Guest Bloggers: Esmith Centeno & Ismari Herrera
Students from fifth grade LOLA classes at Gilbert Elementary School established an online hangout with students from fourth grade in Fundación Colegio Santa Maria - Bogotá, Colombia.
The Students shared information about themselves (family size and names) in Spanish and one student described a typical day at GES in English because the students in Colombia are studying this topic in their English class and wanted to hear it from an English speaker. He mentioned the subjects, schedule and school routine.
It was exciting for our students to meet native Spanish speakers from another country, this type of activity helps motivate them to use Spanish in real life
Carrie Blackwell also shares her fourth graders at Forts Pond Elementary who celebrated finishing performance assessments by learning a hand-clapping game. They just completed a unit about the cacao tree and how chocolate is made. Songs, chants and kinesthetic activities help reach the whole child, and give them a chance to participate in physical activity, while also creating neural pathways. Great job LOLA teachers!
Guest Bloggers: GHS WL Team
GHS has had some busy days during the past month and “Oh, the places you’ll go!” by Dr. Seuss comes to our minds when we think about it. There were lots of meaningful activities going on in all classes and it seems like “travel” was the word of the month, whether virtually or physically.
The French classes virtually travelled through the francophone countries using tools like Storymaps and Google Expeditions, but also by interacting with the two ambassadors from USC Thinking Globally, that they welcomed as guest speakers.
The students also travelled to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport for a tour of the facility where they got to see planes land and take off right next to them on the runway, and talked about possible careers in aviation, thus making connections with the importance of learning at least one more language. Then they tasted authentic French food at Crêpes and Croissants, in Columbia SC.
The German classes had a blast at Lowcountry German Day, organized by the College of Charleston and shared the experience with the “Frenchies” by also welcoming the two ambassadors from USC Thinking Globally Ambassadors, as guest speakers. On the fieldtrip to College of Charleston, the German students got to hear from college graduates how the language has helped them in their careers and/or get into grad school. They also got to interact with other students across the state in German. It so was exciting seeing our WL students using their non-native languages!
The Spanish classes travelled to the Hispanic Flamenco Ballet in Columbia and watched a show designed to not only entertain, but to enlighten, giving students a different perspective on the Hispanic culture. Students also used their food ordering skills for lunch at the Mexican restaurant San Jose. In addition to students going to the Flamenco Ballet, students who stayed behind explored the dances of other Spanish-speaking countries via Internet.
With the holiday season coming up, GHS can only wish for more culturally rich times, like the months of November and December were!
How do we motivate our students to communicate in the L2? Jessica Latham, Spanish and Russian teacher at LHS, created a way to incorporate her students' interests, encourage creativity and interpersonal communication, while also pushing students to take risks with language. Last week I observed her Spanish 3 class (bursting at the seams with 32 students), and I was impressed with the amount of written interpersonal and presentational communication that I saw. Many of our teachers have become involved in cross-district collaborations with other classes through the use of SeeSaw. Ms. Latham is also using SeeSaw as the platform for communication, within a real-life context. She calls it "Instagram Influencer" and here's the basic idea:
"You’ve moved to a Spanish speaking country and in order to make money and pay for your new
apartment, and most importantly, for your food, you have decided to be famous on Instagram and make
money by being an influencer on Instagram."
Her directions go on to encourage students to create a theme that sets them apart from all of the other aspiring Instagram Influencers out there (a rapidly growing field), and helps them create their own hashtag and profile. In order to insure internet safety, Ms. Latham has students creating their "Instagram profiles" through SeeSaw instead of actually creating accounts on Instagram. However, they are developing many of the Power Skills highlighted in our Strategic Plan, and real world skills they could immediately transfer to Social Media networking if they decide to do that in the future.
Below I've shared screen shots from her students' work on SeeSaw. You cannot click on the videos, but students created an introductory video, and then other students (both within our district, and from other schools across SC) are interacting and responding in Spanish.
You will of course notice that their grammar and spelling is not perfect, but they are communicating with their peers about topics that interest them, and that fall within the Memories unit of Level 3.
Here you will notice that students are making personal connections to topics that interest them, as well as practicing the past tense verbs. Again, we are not expecting perfection at this level, but we know that using grammar in context is much more effective for long-term use and memory than grammar drills.
If you are interested in finding out more about this project, Ms. Latham will be presenting at SCOLT 2019 in Myrtle Beach. You can also contact her at email@example.com.
Bon dia, y bon bini!/Good morning and welcome! Today I learned how to say a few phrases in Papiamento, one of the four languages that are spoken in Aruba. I, along with WL students at Pelion High School, had the honor of hearing from three International Student Ambassadors who are part of the Thinking Globally program which is organized through USC's Department of International Student Services. Their mission is to promote intercultural enlightenment through cultural presentations across the midlands, and I must say that I was impressed by these international students. They are full time students at USC who volunteer their time to talk with people about their countries and their culture, and I believe our students at PHS were impressed by how similar these students are to us, even though they have different backgrounds, languages and cultures. The countries represented today were France, Germany and Aruba, and some students didn't even know that Aruba existed until today. Other students were curious to hear about French cuisine, yes they eat snails, the German Autobahn, and Aruban New Year's traditions. It was exciting to share in this multi-cultural event, and a big thank you to PHS WL teachers for organizing it. If you are interested in inviting Thinking Globally to your school, check out their website, or talk to Elizabeth Ben Yahia at Pelion High.
