Sunday, February 24, 2013

My favorite Saturday sessions at CCFLT

The last day of the conference had some fantastic sessions, but two stood out as my favorites. First was The Essential Question presented by Yo Azama. This session followed his great keynote, and was packed. (As a side note, when I first read the title of this session, all I could think about was Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.) this session was a great follow up to e session on mode assessments from Friday. When I create my thematic units, I have "essential questions" done, but I realized that I need to expand those questions for each of the different modes. He showed some wonderful examples of projects that he has done in his class with the assignment sheet outlining the summation and formative assessments for a unit. I am going to work on recreating the template for these assessments and one that is completed with an assessment. (Look for them soon in the Helpful Docs tab.)

The summative assessment that he outlined was for his technology/inventions unit. For the summative assessment, students create a new product that could be sold in Japan and the US and create a commercial for their product. For the interpretive, they need to explore Japanese and American products and commercials - demonstrate an understanding of the gist. The interpersonal summarize assessment was for the students to email product ideas to gather market research. The presentational was presenting their market research and their commercial. Lucky for me, this is the last unit I do in level three, so I think I will be "stealing" this idea!  **Check out my recreation of this doc in the Helpful Documents Tab)

Again, Yo is a great presenter, and is someone I would love to have a long chat with about how his class runs. I found the video samples that he showed impressive as well. Guess that is is why he is ACTFL's Teacher of the Year!

My other favorite session of the day was the last session of the day, and I was glad that the snow held off so I didn't miss it. "Three vocab strategies that change how kids communicate" was presented by Mira Canion and Ya-Wen Chang. Now anyone who has been to a language conference in Colorado has probably seen Mira. She has given fantastic presentations about getting kids reading, and I was so happy to see that she was presenting something new this year as well. The presentation centered on how we need to be teaching vocabulary, which even though is the crux of any language, there is so little time devoted to this topic. To demonstrate the technique, Ya-Wen taught us some Chinese (with some help from her friends). They presented words and sentences on the screen with pictures to illustrate what they were teaching. They also used props, like a basketball, chocolate, and a hamburger as well as exaggerated gesturing to convey meaning. They taught us some simple Chinese words and phrases, which I was pleased to realize that I still remembered today. They reminded me that the focus needs to be on healing students acquire the vocabulary, and it was our job to present it in a manner which would interest them and had them using the words right away so they could start adding them to their working vocabulary. After doing a basic presentation of new words and phrases, they suggested that we use them (orally) in a story as well since the brain is wired to remember words in a story.

I am ashamed to admit it, but after participating in this session, I realized what a disservice I am doing to my students. I have thought about new and different ways to introduce vocabulary, but it has never been something that I truly focused on. I had talked about playing games, having discussions, and other ideas for introducing vocabulary, but I haven't followed through. So, thank you, thank you, thank you ladies for making me realizing that I need to get with it and make this a TOP priority.