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Monday, December 14, 2009

Lisa - Senior Spanish Class

     On December 14, I began the day with Lisa in her Spanish class. This group is very high level - mostly seniors. Today, Lisa divided the class into two groups. Several students - one listener and one speaker - were working in the hall with a student teacher reviewing their use of speaking Spanish while asking and answering questions. In class, Lisa was weaving reading, speaking, listening, and writing together skillfully as she prepared the group for their next steps. This inclued a vocabulary review, introducing a word sort, and giving the students a writing assignment - retelling stories they had read. Lisa did all of this skillfully as always.
     Our ahha came during our debriefing as we discussed her recent instructional choices. She had noticed her students were struggling with some of their reading and had moved back to an easier level. As she talked about her decision - matching instruction to the class - we clarified the challenge. Her students were having problems with nonfiction text. Many high school students are challenged by nonfiction text structures. When dealing with a foreign languague, the problem is compounded by different text pattern of the sentence and the foreign language. We brainstormed several ways to help students by having them look at text features first, predict what the text might cover, and then identify and use the text structure to zero in on the layout of the big ideas and supporting details.
     Kudos to Lisa. Many of our best students stumble and fall at the college level because they can not deal with a variety of text structures and dense concepts during their freshman year.
    Stay tune. Lisa will get back to us

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