Adventures in Low Prep Plans: Recycle that content

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Most World Language teachers have more than one prep. Some World Language teachers have all of the preps because we are often the only World Language teachers at our schools. This means that naturally we have less prep minutes per plan than the average teacher. We have more preps and less plan time… but we are expected to have the same fabulously engaging lessons that magically produce multi-language learners on Day 1. Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but you get my point.

Keep reading to see about a lesson plan that I cycled with only creating 1 REAL piece of content. The rest was created using pre-made, fill in templates and then printing. The best part is, you could use this lesson plan cycle in ANY level with ANY content. Here’s what we did:

Day 1: Introduced and worked with the target verbs for this unit with sentence translation and PQA.

Day 2: We did an embedded reading level 1 cycle of 5 activities: Reading the embedding reading and doing the TPR gestures, reading the embedded reading with the gestures + translating the target verbs, chorally translating the entire embedded reading, filling the blanks as we read the embedded reading (the verbs were missing), and drawing each piece of the embedded reading (8 sentences) and matching the pictures to the sentences in the story, and then ordering the 8 pieces for the story. The student’s exit ticket was to write an ending to level 1 of the embedded reading which ended like: “pero, había un problema.”

*Teacher prep*: I collected the Day 2 exit tickets and chose 5 of the BEST endings (funny, clever, intriguing – not best Spanish) and typed them up and corrected any mistakes. I left blank lines before the endings for students to write on.

Day 3: I gave students the paper with the lines and the endings that students created. Students worked with a partner to create a NEW beginning for the endings they were reading. Students were highly encouraged to work in the target vocabulary words. At the end of class, I collected the papers.

*Teacher prep*: I read through the papers and chose 8 really good “short stories” and typed them up for ease of reading them correctly. I made an active listening sheet (a chart) for them to take notes on while they listen.

Day 4: Students received an active listening chart activity where they listened for 4 key details in each story + extra information. I read each short story out loud twice and students wrote down what they heard in either English or Spanish. Once we finished reading all 8 short stories out loud, students worked with their shoulder partner to re-tell, verbally, one of the short stories they took notes for on their paper. At the very end of class I took volunteers to retell the stories out loud to the class. At the end of each retelling I would ask the class if it was “correct” or not and we’d adjust if needed.

Day 5: We read the level 3 version of the embedded reading with a true / false / possible during reading activity. At the end, students corrected false statements and justified possible statements. With the remainder of class, students created a story map identifying the setting, conflict, attempts at solutions, and the solutions in the story.

*Teacher Prep*: I created pictures for the story by using clipart and put them on individual slides.

Day 6: I projected the pictures to represent the story on the screen while students used their story maps to describe what was happening in the pictures. Students essentially did a group “picture talk” to re-tell the story together. I provided guiding questions when needed, but students mostly used their work and the help of their classmates to retell the story. Students then got access to the picture slideshow and retold the story to a partner that gave them feedback on their retelling of the story and helped them make adjustments.

Day 7: Students used the pictures to verbally retell the story to me in their own words. The particular class I did this with is advanced enough in proficiency that this was a speaking assessment grade for their ability to convey the main ideas of the story with supporting details + using our target vocabulary words. For a lower level class I would not count this as an assessments.

BAM! Just like that I got 7 days of lessons out of writing 1 story, shrinking it to an 8 sentence embedded reading, typing up 5 exit ticket response of 3 -4 sentences into a template, typing up 5 -8 sentence short stories to read out loud, adding my listening prompts to a template, and making some pictures on slides (you could EASILY add a day for students to draw these pictures for you and you take a photo to add to the slideshow as well). All in all, less than an hour of work from me to get 7 days worth of 50 minute classes… and since this is a unit I teach year after year, I will have invested that hour of work to have 7 days of lessons that I can make easy tweaks and be ready to use again!

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  1. I have been tasked with teaching a single class period of Spanish this term (I am normally an ELD teacher) – level 1 high school Spanish. Where do you get the embedded reading you start with? I am also interested in doing something like this with my ELD classes.

  2. Love this! Do you have one for sale. I would really love to buy it as a reference. You are so creative.