This is late considering that Central States was two weeks ago, but upon returning to Wisconsin from Ohio, I had two extra kids at home (step kids came to visit), a birthday party to have, and master’s homework. It was a little overwhelming.
I was so lucky this CSCTFL. I was not only able to work the TPRS Publishing booth with amazing people, I also roomed with three AWESOME ladies. I would have been happy to have just those two things, but I was able to attend some pretty great sessions.
One of my biggest takeaways from #CSCTFL16 was from Linda Egnatz’s session, Coaching For Performance: Moving Students from Novice to Intermediate. She started her session by asking, “How are coaches different from teachers?” She discussed how there are so many factors that go into creating great athletes and that maybe teachers should follow suit.
One thing that I will be trying after Spring Break is her idea for seating charts. She changes her students’ seats every month based on different student interests such as what students want to do in the future or students’ favorite subjects. Seating charts are always so torturous for me so I like this idea and although it is late in the year, it is just another way to get to know my students even better.
Another strategy that was discussed was doing the most important thing when the students are at their peek of energy: at the beginning of class. She said, “We need to capture their minds when they come in fresh”. Everyday since then, I have been trying to vary how we start class because I don’t want to loose them.
What stuck with me most from her session was how she teaches about TWO sub levels above where her students will be assessed. This is just one way she pushes students for more. She also puts up transition word walls in different colors based on level in addition to doubling amount of lines so students feel compelled to write more, and finally varying question types based on level.
Favorite quote from Linda: “ A tree can lose their leaves and still live- students can communicate without accuracy and still be understood”
Another big takeaway for me from CSCTFL was from Krista Kovalchick‘s and Cynthia Hitz’s session Breathe LIFE into Reading to Increase Student Engagement and Comprehension. In their session, they gave 16 different activities or apps to do in order to get students to read more. Some of the apps that I hope to use in the future are Photocard, Educreations, and Nearpod. We will be reading Vida y Muerte by TPRS publishing soon so I hope to incorporate at least one of them. I am thinking Photocard with the main character sending a post card to someone or to the grandma.
I also may do the Copier Activity. Although accuracy isn’t always the focus, writing practice that focuses on the details is important. I also like the idea that students cannot reuse verbs. It gets back to the point of pushing students to add more or thinking outside the box.
Two years ago in Minnesota, I attended Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell’s circumlocution session called Arming Students with Incomprehensible Input. I love using circumlocution with my students that I attended her session again this year. She mentioned that the session would be different now that she is back in the classroom. She started the session by taking a poll on what we call a beverage that is carbonated. I call is Soda, but the point was, was that people from the same country or general area may call it something else.
The main point that she made was that the majority of problems in a language is not grammar, its VOCABULARY. Sara-Elizabeth continued by describing how circumlocution works with both novices and intermediates. Before the session, I didn’t think about directly teaching circumlocution with my intermediates although I have done activities where they have used circumlocution.
One specific idea that I hope to use is the movie still. This is where you pick a scene from a short film or movie and students have to circumlocute on the spot with that they see. My goal is to use circumlocution a lot more with my novices AND intermediates.
Favorite quote from Sara-Elizabeth: “Maybe we need to say Spanish-speaking cultures not Spanish speaking countries”.
The first session that I attended was Amy Lenord’s Liberation from the List. This was a great session with which to start my morning and conference. One main point from the session was that people learn languages through situations. Students will find interest in words based on who they are and what their purpose is. A question and concern that people have when moving away from the list is, “ How do I ensure that all students learn the same words?” Amy Lenord gave five steps: 1) release the need to control (A HARD ONE FOR ME), 2) create a sense of need, 3) draw their attention, 4) plan for processing, and 5) train them to make meaning.
Not that I am rushing to start a new year already, but I am excited to look over my curriculum and use these five recommendations to create a more meaningful need for vocabulary WITHOUT a list. The step that stood out to me the most was the plan for processing. I teach a lot of novices and I have to remember that I have to provide opportunities for my students to interact with and consider the input again in different ways in addition to have my novices EXPLAIN; we need to have novices explain.
Favorite quote from Amy: When we ask students justify (why/ how) think about TONE. What point of view do we want?
I think I could continue writing because I have so much to talk about, but I don’t want to keep anyone here overnight.