Since this was all deleted last night…. I am re-writing it. PLEASE, if you remember anything from the first day of the conference (Monday) that you SAW in our workshop together but you don’t see it in this blog, TELL me so I can include it. It is super hard for ME to remember back to yesterday after all of the amazing things we did together today, so hopefully I can cover as much as possible! Remember, anything underlined you can click on and it will take you to another page (maybe a blog, or a video, or a paper, often times, the word will have a link to a blog and then a video will be posted below it… click on everything if you feel you need refreshing for what you saw!).

People who were not there for my two day workshop, reading this will seem disjointed and confusing. It is meant more as a catch all for the things that people experienced and I talked about in my workshop so that they didn’t feel like they had to take notes the entire time they were in class, and instead could immerse themselves in the “experience”.

Day 1

July 26th, 2017


We began the day with a little Ice Breaker and Brain Break (mostly so I could hear people’s names a few more times with a hope to remembering them throughout the session). We did Mafia de la mano, and everyone had to go around the room shaking hands and introducing themselves.




Next we jumped into creating a OWI together. I think it is essential for y’all to see the power of the OWI and how attached you are to it as a class. It becomes your special “thing” that you all created together as a community. Our sweet, special, precious, “thing” was a sandía (watermelon) named Sandy. Maria drew it for us. I am not an artist, so I used a volunteer artist in the room.

We threw in three more Brain Breaks during this character creation. Those were Mafia de la rana (frog) which is the same as the previous Mafia, but instead of the Mafia killing by scratching the hand, the mafia has to stick his/her tongue out like a frog to kill. It is good for a quicker Brain Break because they are usually pointed out quickly and discovered. We also did partes del cuerpo, and Maestra dice for QUICK TPR Brain Break.

As we talked about our sweet Sandy and we brought her to life, I incorporated TONS of PQA (personalized questions and answers) to draw you in and to make sure that not only were you helping to create the character, but that I was working building a stronger classroom culture and community as well! It is my job to get to know each and every one of my students. Sometimes this comes easily and sometimes it is developed over time. Slowly though, I learned through our OWI, where you all lived, what kind of place do you live in, the size of your families, your likes and dislikes, your favorite animals, your favorite colors, your obsessions, and your unique personality traits that make you “YOU”! As we created the story language came up NATURALLY and ORGANICALLY. I wasn’t planning what structures to target. However, I knew that the most frequently used structures in Spanish were automatically and organically going to come up out of necessity for communication. It was my job to keep the language sheltered. Le gusta (s/he likes) happened first, then tiene (s/he has), then quiere (s/he wants), etc.

The next Brain Breaks we did were all related to what I call “extreme R,P, S” (Rock paper scissors)

Remember, it is good to use this one as a Brain Burst too. Don’t forget our many variations… Two lines, rotations, with your feet, play with 5 people, play with the girls, play with people wearing the same color, etc.

Next we broke out my story cubes. You can buy these (apparently) at the Dollar Tree hopefully, also at Walmart. Here is a link to where you can find them on Amazon. Remember the purpose of this is that you are getting student input without spending time on voting and getting input while you create the story. There input is on the cube. YOU decide what cube is rolled when as you “tell” the story about the OWI to the class. There is no arguing because they are content knowing they were the artists and THEY provided the “input” to create the story in the first place. (I know…. I am a genius 😉 )

Our story turned out to be epic, GO FIGURE, and then we did a write and discuss on the wall. Remember… if you want to be as smart with time as me, the smart thing to do is to type it rather than write it. That way students still see it all as it is happening and they are reading HOWEVER, you can also IMMEDIATELY use that story in its written form for the many different “reading” options you can do later! J

Then we practiced the Hand Jive. Remember, students will create more for you and remember the variations, the lines, the circle, etc.


You all READ the story together because of my magical Unicorn pee markers…. It was epic….

We discussed how I do formative assessments every 1-2 minutes that I am teaching. I shared information about my rubric (which I gave you a copy of) and you understand that participation is VITAL in my classroom as it makes up 60% of their over all grade. We also talked about how I did Exams and the importance and POWER of having a pre- and post test for students to see their own growth.

We did the energy circles Brain Break that I learned in theatre, and you pass energy with your hands in the circle. It is awesome to do this Brain break with eyes closed in silence. It is calming. We also did “mirrors” Brain Break in the two lines.

