Fall 2021 Technologies

A few years ago, I stepped back from social media after the birth of my 2nd. The pandemic came soon after and I spent the next year and a half trying to survive pandemic teaching and living in Iowa. I finally feel like I can breathe again this fall. I owe a lot of that to the technologies and adapted activities I’ve been trying in class. Having one class to prep for and my mother move in to help us take care of my girls doesn’t hurt either 😉

Before I begin sharing resources and ideas, I think a good place to start is to share the technologies I’m using to manage my classes this year. Here’s a list of generic technologies, almost 100% district funded if they require payment, that I’m using:

  • Canvas – this is the learning management system I’m using.
  • Pear Deck & Pear Deck’s Flashcard Factory
  • Edpuzzle
  • Google Technologies – slides, docs, & Jamboard
  • Quizlet
  • Blooket
  • Gimkit
  • Duolingo

Here’s a list of techy language resources, self funded, I’m using that using:

  • Garbanzo
  • Señor Wooly

I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve been trying out and creating these last few years. My students especially have been excited about some of these, and my colleagues down the hall are, too.

#IWLA18 Presentation Music: Cloze it up!

I had always used music in my class, but music was a big deal at my last school.  The teacher who fed into me somehow got kids to memorize lots of lyrics to lots of songs.  I had no idea how she did it!  I began looking for ideas and reaching out, and I found a few things. I discover I love packets with activities that are similar, but trick students into thinking it’s different.  I also discovered an interpretive reading rubric from Ohio.  I put all these things together and that’s where this presentation comes from!

My Friday #IWLA18 presentation, titled Music: Cloze it up!, is a collection of different activities you can do instead of a cloze activity or that you could add to a cloze activity to make their music experience more robust!


I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

2018-2019: The Year of the Warrior

My blog has been rather dormant as of late.  After the arrival of my daughter, my priorities majorly shifted.  I relinquished some professional duties and stopped using social media for professional reasons.  I really don’t regret my choices! I don’t want to die and have “here lays a professional Twitterer and Blogger” on my tombstone.  I am so enamored with my daughter and loved being a part time teacher so I could spend more time with her in her first year.  However, my bank account didn’t love it so much and I had to pursue full time employment opportunities.  Today marks the end of my first week back at the grind, full time, at my new scholarly home.  I will be teaching Spanish 1 all day long to 8th graders (with a dash of 9th graders) in a department of six that covers both Spanish and French!

There has been so much I’ve been thankful for this week that I wanted to take a moment to jot these things down for myself:

  • I am so thankful for a department that is eager to learn about TPRS, CI, and Standards Based Grading.  They have questions for me, they want to “talk shop” and many have acquired readers to use this year!
  • I am thankful that there are multiple ways to get to my new work location – and that one of them is 10 miles shorter, the same amount of time, and has multiple gas stations and a Starbuck’s on route.
  • I am grateful to be in a district that is SO supported by the community – including financially.  One local organization funds grants for teachers/students, offers scholarships to high schoolers going into education, and so much more.
  • I am thankful for a large room, with a window, ample storage, and two whiteboards.  I’ve taught in windowless rooms, I’ve taught in a closet (practically) and I’ve made one whiteboard work… but two is better than one.
  • I am thankful to be able to tape things to my walls again and have them stay up.  At my last school NOTHING stayed up!
  • I am grateful for the BEST insurance I’ve ever had in my life.  Like seriously.  I have a $100 deductible and an out of pocket max of $500.  All for $14 a month!  I had worse coverage than that for which I paid way more at my previous school.
  • I am thankful for the amazing goodies I’ve received: a really nice keychain and pin, free apparel, coffee cups, multiple gift cards, a protein shake mixer, and so much more.  I thought my last school branded well – but my new school takes it to a whole new level!
  • I am thankful to learn I get a whole week’s more of sick time, plus five separate emergency days for when/if my daughter is sick.
  • I am grateful to be full time, but not teaching and on my feet much past when I used to be done teaching part time.  How did I get so lucky?
  • I am thankful that my sister was able to come for the week and take care of my daughter while I was working.  It was nice because I knew she was in good hands, and my sister got some quality time with my daughter which is hard since she lives in Michigan.
  • I enjoyed my superintendent’s message that we need to be warriors for our profession and public education.

