The conference is off and running. My presentation went very well last night. It was surprising easy to talk for almost 2 hours! I had many attendees come and tell me how much they liked it and were thinking about trying the flip...from all levels! I am excited to continue to make contacts and keep learning.
This morning, I attended a awesome session about Google Earth. I have always been fascinated with Google Earth and although I have played with it quite a bit, I struggled to really make it work for me. However, this session has inspired me to go back and revisit Google Earth. There is so much value in being able to get down to the street level in a country and look at the shops, people, streets, etc. The presenters had suggested using Google Earth prior to taking students abroad so that students could have a chance to see routes and landmarks prior to arriving. Since I am leading the trip to Costa Rica next Spring, I am curious about what this will look like for that trip. There were some other great suggestions for using Google Earth, such as a scavenger hunt, having students go to a landmark and then look around to find things of interest to them.
However, by far was the idea to use Google Earth as a springboard for conversation in the upper level (4/AP). For this, the students choose a country, city and then neighborhood. Then they choose an apartment building. The students create characters that live in the building. (I could see this as maybe some students are neighbors??) Then, students can use Google Earth in conjunction with their characters to discuss their character's lives. For example, one of the characters can work at the market which is two blocks away. They can discuss the specials. (You can see so e of the posters and prices from the window.) they can discuss which neighborhood restaurant to eat at, where to go on their day off, etc. I can see this as something that could work really well as an ongoing assignment in my conversation class. My only concern would be the bandwidth issues we sometimes have at school.
This application can be used for so much more than to find the places that a discussed it the books that we read. I am excited to explore the possibilities and hopefully figure out Google Earth once and for all. I hear there is even YouTube video that explains it! ;)
I attended another great session today that was my second choice, but I am so glad that it is where I ended up! This session discussed different ways to assess the different modes from ACTFL. (Actually I attended two sessions on this which were similar but different and will put them together.) There is this wonderful book from ACTFL which apparently I missed out on the conference last year which is full of ideas, rubrics, and some advice. It is called The Keys and I have linked it for you so you can check it out. So, the session focused on Interpretive, Interpersonal and Presentational assessments. Now, of course I work on all three of these in my classes, but as I now see, I wasn't doing it quite right....especially the Interpretive. However, from the discussions I had afterwards, I don't think I was alone.
The interpretive assessments, even at the higher levels are often completed in ENGLISH! I was a little surprised by this, but the more I think about it, the more it doesn't make sense to me. One of the things my students have struggled with this year is reading. One of the difficult parts for me has been to determine if a student really is understanding the material, or if they are use searching the text to answer questions. (Just talking about comprehension now, not higher level thinking). So yes, I do have some conversation with the students in English to help with their comprehension, but assessing in English? I am going to have to think about that.
There were other great ideas for Interpersonal assessment. For an art unit, the teacher had students do self portraits in finger paint. Then she hung them in the classroom in pairs, and students had conversations discussing the "works of art". They used art vocab, comparisons, discussed what they liked and didn't like about each. I was excited about this because I am just starting an Art unit in 4. There was also a good idea for preterite/imperfect practice as well. Have students research a famous person from Spain (or wherever) and then have the compare their childhood to the person.
Now, to finish my great day, I will celebrate with a margarita with some of my favorite language teachers.....it is National Margarita Day after all. ;)