First, before you go on at all: if you do not know Sr. Wooly then PLEASE GO DIRECTLY TO www.senorwooly.com and poke around a bit. I have a pro account that my division gives me, but if they wouldn’t pay then I would buy it myself. It was difficult to say that one resource is significantly better than anything else on the site, but my vote is for Wooly Week which occurs the first week of February. Once you have gotten some idea of this site, you will be ready for what lies ahead.
This was my first Wooly Week, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but it all seemed very suspect. We, the Woologists, were told we’d be receiving lesson plans to enact for Wooly Week this year instead of whatever they did before. I waited on pins and needles for these plans and when they finally came they were completely redacted! The only thing I was certain about was what music to play at the beginning of class the first day. I’m a really diligent planner (and you can tell by the break in posts) so I was thrown for a loop these past two weeks. This was insane. How could I plan when I couldn’t access anything! I almost bailed. But, I seriously love the stuff this team comes out with, so I bit my nails all the way down and braided my hair so I wouldn’t pull it out and waited.
This stuff was PURE GOLD! I can’t even put into one post all of the amazing things we have done in the past two weeks, so here is the general summary of what was made available and an index of the things we did in my room. I’ll write and link posts to each individual activity. Also important to know, proving that we’ve done these activities earns me raffle tickets to win super cool things (like a visit from Sr. Wooly himself), so I made a raffle for my students too! I will write up all of this too, because the kids were all in on earning just as many tickets for me as they earned for themselves.
Here are the names of the most memorable activities:
- Subtle Manipulations
- Bunches of Hunches
- Chunky Monkey
- Embedded Readings (Apparently, I’ve been doing this the wrong way! I mean, my old way was fine, this way is just much better.)
- Pass It Up
- Raffle & Genius Hour
We also got to play two games, which I will write up here: Karaoke Champion and Ojo Sabio. Both of these were raffle challenges presented by Sr. Wooly. While the kids may have believed that I just didn’t want to teach, or cared more about raffle tickets than their learning, or that I was super lazy, the truth is even better. These songs are so highly comprehensible, and the language worms its way into everything the kids do, so what better food for the language worms than a million repetitions? They played the same songs over and over with so much joy. If I said the same sentences to them over and over they would throw such fits. What is comprehensibly enriched instruction if not joyful repetitions of understandable material?
Karaoke is exactly what it sounds like, and in our championship students could perform alone or in groups OR be a judge. Either way everyone was paying attention to everything. Each team chose their own song and if they wanted Sr. Wooly to sing with them. It was fantastic. We laughed until we cried. I am certain that I could have made this activity more rigorous, but it was Friday and I teach elementary school. I was willing to argue that listening to exclusively Spanish for 30 straight minutes was rigorous enough.
Ojo Sabio was a new feature presented specifically for Wooly Week 19, and was a virtual Eye-Spy. Each of they 27 music videos had a new version with four graphics hidden somewhere in the video. I wrote out index cards with the names of each video and a list of the hidden objects for the kids to find. As soon as two students were in the room I pulled up a video on the projector and had them start watching. After they saw what to do they grabbed laptops and cards and got to work. All they did was stare at these music videos over and over and over searching for these objects. Meanwhile, their little subconscious overflowed with input. No one talked, no one moved, all they did was soak up the language while searching for objects. It was so much fun. They even logged on at home to continue the search, just in case the other class didn’t get all of their objects. I have never seen them so invested in a lesson. It was totally worth it. Of course, if we did things like this more often then it would probably lose all of it’s positive impact, but once a year I’ll go all in.
We also spent a day decorating cookies (donated by a wonderful parent) in the styles of our favorite characters, because we are elementary, and it was Valentine’s day after all.