After lunch we came back and I figured out technology and explained how the morning might have gone differently had I had the technology. I would have stopped when Lina was SO excited about me telling the class I was a Unicorn, and I would have gone with the new structure that she brought up which was quiere ser…. Immediately after talking about the fact that she wanted to be a unicorn, we would have done PQA for a bit and then Movie talked this video (which we did).

Then we would have either talked more about what everyone wanted to be or moved on back to our story creation using Sandy.

We talked a little about the problem of tough districts or school where you have to “fit into a box” and go with thematic units. We talked about creating OWI’s, PQA, and Movie Talks INTEGRATING high frequency vocab that is going to come up in that unit, while recycling everything else you’ve ever used in those classes. I also shared these two Movie Talk databases with you. One…… Two……

We talked about how I use the novels for FVR in my classes because of the higher interest and engagement rather than reading as a full class. (This is my personal preference)

We discussed my classroom management system and how beyond the culture and community building through passion and enthusiasm, how vitally important my point system and its MANY variations is! We also discussed the many different Fiesta ideas you can do after students earn points. Including Jeopardy which y’all loved!

Day 2

Though it was a rocky first 5 minutes (when I realized that literally NONE of that blog that I just re-wrote saved) we jumped right in this morning. First we reviewed the documents I emailed you. Let me know if they didn’t come through.

Second, I wanted to show you all how many different possibilities there are for the next day “after” a story with the OWI. Truly, once you have done that write and discuss, there are SO many different reading possibilities to follow up so that the studnets can hear and read the story in the past tense. I ALWAYS do re-tells in the past tense…. That is what you would do in English, so why wouldn’t I do a retell in the past tense in Spanish!? (don’t forget to include a gesture for when you are talking to signal to students that you are talking in the past tense but remember to not talk about it more than that… they don’t care… they just want to hear the awesome COMPELLING COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT!)

Option 1:

The first thing we did was briefly review our OWI looking at Maria’s art from the day before. Then I brought up our INCREDIBLE (if I don’t say so myself) presentation and reading (USING OUR WRITE AND DISCUSS FROM THE PREVIOUS DAY) about Sandy. I explained to you how to use Giphy and someone (Maria maybe???) explained to us how to find “transparent” backgrounds in Google. (After you’re searching in images, click on tools, then color, then transparent….. ODM clase!!!!) 😉

Option 2:

We did a running dictation.

Option 3:

Y’all sorted the story in order after Carlos ate it all…. (sequencing) Remember the tricks… If students end early PRAISE them while you think of something they can do next. ALSO, don’t forget to make them read more by only reading until they mess up on their sequencing and tell them they have to keep trying until it is all perfect.

Option 4:

Then I gave you extended stories with extra details and lots of the core details of our story changed. You read those and determined what was different.

Here we played Winking Mafia!!! 😉


Option 5:

We talked about the ideas of making some of the readings more challenging than others.

Option 6:

We used a wordle and you raced to touch the words as you heard me retell the story. Remember, I prefer to use the Google Chrome extension for word clouds.

Option 7:

Policía was sweet and explained Textivate to us! Here is a link to OUR story so you can play with it if you want.

I taught you the body part and color brain break, (which I stole from Blair Richards) ex. Dedo, azul (everyone stands up and touches the color blue with their finger)

I also taught you the balancing Brain Burst, where you stood up and balanced your pencil on whatever body part I yelled out.

During these two days we used silent Brain Breaks to line up in different orders and talk about deceiving students with the illusion of open seating and no seating charts but really we are in total control. Remember you can line up in a million different ways, by height, by birth month, alpha, alpha by nickname, boy girl boy girl, colors of clothing…. Etc. then you just sit down in whatever order you are lined up in.

Next we told ANOTHER story which YOU all helped me create again but rather than ask it, I got your input on the chart paper around the room. THEN I created the story. Remember, my non-targeted CI and my Story-telling looks slightly different from other people. That is what makes us all so unique and special! (LIKE UNICORNS!) ALSO…. At some point I introduced y’all to the website to find pictures which already have attributions and stuff…. YAYYYYYY

I introduced you to another silent Brain Break that I leared from Darcy Rogers…. Energy messages…


We talked about the difference of our two stories and while the second story WAS AWESOME (about My little pony who wanted an iphone 5 and went to the dessert on a flying carpet and found a monster using an android and then finally found an iphone 5 on the sun…etc…..) it wasn’t as special as our Sandy story. We are so attached to the Sandy story because we created that character from scratch together…. It was AWESOME!

