Friday, November 29, 2013

ACTFL13 Saturday Sessions

As promised, here are my reflections on the Saturday sessions. Sadly, I had so much fun hanging out with Garnet Hillman and Laura Sexton on Friday, that I did not get to the early session. (I also was up late tweaking my presentation, because as you know, I am a control freak!)

Tech Tools and PLN

So, I confess, I don't even know the exact name of Joe Dale's session. I was so excited to,get to be in one of his sessions personally, that somehow I missed it. He is a total rock star of tech in the WL classroom, and his presentation, although a little overwhelming, left me with tons of new resources to check out, new ways to expand my PLN, and even some factual justification for tech in the WL classroom. If you ever get a chance to see him, don't miss it. Until then, the link to his presentation is here.

So, with so much great information and great tech  tools, here are the ones that totally resonated with me.

  • SAMR and TPAC - I had heard of SAMR before, but TPAC was totally new. Basically these two acronyms are the justification of using tech, not just for tech sake in the classroom. There are some catchy videos (linked in Joe's presentation) that explain it far better than I could When I did my own Google search, I found many more. The best part of these were that they helped teachers really think about the tech that they are bringing into their classroom while helping them justify the need to administrators.
  • Apps for multiple intelligences - Never before had I seen such a fantastic breakdown of iPad apps. These are a great way to open up the conversations with students about how they learn best, and finding tools that appeal to them. Also check out Kathy Schrock's take on Blooms with apps here. Just an amazing resource, especially if you are lucky enough to have a classroom with iPads.
  • Quad Blogging - As someone who is on the lookout for more real world authentic conversations and audiences for my students, this one got me really excited. You sign up to be matched with three other classrooms that are blogging. Then, there is a four week cycle of blogging. Each class blogs one week, and then reads and responds the other three weeks to the other students in the other classrooms. I am thinking that this might be a great way to incorporate that audience that I need for my PBL projects on the TL. 
  • Boxoftricks.net - so, you are looking for some new tech tools to use in your classroom? Look no further. This site is full of tested websites for classroom application.
  • #mfltwitterati - I consider myself fairly savvy about the chats that happen on Twitter for World Language, and what hashtags to follow, but I was completely in the dark about this one. I think I had seen it, but had no idea what it meant. This hashtag is used by WL teachers in the UK, and really around the world to share ideas, find other teachers with common interests, and just basically support each other. Joe wrote a great article about it for The Guardian. Start searching for it to see what is going on, and when you are sharing something awesome, so it globally with this hashtag. (If you are not on Twitter yet, you really need to be! It is where all the "cool" kids are!)
Yes, this is only the very tip of the iceberg of Joe's presentation, so you really should check it out for yourself. If you have questions, he is very responsive on Twitter @JoeDale. 

Digital Storytelling

This was a session that was not quite what I had expected. There were quite a few samples of student projects given, but in Chinese and French, so I was unable to get as much as I would have liked to. However, I did come away with one great project idea. Students should create a photo story of a day in their life in the target language. This is a great idea and I can see how it can be easily adapted to any level. It also provided students with the freedom in assignments that I really like (and the students like) so that students can feel free to really use their interests to learn the target language. 

The suggestion was made at this session to really have students check in with teachers prior to the completion of the final project. I would agree, and think that students should turn in the script for the presentation prior to putting it all together to help ensure students are staying in track. 

One of the things I like most about this project is that there isn't a ton of tech required for it. Students can create a simple Power Point, or they can use some of the more complex tools available.this way students can't use a lack of tech knowledge as an excuse for not turning in a quality project. I think it would also be a great project to use as an introduction to a student in another class..wherever that might be.

Let's Build a City

This session was recommended to me, and I am so glad I attended it. This session described a project where students create a city as a class. In my Spanish II class, I had students create a house and then we created a town map together, but I love the idea of an actual 3D city even more.

Students learn about the layout of cities in the TL country and then make a plan for a city with each student creating a building from a shoe box. It gives students the opportunity to really look at a city and to think about why cities are laid out the way they are. For example, in French cities, the cathedral is the center of the city, and in most European cities, streets are not in NS and EW rows, but at differing angles. Unlike the project I did where students created an American town, this project encourages them to learn about the culture of another city and then apply their knowledge in the project.

Students are given a list of possible buildings to choose from, and the presenters had students in multiple classes create one large city. Once the city is created, they can then do activities together to practice commands, directions and vocabulary in a more "real" setting. The suggestion was made that students can practice with a car on the end of a yardstick, or put the buildings on tables in rows so that it was easier for the students to work with the city without turning into Godzilla and squashing the city.

The presenters also use QR codes which linked to audio files in which oral directions were recorded so that students could work on their listening skills and figure out starting and end points of directions. The teachers also provided some written exercises that were similar to the oral so that students could do some practice on their own first. It is a great project, and one that works really well in the flip for students to work collaboratively and teachers can be available for questions and assessments. I love projects that are student led!

They kept a chart where students would mark off when they had completed activities, such as the listening practice, reading practice, building creation. They also created some "extra" activities for students that completed early, such as creating a town Monopoly, town t-shirts, etc.I can't wait to implement this next year.

Flipped for Fluency

My presentation was on Saturday as well. It was wonderful to see so many people interested in the session. It was packed with people in the aisles, along the walls and crowded in the back. It was fun to present to such a great audience, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas, or just to chat. If you missed it, there is a link in the Upcoming Presentations tab under ACTFL.

Final Thoughts

So many good sessions were at ACTFL, but my favorite part is always the collaboration and sharing of ideas that happens between sessions. I wish there was some way to increase that type of collaboration, and it is something I am thinking about for our state Spring Conference at CCFLT.

Getting to meet so many people that have been reading my blog, attending my webinars, or interacting with me on Twitter was so wonderful. I want to thank everyone again for making the effort to connect with me, and those that I had the chance to have some good chats with.

I am thinking about doing some Google Hangouts to discuss the flipped class or any other WL class topics in the new year. If you are interested, please let me know. In the meantime, I will hopefully see everyone at the #fliplang chat on Wednesday, December 18th at 8pm EST.