Week 1 = done!

The first two days of school in Room 236 were a blur!  I learned dozens of new names and shared lots of details about me (I’m afraid of cats, have an identical twin and wore braces for 6 horrible years….all true).

While everything had a little Italian or Spanish “twist” on it, this week’s activities were all about getting to know my new students!  I created five stations for students to complete, each with a different task.  We practiced conversation skills with Jenga, learned about each other (and Sra. Blackburn….ha!) and worked as a team to accomplish some fun, different tasks.  Level 1 students took some time to think about starting to study Spanish, and what their goals are for the year.  Some pictures are below at the end of the post.

As former students know, I am bizarrely excited about Spanish and Italian, so it’s hard for me not to jump right into (what I consider) the “fun stuff”. However, we took some time in these first two days to really chat about what we like (not what we like about Spanish verbs or Italian regions) but what inspires us, excites us and lights us up.

This conversation was a great way to introduce some new initiatives our department is trying out this year and hopefully demonstrate to students that languages reach beyond conjugations and verb tenses: they are simply new ways to express ourselves, our passions and our lives.  I am SO EXCITED to start some fascinating new projects that will capture each student’s individual passion and excitement.  (More on this next week!!)

To my students – you re-energized me about being back here at school and I’m ready for a great year with you!  Happy 4-day weekend!

Ci vediamo….nos vemos! 🙂


True or false? Students learned a lot about me this week!


Are you ready?

To my students this year:

As a teacher, I’ve always thought of the first day of school like the best fresh start of the year – even more than January 1st.  So….happy new year to you all!

Room 236 is ready to go: my door is covered in tacky bright (?) pictures, my pencils are sharpened and I’ve had a whole summer to drum up some new crazy Blackburn ideas. All that’s missing is YOU!  I am so excited to get to know you and discover together how a new language can help you fuel your interests, ideas and passions.

So….you ready to crush it?



¡Adios! Ciao!

And just like that – we’re wrapping up the 2016-2017 school year!  It’s hard to believe that another year is in the books and also hard to think that I’ll be saying adios and ciao to my wonderful students!  As we head for the beach, I thought it would be nice to look back on a few fun memories from this year.

Italian 3 has been an absolute pleasure to teach this year.  Both sections (A and E blocks) brought more creativity, innovation and humor to our projects than I’ve ever seen! From creating cooking shows to movie trailers, these ragazzi really displayed such genuine excitement to use Italian in a variety of authentic situations.  We had the opportunity to go on a field trip to explore DaVinci’s legacy at the Boston MOS and explore Italy’s culinary heritage by visiting Eataly.  Students wrote fairy tales, performed skits and read two mini-novels in Italian.  We had our first group of inductees in the Società Onoraria Italica in March and many of these students are off for more Italian adventures next year in Italian IV.  I look forward to chatting them up in italiano in the halls and to traveling to Italy with them next April!
Bravi, ragazzi!  Grazie per un anno indimenticabile!

Here are a couple of class photos we took at the end of the year.

This is my third year at Nipmuc, and my third year teaching Spanish 2 – a course I love for a lot of reasons.  Perhaps the most exciting part of a level 2 language course is the progress that students make from September to June.  Students arrive with a well-formed base in the present tense, but leave being able to speak/write about the past, future and hypothetical situations.  As a teacher, it’s so fun to watch as students realize how much they expand their communication abilities with each tense.  This year, students made this transformation with lots of interesting projects that got them out of their seats and using the language in fun new ways.  From creating iMovie trailers to introduce next year’s Spanish 2 students to the course to making mystery celebrity timelines and taking on the challenge of one-on-one quarterly interviews – these students impressed me each day.  Level 2 students also participated in a new (and amazingly fun) project for World Language Week – creating mock food trucks for a community-wide competition!  As an added bonus, some students were able to join Nipmuc’s April adventure in España!

Some photos from D, G and B blocks over the past couple of days:


Wishing everyone a safe, fun, adventurous summer!  See you next year!
Signora/Señora B.

Italian Student of the Week: Pasquale!

This week’s Italian Student of the Week is Peter Morelli.  Peter, or as he is called in Italian class “Pasquale” is a student in E Block Italian 3.  Here’s what Pasquale had to say about his experience in Italian 3 so far!


Il tuo nome (your name): Peter Morelli

Il tuo nome italiano (your Italian name): Pasquale

La tua classe (your class): Italian 3 (E Block)

I miei passatempi (my hobbies): reading, football, video games

La mia attivitá in questa classe è…. (my favorite activity in this class is….)
Sticky sentences

Che facciamo adesso nella nostra classe? (What are we doing now in our class?)
We are re-teaching the concepts we learned this year with review projects.  I presented the future tense with my group today.  (More on these review presentations in my next post!)