It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been pretty reflective this week.  I started teaching in a small town in western Iowa as a department of one with three preps, moved on to another small school in the metro into a department of two and covered three preps, then moved onto a department of three in a larger (for Iowa) school with two preps.  It’s crazy to think I will now only have one prep and work in a department of 6 that teaches more than just Spanish!   I am excited to bounce ideas off of more brains, to try and pick up some French, and to have to prepare less for my classes!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!  I hope to be sharing more about my school adventures soon!


I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

#CIIA18 Presentation: 10×10

I used to reinvent the wheel all the time.  I’d scour the internet for new resources, spend hours creating some reading or new unit, and pretty much devoted myself to becoming a better Spanish teacher for the last 7 years.  I enjoyed what I was doing (I was learning SO much!) and it still left time to work on house projects with my husband.

However, since my baby’s arrival in October I have refocused my attention on living a more balanced life.  I wake up really early to go work out, I go teach for a while (blessings of a part time position), come home and spend time with my little one, and once she goes to bed I clean and/or do a little work on the computer.  Trying to live a more balanced life was my inspiration for my presentation for the 2018 Comprehensible Iowa Conference.

My presentation, titled 10×10, is a collection of 10 activities that can be prepped in roughly 10 minutes or less.  To prep each activity copy down the 10 most important sentences out of the story/chapter you’re working with (I recommend on a separate sheet of paper and NOT simply highlighting them in the book) and you’re good to go!


I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

SBG Level Retakes for WL Input Assessments

I’ve had some people ask me what I do when it comes to reassessing the leveled model  I use for SBG WL Input Assessments I shared a little while ago.  This post is dedicated to sharing what I do if a students fails their listening or reading assessment and needs to retake one of them.

My first tip is to make two versions of the test from the get go.  I do this because I don’t have desks and eyes wander so I need two versions to give out on the day of the test, and also because it makes retake time so much less work for me.  On my tests the information covered in the level 2 + 3 questions are the exact same on the two tests, but asked differently.  For example, the first level 2 question (which is a T/F sentence) on Test A will be the first open ended question in level 3 on Test B, and vice versa.  For listening, I type up another script and have questions ready to go when I type up the original. because my kids will share their answers and ask about the story they listened to.

Next, decide if you feel kids should have to put in some work to reassess.  My first semester I did not have time to deal with creating extra resources (as I was preparing for maternity leave) so I just let students reassess.  This only applied to three kids before I went on maternity leave.  Since my return, I’ve had five students who continuously need to reassess and some who are just lazy or need to reread directions before working.

To reassess reading standards at first I asked all students to translate the chapters covered on the test into English (which can be a LOT!).  I like that it made kids work for the retake, I like that it helped them understand the story better, and I liked that it didn’t take extra effort on my part.  However, it wasn’t sitting well with me that students could just retake (basically) the same test.  So now when a student fails a reading assessment they are provided a different version that has ten Level 2 statements and eight Level 3 (open ended) questions.  Students can choose if they want a Level 2 or Level 3, but they cannot go for a Level 4.  I ask students to take the test without notes in front of me and without a book (much like the first test they took) and they turn it in when done.  I then highlight all their incorrect answers and one correct one (which I make a mental note of) and they have to find one line from the book that supports their answer. I tell them it’s ok if some of their answers change.  I like that there’s more effort required and that it gets students back into the novel to support/defend their answer.  However, I don’t like that it means I’m creating a third test.

To reassess listening standards my students now have to listen to two different stories on Edpuzzle that use vocabulary we’ve worked on.  They answer the questions and have to answer 80% correct before they can reassess.  I then have a new story typed up with questions ready to go.

