Showing posts from February, 2015

My Online Lesson about Social Entrepreneurship and Social Media Marketing

by Ann Abbott

I was very happy to get an email this evening with a link to an online guest lesson I gave a few semesters ago about social entrepreneurship and social media marketing. Normally when you do a guest lecture, nothing remains from it afterward. This was my very first attempt at teaching online, and I'm glad to have a record of it.

The course is called Social Media and Global Change, and you can see the course content on this blog.

And for even more information, visit the Global Informatics Initiative website.

We Need a Campus Infrastructure for the Work and Recognition of Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

I was pleasantly surprised to read, in an online newsletter from our provost, that the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign will be taking a look at service learning from a campus perspective. 


I hope something will come of this! We need a solid support and reward system on this campus.
In the months ahead, each issue of Academic Affairs will report on the progress of these initiatives as well as new programs to enhance Access and Affordability and a committee to develop campus-wide Service Learning. If you would like to learn more about the Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education, please contact Lauren Goodlad (Provost Fellow for Undergraduate Education) or Chuck Tucker (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Innovation).

Talking to Middle School Spanish Students about How to Use Spanish in Their Daily Lives

by Ann Abbott
It is always a pleasure for me to stay in touch with my former students. I love seeing how they develop in their personal and professional lives. And when they continue to have Spanish in their lives long after graduation, I'm especially thrilled.
I accepted this invitation from my former student Samantha Sutton, and I am looking forward to seeing her (albeit via Skype), her students and their project.
Dear ​Ann​,
​I hope you are doing well and are staying warm during this fantastic winter. ​
We are excited to  begin our very first PBL​ (Problem-Based Learning) experience​ in Spanish class! To read more on our PBL work in D41, please go to
Beginning March 7, our 7th grade students will begin their PBL where the students will be placed in collaborative groups to solve the following problem: By the end of 8th grade, you will have invested two years in learning the Spanish language and culture. How do you plan on using what you’ve learned? Are…

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik
Una Ventana Hacia La Esperanza
Imagínate estar enfermo de niño, ir al doctor, y cuando tengas que entregar los papeles, no tienes un número de seguro social. Tus amigos sacan sus licencias a los dieciséis años, pero tú no puedes sacar la tuya. Ellos empiezan a trabajar, pero tú no puedes. Cada día, hay el riesgo de que te deporten. ¿Por qué te pasa todo esto? Porque llegaste de niño a los Estados Unidos. Tus papás de trajeron. De niños, no tenemos un decir. Sin embargo, llegas a este país y tienes que sobreponerte, aún a los desafíos. El gobierno de los Estados Unidos decidió imponer un programa llamado DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals o Acción Diferida Para Ciertos Jóvenes) para que los niños puedan tener oportunidades.
En La Línea, frecuentemente nos encontramos con llamadas de hispanos en la comunidad quienes requieren información sobre DACA. Me rompe el corazón cuando le tengo que decir a un cliente que no cumple con los requisitos. No es un programa c…

Lesson Plan about Culture within Education Systems: Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Here's an outline of my class today. The question we want to answer by the end of class is:
¿Sabemos cómo trabajar en la comunidad de manera culturalmente apropiada?
Warm up In our last class we talked about mandatos-commands (Lección 5 in Comunidades: Más allá del aula). So I´ll start with some Simon-Says-style commands, that they have to listen to distinguish if they are for the whole class or just one student. Levántate.Levántense.Salten.Salten dos veces.Da la mano a la persona a la par.Den la mano a la persona a la par.Siéntense. Lección 6 in Comunidades This lesson starts off with one of my favorite activities of all time: asking students how many continents there are. Then sharing with them how many continents other countries believe there are. This really hits home the idea that even things we think of as "facts," things we were taught in school as "facts," are embedded with our own culture and cultural values.
Then we'll continue through…

Is community service learning compatible with communicative languageteaching?

by Ann Abbott

Based on two semesters' worth of having Spanish students do social media marketing for a community partner, I am questioning whether certain types of engaged learning in a language class.
I say this because doing social media marketing and protecting the community partners Briand involves necessitates a high level of proficiency and accuracy that funeral language students possess. Let alone the knowledge they need to acquire about marketing and social media marketing.
In fact, I am not sure if I will do that kind of project again. The amount of editing that I need to do to students posts have to be accounted for and built in to the syllabus, either I dedicate more class time to the editing of students posts, or I request a teaching assistant who can do that work. In times of scarce resources, I can't be sure that I would be given a TA.
I remain committed to providing students with engagement activities that enhance their learning, and at the same time filling a commu…

