I have a new obsession. It started with Breakout.edu and all the fantastic breakouts that are coming out from Martina Bex. I tried the Agentes Secretos breakout in class with great success and had grand plans to create my own breakout activity. That is still in the works to go along with the novel Robo en la noche, but over spring break I allowed myself to go down the rabbit hole into the world of digital breakouts.
It’s appealing because all you need is an internet connection, a computer, and a logical brain. Solving many (too many) of the digital breakouts posted gave me lots of inspiration to tackle a digital breakout of my own. My Spanish I class is about to read Patricia va a California, and the first couple of chapters deal with Guatemala and the culture there. I tried to incorporate as much of that as possible, and here is the result: Escape: Guatemala. Take a look around and try to solve the puzzles!
It was a Wednesday afternoon during the last 15 minutes of the last class of the day. My students were mostly finished with a quiz about a chapter of Mi propio auto, and were just hanging out while we waited for the stragglers to finish. Enter one of my admins, coming for one of my six required observations. One minute later, my laptop and projector are fired up, I have my favorite site pulled up, and we are off on a mini-lesson that combines two of an observing admin’s favorite things: technology and the Common Core.
That site is Geoguessr.com, and I first heard about it from Robert Harrell on Ben Slavic’s blog. It’s a game in which you are dropped on a random street that could be anywhere in the world usingGoogle Streetview, and you win points by plotting your location on the map. The closer you are, the more points you earn.
How does this relate to Spanish? I narrate what is happening in the picture in the target language. I talk about the lines on the road, about the presence of mountains or desert or snow, about what the weather is like. We look at the cars, houses, people, and signs, and then I call on volunteers to make a guess. We can then further talk about what it’s like in different countries, and about where they are in relation to other places in the world.
Students love it because it’s competitive, and because they can get down on street level to real places from their backyard to Australia. It feels real to them. I love it because it provides me with a rich source of comprehensible input. Administrators love it because I am using technology to create a cross-curricular lesson, and also because I am forcing students to make inferences based on a text (the pictures). I would never spend a whole class period on it, but it’s great for eating up 15-20 minutes here and there, especially at the end of the year when we all need a change of pace!