Still have questions?  Visit my original post to see if I answered it already!


I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL

Right after I got back from maternity leave, I shared a bunch of ideas I was using to spice up how my students were going over “Good Things”. Basically, I was looking for ways to use the same vocabulary we used to talk about our weekends (Ex: I saw, I went, I watched, etc.) but in new ways to keep it exciting.  There was this baseball trivia game and this rock paper scissors one.  I’ve also done two truths and a lie.  Today I share another one that was perfect for the day we got back from spring break – take two steps forward, one step back! 

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Basically, I typed up a bunch of sentences about MY spring break on a powerpoint.  If the student also did the activity, they took two steps forward.  If they did NOT do the activity, they took one step backwards.  The student furthest ahead had the spring break most like mine and the student closest to the starting line had the least like mine!

Here’s a couple of thoughts:

  • Make sure to identify what constitutes a step forward.  I told mine they had to put one foot directly in front of the other.
  • After the first class, I got bored of just reading the sentences about myself so I started asking kids for more details.  For example, one of my sentences said that I spent time with my dogs.  I then interviewed everyone who spent time with their dogs and the person who spent time with the most amount of dogs stepped forward.
  • I added pictures with my statements.  While I think this aided in comprehension, I also think it gave away my big surprise (that the student furthest ahead had a spring break similar to mine).

I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

Song Resource for El Silbón de Venezuela: Como los vaqueros

Last week I prepped my Spanish 1 students to read El Silbón de Venezuela and shared those plans here.  After this, I picked out vocabulary that I thought students needed to review or was vital for them to learn to be successful.  I did some classic TPR, created stories while I did TPR, and we practiced on Quizlet, too.  I wish I had done some PQA or used images with relevant vocabulary, but  it just didn’t happen last week.  As I was TPRing the vocabulary, I was shocked students didn’t know vaquero (cowboy) as well as others – even though it was part of an important chunk/structure I was going over.  I thought this the perfect opportunity to see what music I could find!

Song Resource for El Silbón de Venezuela: Como los vaqueros | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Song Resource for El Silbón de Venezuela: Como los vaqueros | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

A quick Google search later, I come across Como los vaqueros and although it’s by a Mexican artist it was perfect because it had a lot of vocabulary I had pulled out to work with.  Here’s the packet I whipped up.  It includes a cowboy shaped wordle in which students circle words they already know, five lines to write a sentence using five different vocabulary words, a listening with cloze, and then some IPA styled activities (find the line that says this, is this said or not in the song).  Tip of the day: don’t share the original video in class!!!  One of the girls is very scantly clad.

And here’s the kicker: kids LIKE this song!  Whenever I’ve introduced non-pop music kids don’t get into it and focus on how strange it sounds to their ears.  But I had students singing the chorus the SECOND time they listened.  Another girl (who had been gone the day we studied the song) asked for the title of “that romantic song you were playing at the beginning of class” so she could look it up later today.  I hope I get the same reaction when I pull out some music that the author Craig Klein sent my way!


Elizabeth Dentlinger

I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

Lessons to prepare for Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido

I’m all about keeping life simple and that means one of my teaching secrets is I try to do the same activity for al my levels (but with different vocabulary or degrees of difficulty).  So that means if I do a running dictation or play bingo with Spanish 1 that Spanish 2 will be doing the same kind of activity.  A few days ago, I shared resources I’d used to help prep my students to learn about Venezuela before we read El Silbón de Venezuela by Craig Klein (tweeter: @profeklein; blogger: spanishcuentos.com).

Lessons to prepare for Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Lessons to prepare for Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

I have many similar resources but for Costa Rica as Spanish 2 is preparing to read Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido (Tweeter: @placido; Blog: kplacido.com) that I’d like to share to help out others.  If you want to read more about the process or what I stress with each activity check out my detailed explanations for El Silbón de Venezuela.

Although this is my 6th time teaching this novel, I’m hoping I can still learn something new about Costa Rica!


