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Showing posts from August, 2014

Business Spanish Lesson Plans: Week 2

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by Ann Abbott
Business Spanish, Week 2 Monday | Labor Day, no class
Wednesday | Exito comercial, Capítulo 1, Actividades
1. Vocabulario, p. 3. I'll ask students for the following: Dos pares de sinónimos.Una palabra de la lista que es una extensión de otra palabra en la lista.Describe la relación entre la gerencia y la mano de obra.2. Stations. I'll set up three stations. Al teléfono, p. 12. On one end of the room, I'll have my laptop set up with the dvd that plays audio. Students will answer question 1, a-e.Comprensión y comunicación, p. 20-21. On the opposite side of the room, I'll ask a student to use their laptop to play the dvd with the video of the consecutive interpretation. Students will need to answer two of the "Al ver" questions.Geografía, pp. 13-16. I'll have pages printed out with the questions, and they will have to answer them.3. Conclusion. We'll do some interactive geography quizzes together. I'll pull from these: Capitales, Latinoamér…

Spanish Lesson Plan about Twitter with Activities

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by Ann Abbott

I used this lesson plan with my Business Spanish students last week. They were very active and seemed to really enjoy it.

Be sure to teaching students this vocabulary: @ arroba and # almohadilla.

Also let them know that the Spanish in the tuits is not always perfect/academic Spanish.

If you use it, I'd love it if you let me know how it goes for you and your students. You can contact me at @AnnAbbott on Twitter or at arabbott@illinois.edu via email.

Business Spanish: Wrapping up the first week

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by Ann Abbott

I have two goals for my teaching this semester:
On Sundays, plan my classes for the upcoming week.Post those lesson plans on my blog. Bold? Inspired? Lunatic? I'm not sure. But I do know that planning ahead, like I used to when I was a TA, will help me feel less crazed during the week. With 23 years of teaching experience under my belt, frankly, I can pull off almost anything. But I'd rather not.

These were my lesson plans for last week. The first week of classes. Business Spanish, Week 1 Monday 1. Names. After calling roll and doing a few activities, I always quiz students on the other students' names. 2. Your idea of the course. In pairs, students introduced themselves, then talked for five minutes about why they signed up for the course and what they thought the course will be like.
FACEBOOK Students got out their laptops, tablets, phones and went to our Facebook page where I had put up all the links ahead of time. Feel free to like the page, too! UIUC Spanish …

Video Tutorials for Spanish Community Service Learning Students

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by Ann Abbott

Here are some video tutorials to help with the various platforms we use in our Spanish community service learning courses.
Use the wiki to sign up for your community partner and to log your work hours each week.










Use MySpanishKit to work on your grammar.

A Lesson Plan that Illustrates Community Service Learning's Shifting Perspectives

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by Ann Abbott

The first day of a new semester is always exciting. You get to meet your new students, and they get to meet you.

It's also a chance to set the tone for the whole semester. That's why I like to actually teach the first day, not just hand out the syllabus and talk about the textbook.

Here's what I did yesterday for my first day with my "Spanish in the Community" students. Feel free to use it yourself. Really, you could use it any day during the semester. It emphasizes the back-and-forth that is so fundamental to community service learning: creating connections to the people in the community yet at the same time viewing that individual's reality through a larger lens.

In other words, the academic content of the course often comes into sharp relief when connected to individual lives of the people with whom students interact in the community. However, we have to adjust the lens in the classroom and help them reframe those individual realities within …

Word Verification

by Ann Abbott

Everything I read about blogging tells me that I should turn off the word verification for comments. And that made sense to me. It's a barrier. It's a bother. I don't really like going through that step on other people's sites.

So I did that. And, oh, the spam. So much spam! Awful, awful spam. Constant email notifications about spam.

I couldn't take it anymore. So I'm sorry, but the word verification step is back.

I love it when readers comment. I love it when you share your ideas with me. I learn from you. It's the same way when I do TA classroom observations: I go there to help them become more skilled instructors, but I always walk away a little better myself, too.

So please comment. Sorry that the spammers made me put back up that little obstacle between us.

Video Lessons about Entrepreneurship that Spanish Students Will Love

by Ann Abbott

A wonderful resource for business Spanish students or anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship of any kind (commercial, social, academic, cultural, etc.): Lecciones de emprendimiento para principiantes. Diego Saez-Gil is a young, experienced, Argentinian entrepreneur who explains the entrepreneurial process in a friendly tone and with lots of very specific examples from his own experiences and others'.

After the introduction, there are eight lessons, each around 10 minutes. Click on the video above, and it should automatically take you through all of them. Or go to the website to see them separated out.

Language students will hear how business people talk about business concepts. In some cases it reinforces vocabulary and concepts from textbooks, and in other cases it introduces new vocab and ways of thinking about business. They will also see examples of businesses based on new media; textbooks tend to feature traditional business models almost exclusively.

I le…

The Engaged Humanities and Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott

Recently an old friend asked if I would be willing to go to her campus this year to give a talk. Yes! I love talking about Spanish community service learning (CSL), and I love the chance to see old friends in the places they work.

