Time and not having enough of it is the problem of just about every teacher I know. We need more time in class to accomplish our goals. We wish we had more time outside of class to come up with creative lessons and ideas, to learn more, to attend more workshops and professional development opportunities, and of course, to keep up with grading responsibilities. Balancing professional goals and personal goals is tricky. To top things off, it is not an easy political climate to be a teacher. Just look at Twitter and see the posts of many public educators who are frustrated with current circumstances. That is actually one of the reasons I began blogging. And, it is one of the reasons I am trying to go out of my way to be creative and bring more joy into my teaching. This school year, I am having more fun than I have had in my first fifteen years of teaching - simply by not being afraid to try new ideas and ‘ditching my textbook’ (Thank you Matt Miller and Jennifer Fischer for leading me here).
While not watching the Super Bowl, I was inspired to have my students create memes by Laura Sexton (aka Señora Spanglish). We did have a snow day which caused some changes in my original plans and I did not have time to try out the memes with my AP Spanish Language & Culture classes (the AP exam is less than 3 months away putting us under a bit of a time crunch). I think I found a way to get them in this week, so I'll share those later.
My ninth graders have less time constraints to deal with, so we had a chance to make memes in those classes. We are working on the novel Felipe Alou: desde los valles a las montañas by Carol Gaab. We are up to chapter 7 and, in my opinion, it is very “meme-able” - the chapter is called ‘Mi primera hamburguesa’ - how could you go wrong with a chapter with that title? I didn’t want to limit the creativity of my students, so I told them they could choose anything from what we have already read in the book. I offered a screenshot of the template that Laura used with Seesaw as described in her blog post. But, not wanting to limit their creativity, I told them that they could also use their own ideas. These kids are clearly tech ‘natives’ and many have made memes before. Some meme making sites were blocked at school, but PixMeme worked. I also suggested using Google Slides or Google Draw. They were all able to find a way to express themselves that they were comfortable with using. The memes did not disappoint.
Depending on their degree of ‘tech-savviness’, some of my students were fairly quick to create a meme related to Felipe Alou. So, I decided to add an optional second meme - they could create a meme about anything related to Spanish class. These were just awesome. The proficiency target level of this group is intermediate low, so I realize there are some grammar errors, but they are very comprehensible and appropriate for this level.
They used Spanish. I got to laugh, which is much-needed nowadays. I also get to continue to enjoy doing my job.
High school Spanish teacher in NJ. Google for Education Certified Trainer. Always looking to try new things in my classes. Technology junkie.