Sunday, November 8, 2015

Business Spanish: Week 12

Image of a computer and tablet with Business Spanish lesson plans @AnnAbbott written over it
Week 12
by Ann Abbott

Thanksgiving break is nearing, but we still have two more weeks to go. So I need to keep my eye on my goals: give students opportunities to take information and transform it into something useful. In other words, read the book then come to class and DO SOMETHING.

Our last chapter of the semester was voted on and chosen by students: Chapter 14, Las perspectivas para el futuro. Last year students chose the same chapter. I probably would have chosen the same one, too.

Lunes: Lectura comercial, Capítulo 14  *Changes below

After a quick review of the main topics and trends, I will put students into groups and give them the following assignment: create a four-year plan for college students that will prepare them to be successful in the environment the authors outline. Here are some details they will need to fill in:
  1. Classes. The should suggest at least two courses per semester. They can "create" two courses; the others should be pulled from courses already offered at the University of Illinois.
  2. Study abroad. When? Where? How long? Essential courses/experiences while abroad.
  3. Extracurriculars. What should students do outside of classes? Jobs? Internships? RSOs? Research projects? Start-ups? Etc.
  4. Portfolio. At the end of each semester, what two pieces of evidence should students add to a portfolio to demonstrate to potential employers their ability to be successful in this new and future environment? Pull at least one piece of evidence from a course; the other can come from an outside experience but doesn't have to.
  5. Something else. What other element would you include systematically into those four years of college? Why?
Students need to present this in the form of a 5-minute screencast.

Students needed more time to do this activity, so we spent all of Monday and Wednesday on it. Here are some observations:

  • Students needed to see an example of a screencast, so I showed them one of mine
  • They were not familiar with screencasts, so I should have spent more time showing them how to do it, and analyzing the elements in it. In other words, I need to explicitly show them that my screencast includes PowerPoint slides, web pages, pictures, etc. And I should have brought my laptop to the classroom and showed myself making one--including how you can pause the recording while you change things on your screen.
  • They were actually quite uncomfortable about using the program to make a screencast. Creating an account was a big deal (negative) to some of them. I am guessing that this is because they are more used to using apps and have "account fatigue."
  • In general, I should have spent one day on asking them to make the 4-year plan and given them a checklist of items to create for that plan (an outline on a Word doc, links to pertinent websites, etc.), that would then be used to make the screencast the following class period.
  • Because I noticed quite a bit of resistance from the students, I asked them to 

Miércoles: Lectura cultural, Capítulo 14

This reading focuses on US Latinos. I'll try to accomplish three things in the class (though time might be tight). 
(I'm putting this here more for my reference than anything else: the pages in Chapter 14 are messed up in my desk copy of Éxito comercial, so I need to use my copy from CourseSmart which is changing to VitalSource.) 
  1. Census data. We'll do an activity similar to the one I do with my Spanish in the Community students using the Quick Facts from the US census data. First, we'll do an analysis of state-level information. I'll include states that are traditional recipients of Latino immigrants (California, Florida, Illinois), one that is part of the New Latino Diaspora (Georgia) and one that is not (Maine). Then we'll narrow our focus to various counties in Illinois. Finally, I'll share this recent article: Mapa hispano de los EEUU 2015.
  2. Pew Hispanic Center. I'll ask students to explore and read the information at the Pew Hispanic Center for several minutes (7-10). Then I'll put them into pairs and ask them to draw at least three big-picture trends that come from looking at the information from more than one piece. That is, I want them to see trends among the pieces, not just within the pieces.
  3. La Línea. Since half the class has been doing the social media marketing and outreach for La Línea this whole semester, I will partner each one of them with a student from the other social media marketing team. Their task will be to explain what they have learned about the local Latino community through their work with La Línea this semester.

Viernes: Taller de asesoría

My students are doing a great job with the Spanish Advising-Illinois page. Our client (Tasha Robles) is happy. Many of the posts are being viewed by dozens of people--sometimes reaching close to 100 or beyond. We have definitely seen that posts that have the most views are those that people have liked, commented on and/or tagged other people on.

To take this idea of engagement further, I am going to challenge the students to make interactive quizzes for the page. Here's a quick list of ideas that occur to me off the top of my head: 
  • Spanish minors: should you take SPAN 250, 252 or 254.
  • Which study abroad program best suits you?
  • Just how dedicated are you to learning Spanish? (They can use my "Level Up" slides as a starting point.)
  • Which 300-level class being offered next semester best fits you?
  • Do you actually know Spanish? (List some words/phrases/facts/etc. that students pick up during their Spanish major.)
  • Let's see what the students come up with!

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