Blog Posts

Spanish chats about the weekend!


Spanish chats about the weekend! (Speed dating style!)

At the start of the class the students do a warm-up where they fill out the top section of the handout.

Finish each sentence with a verb in the past tense to tell what you did on the weekend.

El viernes yo ____________________________________________.

El sábado por la mañana yo__________________________________________.

El sábado por la noche yo__________________________________________.

El domingo yo__________________________________________.

Yo __________________________________ durante el fin de semana y fue muy divertido.

Yo comí ______________________ durante el fin de semana y fue muy delicioso.

The bottom section seen below, is what they ask their classmates:

  1. ¿Qué hiciste el viernes?
  2. ¿Qué hiciste sábado por la mañana?
  3. ¿Qué hiciste sábado por la noche?
  4. ¿Qué hiciste el domingo?
  5. ¿Hiciste algo divertido? ¿Qué?
  6. ¿Comiste algo delicioso? ¿Qué?

We then re-arrange the desks “speed dating style” where the students ask each other these questions and record their answers on the questions and answers sheets.

This activity is great for exposure to los verbos and a great tool to practice Spanish speaking.

Learning from around the world!

I was super pumped for Kirsten Hansen’s, Adam Krammer’s, Stephanie Grand’s, Lorraine Wagner’s, Venessa Vogel’s and Sharon Flaman’s presentation tonight on Tools for Distance and Online Education. It was also very cool to meet Jade Ballek as I have been a huge fan via Twitter.

I first discovered online education in 2013 via an ETMOOC led by Dr.Alec Couros.  From I remember Dr. Couros was on a sabbatical leave and was using his sabbatical time to connect with educators.  He used  Blackboard Collaborate as his tool for Distance and Online Education.  For a month we took part in a free online class where he invited anyone to come chat, learn and share from around the world literally. Connections from all over were made and I began to understand the importance of Personal Learning Networks and Connections. This was real authentic learning where everyone was trying new technology in education as well as stories were shared of what worked and did not work. Resources were shared and an online community was built via distance and online education. Check out the Lipdub our #etmooc created :

The terms connected learning, digital literacy, the open movement, digital citizenship, digital storytelling, the anatomy of a tweet were inspiring and great learning topics for newbie tech teachers. We were introduced to ED tech guru @Sue Waters, where she taught us about creative commons and proper online commenting etiquette and tips.  This open online concept truly blew my mind to online learning and all of the positive impacts of it. It pushed me as educator to share my resources and to make connectors with other language teachers.  In fact the whole process encouraged me to pursue and complete  my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.

This time around while pursuing my Master’s certificate in Second Language Acquisition, I am using new distance online learning tools like Zoom. Again this whole process has opened my mind to even more learning. I can go into breakout rooms like we did tonight with other classmates and have meaningful discussions. Using tools for online education has had a big impact on myself as I am learning to blog again. It is something that I enjoyed doing in the past and it has rekindled my joy for writing and sharing learning experiences with others. It has also given me the time to re-connect / connect with other educators as well as learn new tools that are available for teaching.

While teaching French Immersion and Spanish I would feel comfortable using these tools with my students such as Zoom especially for online / distance education classes. It would give my students the opportunity to connect with others who are learning a new or second language. Though I also believe my students would miss that face to face contact while learning a language and I believe that is an important link to have when learning a language. Face to face learning is a great opportunity to make a direct connection with students.

After having read the article on Identifying and Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Online Students in Higher Education, it was truly an eye opening learning experience.

It was quoted that “online educators need strategies for identifying mental health problems in their students, resources available to offer the distance student, and institutional policies addressing mental health and student performance”.

I was reminded about the sometimes negative effects of online learning especially for students who are or who may be suffering with mental illness. At the school we have direct contact with our students and where educators can hand can tell if my students need guidance. Though if teaching online students if would be difficult to do so. I was reminded that if teaching an online class we must create a school atmosphere where students are encouraged to seek and ask for help.


Thanks so much.


How to create a Skype Classroom

How to create a Skype Classroom

Skype Classroom  

Here’s how to get started:

Go to:

* How to create a profile and find a teacher

1) Create a Skype name and password

2) Create your own profile (Your screen name & description are how you will be known on Skype in the classroom.

*While your profile on Skype in the classroom is attached to your Skype account, other teachers won’t see your Skype details unless you accept their contact requests.

3) Choose an email that can link to your Skype classroom account & attach a picture of you.

4) Choose a category or as many categories as you’d like to describe yourself as a teacher. (Languages, Math, Arts, Culture, Social Studies, Physical Education, Arts, Reading & Writing, Guest Speaker and technology.)

5) Description gives other teachers information about yourself and what you are looking for on Skype classroom.

6) Location country and city of where you are located on map.

7) Languages you speak.

8) Add your own website, school website or your own blog.

9) Students age ranges of classes you would like to connect with. (12-15) (16-18)

Congrats! Your profile is now created!

How to connect with other teachers:

Go to the top (Directory) to locate other teachers.

-You can search other teachers by key words, subject areas and where they are located in the world.  You can check out their interests and what they would like to accomplish via Skype classroom.

