Sunday, November 22, 2015

LIVE! from ACTFL-3

"If it's not good and not working...I have to ask myself Why am I still teaching it?"
            Thank you, Laura Terrill.

Today was inspiring and empowering.  For starters, ACTFL has launched its Global Engagement Initiative this year that seeks to recognize programs that engage students of all ages globally.  I am proud that my program was honored today for our middle school trip to Costa Rica, but you don't have to travel with your students to get them globally engaged-nor is this a competition-any program that meets ACTFL's requirements can be recognized.  Today's session was inspiring-there were recipients that are engaging in exchanges with other schools, doing service trips, creating communities on their campuses and connecting older students with real life job experiences in which they use their target language.  Visit the Global Engagement Initiative website to read about the programs recognized this year and to nominate your own program!  If you're looking to build a globally connected program, Ben Rifkin of ACTFL suggests using the rubric to get some ideas on getting started.

The afternoon was spent being challenged, and empowered by Laura Terrill and Donna Clementi. (Their book "The Keys for Planning for Learning" is my bible of unit writing and lesson planning)
My takeaways:
  • If it doesn't work, toss it.
  • Don't be held captive by your textbook(in fact, maybe toss it-I've done it, it's great!)
  • Material has to be engaging and interesting to students-use photos of real people with real emotions.
  • Literacy is so so much more than reading(Do your students know how to use Google responsibly?)
Finally, the evening was spent with dear colleagues at a reception for the National Network of Early Language Learning-great to connect with true believers!

There are so many opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers here at ACTFL-if you can, come. So many of us may work in isolation...but we're not alone.

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