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"Teachers might use simple explanations when working with straightforward content. They might choose modeling, which includes a verbal explanation as well as thinking aloud and demonstrating when sharing the metacognitive process, to provide greater access to students about strategies and practices."

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Explaining and Modeling Content, Practices, and Strategies

"Lo Que" Mini-Lesson

(September 2023)

The video to the right shows how I modeled the concept of "lo que" content to the Spanish level 4 students. The class has been studying “El Camino de Santiago de Compostela” as part of their cultural approach to Hispanic countries, particularly Spain. After learning about using the pronoun "lo que," students were assigned to create sentences using vocabulary words from the story. The goal was for the teacher to guess which word or words the sentences were referring to. The new concept of "lo que" has provided students with a tool to effectively navigate the nuances of the Spanish language since it is a pronoun used in every daily life setting in Hispanic culture.

Modeling of Content Presentation

For this mini-lesson, I used visuals as a teaching tool to help students understand the "Lo que" concept. Further visual reinforcement was used during the presentation, showing clear comparisons to the English language in authentic and relevant examples the students use in their daily lives, like receiving a package from Amazon and finding out the item is not what they ordered or when they do something they do not like, like homework.

I demonstrated a complete and organized set of facts to learn the concept of "Lo que." I used a friendly tone of voice and movements, combined with a slow speed of language when doing the presentation and to make the students feel comfortable to ask questions if they needed to.

Modeling of Content Strengths 

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  • The sequence of content was logical and clear. This mini-lesson is my first attempt to model a concept to the students. I was still looking for the design of my lesson plan to cover the correct information to help me deliver a successful lesson. You can see that the design of this mini-lesson is a template taken from Nevertheless, the sequence of content was logical and clear. I started with a PowerPoint presentation to explain the concept, followed by a writing practice as a group, and the closure was a quick formative assessment. 



  • The launch of the mini-lesson was intentional. By reviewing their previous knowledge about the activities I like to do (Mis pasatiempos) learned in a previous class, I offered learners an entry point into the concept of "lo que."  

  • The visuals to explain the "Big Idea" of the concept "lo que" were relevant and drove the lesson to an understanding.  


  • To conclude the mini-lesson, I asked the students to write an exit ticket to assess their understanding. The students had to individually translate three sentences displayed on the smart board into Spanish and next, to write an original sentence using "lo que."  I provided them with the worksheets to do the activity.

Modeling Content Area of Opportunity 

  • I need to improve in Modeling the lesson's concept to the students. While my modeling was sufficient for the mini-lesson, it needed to be reinforced with more examples and clear instructions when it was delivered to the students.  The different cross-cultural examples I used to explain the concept of “Lo que” were well selected to show the similarities and use of the idea. However, as you can see in the video below, I should have re-read the examples at least one more time to make sure the students understood the concept and the question I was asking and even invited the students to collaborate in pairs to figure out the words used in English for the concept I was teaching. In conclusion, I needed to give the students more EXAMPLES and CLEAR instructions. I appreciated my mentor showing me how it should be done when I needed it to continue with the mini-lesson.

My Growth in Explaining and Modeling Content

"La ropa, los colores y las Estaciones."

(April, 2024)

The students in Spanish level 1 were learning about Clothes, Colors, and Seasons. This lesson is part of the unit where they learn new vocabulary words, verbs, and grammar structures to describe the different types of clothes they wear in every season of the year and how to buy items in the mall. This lesson was planned to continue practicing the vocabulary words so they could communicate what they wore. In the video on the right, you can watch how I modeled to the students an activity planned for the lesson.

Modeling a Planned Practice Strengths

  • I intentionally modeled the concepts students were learning and gave clear instructions on what they were expected to do. The modeling was clear and appropriate for the lesson's objective. The goal was to learn new vocabulary words by practicing identifying the colors of the clothes they wear. In addition, they were able to revise their knowledge about the names of parts of the body. The modeling made the process explicit and clear. Students were easily able to engage with the activity of the lesson plan shown below.

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  • The content sequence of the practice was logical and clear. I launched the activity by explaining the objective of identifying the correct words for colors, clothes, and parts of the body, described below each figure to dress, and drawing the stick men. This was intentional and offered students entry points into the content; I also explained why learning the vocabulary words is important to them to communicate their preferences or what they like to dress in each season of the year. I modeled for them clearly how they should complete the stick man number nine, drew the body parts and clothes, and then wrote the description in Spanish. I also included the value of this particular stick man so they could pay attention to detail. I brought the activity to a close by asking if they had questions and pointing out the time they had to work in the practice.

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