Guest Author: Delandris Jones, MGMS
The French immersion team at Meadow Glen Middle School strives to teach all students the value of other cultures. In addition to cultural awareness and appreciation, we also push our students to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that in life we have have a greater duty, which is to serve by being vessels of positive change.
During one of our units, our region of focus was Haiti. As we were studying the unit, the students admired the rich culture and history of Haiti, and they wanted to give back. This was music to my ears especially since I was/am a Bonner Scholar from Wofford.
The other teachers and I knew that we wanted this to be totally student-led so we designated certain students to be leaders of the various committees, and we let them to do the rest! It’s sometimes hard to relinquish the power; however, we strongly acknowledge that it’s necessary when building proficiency and more importantly, confidence in the language.
As the teachers and I were reflecting on this process and seeing how students took control of the issues that arose such as dealing with some collaboration setbacks, rejections to phone calls from potential donors, etc., we were simply in awe that OUR kids could do this! They were leaders of their own learning! Even though they didn’t necessarily have titles, they acknowledged their greater civic duty, which is to be committed to being greater than themselves.
So what was the final product? Great question! The students hosted “Hotdogs for Haiti” where they sold various snacks and planned tons of activities on the field.
The money that was raised would be sent to Haiti via a state-side organization, Mission Haiti, to sponsor students for a school year. The goal was to raise enough money to sponsor 15 students; however, thanks to their unwavering efforts, we were able to sponsor 32 students for the next school year. YEAH!!!
This immersion program at MGM has really given me life and has inspired my other two colleagues, Shannon Gowe and Eric Ruppe, as well. Seeing how the students trust each other and aren’t afraid of taking risks is simply incredible. Each day is truly a blessing being able to teach and inspire these young ones, as we forever remember to stay committed to being greater than ourselves.
Thank you Delandris, Shannon and Eric for pushing your students to be "greater than themselves."
In what ways do you push your students to think beyond themselves?
Leave a comment or author the next post!
Contributor: Kimberly Freeman (LMS)
In a recent interview, Kimberly Freeman (Latin teacher at LMS) was asked to describe a student success story. Her answer included the following quote which inspired the name of this post:
"After the Milken award, he tagged me in an Instagram post with this caption: '#myteacherrocks She helps me through everything, never lets me give up, pushes me to my limit and I love her for it. She is the
recipient of a national teacher award. All love prayers go out to Mrs. Freeman (and I wouldn't
be the person I am now if it wasn't for her.)' Truth be told, that post was more meaningful to
me than the award itself."
As we are getting very close to the end of the year, when many teachers (and students) are in survival mode, I thought I would share some advice from Kimberly. She says,
"One of the things I have found to be extremely important today is helping learners see the relevance of their learning. I’m not attached to a name or a program, but I know this: students who feel their perspectives
and interests are valued and considered are much more likely to invest in their own learning."
By joining students in that learning, I am able to help them find meaningful connections and
embrace the challenges of learning this ancient language with a fresh perspective...
...In the days that are exhausting and the seasons that seem overwhelming, we have to remember why we
walked in the doors in the beginning. We have to remember that there is no other profession in
which people have the ability to reach into our future and instill grit, determination and a
great deal of hope like we do in education. That’s a great joy and a great responsibility, and it’s
one that holds me in education in the midst of deeply exhausting days."
You can read more about Kimberly in an interview she wrote for the Milken Foundation.
What you are doing is important! Hang in there. Summer will be here soon.
What advice do you have for your fellow teachers at this point in the year?
Leave a comment, or write the next post of Voices in the Field.
Sometimes as WL teachers, we find ourselves sitting through PD that doesn't necessarily relate to us.
I promise that will not be the case if you take my class this summer!
R2S Content Area Reading and Writing: World Languages
This course is R2S approved for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. In this course, World Language teachers will learn how to implement the disciplinary literacy standards of the South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards. Special emphasis will be placed on how these standards should impact instruction and assessment in the World Language classroom.
Face- to-Face sessions:
June 20, 21, 22, 23 (9:00-1:00)
August 30, September 27 and October 25 (4:00-6:00)
Online Instruction (on your own):
June 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 30
August 5 and 12
Here is a link to the class information and registration instructions.
Contributors: Claudette King and Marcia Woodward, PHMS
We know that learners of all ages need to move and talk in order to stay engaged in our classes. Therefore many of our teachers use creative assignments to get students thinking, moving, talking and collaborating. One technique you might consider trying is a gallery walk. According to theteachertoolkit.com "This discussion technique allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. They work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to meaningful questions, documents, images, problem-solving situations or texts."
Claudette King modified this activity to use with Novice C, Unit 14 (I Need a Doctor). She says, "My students along with Marcia Woodward's students researched various illnesses and then had to illustrate the symptoms of the illness that their group researched. As a follow up activity students from our classes did a "poster walk" to record in Spanish the symptoms for all of the illnesses that were represented. Students discovered typical symptoms of illnesses ranging from the common cold to anemia.
