Friday, July 8, 2016

Possibly my shortest post (for a reason)!

I think I'm on a roll today, and I'm so excited to share some more ideas this evening (fingers crossed if I can make a Starbucks run). To abide by the acronym "KISS" (Keep it Simple...Silly) best this year for my sanity,health,and happiness, what better way than to revamp my philosophy as well, right? So, here it is! I feel that this philosophy pertains to all age groups and types of learners regardless of content or context!
Yep, that's right! My teaching philosophy as an educator is a Chinese proverb! Why recreate the wheel if it's already so simplistically yet well put? Speaking of this proverb, it appears my toddler's nap (and mommy's free time) is over, so perhaps I can put this into practice now with the current explosion of toys in the living room and some hands on experience for her? Happy weekend! Come back soon! P.S. Methodology should always be the foundation for using new technologies (use it with a purpose), but if you like the cutesy graphic above with my philosophy, you must check out CANVA.

Level 1 Content: Refreshed and (Culturally) Relevant!

Have you always felt uninspired by your first unit as a Level 1 Spanish teacher? Fear no more! Check out the Creative Language Class' recent Birthday Unit 1 blog post here! I've been inspired to use this to start the year! Of course, I feel like to comply with my district & to be somewhat aligned to my colleagues I had to also glance at our required textbook to ensure that "I'm doing what I'm supposed to do" (nobody has actually ever said that though verbatim, so let freedom ring!) Of course, after glancing at the textbook, wouldn't you know that my vocab and grammar structure list grew exponentially from the Creative Language Class' more brain appropriate expectations? On a related note...I'm finishing up a great book right now, "Using Reading to Teach a World Language" by Donna Spangler and John Alex Mazzante & besides arming me with more confidence as I tackle reading in the WL classroom (Yes, even for novices, folks! I know we're all at different parts of our teaching journey, but if you're a teacher of novices and don't have your kids reading yet...I HIGHLY recommend this book! Spangler and Mazzante remind us that "...reading is one of the best ways to incorporate target language input into a world language classroom" and Krashen himself shares (if you don't know who Krashen is either, I recommend you read his works too this summer!) that reading "is the way to achieve advanced second language proficiency." Substantial research supports this! So, where am I going with this? And why did I jump from mentioning my lengthy vocab list to reading? Words cannot be learned in isolation. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, is not effective. In fact, it is a waste of your time & as fun as you make your class, at the end of the day, your students will not become as proficient as possible. Although I'm not sure if there's research yet to back this (please cite if so!), I'd go insofar as to say that they're not as engaged, curious, and invested as possible either. So, here's what I am getting at. We must make lemonade out of lemons. As an educator, I must take what research is telling me, and try my best to create stories this summer with this unit's vocab and infuse great authentic resources as well to provide repeated exposure and to incite curiosity and interest in my students. I LOVE that the Creative Language Class has posted this & I cannot thank them enough! Megan and Kara (of Creative Language Class) also remind us that finding #authres is so much easier when our unit is culturally relevant too! So, here's off to a great start to the school year! If you use the TPRS method, incorporate reading in the WL classroom, and teach culturally relevant themes with #authres (and especially if you're additionally tied to a Level 1 textbook--make that lemonade!), please share your ideas for making the textbook's units/ideas refreshed and relevant! Maybe you have to shut your door & not mention that you're going out of "order" from the required textbook within your district if they don't yet realize it is only a tool (if this is the case, I commend you for your resilience and strength), and I encourage you to take that risk for your students' happiness and success and yours! I hope to see some great ideas & share some of my own as I strategically pick through the content in the forthcoming weeks! Here's to a great 2016-2017 SY!
Note: PLEASE don't just go off of this Vocab/Grammar Structure list above. This is only a rough draft add on (due to my textbook constraints) to the Creative Language Class' AWESOME post! When planning a unit, first focus on creating your communication standards and cultural relevance. But, they have already been gracious enough to share their hard work with this first and most essential part. Again, check out their "I can" communication goals and inclusion of community, connections, and comparisons (ummm... LOVE the community ideas!!!!) for this unit here. Even with a textbook and different philosophies/understandings, where there's a will, there's a way! I hope to soon post & share my specific story ideas with this content and party theme, but if you think of any of your own before I share mine, please share! ¡Gracias! Also, don't forget to buy this book! You'll love this quick, easy read & it just may transform your teaching next year!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My first post and a dedication

I'm very excited to start my journey of archiving great ideas,articles,relevant research as it relates to developing my students as language acquirers and the best, whole person they desire to be! This is only my second year teaching Spanish, but I'm constantly striving to incorporate the practices that substantial research supports. Popular tags you can expect to see from me include the following: Reading, TPRS, Comprehensible Input, ACTFL, Target Language, Educational Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, IPAs, Proficiency, Intercultural Competence, Service Learning, PBL, SBG, Travel, Community, Technology, and Metacognition. This year I'm looking forward to incorporating better reading practices and effectively utilizing Web 2.0 to allow my students to connect, investigate, and grow with authenticity. I'm also hoping to find some closure with assessments (more on that to come) while striking a perfect balance with boosting students' morale with a new language and lowering their affective filters despite teaching in the target language. I'd like to graciously dedicate this blog to two influential educators in my life-- Jen "HT" and Jill Woerner. I don't know where I'd be without your guidance, selflessness, and expertise. Finally, I'd not be anywhere in life without my little ray of sunshine toddler! She marches to the beat of her own drum & I'm a proud momma!