Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charting it Out...

This year, I have really worked on students being able to read and interpret chart/graph data. One of my goals to incorporate more activities into my curriculum where students will have the opportunity to look at (or better yet create!) their own chart/graph and explain it to the class.

Not only am I getting my students ready for the charts/graphs seen on large assessments such as the ACT and the AP Spanish LAnguage and Culture Exam, but I am also helping them along in their digital literacy skills (Creativity, Innovation and Critical Thinking with digital tools) AND moving them up on that Bloom's Taxonomy (Applying, Analyzing, Synthesizing). It is win for the students on multiple levels!

Charts and graphs help students understand, organize and present data in a visual representation. Making a quick graph or chart in class with a paper, pencils or crayons is a effective way to get them thinking critically, but being a techy teacher I prefer to throw in some digital tools to encourage those digital skills as well.

There are many options to have students create charts/graphs. One very popular option you can use is Google Spreadsheet for your students create the graph- this is quick and easy and also doubles as a nice collaborative tool where groups of students can work together on collecting data to create a nice pie chart or a bar graph to illustrate all that information. There are also many wonderful tools out there on the Internet. I used a wonderful tool found through the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) today in my Spanish class. They have a very user friendly "Create a Graph" page found here .  Here is a screenshot of the main page. The tabs along the right easily guide the students through the creation of many different types of graphs.

To tie the Spanish curriculum to the creation of a chart or graph together, I asked my students to create a meaningful, thoughtful or interesting question for their classmates using "si" clauses (since that is what we were studying) and then take a poll all of their classmates. The result was a lot of target language usage and a lot of good data! The next day we went to our multimedia lab where the students created their charts/graphs using the data they collected. After they finished their chart or graph, they used the target language to explain the results as well as any tendencies they noted to the larger class. Once again, great target language happening there! Here is one of the examples from my students today in class:

Graphs and charts are a great way for students to work with data in any class. My students had a really great time working with them and really enjoyed seeing all of the information that each student gathered. Charts and graphs allow students to demonstrate content knowledge, convey information, and commuinicate findings to an audience in new and creative ways! I am a fan of working these into my curriculum whenever I can! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The day after the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam was a warm day here in Chicagoland. It was 80 degrees and what better way to celebrate than some friendly ultimate frisbee?!  You can see they were ready for some friendly competition!

Their smiles communicated happiness, and this happiness came from doing their best with confidence. I was able to chat with them right after the exam and they told me that they felt very well prepared and completed all the tests confidently. Hooray!

And that was it- my goal accomplished, my year successfully completed, everything I had worked for right there in those few comments. How wonderfully validating- isn't that the reason we teach? see those confident smiles and know that we were part of their successful journey?

The students will go on to do great things and be the excellent leaders that we need in the future. I will proudly remember these smiles, and when I look at this picture I will always be cheering for them and wishing them many more smiles in the future!

"Goodbye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be." -Walt Disney