Overall the 2014 Iowa World Language Conference was a great success.
- I completed my 1st professional conference presentation & overall I think it went really well! I even got them to get up and do #baileviernes with me. Here is my presentation is you are interested.
- I was able to finally meet in person, have lunch, and pick the brain of the lovely @SraDentlinger.
- I was awarded one of the 2014 IWLA classroom grants, which I will use to expand my classroom library.
Implementing Comprehensible Input – My favorite session
- I need to post high frequency structures
- I need to use the same specific actions for these structures
- While free reading have kids follow along with finger so they are not just quickly flipping through pages. Also for accountability, pick one random student at end of class to describe what they read, and then another to ask a question about their description.
- It is ok to give lots of crutches & training wheels. Our goal is for them to communicate, feel success and build confidence in the language.
- Utilize student jobs to keep everyone involved such as: Vanna White, Ventriloquist, Videographer, Actor, Extras, Narrator, Police, Genius, Tally, Lights/Camera/Action etc.
- Focus on communication of thoughts, not accuracy. We need to concentrate on IDEAS, not worry too much about the correct construction.
Putting Culture at the Core & Using Native Speakers
- Students must first understand their own culture, before they can begin to compare and contract with the cultures they are studying.
- When starting with culture we should organize our sequences of instruction by theme, in longer chunks, such as a semester.
- In content based instruction begin with a topic. Theme > #authres > task
- We want students to be able to mediate between cultures.
- We need to get to the WHY of the culture. Its not just about describing what each country does to celebrate Day of the Dead, but rather “how does each culture FEEL about death and why?”
- It is all about shifting the student’s perspective. They need to first see the culture of the US in a new light.
- By looking at the most popular sport in the country, you can see what colonizing countries have had the most influence there.
Random Tips & Tricks
- Show a video first with no sound. This will allow students to describe the video without being overwhelmed my the TL. Then for novice classes, only un mute on key things you want them to hear.
- Share unit calendars with students and parents so everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
- Silent Attention Getter – Start touching your eyes, shoulders, ears, etc slowly moving from one to the next as students pay attention and follow along without saying anything.
- Play Mind Reader to have students guess what supplies they will need for the day. This would be a way to utilize the vocabulary for school supplies, without ever directly having a unit on them.
- Have tongue twister competitions as a Monday Bell Ringer to practice pronunciation.
Things I need to look into
- Lan School – A FREE management tool to see what everyone is doing on their computers from your screen.
- Brining in more native speakers, especially utilizing the Fulbright scholars visiting at local universities; whose job while in the US is to represent their country.
- Resources for teaching about colonization
My Overall Takeaway
We do not just teach language, we are communication teachers.
I can’t wait for #CSCTFL15! – I hope to see you then!