Adventures in Project Based Learning in Spanish Class: Day 1

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September 2022 – 

Today was Day 1 of Project Based Learning in my Spanish 3 classroom.  PBL is not something I was necessarily excited to do – but it’s a school wide mandate. Why don’t I love PBL? True Project Based Learning in Spanish class requires either a lot of English or a lot of provided vocabulary in Spanish… which mostly negate the benefits and practices of CI / ADI teaching. However; this year since it’s a school wide mandate we’re making the best of it – keeping as much of it in the TL (target language) as we can AND making it useful / applicable to class. I’ll be sharing semi-weekly updates on our PBL progress, what we’re doing, how we’re striving to keep in the TL and comprehensible, and the results as we work through our PBL Spanish project! We are working on projects most Fridays of the year – so I’ll do my best to post updates on Friday afternoons here!

So, what’s the project? The project is two-fold. Piece 1: Students will be auditing the classroom library for representation, themes / topics / stories, and types of books. This is 100% in the TL. Students already have this ability from Speed Dating Books and reading books in general. Students will then work together to piece together the results of the audit. From the results, students will identify a missing theme / representation / topic / story, etc. that they want to fill in. Students will propose a theme / story they want to write and the kind of book they want to write (for example: a graphic novel that covers a Cuban family’s crossing to the US or a picture novel that tells the story of otters.) Students will present their topics in Spanish and give each other feedback in English (or Spanish if they want). 

Between Piece 1 and Piece 2 we will be interviewing various AMAZING authors of Spanish books to ask them questions about telling stories, how to write a book, how to format books, how revisions / feedback / editing, etc all work and to present / bounce ideas off of. 

Piece 2: Students will be writing in the TL a book on their topic and in their style choice throughout the year. They’ll go through feedback cycles with peers on ease of reading / understanding, artwork, and format of the book. We deviate a little from true CI / ADI techniques when we get to the editing piece… I will be editing their books throughout the year. I know we ultimately know that error correction isn’t helpful in acquisition – but the PBL “public facing element” of the project does need something that is error free. 

Today was the first day of our project and students began the audit of the classroom library – they made lots of notes on what they see and what they don’t see available. They also made notes of styles of books that appeal to them. Currently it I have this project mapped out as a Day 25 / class project. 

For Day 1 students made a list of what entices them to read a book (physically & content wise). They also made a list of 3 topics or stories that they feel are either 1- not represented in the library at all OR 2 – not represented in a manner / level that is available to them. Some students talked about wanting more historical fiction / true stories that were lower level books. Other students talked about wanting more “biography / story” books about athletes or “comeback stories. 

Students will continue working individually or with a partner to present two of their three proposals in our next PBL session to receive feedback & decide on a final topic for their project! 

Join me next week to find out about Session 2!

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