Welcome back WL friends! I know it's been an interesting start to the year, with our unscheduled "Fall Break," but hopefully we've all settled back into our routines and are making up for lost instructional time as we near the end of the first nine weeks.
As you all know, our new vision for Lexington One is "Empowering each Child to Design the Future."
Last year many of you felt empowered to share out with the district the excellent learning opportunities you provided for students. I wanted to put out the call for guest bloggers this year. If anyone would like to share what's going on in your classrooms, I will happily post for you, just send me your write up, and a few pictures. Our work in World Languages is vital to the success of our students and in helping each child design a more global future.
In other news, I wanted to share an exciting announcement. South Carolina is now officially a state that recognizes and awards the National Seal of Biliteracy! "The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation." We believe that this will continue to add value to the work we and our students do each day, and I look forward to seeing how many of our graduates this year will earn the seal of biliteracy. For more information, check out the national website: sealofbiliteracy.org/index.php, and you can also stay tuned as we will forward out more specific information as we have it.
This week I had the pleasure of attending two fantastic learning events at Red Bank Elementary. The fourth grade team collaborated across all content areas on their Westward Expansion unit which culminated in a Musical presentation of "To the West." After the musical, fourth grade immersion students presented their interactive, multi-media projects in Spanish and English on various aspects of Westward expansion, also integrating topics such as animals and their habitat, food groups as well as the types of home and weather conditions from that geographical region during that time period.
I also got to witness first grade Spanish immersion students sharing their integrated science and literacy unit on plants with the immersion kindergarteners. They performed a poem, then they shared photos of the plants they grew along with drawings and observations. They also read books about plants to their kindergarten friends. It was inspiring to say the least to see how teachers are integrating content, language and literacy. Great job Red Bank! Thanks for all your hard work.
Today's post is meant to inspire you to push your Level 1 students. While we know they are still beginners, they are capable of doing some exciting things, both at Middle School and High School. Several of you have begun scheduling Skype or Facetime interactions with other schools or classes. Here is another great example of a successful exchange. In a Spanish 1 course at MGMS, Esmith Centeno orchestrated an intercultural chat with a school from Colombia. Esmith has shared with us how she arranged the chat. Students first wrote a letter to a pen pal in Colombia discussing the similarities and differences between the two culture’s families. Then they engaged in a video chat with these pen pals in Colombia to share some basic questions in the target language for both school communities. She helped students create a basic script that they could then personalize for their particular questions and interests. As you can see from the pictures, when they met their new friends, they had a great experience! Thanks Esmith for making this exchange possible for your students!
I was also recently invited to RBHS to view the Spanish 1 Symposium, created by Lisette Geib and Sarah Hulls. Students presented a case study to their classmates and teachers. They were required to research a Spanish speaking country and then pretend to be someone from that country. The goal was to have them incorporate all of the cultural information they learned as well as the language goals. So they had to describe what life is like for them, as if they were from a different country. They were also required to create an artifact that represents them and their country. As students rotated through to listen to their classmates, they practiced interpretive listening, as they asked questions, they practiced the interpersonal mode, and while they were presenting, they took part in presentational speaking. This was a fantastic way to wrap up the course, and provided multiple data points for proficiency scores.
How do you motivate and assess your Level 1 courses? Leave a comment!
Guest Blogger: Jill Hnat, WKHS
This year, as White Knoll High delves into new strategies to encourage student self-direction and success, the power of reflection has been a common motif. As teachers we are asked to regularly reflect on a wide variety of issues in our profession. At first I went through the motions and, like most things, I “faked it until I made it.” I recognized how deliberate reflection was impacting my teaching and students’ learning in my classes (with a side benefit of NOT waking up at 2 a.m. to rehash what went wrong with my previous day.) But, how could I use reflection IN my French classes? I want my students to seriously consider what works for them when learning something new. My students didn’t have the language to do that! Is it worth the time? Is it defensible? YES! The 15 minutes we spend at the start of the week on Monday to set goals and the minutes on Friday to reflect on how successful we were at meeting those goals are well worth the effort.
My colleague Mandy Domenech started the weekly reflections to create a sense of community with her classes. When she shared her ideas with me, I decided to take a different approach - “Action Plans” for my students.
Every Monday my students copy the weekly goals I have posted on the board, then they set up what will help them reach those goals. Typical plans are: I will not give up and stick to French when I ask questions. I will use the resources posted around the room. I will review what I did the day before. The most popular part of the exercise is the affirmation statement that they can add to their action plans to give themselves a “push” to continue. Yesterday, as a part of 17 Days of Kindness, several of the students posted their affirmation statements to encourage their peers.
Is reflection a part of your teaching process? If so, leave a comment explaining how.
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)