Monday, December 11, 2017

Gift Ideas for Your (Spanish) Teacher

The holiday season is coming up and maybe you want to get your child's favorite teacher a gift.

Let's be honest. Teachers don't always get gifts they like or want. Here are some suggestions for what the teacher might actually like to receive!

1.  Wine

Also known in my house as "Happy Juice".

This brilliant idea came out on the Today Show in August of 2017 and I personally think it's quite hilarious.

There are amazing people on Etsy who will make personalized wine labels for you in any theme you can imagine. From sassy "my child might be the reason you drink" to a more tame "cheers".

2.  Flair pens

Every teacher's favorite pen is the flair pen.  #nufsaid

3.  Chocolates or cookies

Unless you know that your teacher recipient is on a diet, doesn't everyone love chocolates and cookies? I know I do.

I wrote a blog post on Secondary Spanish Space about Teacher Appreciation Day and I included a variety of NYC bakeries that deliver nationwide. Or check out your local bakery for some treats!

4.  Donate to the classroom

Is there a classroom library? Ask the teacher if there are any books you could donate.

Is there another need that you could fill in the classroom? Ask the teacher and find out! Holly from Throw Away Your Textbook suggests supplies for the teacher's classroom in a pretty container.

5.  A meaningful letter

I used to work in a school where the teacher in charge of the Student Government had all the students involved write a letter to their favorite teacher(s) and tell them what they liked about them. Then each teacher received these letters right before Winter Break in December. My first year I only got a handful of letters, but each year I would get more and more. I hung them in my classroom behind my desk as a reminder why I did what I did. It was so heartwarming! #allthefeels

Ask your child to write their teacher a letter. What does your child like about that class? How does the teacher make your child feel? Ask your child to be as specific as possible and give examples if possible.

6.  A mini-crock pot

I did not know such a thing existed until Allison of Mis Clases Locas included it on a list of gift ideas on Secondary Spanish Space. She plugs it in first thing in the morning and keeps her lunch warm all day. I think this just changed my life and I hope it changed yours too! #mindblown

7.  TeachersPayTeachers gift card

If you aren't sure what the teacher would like or could use for his/her classroom, then go with the gift card! TpT gift cards come in as little as $5 amounts and go up from there.

If you have ever received an especially amazing gift or have another great idea, please share in the comments below!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

TpT Gift Cards Giveaway!

Happy belated Thanksgiving and even happier Shopping Season! I ate so much that I felt sick afterwards on Thanksgiving. But that's what you're supposed to do, right? #dietstartstomorrow

I'm thrilled to announce that a group of Spanish TpT Teacher-Authors (two groups actually!) are offering THREE TpT gift cards - $100, $60, and $50 in giveaways held here on my blog (for a $100 TpT gift card) and also over on Spanish Resource Shop (for a $60 and a $50 TpT gift card).  

That means between our two blogs, we'll have THREE TpT gift card winners! There will be a two-day Cyber Monday sale on from Monday 11/27 through Tuesday 11/28. Happy shopping with those gift cards!

The following Spanish TpT Authors are participating in this giveaway for a $100 TpT gift card:

What do you need to do to enter this giveaway?

Check out the TpT store, Instagram page, or Facebook page of the TpT Authors in the Rafflecopter below.  This giveaway only runs until midnight on Monday (technically late Sunday night) so that the winners can be emailed their gift cards on Monday morning - just in time for the TpT Cyber Monday Sale! #wehaveyourback

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the giveaway over on Spanish Resource Shop for even more Spanish TpT Authors and more chances to win a $60 or $50 TpT gift card!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Favorite Lesson to Teach

Every year I look forward to some lessons more than the others that I teach. But there's one in particular that I looooooove teaching.

It's my FAVORITE day of the school year because I love teaching this lesson so much.

It's the lesson on "¿Cómo estás?" with Spanish 1 students.

Why, you ask, is it my favorite?

Because it's so fun!

I teach students the question "¿Cómo estás?" and I have them repeat it until I'm satisfied with how the chorus of students sounds. Then in order to teach the possible answers, I over-exaggerate just how estoy muy bien or estoy muy mal I feel. I mean I make ridiculous facial expressions - I go hard with acting it out.

I ask students how they feel and if they say estoy muy bien but their tone doesn't seem very bien, I question them on it. I doubt their feelings of bien in front of the whole class. I encourage them to say it like they actually are muy bien or muy mal.  

I get so into it and so do the students! Everyone wants me to ask them "¿Cómo estás?" so that they can tell me estoy muy mal with the saddest face they can, or estoy muy bien as excited as they can, or estoy regular as plainly as they can.

It brings excitement into my classroom and high engagement, even with high school students who are far too cool to like school.

I teach this lesson in the first week of school, so it's kind of sad to be done with my favorite lesson so quickly! But it's early enough in the year that I have the students' undivided attention, while I act a fool teaching this vocabulary.

What's your favorite lesson to teach? Please comment below with your favorite topics to teach!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hop to Win! $100 and $20 TpT credit giveaway!

My Spanish-teachers-on-TpT friends have teamed up to offer you a fun and fabulous giveaway as our way of saying THANK YOU (or GRACIAS) to our followers!

We have 2 thank you prizes for our followers:
  • $100 TpT gift card
  • $20 TpT gift card

What to do:

  1. Visit MY STORE to start hopping!  ~ We love followers! :)
  2. Write down the Secret Letter hidden in the banner of my store.
  3. Click on the banner of each store to hop to the next store!  Collect the secret letters hidden in each banner!
  4. Unscramble the letters to reveal the Secret Message.
  5. Head back to MY BLOG and enter the Secret Message into the Giveaway for a chance to win!

Here's what you're looking for in my store:

Once you have all the letters, unscramble them to reveal the secret message!  Come back and enter the secret message in the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The following fun & fabulous Spanish sellers are participating in the blog hop!  You can also visit each store by clicking on the image of their store below!

  • La Profesora Frida
  • Spanish Sundries
  • La Profe Plotts
  • Spanish Plans
  • Sol Azucar
  • Sra Cruz
  • Island Teacher
  • Spanish Mama
  • Angie Torre
  • The World Language Cafe
  • Spanish Nobility
  • Saturday, February 6, 2016

    NECTFL Conference {February 12-13, 2016}

    I'll be at the NECTFL (North East Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Conference on February 12th and 13th in Midtown Manhattan! I'll be there at a booth representing over 20 Spanish and French TpT stores. I will have freebies to give away as well as products to raffle off. I'm so excited, so please stop by and say hello!

    Sunday, January 24, 2016

    What to Plan for When Taking Students Abroad - Once You Get There {Part 4 of 4}

    This is my last blog post about traveling abroad with students. The first post focuses on why you should take a trip abroad with students (HERE), the second focuses on how to plan a trip (HERE), the third focuses on what to plan for before the trip (HERE), and this final post focuses on what to plan for once you get to your destination. This post is basically what I learned through experience, having taken teenagers abroad.

    If you did a good job weeding out the students who can't behave themselves well enough for a trip abroad (from my second blog post), and you explained your expectations and incited enough fear into the students traveling with you (from my third blog post), then your problems should be minimal. However, there are a variety of factors you need to consider when traveling with a group of teenagers.

    1.  Know the hotel.

    As soon as you get to the hotel, check it out. Is there a terrace on the top floor? Where are the stairwells? Is there is a large lobby? Are there other rooms for teenagers to hang out in by the lobby? Is there a gym? Think like a teenager - where would you go to have private time with a pretty girl or cute boy? Find those places. Your students have already checked out the hotel online and those are the places you need to be wary of and look first when Johnny isn't in his room during bed checks, or when Jason and Mary have 2 hours of free time in the hotel after dinner. If everyone is hanging out in a big group, then they should be fine, as long as they aren't loud. But if everyone except Jason and Mary are hanging out in the lobby, then you need to be on Baby Watch in the terrace, the gym, the stairwells, and all the hidden nooks of the hotel. Find Jason and Mary!