Quest’anno, io voglio imparare … (This year I want to learn …)
How to get better at speaking Italian (you can read more about how we worked on speaking skills in this post)

The #1 country on my travel bucket list is…
Italy (did you know Nipmuc is traveling to Italy in April 2018?  If you’d like to come, please see Signorina Reardon in 239!)

Detto preferito (favorite quote/saying:
“Nothing is impossible.”

Bravo!  Grazie, Pasquale!  🙂


Best. Project. Ever.

I tried a new project this year for Spanish 2 Honors.  And the kids rocked it.  Sometimes I get a semi-interesting idea for a project, but by the time the students take it on it becomes AMAZING.

To help us use the future tense in an authentic context, I asked B block students to create iMovie trailers that show what next year’s Spanish 2 students WILL learn.  They worked during our last class to create the trailers in groups of 4 and today we watched the 6 videos from our class.  The results are below and speak for themselves – they’re full of fun, creativity, future tense verbs and ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS details.

You’ll notice some common themes: they hated the preterite tense (sorry, guys) and apparently were not fans of the temperature in my classroom.  I’m always opening the windows for “fresh air” which translates to “arctic chill” for some  (…sorry again).  Students also displayed the big projects of the year: from the International Food Truck competition, to quarterly oral interviews.  The trailers also highlight every day class activities, such as conversation Jenga, pop songs and (of course) my killer dance moves.

Check them out below and get ready to be impressed!

Taylor L, Audrey, Lily and Taylor H chose to make a horror film and it is HYSTERICAL.
Hint: definitely watch it all the way to the end for a spooky finish!

Tom, Hannah, Alyssa and Ashley created a fantastic trailer with some really excellent advice for next year (you should always laugh at Sra. Blackburn’s stories).  So true, chicos.

Hayden, Charr, Colby and Osama made a trailer that featured Osama in a role as Sra. Blackburn, complete with denim jacket and scarf.

Graysen, Cole, Divya and Clare created a super trailer, which highlights the year-long power struggle among Graysen, me and the front classroom window.

Kacy, Jenny, Chris and Noah made a great trailer in the style of an expedition film, portraying four students on a mission to ace Spanish 2 Honors!

Maya, Willow, Lauren and Bella put their creative talent to work in this awesome trailer that highlights all the fun of Spanish 2 Honors (a nice contrast to the horror film – HA!)

Spanish Student of the Week: Jason Bates

This week’s Student of the Week is Jason Bates.  Jason is a student in Spanish 2 (which meets during D Block).  Jason has done a phenomenal job this year and is known in our class for singing all of our pop songs with lots of (hilarious) emotion!  If you know Jason, be sure to ask him to sing a few lines of the song Fuiste tú!  


Here’s what Jason said about her experience in Spanish 2 this year:

Tu nombre (your name): Jason Bates

Tu clase (your class): Spanish 2 (D Block)

Mis pasatiempos (my hobbies): hanging with friends, riding my four wheeler, sleeping

Mi actividad favorita en esta clase es… (my favorite activity in this class is….)
Zapped (learn more about the game Zapped in this post!)

Este año, yo quiero aprender…(This year I want to learn …)
The past tense

¿Qué hacemos ahora en nuestra clase? (What are we doing now in our class?)
We are learning the future tense, writing horoscopes.

The #1 destination on my travel bucket list is…

¡Gracias, Jason!


How will my life be in 2030? Italian 3 students explore the possibilities!

Students in Italian 3 explored this fun, thought-provoking question by writing letters (from 2030 to their 2017 selves) and making fun, creative movie trailers that previewed life in 2030.  As always, this group totally impressed me with their creativity, use of written and spoken Italian and their great sense of humor.  Each block (A and E) approached this in different ways…..

A Block students decided to make this project about self-reflection and chose to work independently.  I absolutely loved the range of creative ideas that students included in their projects.  Students outlined their future careers (from FBI agents to doctors to teachers) and created hilariously creative trailers to illustrate.

E Block students also created some fantastic trailers about the future!  For example, Pasquale’s film provided a hilariously dramatic depiction of his future as the President! Many students in E Block chose to take a group approach and really went outside the box. Since many of the students are fans of the show The Office, they used the project to imagine that they were all future employees at Munder Difflin (a play on Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper company from the show).  Students individually wrote letters “in character” as various employees (Dwight, Pam, Jim and many others).  Then, they filmed their movie trailer as a group in class.  Coincidentally, we had a visit from our superintendent Dr. M that day who taught “Dwight” and “Stanley” how to tie their ties and get into character.  Click here to see their final result!

These two sections of Italian 3 have been so much fun to teach this year.  One of the many reasons I love these students is their passion and excitement about projects. Not only do they approach tasks with dedication and excellent work ethic, but they bring creativity, energy and fun to each project they attempt.  Bravi, ragazzi!! 🙂