Elizabeth Dentlinger

I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

Lessons to prepare for El Silbón de Venezuela by Craig Klein

Although many are moving away from the whole class novel, I just can’t do it.  Not yet anyways!  In Quarter 2, I read one of Mira Canion’s novels just for fun on Fridays. I do lots of things to make it fun (sound effects, different voices, some acting, sitting in a circle on the floor, etc.), but I never quiz kids on the content.  In Quarter 3, we do a whole class novel and study it to understand while pulling out culture, too.  In Quarter 4, I allow students to choose their own path (individual, in a group, or a teacher-led group) for their third novel.

Lessons to prepare for El Silbón de Venezuela by Craig Klein | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Lessons to prepare for El Silbón de Venezuela by Craig Klein | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

We’re currently at the beginning of Quarter 3 and this semester in Spanish 1 (with primarily freshman) I am teaching a new (to us) novel: El Silbón de Venezuela from Craig Klein(tweeter: @profeklein; blogger: spanishcuentos.com).  I’m going to confess that before beginning this study I know very little about Venzuela.  I know it’s in (the northern part) South America, the capital is Caracas, Maduro is the President and not doing a good job as his people have nothing to eat and no access to medicine.

As with any other new novel, I begin by building up some background cultural knowledge for both students and myself.

On the very first day, students complete a KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) chart about Venezuela.  We filled out Know and Want to Know.  I allowed students to write this in English as they don’t have sufficient vocabulary quite yet, but I encouraged them to write in Spanish when they were able.  At the bottom of the page, I had students write a one sentence prediction in Spanish for the novel.  We looked at the artwork and thought about the title in order to accomplish this.  Here’s some samples I received:

  • Veo al hombre.  Corre de la policía.
  • (El hombre) está muerto.
  • La persona es un monstruo que vive en Venezuela y tiene muchos esqueletos. 
  • El hombre roba esqueletos y los vende en muchos países. 
  • El hombre vive solo.   

On the second day, we then studied the basic geography of Venezuela in the target language (TL). I make sure students know that’s it’s a country in South America, the capital (Caracas), the bordering/touching countries (Colombia, Brasil, Guyana), the immediate body of water (the Caribbean Sea), the names of its two peninsulas (Paraguaná and Paria), and we briefly hit on some of the islands (Países Bajos, Trinidad y Tobago, Granada) nearby.  We draw and label on our map while I ask a tons of questions.  Students’ end goal is to not only be able to know this information in Spanish, but to be able to compare basic geography of  Venezuela to that of the US in Spanish, too.

On the third, students read five true statements about Venezuela’s geography and complete the sentences with vocabulary from a word bank.  They then played Quizlet with questions about Venezuela’s geography and finished by playing Quizlet Live.

The fourth day saw a brief geography review as Monday’s are shorter due to professional development and we also spent some time on this rock-paper-scissors  activity to talk about our weekend.  After our weekend review activity, students then had four true Spanish sentences about Venezuela’s geography that they translated into English.  After we went over each sentence, I then had students change the Spanish sentence to correctly reflect facts about the US’ geography.

On the fifth day I followed up our geography with a documentary about Venezuela.  I decided upon this one called Venezuela: A Paradise in Hell.  There were plenty of other documentaries that discuss what’s really going on politically in Venezuela, but I chose this documentary for two reasons: (1) it is supposed to be about los llanos which is where the main character visits in the book; (2) I don’t want my students’  first impression of the country to be negative.  Students answered these questions as they watched the video.  I had to play the video at a 1.25 speed in order to finish the 52 minute film in my 42 minute class.  As the original narration is somewhat slow, only one student even noticed that I sped it up.

Next up we will begin preparing some vocabulary that we have yet to learn so that we can get through the first few chapters… and I can’t wait! I’m excited to read this book with them!


Elizabeth DentlingerI love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!

