Whew! NYC did not make it easy for me to get in and out of via plane this weekend. I had two delayed flights, but luckily they were direct. I also got to meet some awesome FL teachers, see some familiar faces and spend time with my family and one of my best friends from studying abroad. I had not attended a regional conference before, and it was really manageable, and I learned a lot. I highly recommend this conference! Also, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who stopped by my table at the techlab! I was so nervous at first at the thought of having 10 minutes, and I am not sure I took a breath during the first two sessions. The other ones were better, so I appreciate your patience with me.
Without further babbling, here are some of my favorite ideas and links from NECTFL day one!
- I started out learning about how to integrate more interpersonal communication with Glennysha Jorado-Moran and Sylvia Guensch. One thing that they said that really resonated me was how accepting we are of how toddlers talk, but we expect much more accuracy from our students when they are really learning in some of the same ways as first language learners. This really cemented to me a lot of my feelings about proficiency development. They also emphasized how to constantly recycle the question words because many times communication fails when students do not understand these words. Finally, a tweeter mentioned the charades app to help with circumlocution in addition to the heads up app and to practice interpersonal skills.
- The next session had teachers from the Penn Charter School who made the switch from traditional textbook teaching to a proficiency based curriculum. The presenters were David Brightbill and Sarah Aguilar-Francis. They talked about the process when they switched from proficiency. One of the things that they mentioned was how much we expect from level one when teachers switch from traditional grammar based tests to proficiency based tests. In this case, I think they mean that we can expect students to get 100% when we teach traditionally. They can conjugate/memorize all of the correct verbs or vocabulary. However, we cannot expect this knowledge to transfer when we switch to proficiency. Just because a student can fill out a verb conjugation chart doesn’t mean that they will always write perfectly or speak perfectly. To me, this is really important for teachers to realize. Finally, one of the awesome authentic resources they mentioned for the Spanish house unit is segundamano.
- My last session of the day was about how to prevent students from relying on online translators by Amanda Robustelli-Price. There were a lot of good ideas that I had not thought of initially. One idea is to allow students to use Word Reference and give them a specific number of words that they can look up before an assignment. I really like that this takes away the ambiguity from an assignment. As a teacher, I can see students who use online translators excessively; however, students may not see that or realize that they are relying on a translator while their neighbor is only looking up 3-4 words per section. When I make my expectations clearer, I can help my students improve. I also like the idea of a pre-writing strategy called list group label. Finally, many people (including the presenter!) noted that they will provide key words that you want students to use on a writing practice. This is such an easy and obvious scaffold, but I didn’t think of it. Yes, they have Quizlet or their vocabulary lists, but many times they will ignore Quizlet and use their go to reference… the online translator! This will help them not automatically reference the translator.
Here is a picture from my session of presenting!