I feel the activity helped students to discuss the less common vocabulary for some of the illnesses. For example, we had not studied the word rash. When students were doing their research, they had to discover these terms and then think of how to illustrate them on the body of a person for their poster. The research also helped students to learn lesser taught body parts like liver or lungs. Students also searched for images on the Internet to help them know how to illustrate the symptoms of the illness. One group did not know what a liver looked like, so it was informative for them. Students also had to think creatively to determine the best way in which to illustrate the symptoms so that their classmates could understand it. This was an engaging way for the students to learn about several different illnesses as well as learn more vocabulary."
The beauty of this activity is that it can be modified depending on age, grade or topic. For example, elementary immersion teachers might use a gallery walk to build content knowledge in Science, as well as literacy skills as students read and write about the different topics. This video shows a great adaption of the gallery walk for elementary aged kids.
Thank you Claudette and Marcia for incorporating creativity, movement and conversation in your classes. I know your students appreciate it. Thank you also for sharing your work with the rest of us.
Coming soon...Student Created and Curated Museum Exhibits in the German Classroom.
What strategies for student engagement do you use in your classes? Leave a comment, or author the next post!
Guest authors: Jill Hnat's French IV and V
You might remember that Dr. Little joined with students at WKHS who were working on posters to demonstrate World Peace Day. Below are quotes from students and examples of the posters. Thank you Jill Hnat, Allison Coulter, and all of the other teachers at WKHS who allowed students to participate in this important event.
World Peace Day is important so that people can realize that peace is possible in this chaotic world." -Jordan Houser, French V, Jill Hnat
It allows the individual to better understand international viewpoints in an attempt to dissuade conflict." -Benjamin Warren, French IV, Jill Hnat
Celebrating world peace at WKHS was very important because it helped bond together all students to a cause that can affect the world. It starts with us and if we can make the change for peace it can affect the world."
It is essential to celebrate peace and those who are striving for it. With all of the problems in the world that we cannot change, being peaceful is something that we all have the power to change. If everyone committed to being tolerant and peaceful, peace on earth would not be unreachable."
World Peace Day is important to promote tolerance and kindness."
Guest author: Sin Guanci (RBHS)
Usually in Latin 3, students study the rise and fall of the Roman empire and the governing system of emperors, as well as the Roman emperors themselves. Given that this year is an election year for the US, I decided to do something different. Instead of just studying ancient Roman politics and rule, I decided to have my students work on a nearly year-long case study comparing and contrasting ancient Roman government with modern American government. At first, students researched ten Roman emperors, discovering information such as, what they were known for, what their downfall was, their leadership style, etc. Next, students were tasked with researching ten presidential candidates, including their personalities, political history, stance on issues, etc. By the end of the first semester of school, I asked students to pair an emperor with a candidate, as running mates, based on the research they completed about each, and give a reason for each pairing.
When second semester began, I compiled data regarding all of the chosen pairings, and chose the six most common pairs of running mates, each comprised of one emperor and one presidential candidate. The final six pairs are: Augustus Caesar & Bernie Sanders, Tiberius & Jeb Bush, Julius Caesar & Martin O'Malley, Caligula & Trump, Trajan & Hillary Clinton, Vespasian & Ted Cruz. With the pairs chosen, I assigned two pairs to each section of Latin 3 (there are three sections), making sure that each class had a pair including one Democrat and one Republican. The next step was to create Campaign Teams for these running mate pairs. Students in each class were allowed to choose with which of the two teams assigned to their class they wanted to work. And so the Campaign Team Project was begun.
I recently sent this quote to a teacher friend because it encapsulates so well
the joy and frustration of being a teacher.
When I began the position of WLTSS, one of my goals and hopes, was to be able to show gratitude and appreciation to all of you. I thought about surcies, luncheons, flowers and food, buuuut... I don't really have the budget for that (ok, I don't actually have any budget all). If I could give you all raises, I would, or send you on vacations, I would. Why? Because you deserve it!
The only way I have truly been able to thank you so far is through my words. I try, in all of my interactions with teachers, to thank you for all of the hard work you do every day in your classes (and outside of class with planning, grading, thinking about and worrying about your students).
That is one reason I was so excited about starting this blog. This is a way for Dawn and me to
publicly thank you all year long
for everything you do to make our World Languages Program as strong as it is.
Attention, attention! We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogcast to report a sighting of our new superintendent. Dr. Little was seen this morning at WKHS working in multilingual teams with French 4/5 and Spanish 4/5 students on World Peace posters.
According to Jill Hnat, "My French 4/5 students feel we need to work for peace and I thought - this is worth a day."
As momentum for the event grew, many other teachers in the school started to participate. Stay tuned for pictures of the outcomes and a complete run-down of the event!
Meaningful work is motivating! It gives us an incentive that extends beyond ourselves to try to accomplish things that we might otherwise believe are out of our reach."
World language teachers in Lexington School District One know Integrated Performance Assessments! We have lived, breathed and slept them for the past few years while our World Languages program transitioned to proficiency grading. Cherice Montgomery of Brigham Young University and our very own Dawn Samples wrote the introduction to the most recent issue of The Language Educator dedicated to Standards-Based Assessment, Evaluation and Grading. Their words are the perfect kick-off for this blog, "Voices From the Field," because they skillfully articulate one of our guiding values: Make language learning meaningful to students!
Montgomery and Samples challenge the national language community to assess our assessments in three areas: Meaning, motivation, and mentoring. The first few posts will feature the voices of LexOne teachers in those three areas, starting with meaning.
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)