Rock-Paper-Scissors Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL

I previously shared that my school is a Capturing Kids’ Hearts school and we’re supposed to share “Good Things” at the beginning of each and every class, every day.  I have reduced Good Things to Friday and Monday in my classes to focus on the future and past tense of some essential verbs (but don’t tell anyone!) and because it can get a little boring when kids hear their peers’ announcements all day long.  I’ve also been trying to spice them up on Mondays this semester because even though I’ve cut them down I can tell students are getting bored with just talking about their time away from class.  I’ve done two truths and a lie in the past and last Monday I shared this baseball activity that worked out well.

Today’s activity was a spin on rock-paper-scissors.  I’ve often used this when I have teams competing and when I came across this alternative version called Wizards-Giants-Elves I knew I had to think of a way to make this work for my class!  I fiddled around with it, and although it wasn’t flawless it worked well and students were asking to play again!

Rock-Paper-Scissors Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Rock-Paper-Scissors Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Here’s how it worked:

  1. We focused in on one question and one structure each round.  The Round 1 question was ¿A quién viste este fin de semana? (Who did you see this weekend?).  Students then had 6 sentences that started with  Yo vi a … (I saw…) and they were to fill in the blanks.  The Round 2 question was ¿Adónde fuiste este fin de semana? (Where did you go this weekend?) and the had starter sentences of Yo fui a… (I went to…).  They then again completed these sentences with information about their weekend. They were allowed to repeat (because I know some students lead boring lives), but I encouraged them to spice up their answers.  All information provided had to be true.
  2. On the board, I had Rock-Paper-Scissors on the board and I then broke down each round’s answers into categories and placed them next to one of the three categories.  So for example in Round 1 any answer that qualified as a family member was rock, any person that was a friend was paper, and everyone else was scissors.  In Round 2 if the answer was somewhere in the house it was scissors, somewhere in our town was rock, and anywhere else was paper.
  3. Students then got up and competed against a peer.  They had to go in order of what they wrote down and if they tied they would then go on to the next one.  If students got all the way down the list, they were then to go to the top of their list and start over.
  4. The student that lost then became part of the winner’s train.  They placed their hands on the winner’s shoulders and cheered on their leader as they competed against other trains.
  5. Eventually, there is one winner at the front of the train and I played train sounds as I the winner takes his train on a victory lap around my classroom.

Rock-Paper-Scissors Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Picture 1 | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Rock-Paper-Scissors Activity for Weekend Discussions in the TL | Picture 1 | Shared by Elizabeth Dentlinger at SraDentlinger.wordpress.com

Here are my thoughts on the activity:

  • Logistics that were important for my kids: allowing them to repeat, stressing that their sentences were true (especially since we’ve played Two Truths & a Lie), and stressing the fact that they had to go in the order they wrote on their paper.
  • I suggest putting a timer up while students fill out the sentences.  In two classes, I had boys filling out their sheets while I was trying to give categories (and thus could cheat).
  • Only a small handful of times did students actually need to go back to the top of their list while playing.
  • Want to get more repetitions out of ONE question and starter sentence?  Then have students do one round for Saturday and a different round for Sunday.
  • I need to teach chants!  Or, figure out someway for those who lose to still get in repetitions of the phrases we’re working with.  Maybe the whole group has to yell their leader’s phrase after it’s said?  Chant the phrase that wins between two trains?  I’ve yet to figure this out!
  • I didn’t turn this into a full discussion since it took a while to setup while I stayed in the TL… but that’s the goal for the next time!

I’m already brainstorming which other questions and sentence starters I could do this with.  It’s hard because not everyone has a celebration over the weekend, plays sports, or goes shopping.  I’m thinking I could repeat this activity by asking what they ate over the weekend (the categories I could break it into are fruits/veggies, meats, and all others) , what they listened to (the categories I could break it into are country, rap, and all others) , and what TV shows they watched (the categories I could break it into are comedy, drama, and all others).

I hope you give this activity a try – and my students do, too!


I love connecting with other world language educators!  Please feel free to add me on Google+tweet at me on Twitterlove my blog on Bloglovin’, and check out my pins on Pinterest!