The Wonders of Wooly Week (for ALL your students)

My Señor Wooly subscription is hands down, WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT the most important “thing” I purchase each year. There have been years I’ve had to purchase with my own money (as many do) and years where my school has paid for it but I will NEVER go without… I am dreading the day Jim realizes it is worth SO much more than what he charges (but oh so grateful that the price is OH so reasonable!).

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Maternity Pics “Señor Wooly” style

Last year I was SO super pregnant… but look at how cute his shirts look on pregnant bellies!

This blog is not to talk to you about all that I do with each Wooly song… it is not to tell you how I milk every single one so long that I only get to 4-5 per year… it is not to tell you how I stretch his genius story telling to things way beyond the songs themselves… nope it is to talk to you about the looming, impending, WONDROUS Wooly Week! First I want to talk to you about some misconceptions of Wooly week that I hear people say WAY too often. THEN, I want to tell you about what to do if you want to “participate” but can’t, won’t or don’t want to use the “new” songs that all of the lesson plans (which are PHENOMENAL) are built off of… This blog is NOT for people who plan to do ALL the things Wooly Week… because y’all already have all the plans laid out for you by the genius himself!

Before I begin, if you do not have a Wooly subscription…. NOW is the BEST time to buy one…(Wooly has not paid me to write this blog, in fact he doesn’t even know that I am doing it…) Now is the PERFECT time to give Wooly a try…

Misconceptions of Wooly Week:

  • You have to do it all
    • HA! That would be TRULY impossible! You can do as much or as little as you choose! You can even PRETEND you’re doing Wooly week and barely touch the stuff provided (see what I mean below)
  • You have to participate in the raffle
    • Y’all… Jim does the raffle for the fun of seeing Wooly die-hards make his head get bigger because of our obsession with the world he has created… You don’t HAVE to do the raffle…In fact, don’t! It gives me more chances to win! (but seriously, if you don’t have time to submit raffle tickets then don’t, or submit 1-10 and call it good!)
  • You have to participate with ALL of your classes
    • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just pick a class and try it… but they’ll love it so much they’re going to gossip to other classes  #justsayin
  • It is not going to be “approved” by your admin
    • LITERALLY all of the lesson plans are standards aligned… EVERY lesson. We are fortunate as world language educators that “LANGUAGE” IS our content! Boohoo if it looks, feels and sounds WAY more fun than the trig class down the hall…
  • It is all fun, they’re not really acquiring anything…
    • The beautiful thing about what Jim and his team (Kelly and Carrie are A HUGE part of making the magic) have created is that each video, each song, tells a story. Those stories are rich, amazing, and most of the time SUPER weird… Kids are WAY into it… the language that is used is very intentional… It is amazing how much my students acquire through his videos… and how much they latch on to the story! Every minute I spend on Wooly is time WELL spent
  • My kids won’t be into it…
    • Actually, that is YOU my friend… This is a mentality shift you have to make… If you approach ANYthing you present to your kids in an unsure way, or even “THINK” that they’re not going to buy in… I promise you they won’t… but that isn’t because of them… that is because you’re doubting their interest and investment…If you’re not invested, convinced, and totally JAZZED about what you’re teaching day to day (Wooly Week or not) then you need to stop, reflect, and teach what you ARE Jazzed about… period…

Now, the FIRST year I did Wooly Week: I went HARD…. I did TONS! (not all) and I WON a CALCULATOR from NO LO TENGO!!!! (which of course I can’t find a photo of and since I’m on Mardi Gras break I can’t take one tomorrow!!!!) It was EPIC and unforgettable!

The following two years were NOT the same….

Last year, I was VERY pregnant for Wooly Week. I had talked it up ALL year long to my students but when it came to it, I was exhausted, and couldn’t even bring myself to read the lesson plans… (little did I know it I would have Baby Loco 5 weeks early just a week after Wooly Week began). 

The year before that, I was completely and totally burnt out at my previous school. I was teaching 6 classes a day, bell to bell with no break. Kids were STOKED about Wooly Week but I was frantically applying to jobs and presenting at workshops every spare minute and had NO time to prep and plan to make it magical.

