Integrating the four skills

So I find this really great video and want to use it in class.  For example, let’s share the Bimbo commercial with Leo Messi.  He’s a famous soccer player and inevitably, someone in each of my classes will know who he plays for, where he’s from, some can even tell me how many goals he’s made.  Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llG8ZWZFyms&playnext=1&list=PLBE983DA95D6EFA5A&feature=results_video

I’ve talked before about how I start every class with a visual on the screen and my students talk about it.  Visuals post So I watch a video that I plan to show later in class and I choose a particularly curious scene.  In this video, I captured the moment when the boy has an open-mouthed stare on his face and a sandwich in front of him. I use the print screen button and paste it into a powerpoint.  I then trim it to get rid of the buttons and stuff.  Oh, and I usually download the video as well so I don’t have to re-plan if there are internet problems.
My students did like we do every class – saying words, then sentences, then asking questions about the picture.  Well, we have a bit of an inside joke going on… In the first few weeks of class, every image I put up had a dog.  In fact, after a while, even if there was no dog, I cropped one into the image because it was the running joke.  So when the students started asking questions about the scene with the boy’s surprized face, someone asked, “¿Dónde está el perro?”(Where’s the dog?)  At which point all laughed and one student replied, “El perro está en el sandwich.”(The dog’s int he sandwich)  When the giggles and squeals died down, another student asked, “¿Qué mira el niño?” (What’s the boy looking at?) and another student replied, “El niño mira una foto de su perro.”(He’s looking at a picture of his dog.”   Acccckkkkk!!  I almost died laughing.  This was a Spanish II class, btw.
As always, when they are finished with the visual, they fill in their “PARA HABLAR” chart.  (All three charts are in this file: ENFOQUE follow-up .  Sometimes students won’t talk, but thy have a lot to say.  I grade these with my writing rubric.  As in, I don’t grade them for how many sentences they write correctly.  I grade the sheet overall after five exercises.  I read over their writing and give each a score using my rubric.  Thus, if a student is absent, they simply write in the box “Absent” and the date.
So, first, we practiced reading some statements about Leo Messi and interpreting them.  I made sentences with several cognates and vocab they are familiar with.  They did a good job.  This was a basic reading practice.

  • I said I was going to show the video and I wanted them to write ten words they recognized.  We watched the video.  Several Spanish IV’s got their ten words the first time we watched, but my Spanish II’s didn’t.
  • I said we were going to watch it again to get more words.  We watched the video again.  I showed them where I have it linked so they can listen from home as many times as needed if they didn’t have the ten words.  We watched the video again.
  • I then asked if they could tell what was going on.  Even though they don’t understand all of the Spanish, one of our Standards has to do with interpreting gestures and nonverbal language.  Inevitably, someone in each class, all levels, could say that the girl wanted his autograph but couldn’t remember who he was.
  • I elaborated and then said that since they know what’s going on, we’d watch it again.  We watched the video again.
  • I said I had another objective for them.  Usually, when we listen to authentic videos, they have to think of three questions.  Instead of questions, I had them write what are the three things that she thinks he does for a living.  We watched the video again.
  • I then pointed out a couple of expressions I wanted them to watch for – crecer (grow) – because she made a short joke on Leo Messi.  She says she buys the same bread for her son and adds “He needs to grow too.”  And I talked about the meaning of “¿A qué te dedicas?” which is how you ask in Spanish what someone does for a living.  So we watched it again so they could pay attention to those parts.

Understand that, by this time, they have watched the video six times.  I don’t think it would go over very well if I just played the video six times, but the way I have them watching for something different each time, they don’t complain or start moaning, “Not again….”


I point out to students that each time we watch it, they pick up on more.  Even my Spanish II’s agree with me on this.


I think this is what they are talking about when I read all over the internet about integrating the skills instead of teaching them separately. In one lesson, my students were reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  It didn’t rely on a specific vocab or grammar set yet they were all actively engaged and speaking/writing/using Spanish.

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