Bringing Lessons to Life with Guest Speakers and Authentic Resources

María Postigo

María Postigo is a native speaker from Spain. She teaches Spanish III/Hnrs & IV and is the Spanish Club Advisor at Canal Winchester HS. She is on the OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee. She is also working on her PhD Dissertation on Translation and Interpreting Studies.

Although authentic resources have always been of undeniable value in the World Language classroom, they have recently become one of the buzzwords in this era of changes and new approaches to the teaching of world languages in Ohio.

As an educator, I strongly believe that through the use of authentic resources, guest speakers and student interactions, long-lasting memories can be created. That is why in this edition of the OFLA Cardinal, I would like to share a successful lesson on nature and outdoor activities that I did with my HS Spanish III students. It incorporated the three modes of communication, technology (Google Docs) and authentic resources ranging from my own pictures and brochures to a guest speaker: a bilingual Naturalist.

I believe it is a win-win lesson that is successful for teachers (a spin on textbook activities), students (sparking enthusiasm) and administrators (implementing the Rigor & Relevance Framework: Quadrant D Strategies).

Information about the lesson:

Target Audience: HS, but it can inspire lessons of all audiences.

Examples: Spanish, but it can be adapted to any language.

Implementation of the Rigor/Relevance Framework: Quadrant D Strategy:

– Quadrant D Product: creating a brochure & presenting it in class. Talking to the Darby Creek Metro Parks bilingual naturalist Ricardo Granados.

– Quadrant D verbs implemented: to adapt, compose, construct, design, formulate, invent, modify, propose, recommend, revise.

Differentiating Instruction: Pre-AP, Expand and elaborate.

Standards: All.Presentational communication: (language skill: writing and speaking), Interpretive communication (language skill: listening), Interpersonal communication (language skill: speaking). Culture (compared and contrasted to own).

Theme: Outdoor activities and nature.

Lesson and reflection:                                                              

Part A: authentic resources and building up language skills

I shared in class a variety of authentic resources about outdoor activities in México. They included my own pictures of Cozumel, brochures from México, Costa Rica and Spain, videos and websites from the Internet and the Darby Creek Metro Parks programs in Spanish.

We reviewed the vocabulary and verbs that they already knew: tomar fotos (to take pictures), acampar (to camp), montar a caballo (to ride a horse), pescar (to fish), hacer caminatas (to go hiking) as well learned the new vocab: navegar por rápidos (to go white-water rafting), remar (to row), hacer una excursión junto al río (to go on a field trip alongside the river), kayac, etc.

Students translated some parts of the the Darby Creek Spanish Program into English, as well as answered some questions, in preparation to speak with the bilingual naturalist in charge of those activities, whom I invited as our guest speaker.

Part B: students’ products

Students created a brochure turning the one on our textbook about outdoor activities in Mexico into a brochure about outdoor activities in Ohio. They had to incorporate both the old and new vocab. Students were allowed to choose the format of their brochures to present in class: hard copy or digital (Google Doc shared in Google Drive, Word Document uploaded to my It’s Learning account, etc.)

To take students even higher on the quadrant D, they presented it in the Past Tense, instead of just reading the brochure in the Present Tense.

Part C: interacting with a native speaker

I invited the only bilingual naturalist in Ohio, Ricardo Granados, from the Darby Creek Metro Park and students interacted in Spanish with him throughout his presentation.

I e-mailed him in advance the vocab that students knew and he incorporated it in his presentation, which was entirely in Spanish. After his presentation, each student asked him a different question. To prepare for it in class, each student came up with a different question, I checked it, and they memorized it. I thought that would give them a layer of confidence. However, I encouraged them to improvise as the conversation went along, to have a more natural and fluent experience. Students had a great time, and it was a great opportunity for them to put what they had learned in class into some real world application.

Impact on students

Making a brochure about outdoors activities in Ohio instead of Mexico made their products more meaningful for them and unique. Some of them used their own pictures. Students were proud of their work and some of them put it on their binder covers.

Interacting with a native speaker made the lesson come alive as they immediately put what they had learned into the real world application, creating long lasting memories.

Data demonstrating the success of the strategy

97% of the students created the brochure and presented it in class. The average grade was 84% (Data collected from ProgressBook’s Grade Book Grid).


This entry was posted in OFLA News: Association, Vol. 52, No. 3 - Spring 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

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