What I learned at FLAG

I  had the privilege of attending and presenting at my state’s world language teacher conference this past weekend. I had a great time re-connecting with old amigos and learning from some home-grown teaching stars, and left feeling refreshed and energized. Here are some of the ideas and resources I collected over the weekend:

  1. Session A: Juegos & Actividades/Luis Mora
    1. Lots of resources in this facebook group (try the files tab)
    2. One new thing to try: put the class in teams for a long-running competition. Students win points for their teams for positive behaviors, winning games, using the TL, etc. Give the winning team a prize at the end of the unit & then switch up teams for the next couple of weeks.
  2. Session B: Monkey Mind/Katy McManus
    1. We went through her beginning of class routine of stretching, deep breathing, and positive affirmations. I thoroughly enjoyed her demonstration, but I’m not ready to adapt it as a daily classroom routine.
    2. One new thing to try: when I’m stressed, take a break to stretch and breath. It really does make me feel better!
  3. Session C: PBL Units for the World Language Classroom/Rocio Morrison & Chenee Chisholm
    1. The presenters talked about the whys of PBL and shared two example units, one about Don Quijote and one about educating the school community about Hispanic Heritage Month
    2. One new thing to try: Both these units were designed for level 3+ classes, and I only teach levels 1 and 2. However, I loved Chenee’s Hispanic Heritage month video. I want to use the news clip she took here inspiration from at least as a discussion starter, if not for a whole PBL unit.
  4. Session D: Increasing Opportunities to Engage Learners in Meaningful Study of Language/Carrie Woodcock
    1. Carrie is an administrator in Hall county which has a number of special focus schools, including a world language academy. She talked about ways of improving language programs at a school and district level.
    2. One new thing to try: Carrie encouraged us to thinks about what strenghts our communities have and how we can take advantage of those strengths. She also encouraged us to use parents and the school community as resources. Guest speakers can be very powerful, and parents who speak another language, have a different cultural background, or who have travelled make great speakers!
  5. Session E: Step-by-Step Comprehensible Input Starter Kit/Meredith White & Keith Toda/My vote for Best of FLAG!/Click here for their slides
    1. Oh my gosh, this session was chock full of good ideas! Keith did a CI demo in Latin playing “White Elephant.” He projected the target vocabulary on the board and had a bag full of stuffed animals. He called volunteers up to draw an animal out of the bag (no peeking) or to steal from someone else, with circling and personalization along the way. It was so fun and a great way to target wants and has. I went to this session because I had heard Meredith speak again and I knew she  would have some great ideas, and I was not disappointed! Meredith shared about how she uses “safe social media” with her students with a class SnapChat and Instagram. She talked about her classroom management system (incentive tickets which can be earned for TL use and good behavior and cashed in for different rewards) as well as her themed warm ups. She also shared links (you can find them at the end of their slide show) to many of her own classroom resources and other presentations she has done.
    2. One thing to try: I want to use Keith’s white elephant the first week of Spanish 2 next year, and I will ask my administrator about starting a class Instagram account.
  6. Session F: That was me! I had a blast presenting about Low prep strategies for increasing student engagement and TL use!
    1. My slides are linked on the previous post.
    2. One thing to try: In discussing running dictation, I shared that as a follow up activity I post pictures on the board for students to match to the sentences they write down. One of my attendees suggested having students draw the pictures to demonstrate comprehension and save me the prep time of preparing pictures in advance! Genius!
  7. Session G: Detoxing from the Textbook/Keith Toda/click here for their slides
    1. Keith talked about taking a textbook curriculum and comprehensifying-it. He showed an example of a pretty standard and stilted textbook dialogue, and showed how he teaches those structures with compelling & caring comprehensible input. Before showing the dialogue (the “end goal”) he teaches a pre-view story with lots of different reps. By the time they get to the dialogue, it feels easy and is 100% comprehensible
    2. One thing to try: Read things in silly voices to keep the repetitions interesting! Keith had volunteers read the dialogue like a pirate, like a telenovela, and like you’re underwater. It was hilarious and engaging.
  8. Session H: CI Assessments/Miriam Patrick
    1. Miriam teaches Latin with comprehensible input and shared how she creates assessments for her students  that are compelling, caring, and comprehensible.
    2. One thing to try: ask inference questions about a text and have students justify their answers with textual evidence.
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About Andrea

I am a teacher, dancer, and Spanish-speaker. This is my place to organize & share my thoughts on teaching, foreign language & language learning.
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3 Responses to What I learned at FLAG

  1. Lilian says:

    What is the name of the Facebook group?

    • Andrea says:

      Hey Lilian, it is linked above. It is called “Juegos. actividades y videos para la clase de español.” I sent you an email with the stamp sheets you asked for – let me know if you didn’t get it.

  2. I want to play the white elephant game… I have to think of a way to do this in science!

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