If interested to connect, add them as a contact and send message.

How to create a project on Skype in the classroom

If you are looking to collaborate or want to create a teaching project:

-sign in to Skype Classroom

-click on create a project

-Provide detailed information of what you are looking for

-Projects are a way for teachers to collaborate around a specific goal. You can create a project to find partner classes, partner teachers or guest speakers. It’s super important that your project description clearly and thoroughly describes what you are looking for as this description is how other teachers will find you.

-Give your projects a title (keep it easy and short)

-Describe what your project is about and why it may be interesting for other teachers.

-Add videos or pictures to bring your project to life.

-Select the subject that best describes your project and the age group.

-Create project

-Relax… you can edit your project anytime.

-You can access your projects on your profile.

The following information has been adapted from

Example of a Skype Classroom Language exchange in the classroom:

Skype Classroom call (A learning call)

A Mystery call:

-A mystery Skype call is when; classrooms call each other & try to guess where the other classroom is located in the world.  Connect with other classrooms around the world, country and city.  Have the students share hints of their true location, challenging the other students to guess where in the world their new friends live.

When doing a Skype call, each student works at a specific job during the calls.

Hand out responsibilities before the Skype calls so every student feels engaged with the conversation, not just passive participants watching the interaction. Assign each student a task that is relevant to the Skype Classroom call.


*Familiarize your students with different geographical locations, cultures and languages etc.

*Maps, Google earth & Atlas

*Formulate questions with your students for Mystery Skype and Classroom Skype.

*Distribute job responsibilities (Skype Teacher, Skype mappers/ Atlas, Skype Greeters, Skype Inquirers, Skype Photographers, Skype Runners, Skype Note takers, Skype Clue Markers and Skype Problem Solvers.

During Skype call:

*Interview & mapping

*Questions and answers

*Taking pictures and video of the Skype call

*Data collection and notes in regards to the call

Post Activities:

*Debrief as a group about Skype call.

*Information Literacy (evaluates, analyze and categorize)

*Create video diary (Animoto)

*Blog Post (reflection)

*Share with students, other classrooms

Job responsibilities definitions:

Skype Teacher: The Teacher in charge of the classroom and set up of call.

Skype Mappers/ Atlas / Clue Markers: Students who use the maps to piece together the clues & location of the connected classroom.

Skype Greeters: Greet the connected classroom. They share an interesting fact about their own class, without giving away their location. They are also in charge of ending the call.

Skype Inquirers: These students will ask and answer the questions.

Skype Note takers: These students will write down notes and answers from the call.

Skype Photographers: using their device and or camera take photographs during the call.

Skype Runners: Students double checking and relaying out information from group to group.

Skype Problem Solvers: Helps students with any problems during call, vision, sound, technology issues.



Functional tools for the Languages classroom

Functional tools for the Languages classroom


When learning and practicing Language learning in the languages classroom setting, there are many useful tools that you can integrate in the classroom to enhance language learning.

One tool that I have become fond of is Pinterest.

By using Pinterest my students can use images and create story boards, to demonstrate their learning from a novel story, and even do projects via what they learned.  In my Spanish class, the students learned new vocabulary learned “the home” vocabulary  and created Pins to show their dream house and what it would look like, all at the same time practicing their language acquisition and demonstrating the new Spanish vocabulary that they learned.

I have also used Pinterst after having read French Immersion novels with my students. The students created Pins on the visuals of what the novel looked like and showing what they learned from the novel and at the same explaining why they chose these visuals.


Glogster has replaced the bristle board in my French Immersion and Spanish classroom. A lot of work in the language area classrooms,  are project based learning, to demonstrate what they have learned but by making it their own. In my Spanish class, there is a family unit and famous musician unit where student will use the new vocabulary that was learned including pictures. Glogster is awesome because it’s a digital poster, you can integrate sound and visual in these projects. Very cool and easy to use!

Movie Maker, You Tube and I movie

A lot of my students are very techy and have showed me different tools that I can use in the language classroom. My students taught me Movie Maker via the Microsoft program as well as how you can download your own movie and projects to You Tube. I became quite fond of the program I movie via I pad or I phone (cost is $6.00) because it is a easy and useful learning tool to use in he classroom.


I purchased a teacher account because you can do a lot with Animoto in the classroom with project based learning in the language classroom. Students can add working and images and make their own projects to demonstrate their learning and at the same time create digital stories for projects. I have used this tool for school assemblies to show the community what the students have Thom have been doing. Very cool tool!

Duo Lingo

This is such a fantastic app because student can download it onto their own devices for free and at the same time practice their language learning. It helps with the students, speaking, listening and reading and motivates the students to stay on track. I have hooked up the Duo Lingo program to my projector while using my tablet and it’s a great warm up tool to get my students started while learning the new language.


Another app that I have used in the French Immersion and Spanish classroom is the older app called: Busuu. With this app, students can practice their French and Spanish while using their reading writing, listening and reading skills. It’s an interactive tool with quick quizzes for the students to practice.


Students can create their very own character Avatar and make their own descriptions while practicing the language.

