Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tapped Out - #SOLC15 - 3/8

"Everything requires energy.  We must put effort and energy into anything we wish to change." - Erin Morgenstern "The Night Circus"

"If you love something, let it go.
If you don't love something, definitely let it go.
Basically, just drop everything, who cares."
-B.J. Novak

I am so tired.  I am beyond tired.  There are so many things that I need to do and I just can't bring myself to do any of them.  I need to grade some tests and papers, get my progress report grades ready, assign some tutorials, make a quiz, make some lesson plans, clean the house, laundry, cook for the next few days of school, get groceries so I can cook for the next few days... Also, I'm not home yet.

At some point I need to make an eye appointment and see about getting contacts, I need to take the driving portion of my CDL VERY soon, before my 90 days are up and I have to pay another $65 to retake all of the tests.

I have been tossing around some ideas for a curriculum change.  Our school has, to this point, approached FL curriculum with a very traditional style.  Open the text book, memorize the 70 vocab words for the chapter, drill and kill some grammar, quiz, quiz, practice workbook, test.  Which is fine.  Except I don't think my students are learning much.  They definitely aren't learning to communicate.  So I thought I might try to change this next unit into a PBL style lesson but I am STRUGGLING!  Part of the problem is it's the middle of the year, I have no materials so I will make everything from scratch, and I'm at school until 5:45 or 6 every day just at track practice and trying to get things ready for the next day.  I've only been able to stay one to two days ahead of where I am and haven't been able to do any major scope planning.  Another thing is the grammar for this unit is teaching the imperfect tense, and then teaching the difference between the preterite and imperfect.

For those of you who aren't major language people, they are both the past tense in English, but in Spanish (and I think in French) there are two types of past tenses.  One expresses ongoing/repetitive actions but we don't know how long specifically.  The other is for single, sudden, or one-time events, or a specific number of repetitions of a certain event (more or less, anyway).

Example: I was riding my bike when I fell and broke my wrist.  "Was riding" is imperfect (ongoing) and "fell and broke" are preterite (interrupting, single event).

For students who can't explain their own English grammar structures to you, this is a difficult concept.  It becomes doubly difficult when you are trying to translate back and forth and conjugate while determining if something should be preterite or imperfect.  Basically, it's a big ol' mess.  And do they truly need to master this concept in Spanish 2?  No.  So then do I teach it anyway?  Glaze over it and move on? Skip it altogether?  I don't know.

Lots of questions that require a lot of time and a lot of energy if I want to implement any of the answers to any of my questions.  And for the time being, I'm all tapped out.  There's nothing left to give to creative changes today.  Time to curl into power-nap position and get ready for the drive home.


  1. That grammar study sounds brutal! I AM an English person--have a PhD in it--and I wouldn't be able to tell you the difference. Love the idea of changing to PBL style classroom. Have you done workshop? That worked best for me. Lots of good resources for PBL online. But yes, time to read, research, reflect, implement...always lacking! I hope you're able to recharge some this weekend!

    1. Thanks! I haven't been to a workshop or anything but I'd like to go. It's been hard for us to find workshops of any kind for foreign language. I usually have to go to an ELAR or history or something and rework it for my purposes. I found a lot on tpt though!

  2. Trying to stay inspired while having so much to do is incredibly difficult. I teach English, and it is hard to teach grammar, but yours sounds brutal! I hope it goes well!