World Languages Connect: ISU and High School Students Share a Language Classroom

CATEGORIES: April 2015

In early April 2015, students studying Spanish at Waukee High School visited WLC. The High school students dropped in on WLC language classes, took a tour of the ISU campus, and talked about language study and career possibilities with our academic advisor, Dr. Ruxandra Looft. In turn, ISU students in Spanish 297 (taught by Lecturer in Spanish, Marta Vessoni-Lence) had the opportunity to create and lead Spanish-language activities for their high school visitors. We have asked two students from Spanish 297, Kelsey Finn and Jacob Bliss, to tell us more about their experiences conducting a mini Spanish class.

Kelsey Finn: This past week I had the opportunity to plan, organize, and lead an activity in Spanish 297 for the high school students at Waukee. Senora Marta Vessoni-Lence told our class of 20 college students that we could prepare a fun and interactive activity that taught a lesson in Spanish of either vocabulary or grammar for Tuesday, April 14th when the students would come to visit. I was really excited and started looking into what types of games would be fun, yet educational! I decided that we would all play a modified version of BINGO using vocabulary and verbs from our Spanish 297 text books. I created a long list of vocab words and the descriptions of these words. I put a mixture of different words on 5 different types of BINGO cards and handed those out to all the students. In class I read off descriptions from the list and then had the students put bingo chips over the correct word if it was on their BINGO card. It was fun to create the rules, game board, words and definitions, bingo chips and the prizes! I had even more fun actually presenting this activity/lesson to the 10 high school students that came to visit. I was nervous at first to speak Spanish to an entire crowd, but I found it was very easy and comfortable once I started. It seemed the students were enjoying BINGO, especially the students who won the candy prizes. The Waukee students were great at participating throughout all the different activities of the day and seemed to be having fun. This overall process of preparing and teaching an activity was very beneficial. I think it is so important to be able to confidently lead a group of students and have fun while doing so.  I am grateful to have had this teaching experience and hope there is more of it to come! 

Jacob Bliss: The key to teaching is to always be on your toes and ready for anything to happen.  When I create my lesson plans for when I teach, whether it be swim lessons, swim team, or in class activities, I always include extra time just in case an issue arises that has to be dealt with and I still am able to teach everything I need to go over.

I started planning my short game for the Waukee High School students about a week before they came to my class.  I knew I wanted to do something that would both interest the students, but also give them a little challenge.  I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of playing a game called “¿Qué Tengo en la Cabeza?” which translates in English to “What do I Have on my Head”.  This game is similar to Headbands.  A student would come up to the front and pick a card and place it on their head, their teammates would then describe the image with short phrases in Spanish, then the student would guess what the image is.  If they got it right their team got the point.  There was one issue with the game and I had forgotten a paperclip, but I quickly solved the problem by asking if anyone had one in class and someone did.

One of the most important things to do when teaching is review and personally go over how your teaching session went.  This can help better your teaching tremendously, and figure out what you could fix and improve for next time.  I do this every time I teach and it helps me out a lot.  When I was done with my game I had thought of what I could have improved and figured out that there would have been a better way to play my game.

I have learned a lot about teaching in the past couple of years, and doing so has helped me fully understand the topics and skills I have taught.  Knowing everything does not mean you will be a good teacher.  A good teacher is able to explain something in a way that others can understand, learn from their own mistakes, and is ready for any situation that may arise.