about “finding your flow”. This is meaningful to me because like his students I have a lot of started blog posts and concern prior to posting. Knowing that what I write is public makes me do a lot of pausing before I hit the publish button.

Using Authentic Spanish Voices

This week the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA) held its annual conference in San Diego.  I had the opportunity to attend a session, Speaking-up and interacting with Authentic Spanish Voices, given by Paula Hirsch from the Winward School in Los Angeles and Kyle Murley from San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Language Acquisition Research Center (LARC). I am so excited to integrate these resources into my class. I was familiar with LARC and the digital archives they have, but I had never taken the time to think about how I could use them in my class room.

Paula showed us  how we could use the Voces archive in any level. I love how there are four different countries, different socio-economic backgrounds and different accents represented. This is a wonderful way to begin exposing our students to Native Speakers of Spanish without the contrived situations that are presented in our text books.  LARC also has a YouTube channel with more videos of women from Argentina.

Another amazing resource on the LARC site is the archive on the Argentine Dirty War, Los Desaparecidos. This archive has 4 survivors tell their experience of the Dirty War. It is a very powerful tool that I can’t wait to use with my students.

Both Paula and Kyle mentioned that if you have problems accessing any of LARC’s resources at your school, contact LARC and they will work with you to help you.