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)