View Lessons by Subject > World Languages > Collaboration
(Spanish): An effective practice that I have employed in my 8th grade Spanish class involves the students' creation of a Web site on Spanish Holidays. The 8th grade Spanish I classes completed this cultural project on Spanish and Mexican holidays using resources on the internet and the library. Teams of three students each researched one of five different holidays and used their research to develop web pages in Spanish about their chosen Spanish or Mexican holiday.

The focus of the project was to learn more about the cultural aspects, from an historical perspective, of Mexican and Spanish holidays. Students prepared, in Spanish, a diary, a history, a description, and a comparison to a familiar holiday. Finally, each group made a five-minute oral presentation and answered spontaneous questions from other students.

I observed effective student collaboration in preparing the Web page, where each contributed her part and exercised editing privileges. The diary aspect of the project enabled students to visualize the holiday as if they were participating. I watched the project grow in stature as the students made oral presentations both planned and spontaneous. Their explanations demonstrated effective use of Spanish and a knowledge of the holiday. The comparisons supported the real-life aspect of the project and allowed the girls to hold their work to a higher standard.
(Latin): This year in my Latin classes I've been trying something new in an effort to enrich the culture sections of our textbook. I've been introducing "micro-projects." I define a micro-project as a project that is done in only a class period or two, with an emphasis on accomplishing an objective in a very limited amount of time. I've been letting the girls work in groups for the majority of these projects and have found them to be quite effective. An example of a micro-project is a Roman Bath project that has recently been completed by my sixth graders. They were to get with a partner and work together to design a "blueprint" for a Roman bath that included all of the rooms that we talked about in class. This project was presented with the scenario that the girls were the "architects" and that I would be the person who is shopping for a "blueprint" to build a bath from. The girls had two class periods to design baths that were well organized, containing all of the rooms, and employing as many Latin words and phrases as they are able to use on their blueprint. They also use prior knowledge about Roman money to calculate admission fees for their bath. These micro-projects are great tools because they provide a form of enrichment that can be done in class without taking too much time away from other needed areas of instruction.