How do we motivate our students to communicate in the L2? Jessica Latham, Spanish and Russian teacher at LHS, created a way to incorporate her students' interests, encourage creativity and interpersonal communication, while also pushing students to take risks with language. Last week I observed her Spanish 3 class (bursting at the seams with 32 students), and I was impressed with the amount of written interpersonal and presentational communication that I saw. Many of our teachers have become involved in cross-district collaborations with other classes through the use of SeeSaw. Ms. Latham is also using SeeSaw as the platform for communication, within a real-life context. She calls it "Instagram Influencer" and here's the basic idea:
"You’ve moved to a Spanish speaking country and in order to make money and pay for your new
apartment, and most importantly, for your food, you have decided to be famous on Instagram and make
money by being an influencer on Instagram."
Her directions go on to encourage students to create a theme that sets them apart from all of the other aspiring Instagram Influencers out there (a rapidly growing field), and helps them create their own hashtag and profile. In order to insure internet safety, Ms. Latham has students creating their "Instagram profiles" through SeeSaw instead of actually creating accounts on Instagram. However, they are developing many of the Power Skills highlighted in our Strategic Plan, and real world skills they could immediately transfer to Social Media networking if they decide to do that in the future.
Below I've shared screen shots from her students' work on SeeSaw. You cannot click on the videos, but students created an introductory video, and then other students (both within our district, and from other schools across SC) are interacting and responding in Spanish.
You will of course notice that their grammar and spelling is not perfect, but they are communicating with their peers about topics that interest them, and that fall within the Memories unit of Level 3.
Here you will notice that students are making personal connections to topics that interest them, as well as practicing the past tense verbs. Again, we are not expecting perfection at this level, but we know that using grammar in context is much more effective for long-term use and memory than grammar drills.
If you are interested in finding out more about this project, Ms. Latham will be presenting at SCOLT 2019 in Myrtle Beach. You can also contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)