To organize the trip I needed to send her the usual--my CV, a photo, title of the talk, a blurb. But I also needed to write a paragraph describing my background and expertise in the humanities. Hmmmmm. Even though my PhD is in Hispanic literature, I have felt very distanced from the humanities for many years. When you do work in the scholarship of engagement, you can take a real beating from traditional humanists. "You make us look like a service department." "This isn't a vocational college." "Literature is the heart of Spanish programs." "There's no theory in what you do."

But in this precise moment in time (Israel's bombing of Gaza with 1,800 Palestinians killed; the riots in Ferguson; the …

Incorporating Authentic Sources and Businesses into Business Spanish Classes

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by Ann Abbott

All too often, students' work in Business Spanish centers around fictions. Students write business plans for fictional businesses that they will probably never launch. Business cases highlight real-life issues but often within the context of fictionalized characters and companies. The chapter on marketing culminates in students preparing ads that are built on some sort of fictional "Mad Men" fantasy world.

We can do better than that. We can engage our students in real business practices, with real business people.

My Business Spanish class meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I'm going to divide the course into three parts:

1. Case studies. Some will come from the textbook, Exito comercial. Others will come from the University of Colorado, Denver's language case studies.

2. Consulting. I did this for the first time last year. My students had five consulting clients and each team of students had to do the social media marketing for their client. They…

New Book about Heritage Language Learners and Relevant Teaching Theories

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by Ann Abbott

My friend, colleague and renowned expert on heritage language learning Prof. Kim Potowski (U of Illinois, Chicago) has co-authored a recently released book:

Beaudrie, Sara, Cynthia Ducar and Kim Potowski. Heritage Language Teaching: Research and Practice.

Although the table of contents doesn't show a separate section on community service learning and heritage speakers, heritage speakers definitely benefit in unique and important ways from CSL courses.

Because Kim knows this, she also invited Prof. Glenn Martínez (the Ohio State University) and me to co-author a chapter in a handbook-in-progress. She is including a chapter on Spanish for the professions and community service learning, and Glenn and I would use this guiding question in our writing: What considerations are necessary when engaging heritage speakers in courses focused on Spanish for the professions and on community service learning?

I hope that you will read and benefit from Kim's newest book as well a…

The Importance of a Conclusion in a Spanish Community Service Learning Class

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by Ann Abbott

At our upcoming new-TA orientation, Dr. Florencia Henshaw will lead a session on lesson planning. She asked me for my thoughts on what makes a good transition. This is what I replied.
Come full circle. Return to the introduction of the class and show students that they have accomplished what they set out to accomplish. In this way, they don't leave feeling that they just did busy work; they leave knowing that they went through the necessary steps to get to the final, logical step of that day's lesson.Focus on information, not grammar. Focus on the communicative goal that was achieved. In other words, the conclusion should not be, "okay, so today we reviewed and practiced the preterit." Now that requires that there truly be a communicative goal to the class. So in a way, the inability to pull together an effective conclusion might very well be an indication that there was no communicative/task-based goal to the lesson plan to begin with.What is the big pi…

Lesson Plan for a Spanish Community Service Learning Flipped Classroom

by Ann Abbott


An old friend from grad school, Kathy Fox, shared the above video on Facebook. Her son:  "just accepted a job as an attorney in the law firm of Sonia Parras in Des Moines. He's been working for Parras part time for the last year and always speaks very highly of her. She specializes in immigration law, provided legal assistance to many of the victims of the Postville raid, and is co-founder of ASISTA, whose 'purpose is to centralize assistance for advocates and attorneys facing complex legal problems in advocating for immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.' Very cool. Congrats, Son!"Kathy then shared the video above, an interview in Costa Rican television with Sonia Parras about how to protect your children from abusive relationships. It's full of rich, detailed content, language and cultural perspectives.


Lesson plan idea
HomeworkListen to the video as many times as necessary to understand it.


ClassPut students into teams and as…

Emergency Instructions as Part of the Syllabus

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by Ann Abbott

I promised myself I wouldn't start thinking about the fall semester until August. I'll be teaching two courses:
Business SpanishSpanish in the Community It's August 2nd.

So far I have had several conversations with a community partner organization that is going through personnel changes and setting new directions. I have also done a lot of email marketing of one of the classes that I teach. We're currently at nine students enrolled, and I need ten in order for it to not be cancelled.

To keep me grounded (because when I think about teaching my mind goes in a dozen different directions, one idea leading to the next, and the next...), I'll start with revising the course calenders and tweaking the syllabi.

This year we need to do something new with our syllabus and/or on the first day of class: discuss our university's emergency response recommendations and read a one-minute script to our students on the first day.

None of the classrooms are designed t…

International Community Service Learning in a University of Illinois Program

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by Ann Abbott

How should students choose a study abroad program? 

It's an important choice, and I think that the information online isn't too helpful:

Some information asks a lot of big questions--e.g., how does your study abroad program fit in with your academic and professional goals? but doesn't really direct students on the process of answering themThey tell you to choose the location that will be the best fit for you, but students who have not already traveled abroad extensively probably don't really know much about those locations and how to assess them.They tell you to answer "What is it that you want to accomplish?" as if you knew what can actually be achieved in a study abroad program.I won't try to describe on this post all my thoughts about how students should choose a study abroad program. (I'll tackle that in the future.)
What I will say is that you definitely need a program that has a community service learning component. Or an internship …