Success with Café y Conversación

This year is my first year with Spanish 3 and next year will be my first year with Spanish 4. By taking the CI/TPRS route, I’ve been focusing so much on input that my anxiety has been through the roof about getting the kids to eventually OUTPUT the language. I’ve really been promoting my program as proficiency based, with college credits (dual enrollment) and the Seal of Biliteracy as achievable goals. I know you can’t force output, I know that having them memorize things to say isn’t communication. So I’ve been thinking “Well shoot, what am I going to do?!” HOW DO I MAKE THE KIDS (and by extension my program) PERFECT?!

(enter Brené Brown and her work re: perfectionism as a shield to vulnerability. Yup, that’s me… but I’m gonna save Brené for another post). 

So ANYWAY… I saw this post on Facebook a while back about CAFÉ and CONVERSACIÓN and knew that it would be a good idea to do this with my Spanish 3 class. First of all, they are a small group (one class of 7, one class of 4). This makes it possible to make and enjoy coffee together. Secondly – this group of kids is down to do ANYTHING I want to try out. They are the best!!  (I’ve talked about them before!)

So over winter break I got some stuff together. I already had an electric tea kettle and my husband had already told me I owned too many mugs and needed to get rid of some from our cabinet at home. I knew there was an old projector cart in an abandoned classroom… bam. I have the stuff I need.

Now for the conversation part. I went back to my saved post about it from Mis Clases Locas and followed the link to her blog post, which is now updated! I borrowed some of the materials that her guest blogger had shared and used them to make some documents of my own.

Then I told the kids “OK we’re gonna try a thing” and we did. I had a list of “what did you do over break” type questions from Martina Bex on the table. And we just chatted like we always do. It was great! We’ve done it once a week for about 5 weeks now. We’ve learned some things along the way. I need to boil the water before they come or the drinks will be too hot for them to drink within the 40 minutes of class. I also get a cup of ice from the cafeteria so they can speed-cool their drinks. I have a Freshman who has BEGGED to be in my homeroom class and has offered to do my coffee dishes as his payment. (Goals… do a better job having them PREPARE and SELF EVALUATE)

OK… so here was the moment of glory

I had some kids take the AAPPL as a practice recently. I looked at the themes for the questions. I typed up questions about these themes. One of them was health. Here are the questions I typed up. (I cut them into strips and sprinkled them around the table).

Some of the kids seemed like they were NOT feeling it on this day. (We were coming off of a snow day + presidents day weekend and they were not in the school mindset) So… We discussed. We reached out to those who were being quiet. I answered some of the questions for myself… Then… We bonded. It was actually emotional. We talked about what we want for ourselves, our wellbeing, and our bodies. I am dealing with a 5 month postpartum mom-bod and having my own struggles. The “is there anything you’ve been wanting to try?” question got a LOT of people going! We decided that WE JUST NEED TO BE ACTIVE. We need to take care of ourselves. We want to be physically and emotionally healthy. We want to treat ourselves nicely. NO EXCUSES. And even though these kids (almost all) leave campus in the afternoon for courses at the community college/career school/jobs… THEY ALL CAME BACK after school to do ridiculous youtube workout videos with me AND THEY LOVED IT AND WANT TO TO IT MORE. 

I mean… I can barely put into words all the things that are making me feel joy right now. I EVEN ATE A SALAD THAT NIGHT. AND I brought everyone apples as a snack/treat the next day.

  • So glad the Café y Conversación “risk” is going well. (Young people… with treats… out of seats/desks… without direction… free to talk about what they want… )
  • So glad our conversations have been meaningful and not contrived (or are getting there)
  • So proud of my kids for being vulnerable
  • So proud of myself for trying something new and it working out.
  • Feeling great about being active for the first time in a while.
  • Feeling great that I combined so many awesome things… coffee, AAPPL, exercise, bonding, well-being

It’s just… the best. It was one of the best teaching days of my career, and I just had to share. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ And I can’t WAIT to get pics of us next time! I’ve been too “in the moment” to do it 🙂


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