Hello and happy summer, Teachers! 

Slowly the weather is getting warmer and (at least it is here in Maine...finally!) thoughts are turning to a much needed summer break. For me this means a summer of both recovering from the academic year while also preparing for the new one. If, like me, you are working on preparing materials for your students in the next few weeks that include Radio Ambulante episodes, please consider joining our summer hackathon! Details are below!

I truly believe that as teachers we all gain so much from sharing ideas and resources with each other. If you have a lesson plan you are proud of and would be willing to have it shared via this newsletter, please drop me a note. In the spirit of sharing and collaborating, keep an eye open from new questions and conversations in our Facebook group. Not a member? Click here to join in!  

And now onto this month’s newsletter!
  • Why teach listening?
  • Join our hackathon this summer!
  • Best practices showcase: Meet teacher Dokia McEwan!
Why teach listening?
Listening in a second language is one of the skills that our students want to improve, and yet it is often a skill that is not taught in the language classroom. For many years it was assumed that, if students were exposed to lots and lots of language in the classroom, over time their listening skills would improve. Current research shows us that as teachers we need to be much more intentional to help students improve their listening.
Source: Audio Publishers Association Sound Learning initiative.
Click here to download the full infographic.
The connection between listening and reading is important. Reading and listening reinforce one another and can improve a student’s recall of the material by up to 40%.

One of the questions teachers often ask is how to incorporate the RA transcript in the learning process.  As you can see in the lesson plan shared below, many teachers choose to break the episode into segments and make cloze passages out of the transcription of the audio. This is one of many possibilities for encouraging listening and reading simultaneously.

How do you use the transcriptions with your students? Come and share your thoughts with other teachers in our Facebook group!  We would love to hear what you think!
Join our hackathon this summer!
Thank you to those of you who expressed interest in joining our summer Hack-a-thon. Our goal is to work together to create materials that we can use with our heritage learner and/or AP Spanish students in the fall. If you are interested please email me by June 8th and let me know your availability.  We hope to get started no later than June 15th!
Yes, I'm in!
Best practices showcase

Where do you teach and what you teach?
I teach at The Miami Valley School in Kettering, OH. It is a college-prep, Pre-K through 12 experiential learning independent school. I am *the* high school Spanish teacher, and next year will be starting my 8th year teaching!

Which episodes you have used and how?
The ones I have intentionally used are El coyoteEn busca de las palabras and El superhéroe.

In Spanish IV, the students are assigned Spanish speaking countries at the beginning of the school year, and they become 'experts' in that country. Multiple times throughout the year, they have to listen to a RA episode and write a reflection about it, and then share it with the class. Sometimes it has to do with their country, other times with a social justice issue we are discussing in class, and sometimes it’s based on their interest. By the end of the school year, they have listened to about 4 or 5 episodes themselves.

My goals for the lesson
The intended outcome is to develop the students’ interpretive listening and presentational writing skills. On the lesson plan I am sharing here, you can see that I am assessing their ability to discern what is being communicated, and not translating into English. The last question on each section assesses their presentational and reflective writing skills. I want to teach them how to use their critical thinking skills, while also learning more about the people behind these stories.

How did the students react?
MVS students always take away more from the episodes than I expect. They can connect the stories to their own lives. With El coyote, they loved how it was organized so could think and reflect about the story. They enjoyed listening and learned a lot from hearing the perspective of someone who is often villainized in the media.

Final thoughts
RA is one of my favorite authentic resources.  It can be adapted to any learner’s level. It helps students develop the critical thinking and active listening skills, both of which are needed of our future leaders. It also shows them how life is for the people who are featured in the stories, vs being sensationalized in the news or social media.
Dokia has kindly shared her lesson plan for El coyote with all of us. (Thanks, Dokia!)
You can download it here. 👇
Download lesson plan
Sometimes you just have to do it yourself...
Thanks for reading! If you like this newsletter, please share it with a friend. If you have materials to share and/or you would like to be featured in future newsletters, please send me a note.
And also, consider donating to Radio Ambulante. ¡Gracias!

Hasta la próxima,

Bárbara Sawhill
Spanish Language Education Coordinator
Radio Ambulante
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