    2.  Know where your students are.

    Know where your students are, even if you are not with them. Make sure that your students are traveling in groups when there is free time during the day and no one is leaving Greg to wander the streets of Florence by himself. No one goes anywhere by themselves! Knowing where your students are also goes hand-in-hand with Baby Watch if you realize that Jason and Mary have snuck off for some private time when you get back to the hotel at night. If you don't know where your students are, then Jason and Mary might be taking advantage of that.

    3.  Set a curfew.

    Set a curfew with students and stick to it. If students have to be up by 7am the next day, decide what time they should be in their rooms and check their rooms at that time to make sure they are there and quiet. They won't go to their rooms at 10:30pm just because you told them 4 hours ago at dinner that that was what you wanted. They will go to their rooms at 10:30pm because you are in the lobby breaking up their hangout, or knocking on their doors to make sure they really are in there. Someone has to be the Rule Setter and the Bad Guy. That person is you.

    4.  The wake-up call from the front desk doesn't always work.

    Sometimes it doesn't work because María, who was working at the front desk last night when you requested that all your students get a 7am wake up call, forgot to tell José to make that call in the morning, so the call never went out. Sometimes it doesn't work because Thomas picked the phone up, immediately hung it up, went back to sleep, and none of the other boys in his room even woke up at all. Ask the front desk to make a wake-up call for whenever you want your students up, tell your students what time the wake-up call will be, encourage them to set alarms on their phone for the same time, and then personally knock bang on all their doors 5-10 minutes after the wake-up call so you are 100% sure they are up. When you have finished breakfast and still haven't seen Melissa or any of the girls from her room, bang on their door again to make sure they really are up. Maybe they all decided they didn't need breakfast. Maybe they all went back to sleep after you knocked on their door the first time. Make sure the whole group isn't going to be waiting at the bus because Melissa overslept.

    5.  Plan for free time.

    Plan for what to do during free time. You will almost certainly have some free time, besides just time to eat lunch, in some of the cities you go to. Look into what cool museums or parks or other free (or cheap) activities there are in each city, just in case you find yourself with 3 hours of free time and 15 faces staring at you asking what's the best thing to do. Think about what teenagers would like to do - art museums are not going to be a hit. Teenagers will gladly stay in their hotel rooms and play on their phones for those 3 hours, but let that be plan B. They may never get to see Rome again and it would be a shame to not take advantage of those couple extra hours and see something cool.

    6.  Be flexible.

    Be flexible with the scheduling each day. Some things won't be decided until the night before and you have to be fine with it. Also, know that you will be waiting around a whole lot. Traveling with a big group requires patience.

    I sincerely hope this series of blog posts has encouraged you to consider planning a trip abroad with students! It's a wonderful experience for everyone and something your students will never ever forget!

    Sunday, January 17, 2016

    What to Plan for When Taking Students Abroad - Before You Go {Part 3 of 4}

    This is my third blog post about traveling abroad with students. The first two focused on why you should plan a trip abroad with students and how to plan the trip. This blog post focuses on what you should plan for before you get to the airport.

    The first part "Why you should take students abroad" is HERE and the second part "How to plan for taking students abroad" is HERE.

    For this blog post, I'm assuming you have a tour with a company picked out, students are enrolled in the trip (hopefully enough that you are traveling for free!), and you have a date set. Here is a list of things to consider and plan for before you get to the airport.

    1.  Plan to be their mother (or father).

    Pack tylenol, bandaids, alcohol wipes, wet ones, hair pins for picking locks, and any other first aid kit medical supplies you deem necessary. Carry them on you at all times. You never know when someone will start bleeding or not be able to open their luggage because they lost the key at the previous hotel and now their suitcase is locked shut. True story.

