IWLA Idea Share #2

The second session I’d like to share was presented by Kerisa Baedke and Christine McCormick.  These lovely ladies are the two Spanish teachers at Prairieview School in Waukee Schools, Iowa.  What I loved about their session was that it helped me refine some activities that I am already doing in my room.  I kept thinking to myself, “Why didn’t I think about it that way!?”

As I’ve adapted the TPRS/CI method, I often feel like the sole proprietor  of cultural knowledge and exposure and speaking moments.  I like that this takes some of the weight off my shoulder.

I also like that these can be an extra grade in my gradebook.   Having made the switch to Standards Based Grading, my students are freaking out because they’re used to being rewarded for being quiet and obedient with an A+.  Now they have to actually prove to me that they have the skills to be an A (or advanced) student.  I feel like these activities are meaningful enough that they warrant a place in the gradebook.


1. THE ANNOUNCEMENTS: Students make a statement in Spanish, then class mates have to ask questions that relate to the statement.  From my understanding, students have to make 2 announcements per quarter, as well as ask 2 questions per quarter.  These make great pop-up grammar at lower level.

2. MINIMAL PHRASES: Students make a minimal statement and are thinking about a “key” part to the story.  For example, “I went to the mall” this weekend” and the student decides what is the secret bit of information (an example could be “I went after midnight” or “I went in my favorite red coat”).  This activity puts the pressure on the asker to ask the correct thing.  McCormick and Baedke state they use this activity in Spanish 2.

3. 20 QUESTIONS: Student is shown a picture and vocabulary term.  Classmates have to ask “yes/no” style questions until they figure out what it is.  Presenters suggested showing kids how to play.  For example, “Is it a person?”  and moving onto “Is it a boy?” and how to become more specific.  They use to do with fun vocabulary and cognates (Example: police) but now they try to use it to preload vocabulary for next chapter.

4. QUICK CHATS: Similar to my Bags of Questions, but they’re all related.  For example, “Do you want uniforms or not?” and “Should the school pay for uniforms or parents?” and “Do any schools in the area require uniforms?”


1. CONNECTIONS: Log of times they’ve experienced anything outside of class.  (Similar idea to the Real World Examples like those by Musicuentos) Examples were seeing science at the back of the science book or hearing Spanish on TV show.  This is Quarter 1 in Spanish 1.

2. SEARCHES:   Students are are giving specific activities to complete each week.  So for week 1, they have to look in the phonebook and find 10 Spanish sounding last names.  For week 2, the have to find instructions written in Spanish.

3.  CURRENT EVENTS: I’ve done these before but I like how it’s a progression.  Students have a South American country and have to find news from that country each week.  Students begin with English articles and work their way up to Spanish ones.  Students answer questions in a table like “What does that article say about your county?” and “Why is it important to that region of the world?”  Also, “How does this article change your perspective on that part of the world?” and “How does it relate to us as Americans?”

4. FAMOUS PERSON COMPOSITION: Students write a composition about a famous person. Could be done with musicians, artists, dancers, and science/medicine related people.

5.  FAMOUS ARTISTS: McCormick referenced an art book they have called Accent on Art: Spanish and Mexican Art for the Classroom.  They take each artist, write a general description and then write 5 questions about the artist for student to answer.  Students then have to find a school appropriate piece of art to reflect on.

I can’t wait to add some of these activities to my gradebook next week!  Thanks a ton for sharing!

If you’re interested in the materials, some of them are available for download here on their blog that they maintain for students.  You can also email Kerisa Baedke at kbaedke@waukeeschools.org or Christine McCormick at cmccormick@waukeeschools.org.

2 thoughts on “IWLA Idea Share #2

    • Yes. From what I gathered, the students statement would be similar to “I went to a restaurant .” The student who gave the statement decides the special part of information is that it was at Outback. So students begin asking, narrowing down the information they’re asking until the student who gave the announcement hears the special piece of information they were waiting for.

      I haven’t used this one yet (I just started ANUNCIOS) but I can send you the paper they gave me for the minimal phrases if you’d like. Just tell me which email to send it to.

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