Skype Visit with Diana Ruggiero's Graduate Class on Languages for Specific Purposes

by Ann Abbott

I was delighted when I received this invitation from Prof. Diana Ruggiero of the University of Memphis a couple of weeks ago:
First Happy Birthday Ann! My students in  my graduate course on how to teach Spanish for LSP read your article ad would love to see you! So we invite you next Wednesday Feb 11 at 3:30 CST to join us via SKYPE or FT to talk about your article and to meet you! We would love to talk to you! Again, felicidades y ojalá nos veamos pronto. DianaAbbott, Annie. "Social Entrepreneurship and Community Service Learning: Building Sustainable Non-profits and Language Programs." Specialised Languages in the Global Village. Eds., Carmen Perez-Llantada and Maida Watson. Cambridge Scholars. 2011.​Of course I said yes, and this afternoon I had a chance to talk Diana and her lovely students.

I began with a quick introduction, telling Diana's students that I think my work in general and that article in particular as part of discourse about the changing face…

Spanish a Plus in the Job Market

by Ann Abbott

I received this information about job possibilities yesterday. Here are a few thoughts:

It's so important to give your students really good learning experiences while they are with you--in the classroom and for their honors projects. (Liz's blog posts were part of her honors project in my classes.) You are helping to set them up for success. Although of course, they make their own success, too!Then, it's so important to stay in touch with your former students. LinkedIn is one way. I stay in touch with a lot of former students through Facebook, too.Finally, when you do stay in touch with your students and follow their personal and professional stories, share them! Let your current students know about what former students are doing in their professions. Our students need examples, role models. Liz is definitely one of them.Although Liz is interested in speaking to all Spanish majors, I am convinced that students who study abroad and take experiential learning cl…

Spanish Community Service Learning: First Day of Class

by Ann Abbott

I have shared my first-day-of-the-semester lesson plans before.

Here's the first day from last semester, focusing on the constant back-and-forth between big-picture learning and up-close-and-personal learningHere's the first day from one year ago
I think the first day is really important. You have a chance to make a big impression. So I always teach. I don't go through the syllabus and tell them I'll seem them next time.

So here's what I did on the first day of class of the Spring 2015 semester. It walked them through our never-ending cycle of class, community, class, community...

Class I thanked students for signing up for this course. I know that it is an elective and that for many students it doesn't officially "count." It takes a special student to take one the unique work for this class and to show solidarity with a vulnerable community.
Then I put them into pairs, told them to talk five minutes (hablar sin parar) about why they …

Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities

by Ann Abbott

I love teaching "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities." I focus the course on social entrepreneurship, I teach them basic business principles, we analyze them at work in specific nonprofit examples, and we focus on doing all of this in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways.

Here's the syllabus for "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities."

On our first day of class this semester, I covered many of the fundamental elements of the course.

Community service learning + social entrepreneurship The students in the course should already be familiar with community service learning, because the prerequisite for this course is "Spanish in the Community." So they still need to work 28 hours during the semester with a community partner, but in class the academic content focuses on social entrepreneurship.
Community service learning Despite the prerequisite, I always have students…

Choice Is Important to Students in Spanish Community Service Learning

by Ann Abbott

Last year I gave a talk about Spanish community service learning (CSL) at the University of Illinois, Chicago, invited by my friend and colleague Prof. Kim Potowski.

I told my "Spanish in the Community" students that people at UIC were interested in starting a course similar to ours, and I asked them what they thought I should tell my UIC colleagues.

By far the most frequent piece of information was that they should offer students many options for community partners. Second in frequency, they thought the UIC faculty should know about the advantages of a Spanish CSL course. Here are some specific advantages they mentioned: it increases students' confidence; it gives them many opportunities to practice; it helps them understand the real issues confronting local Latinos. One student gave a piece of advice about the places where students work: they should be organized and well-structured. One student said that the course should help students with common grammati…