After lunch (WHICH I TOTALLY ATE TODAY!!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR FORCING ME!!!) we did several things. I showed you my presentation on caga tió…. Which went so well with the follow up culture lesson on los reyes magos. Both of these were just to show you examples of how to work in culture to your non-targeted CI classroom, in a comprehensible compelling way. We also learned about Christoph Rehage and what happens to food waste in France, which were both examples of incorporating cool current events, or culture, or facebook awesomeness into your CI classroom. I also discussed and made connections with you by talking about the guy who lived with an artificial heart in his backpack for 17 months because Ann was OBSESSED with Señor Wooly’s song “Ya Está muerto”. I also connected more with Arian, my sista with the dresses!!!! 😉 REMEMBER!!! Creating those connections and showing kids you CARE about them is EXACTLY what they need!!! It allows for the really awesome Brain Breaks with output that I showed you briefly today!!!





We spent the last 45 minutes of class playing a game of Mafia because so few people had played it before. GOSH, it was incredible and everyone got a real taste for WHY kids love it and WHY it is an AMAZING tool for input input input, and honestly, the most COMPELLING input EVER!!!! This was the music I played in the background.

The only other things I think that I am missing are the Selfies , Mannequin Challenge, Zip Zap Zoom, and Serpientes brain breaks that we did. If you can think of ANYTHING else I missed, PLEASE email me.

Thank you for your AMAZING feedback. You made my summer! I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with all of you! The fact that I got to teach 25 people instead of 6 (my original number) made me chuffed to bits!

Please let me know if you have any questions! I will be presenting several more times over the next few days on Brain Breaks (which I am not sure you need now!!!), Classroom Mangement, and Output in the INPUT classroom.

I look forward to getting to learn with you all over the next 3 days!!!

Where the heck is policía in this foto!?!!?!?!?!?!? I demand a RETAKE!8B50CD49-44B1-460A-8342-AC097878EDCC.JPG

Day 3

I was SO nervous when Stephen Ordiano walked into my Brain Breaks Session this morning. He knows all my Brain Breaks! He reads every brain break blog and watches every video! What could he possibly get out of my session? His words were perfect. He said, I wanted to experience them “your way, with you”. If you were in my session today, the power point will make a lot of sense. If you weren’t it may seem scattered and unclear. The same way that the previous information in this blog makes sense to someone who attended my workshop but it may look like lots of disjointed, random notes to anyone else. Please please please explore my YouTube videos and blogs for more information on the brain breaks and bursts I shared today. I will continue to post and produce more materials for Brain Breaks. I seriously can’t stress their importance enough, nor can I stress the ease of incorporating short “bursts” (a la loca ;)) into your class every 5-10 minutes. It seriously takes 3-5 seconds and your student’s attentiveness will greatly increase, their participation will too, and their affective filters will be lower because of the community, fun, and positive culture you’re building with them! Here is the presentation!

Day 4

I am so tired…. BUT SO ENERGIZED!!!!

Today I presented on Output in the CI classroom. You can find that presentation here. One hour FLEW by and I felt like we barely scratched the surface, but my MESSAGE was clear, and that was: Students are READY to speak. Once they’ve acquired, ALLOW them the opportunity to do so in your SAFE, POSITIVE, SUPPORTIVE, COMMUNITY of a Classroom, but do it during Brain Breaks. It will give them short bursts of time to use the Spanish they’ve already ACQUIRED, and since everyone is speaking at the same time, 1. They can’t hear anyone else speak (they can barely hear themselves) 2. it IS a break in the rigor 3. It is giving students who NEED the opportunity to prove to you how AWESOME they are at SPEAKING time to do just that! 4. YOU will be amazed at what they CAN do….

Mafia tonight was ROCKIN! It was also Haydee’s birthday which was so fun! Thanks for such an incredible night! 🙂 YAY!IMG_6671.JPG


Today was the final day of Cascadia 2017! It has been such a fun week!

Today I presented on Classroom Management and then a QUICK 1 hour presentation of my 2 day workshop on No Plan Lesson Planning.  The winners of my Teachers Pay Teachers Units, please EMAIL ME! and I will send them to you directly!

Thank you so much for learning and growing with me! I had such a great week! 🙂


La Loca