As a languages teacher, I am always looking for tools to integrate and motivate my students when they are learning a language. As discussed in a previous blog entry, as long as I use these learning tools in engaging and meaningful ways (not just as a tool to throw in), they can be useful for other language classrooms.



Mystery Skype call # 1

Today was the day that my students and I made a Mystery Skype call!


Our first call was a classroom from the USA Mr. Miller and his students from  Marshall IN. Matt is a great teacher who is also integrating technology within his language learning classrooms. His classroom was a lively bunch who was learning the Spanish language as a second language as well.

My students were excited and were ready to take on their roles. We had a couple of technology glitches but overall the call went very well. The sound from the other classroom was not clear but when we re started the sound came clear. My students who were in charge of technology problems, took on the issues ASAP.


My students who took pictures of the call took pictures of the whole call documenting everything.


My students who were in charge of mapping and keeping track of the mystery Skype location were very involved and worked closely with the Skype note takers and runners. Together they worked together to piece together the clues & location of the connected classroom.


During the Skype mystery call, the students were getting to know each other by the open ended questions. It was amazing to see both classrooms working together in the Spanish language, trying to figure out where they were calling from. You could tell that my students were quite proud of their language acquisition. They were making comments about how it was awesome that they understood their new classroom friends as well as how fluent they both were with each other.

It was neat to see how the Skype Mystery call goes smoothly when all has roles for the students have been pre-planned in regards to the interview & mapping, questions and answers and taking pictures of the Skype call.

The mystery Skype call was solved from the USA first. Once we figured out their location, the students began to get to know each other via questions while using the Spanish language.



After the call, Post Activities included: a discussion / debrief about the Skype classroom call. Together we evaluated what worked and what didn’t work during the call.  The students who took the pictures had sent the photos to me and the note takers had handed in their notes from the call.

Each student wrote out a reflection about the Skype call and what they learned from it. Next year, my goal will be to make a classroom Blog for my Spanish classroom. The Blog would be a reflection blog on what each student has learned with technology n a language learning classroom

Overall it was a very positive experience for my students and we are looking forward to another call before final exams start.


Feliz Navidad digital guitar project

Major Digital project: Learning the guitar via online learning!

My targeted skill was very complex for me! It was something that I have always wanted to learn, but never had the chance or TIME to do so. I had always wanted to learn to play this instrument but I had been afraid to do so, for the reason that I am musically challenged. Did I mention that I have never played an instrument before?!!!

After hours and hours of learning via the internet, and hours and hours of practicing, as well as receiving face to face supplements to help me on my guitar journey, I present to you bellow, my final product.

Here is what I sounded like in September 2014 (Before):

Here are my guitar recitals for you to demonstrate my learning (After):

In summary of my Digital Learning project, I believe that you can theoretically learn to play the guitar via online learning.  You can actually LEARN anything that you are truly passionate about via the internet.

Looking back on this Major Digital project, I have had a lot of fun in my guitar learning journey. I know that I am not the perfect guitar player, but I am supper proud of myself. And now that I have the motivation, I will continue on with my online learning with the guitar in the future. I will for sure try new songs to play and will keep practicing!

Krista Brockhill Gates

Skype Classroom

Skype Classroom


Skype Classroom has also been embraced by educators who are using it in the classroom in some innovative ways.

Teachers use Skype to open their students to a world beyond the classroom walls. They use it to bring experts, authors, and guest instructors into the classroom, those who would never otherwise be able to visit the school.

Students can take virtual field trips, if you will, via Skype as they’re connected to places through video chat. A Skype communication session can involve foreign language learning or a cultural exchange. It can connect classrooms across the city, province, country or around the world.

Teachers can sign up for the Skype in the Classroom by connecting their existing Skype accounts. Then, they can build out their profile with their interests, specialties, grade level, and location. Teachers can look through the directory and find others who can help with questions, resources, tips, and classroom visits.

Skype Classroom

Meet others who are passionate about language

Use Skype Education to connect with other students and teachers around the world! Skype can also be used in other classroom subject areas for educational purposes!

1) Students can practice multiple languages (French, Spanish, and German etc.) with other foreign classmates and teachers. (Explore other classrooms around the world.)

2) Students and teachers can interview people from around the globe. (Politicians, actors, scientists etc.)

3) Visit historical locations from around the world! For example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Paos Volcano in Costa Rica.

4) Students could be given homework assignments via Skype if out of city or country.

5) Invite a guest speaker to a classroom in regards to any subject area (Social Studies, Law, Science, and English)

6) Collaborate with other teachers from around the world in regards to resources!

7) Collaborate with Poetry.  Connected classrooms  can create poetic pieces together and share them via video conferencing.

8) Hold a class debate. Skype can be used for hosting formal and informal debates to help students with their critical thinking and research skills.

9) Use for parent/teacher conference. Teachers can hold meetings with parents and students via the video chat.

10) Provide tutoring or extra help for students  who are ill,away or who require extra help.

11) Science Experiments:  Invite another classroom or an expert to speak to your class about a scientific experiment.

12) Math: Math equations sharing with other classrooms.

Information is adapted from: