Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spicing Up Spanish

This past week as I was collecting information for my monthly Principal's Report I was happy to learn about how technology was being integrated into some Spanish classes.  For example, students in Ms. Schwarz’s Spanish 1 class had to write a dialogue based on the following situation.  “This is your first day of school and you are introducing yourself to a bunch of classmates.  You are in a Chemistry class and your teacher gives you ten minutes to get to know the person that sits next to you.” The students had to compose a dialogue using an outline that was provided after which they followed directions to create an avatar using Voki.  Voki is a service that allows students to create personalized speaking avatars.  Students created their avatar by customizing each of the options below:
  • Create a character from one of the different styles.
  • Customize the avatar by changing the look, clothing, and accessories.
  • Add your own voice via phone, microphone, text to speech, or upload a file.
  • Choose a background from website library.
  • Click on publish and e-mail it to me.

Ms. Schwarz’s Spanish 3 students created a comic strip that illustrated their daily routine. Students used Make Beliefs Comix, which is a website that enables students to create unique comic strips.  Students can use this tool to make their own characters and customize their looks and mood. They also have the capability to write words and thoughts for their characters. Students were truly engaged and enjoyed incorporating technology in the learning process.
I am extremely proud of the work Ms. Schwarz is doing to spice up her Spanish classes.  Even more exciting is the fact that she discovered these web-based tools on her own and took the initiative to develop authentic-based lessons that engaged her students.  


  1. I've used comic creators before (I really enjoy toondoo) but have not yet tried voki. I will need to look into that.
    A bunch of us Spanish teachers tweet, using the hashtag #flteach It's great professional development. I have gotten many great ideas and websites from my twitter colleagues.

  2. I appreciate the efforts of Mrs. Schwarz. I would respectfully suggest, however, Krashen's research clearly shows that listening, speaking and writing proficiency is gained solely through repetitive comprehensible input. Output, (speaking or writing practice) does not create proficiency. Both of the examples that you mention focus on output. ACTFL guidelines "require" 95% of the class to be in Spanish for this reason. The challenge is to become skilled at delivering Repetitive Comprehensible Input for that long.

  3. Awesome! I love the hearing about the use of technology in the classroom. Both websites would be great to use for other classes as well. I am thinking particularly in a history class. Imagine using it to imagine a conversation between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill or George Washington and our current president. So many possibilities.