NEITHER YEAR DID STUDENTS HAVE ANY IDEA THAT THEY DIDN’T ACTUALLY PARTICIPATE IN THE INTENDED WOOLY WEEK THAT THE REST OF THE NATION WAS PARTICIPATING IN…. and they still… LOVED…. EVERY… SECOND…

What to do if you just can’t Wooly…

Now, this applies if you’re in a situation like I was in the years above or perhaps you don’t want to/don’t think you CAN use either of the two new music videos that Señor Wooly has put out for this year… (He has released two brand new, out of this world music videos and 2 sets of week long lesson plans for each… but really each daily lesson plan has 3-5 activities so I personally think it is like 2 sets of 3 weeks of lesson plans for each song)

Things to remember/consider:

  • YOUR KIDS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WOOLY WEEK IS…
    • Even if they’ve participated in it before, they have NO idea what to expect… if you do ANYTHING Wooly you WIN… Seriously… to them.. what YOU are doing IS Wooly Week. Especially if you SAY it is!
      • Last year, I introduced a brand new song to my students (I am SUPER stingy with Wooly songs)  and told them it was brand new for Wooly week! I taught Pan to 5th grade (so not new). I taught a lesson all about different breads from all over the world. I taught another lesson all about different breads from around New Orleans… I told them Wooly challenged us to connect the content to the WORLD and to our LOCAL COMMUNITY.  I told them EVERYTHING earned us raffle tickets.
  • You don’t have to use the songs… The lesson plans STILL have amazing ideas for facilitating acquisition through comprehensible input!
    • Read through the lesson plans… Find an activity or an idea that you love and apply it to another Wooly song that you’ve already done with the kids… Tell them it is part of Wooly week and tell them that it is TOTALLY worth raffle tickets… MAKE IT UP.. .don’t forget the power of the white lie… Get them AMPED up about the prizes!!!! (Even if you only submit 4 raffle tickets! They don’t know! It is about the JOY and FUN!) 
  • There are “extra” things that Wooly & CO. work TIRELESSLY on that are completely unrelated to the two videos shared….
    • Coloring sheets- even your littlest learners can participate in Wooly Week! You can tell them you get a ticket PER sheet that you submit!
      • You can get creative and ADD words to the coloring sheets using high frequency words that students have acquired or you can write in lyrics from the songs… that way there is a “reading” element!

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    • Last year, with my third and fourth graders I used ojo sabio (there is something similar this year) in every class. With 3rd graders we did it with all three of the videos they’d seen and we did it all together as a class. Basically, the task was to find the hidden characters/things in the video… (I was SUPER obnoxious though… I told them what we were looking for and then the first THREE times we watched I played the regular video instead of the one with the hidden objects so it was just more repetitions!!!) Then I did a Brain Break and quickly pulled up the new video without them seeing…suddenly we started finding the characters and they were boggled how they missed them the first three times! HA! With fourth grade we did one video together and the rest they did in pairs searching on a chomebook, they wrote the time stamps on a sticky note.. I told them for every sticky note I sent in I received ONE raffle ticket..
  • Make it up COMPLETELY!
    • Again your kids have absolutely NO idea what to expect….
    • Another thing I did last year was I told students that every single nugget completed by students that week was worth a raffle ticket… you’d never seen them complete them so earnestly before, and it was ALL with songs they already KNEW and LOVED!

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  • Talk to the gifted teacher or homeroom teachers too…
    • This year with the choice board comes a whole “extra” level of wooly fandom called “genius” hour. I am going to talk to the gifted teacher in my building as well as homeroom teachers and ask that when students have “hours” with her or “freetime” that they be allowed to work on Wooly Genius hour projects if they so choose… 

Basically what I am trying to say, is you can do ANYTHING for a week and call it Wooly week if you’re just too overwhelmed right now or can’t do the songs they’ve put things together… Your kids WILL invest, they WILL appreciate your enthusiasm, and I promise it will be a FANTASTIC way to spend your time during this challenging part of the year! Wooly is the BEST… period. 

Here is another FANTASTIC idea fromErica Peplinski! (She is our guest speaker in LIVE with La Loca next month, talking to us about strategies for teaching world languages to pre-literate learners) She created simple worksheets for her students where they have to fill in profiles for different Wooly characters. Click here to see her slide show and click here to get a copy of her worksheet! 

I can’t wait to hear about all you do! If you are not in the WOOLOGY group on FB Join and share all the awesomeness that is to come in the next month!

Until next time,

HAPPY TEACHING and HAPPY WOOLY WEEK!

Love,

La Maestra Loca

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My new logo!!!!

(Thanks to all my supporters of the $2 tier and up on my Patreon account who voted for me to write this blog! It was great motivation!)

 

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