Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Letters of Support

For Student Evaluations and Support, please see this link: 


Ted Gillette, Head of School, Country Day School

Jennifer Williams, Director of Education, Country Day School

Donna Guzzo, L.E.E. (Language Exploration Enrichment) Administrator

Cindi and John Thomas, parents of children from the Classes of 2013 & 2014

Jared H., Former Student:


Hank Houser, Parent of Former Student:

From: "Hank Houser" <jhank@tampabay.rr.com>
Date: May 28, 2013, 9:43:51 PM EDT
Subject: brandon tucker

This is a glowing recommendation for Ms. Siracusa’s ability to teach Spanish to an eighth grader who really wasn’t interested.  Her ability to get Brandon involved in Spanish and making it interesting and fun, is where Brandon has ended up his first year at Clearwater Central Catholic. Brandon’s placement test in Spanish put him in level 2 Spanish (which we were pleasantly surprised).  Brandon not only had the most strict Spanish teacher at CCC, but did very well!  He was awarded the top student in his Spanish 2 class, exempted his final exam, and got straight A’s in the class.  We owe this all to Ms. Siracusa’s excellent teaching ability, but also knowing where Brandon’s strengths were in his learning capabilities.  She made learning Spanish fun, interesting, and Brandon is looking forward to Spanish Honors, and the sky is the limit where Brandon is concerned!
Hank and Sandy Houser

Chris Sessums, University Professor:

Student Course Evaluations

     Mrs. Siracusa was amazing! She balanced speaking Spanish and English perfectly. Mrs. Siracusa made me want to raise my hand and answer a question. She did an excellent job of combining work and fun.
-Schafer, 6th grade

     Mrs. Siracusa's lesson for my Spanish class was very helpful. In only one class period she was able to teach my class a total of 45 Spanish words. She was able to create a vocabulary list and creative games to help us memorize the words quickly. Everyone in my class, including myself, enjoyed Mrs. Siracusa's lesson.
-Anna, 8th grade

-Sophia P., 8th grade

     Regarding Spanish class, I liked that I was able to experience new lifestyles and cultures in Spanish. In tech, I liked the fact that I was able to practice what I am most likely going to be doing in the future. I also liked the fact that I was able to do something that I am good at.
-Wyatt W., 8th grade

     Throughout the school year, technology has dramatically changed how we approach learning in Spanish class. Project-based learning and the use of iPads have helped my class learn Spanish in a more intriguing way. My favorite project this year was the "Cuando Era NiƱa" or “When I was a child” project. I learned about past tense in Spanish, and got to view baby photos of myself, and my friends. Now, I am more comfortable speaking about my past in Spanish, and I look forward to Spanish class next year. I can't wait to find out what type of projects we will participate in.
-Emma S., 7th grade

     Technology has helped our class in many ways such as: saving paper, making videos, and creating fun/cool projects.  We have Apple TVs and iPads that help us learn Spanish from learning videos or sharing our worksheets with everyone. Over all between the project-based learning and the use of iPads, technology has benefited us in more than one way in Spanish class.
-Lindsey H., 7th grade

     The way technology has made learning Spanish easier is now we can make videos by using the iPads. With the iPads we can create websites and do our worksheets on the iPads. This makes the work easier because it helps us be able to write and erase our work easier. With the technology, we are now doing things we would never be able to do. We use the technology to our advantage.
-Megan O., 7th grade

Monday, May 27, 2013

Links to National Standards; My Curriculum Maps

World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages:

World Languages 21st Century Skills Map:


Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Executive Summary (PDF file)

The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS•S) and Performance Indicators for Students, [International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)] (PDF file)


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

International Society for Technology in Education http://www.iste.org/

Partnership for 21st Century Skills http://www.p21.org


My Curriculum Maps: 

Spanish 1H - 

Spanish 2H - 

Festival de Cine 2013

One of my (and my students') favorite digital projects this year was the Commercial project. I invented a digital project assignment where students were asked to create a short commercial in order to persuade the audience to purchase a particular product. Their product could be real or fake, original or borrowed. Their goal was to properly use the Formal or Informal Command sentence structure in Spanish (depending on the class level.) Students utilized their iPads, and specifically worked with the iMovie and GarageBand apps.

After all students completed their projects, I reviewed them, and then categorized them according to students' "talents." Students were then asked to vote on all videos (which caused them to watch each others' videos for the critique) on a survey I developed using Survey Monkey. Mimicking the famous film festival of San Sebastian, Spain, students recreated an awards ceremony. Students and teachers wore formal gowns, watched the MCeed show, received prizes (Golden Shell, Silver Shell...), and attended a post-awards-ceremony party (even drinking sparkling juice and eating fancy finger foods!)

Here was the line-up of videos:

Here are a couple examples of completed projects:


Here is a copy of the Project Instructions that was given to the students:

Celebration of Learning

May 2014 

There is a tradition that during the first week of May, a night is chosen to showcase all the students' "learning" throughout the school year.  Prior to this event, I ask my students to compile a digital list of their Spanish class digital projects, and then to post them on our class wiki.
This year, instead of the usual compilation of student digital projects on the class wiki, I asked students to create a couple new posts to their Spanish blog, highlighting their favorite digital projects and what they learned or enjoyed in particular.

Students were asked to embed three projects onto their blog and write two sentences as commentary about each project. Then students were asked to visit peer blogs and add commentary on their posts. All learners wrote commentary in the target language, Spanish.

From these posts, using the iPad, I took screen shots of a couple posts from each student, and then added them to a "photo album." With that photo album, I created a slide show and displayed it to music on the evening of Celebration of Learning.

As file size prohibited me from posting one large presentation at times, I split up the 2013 slide show  components by grade level (shown second). Please see below:

Click through the Slideshare artifacts to see snapshots of my students' work! 

Grade 7

Here is an example of the 2012 compilation:



Mini-Inquiry Paper, Summer 2010: "Librito Pensemos Verde" Project

During the summer of 2010, I traveled to rural Costa Rica as a volunteer teacher. I worked with children in grades K-6 in an after-school program called CREAR, teaching technology classes. I was moved to volunteer in this manner after researching the "digital divide" that exists in Costa Rica during a university course assignment I completed the semester before. The lessons I personally learned greatly impacted the teacher I am today.

Here is a link to my project write-up:

Masters Program Inquiry Paper: Spring 2012, University of Florida

Fostering Individual Growth in the Middle School Spanish Classroom:
Improving Linguistic Fluidity and Pronunciation
Frances M. Siracusa
University of Florida

Context of Study
            I am a PreK-8 Spanish teacher at a private Montessori school in Largo, Florida who has taught Spanish at the elementary and secondary level for the last 16 years.  For the last year and a half, my emphasis has been on middle school.  I am fortunate to have worked at schools where I can teach Spanish and simultaneously extend a special focus on integrating 21st century tools to enhance teaching and learning.  I see myself as an innovative, forward-thinking teacher.  I know what motivates my students and I empower them by giving them the opportunity to be producers of content.  I lack somewhat in connecting with my students emotionally; I have felt the need to spend more time with my students individually and to better understand their distinct backgrounds and interests.  I have a desire to teach my students Spanish, but at times, I have felt the need to take more of a facilitative role, so that students could be more responsible for their own learning and develop important personal communicative skills.  Ancillary to this goal, I would like to see them acquire important skills such as adaptability and responsibility.  Furthermore, it is my strong belief that an educator’s ability to design and manage multimedia tasks in the classroom in conjunction with sparking a student’s passion is one of the greatest factors of student success. 


For full document, please download from this link: