Welcome to the free fall

This entry is part 35 of 48 in the series Teaching Transparently


February 1, 2009:I have spent the day crafting a document that ended up being less of a step by step syllabus, and more of a “what we want the outcome of this class to be” treatise. The document is parked over here with the assorted handouts and infobits from my class. Feel free to comment. Please.

I decided that it would be best to talk about the class in big sweeping terms tomorrow, the first class. It dawned on me (slap of hand to forehead) that I need to hear from my students about where they plan to travel/study so we can be sure to cover those countries in the planning of the course. And in the meantime…they are “presentándose” to one another via the class blog. Feel free to checkout their blogs and leave a comment (we have already been commented upon by a Spanish speaker in London, and the term has not yet begun)

Over the next 24 hours, my students posts and comments from their personal blogs should start bubbling forth on the “motherblog” for HISP 205. My fabulous colleague Justin has created a series of plugins for WordPress that pull all of the students’ posts, comments and tags to the front page of mother blog…thus making it easier to see what people are saying and who is posting.

[I know that site wide tags and comments and feeds have been done before, but, as I understand it, because our blogs’ address is “url for school/HISP205/students blogs” vs “HISP205/ url for school/ name of students’ blogs”, other plug ins have not worked… As my students start creating more content, you will be able to see the wonders of Justin’s WP plugins Novita, Chiachiere, and Nuvola in the sidebarshere]

Yup, this is the scary, exciting time. But ooh I am looking forward to it. Yes I am…

Series Navigation<< Week 4: What? You don’t want me to write a paper?Struggling with the Syllabus >>

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

Leave a comment

  1. Benjamin Stewart · February 8, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your syllabus – I especially like the consent and expectations sections. I do have a few questions however.

    1. In your first objective, you mention “greater understanding of the Spanish-speaking world…”. What concepts or big ideas have you used (or plan to use) that will bring out these understandings? How are the understandings measured? I too use the term “understanding” when setting objectives, but I base it on Wiggins and McTighe´s six facets of understanding (see link below). Do you get into the six facets in your language program? Or do you think it’s appropriate or practical in teaching a foreign language? As a side note, I´m looking for Spanish language learners to participate in a language exchange in the month of May should you be interested or know anyone who might be.

    2. I love the idea of learners establishing their own goals. Do you find that these goals change over the course of a semester? Or do they remained fixed? Is there room for flexibility as learners pursue their goals?

    Thanks for posting and I look forward to your comments.

    Understanding by Design: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Design-Expanded-Grant-Wiggins/dp/0131950843/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234108402&sr=8-1

  2. Barbara · February 16, 2009 Reply


    Many many thanks for your comment and for the fascinating lead to a book, I must admit in an effort to be TOTALLY transparent while I teach, I did not know about.

    My library does have an electronic version of the text, but I am awaiting my own copy via Amazon. I promise I will blog about it (here as a comment, and as a post as well) once I have the text in hand and a wee window of time to wrap my mind around it.

    Once again, this goes to prove you meet the kindest and most supportive people online. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: