1. Students can use their blogs as journals to practice reading and writing in Spanish. First students search for and read an article online about a Spanish topic, in Spanish (depending on the class level) about Hispanic culture, history, etc. Then they write a blog post about it, adding their own summary, thoughts, perspectives, and interpretations. This could be a weekly or biweekly assignment and would include commenting as part of the evaluation. Comments will be in Spanish and on at least two other classmates’ blogs. This would allow students to research something of interest in the target culture, read in the target language, or at least write in the target language, thereby processing and responding to the information in the articles. This would address all of the ACTFLstandards. If I thought the responses were not targeting all areas of these standards I could assign topics or themes for the articles.
2. Students could use blogs as a form of group pen pals with a foreign classroom: I’m not entirely sure how I could start this, but hopefully I could find a classroom in another country and work with the teacher in blogging pen pals. An idea for this would be choosing a topic every two weeks or so (i.e. fast food, popular television, school system, popular books) and have students from each classroom share from their cultural perspective about this topic. We could alternate between writing in our native languages and writing in the foreign language. This could create an ongoing conversation and authentic cultural look at the other country. This could include pictures, videos, etc. to pull in speaking the other language as well. It would be awesome if this led to a study abroad experience, both going to the other classroom’s country and bringing some of those students to ours. This too would address all the ACTFL standards, especially if it led to a study abroad experience.
3. A blog could be used as an organizational and presentational tool for a final research-based project or a semester-long portfolio of their work. Students would follow a rubric including a specified number of blog posts based on research and ideas discovered along the way. Students would have daily/weekly assignments (depending on the length of the project/portfolio) that would reveal their productivity, findings, and thought process as they find and synthesize the information. This could be a neat way to do a variation on a group project. Each group would have an overall theme: literature, food, or important people. Then students would individually do research on this theme in a separate country. The end result would be a group comparison of this theme in their Hispanic countries to that in the United States. Again, commenting would be involved so as to keep students on top of their group’s most recent findings. The amount of Spanish required would depend on the level of the class. This project would address most of the ACTFL standards; it might be difficult to include the Communities section. The rubric would be geared toward incorporating the different aspects of the standards.