    Require everyone to give you a copy of their passport and carry them on you at all times. If they have important medical information, carry that on you at all times as well. Make sure you know who is allergic to what, who has medication they need to take twice a day, and all those other duties their mommies (or daddies) usually take care of. You are their mommy for a week.

    2.  Let students and parents know what your expectations are.

    Have a meeting with parents and students 3-4 weeks before the trip. Hold the meeting close enough to the travel date that you have flight information, but far enough out to give everyone time to go shopping still. Let students know what your expectations are before you leave, and do it in front of their parents. That way the parents also know you mean business and this trip won't be a Drinking Festival with Teenagers (those are probably the worst drinking festivals anyway).

    Students should know beforehand that they will have a curfew and will have to be in their rooms and quiet at whatever time you decide, but that you will choose an appropriate time. It will not be 7pm. They will have to get up early though some days, and the previous night's curfew will reflect that. Parents will like knowing their child won't be allowed to stay up all hours of the night every night.

    Parents should know that you will do your best to contact them as soon as you can to let them know you have arrived safely, but this will probably not be the very second that you land. Ask parents to please do not alert the authorities if several hours have passed and they haven't heard from their child yet.

    Students should know they are to travel in groups at all times. No one goes anywhere alone. Go over any other safety concerns you may have. Parents will want to know that you take their child's safety in a foreign country very seriously.

    Some other expectations you might want to add is that boys do not go into the hotel rooms of girls and vice versa, anything illegal here is illegal there, and encourage everyone to pack light. They will still pack for a week-long trip like they're moving there, but it's worth at least suggesting.

    3.  Incite fear in your students.

    Remind students of your expectations, in an even less friendly manner, without their parents. I mean really threaten their lives. Ideally, you want them to believe you aren't afraid to send them home in a body bag. They are going to have tons of unsupervised free time and they need to have a certain level of fear for what you might do, should they make poor decisions in that unsupervised time.

    4.  Lie to them. 

    I told my students the drinking age in Europe is 18. There isn't really a drinking age in Europe and no one ever gets carded because that's just not a part of their culture, but my students didn't know that. I told all the other adults on the trip that this was my lie and in no way should they let my students know it was a lie. I never had a problem with a student drinking alcohol.

    5.  Choose a designated place to meet with everyone before the trip.

    Plan to meet everyone either at your school or at the airport. Whichever is easier for you and everyone else. I always met students at the airport. Allow time for everyone to be late because of traffic. I required everyone to meet at the airport 4 hours before the flight. If you are leaving the day Spring Break starts, well, guess what! So is everyone else! Plan for the line through security to be 10 miles long. Plan for parents to take extended goodbyes, as if they think their child is boarding a Malaysian flight destined to crash in the sea. Plan to say "Okay, bye Moms and Dads! We have to leave now! Can't wait to see you in 10 days!" or they will literally hug their child for hours.

    6.  Try to have a working phone if at all possible.

    Try to have a phone that works wherever you are going. You really don't know what's going to happen and no matter how smoothly the trip goes, there will be at least one moment in which it will be helpful to be able to contact other people. Whether your plane is delayed on the way back home and you need to let parents know, or that rascal Johnny is hiding somewhere in the hotel past curfew and you cannot find him. Or you find out on Day 6 of the trip that Susie still hasn't contacted her parents to let them know that she arrived safely and they almost certainly think she's dead. It's worth the piece of mind to be able to call or text. Or let Susie's parents know she's fine and you are so sorry she waited so long to contact them. That's three more true stories.

    There can certainly be some anxiety when it comes to traveling abroad with a group of teenagers, but I hope this doesn't scare you away from it!  It's going to be a really amazing experience and everyone is going to have a great time! And some day you'll look back and laugh at how Kevin, Rachel, and three others left the hotel at 10pm to go wander the streets of Barcelona by themselves in search of ice cream. That's my last true story - they all came back in one piece and with melted ice cream. Comment below if you have any other suggestions for what to plan for before the trip!