Summit County girl teaches Spanish – through Skype
Summit Daily News
Fifth grader Cassidy Bargell has been taking Spanish lessons since kindergarten. Her Spanish teacher at Dillon Valley Elementary, Leslie Davison, said her knowledge of the language is so incredible, she started looking for ways to help Bargell advance even further.
“So we were thinking, ‘How can she continue to improve her Spanish, while giving back to someone who doesn’t know it as well as she does?'” Davison said. “So we came up with the idea of giving Spanish classes, but online via Skype.”
So Bargell, 11-years-old, created a Google form about the lessons on her own, and posted it on the Spanish class’s website. Davison sent out a Twitter alert to about 300 educators around the country, and had a response within an hour.
The respondent was a Spanish teacher from Southern Florida, who asked Bargell to give her fifth-grade class a short lesson. The teacher gave her a list of vocabulary words for the week, and Bargell planned a lesson. She even practiced her instruction over Skype with a friend of Davison’s, which her fellow students gave her feedback on.
“I prepared for a month before and I e-mailed the teacher,” Bargell said. “I made a plan. I taught in the form of TPRS.”
TPRS – Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Stories – is the mode of teaching Davison uses in her classroom. She said children respond well to hearing language used in stories, rather than just repeating words over and over. Since the Florida class was planning a trip to the Salvador Dali Museum, Bargell created a story around their upcoming trip, in which she had one of the students steal a picture.
“The kids just thought it was so funny, because they’re not used to this type of teaching,” Davison said.
Davison said the camera on their end went out at one point, but Bargell handled it like a pro.
“She was so proud of herself, and I was so proud of her,” she said. “It’s hard as a teacher because you have to let go. It’s her doing her own thing.”
Davison said the Florida teacher thanked Bargell, and she thinks the educator might have learned a new method of teaching from Bargell.
“She said that she really liked the way that I taught the class with the story,” Bargell said.
The Florida students and Bargell have since been keeping touch through Edmodo, an online social learning network for students and teachers. Davison said all of the students have been thanking Bargell for her lesson, and telling her what they learned.
“Thanks Cass, I learned the word for ‘when,'” one student wrote.
“It’s just so cool to have back and forth between those kids and my kids,” Davison said. “I think it was pretty amazing. We couldn’t have pulled it off without today’s technology.”
Bargell said the experience was really fun, and she would love to teach again.
For more information, go to http://elementaryspanish.wikispaces.com/
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