Tag Archives: ACTFL Core Practices

78: Seeing, Hearing & Tasting Culture with Allison Perryman


What is culture and how do you engage your students in cultural topics?  In this episode, we are looking at culture, but with a lens of seeing, hearing and tasting so that culture comes alive for students in the classroom.  Allison Perryman, a Spanish teacher in Virginia, joins me to talk us through how she uses the senses to engage students in the diversity of target language cultures. We also talk about why it is beneficial to honor our students’ individual lived experiences as they approach their language and culture learning.

Topics in this Episode:

  • what culture is and how culture can be an entry point for student engagement
  • why it is necessary, and ultimately incredibly beneficial, to talk about diversity in the language classroom and how can we use this as an opportunity to affirm students
  • formats for presenting and engaging students in diverse cultural experiences
  • Allison’s approach of seeing, tasting and hearing diverse cultures with students

Connect with Allison Perryman:

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

77: Reflective Practice for Language Teachers


How often do we stop to reflect on our teaching?  Hopefully we take the time and opportunity to do it regularly so that we are teaching our students as effectively as possible.  In this episode I’m going to talk about reflective practice and how we can use this as language teachers.  I’ll also include a discussion of success criteria and how this can work into our reflective practice.  I know, this all sounds way up there in the theory world.  I promise you it’s not and that it’s fairly simple.

Topics in this Episode:

  • Reflection can help you to be more creative and try new things. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and it can be helpful to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. This can help to spark new ideas and ways of thinking.
  • Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: Theory and Practice, Moon, J. (1999)
  • Reflective Practice for Language Teachers:
    1. Teach
    2. Assess the effect your teaching has on learning
    3. Consider what can improve the quality of teaching and learning
    4. Try the new ideas
    5. Reflect on effectiveness 
    6. Repeat
  • The Success Criteria Playbook John T. Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Kateri Thunder, Nancy Frey (2021)
  • Tim Eagan on Episode 60: Leading a Proficiency Focused Language Department
  • Success Criteria:
    • What will be learned?
    • Why is it going to be learned?
    • How will I know that it has been learned?
    • What will I do with what I learned?

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Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language

I’ve been workshopping how to make logic puzzles so that I can engage students in various vocabulary topics and language structures.  This is yet another way to provide students with opportunities to see and use language in context.  These logic puzzles also require a bit of critical thinking skills as they follow the logic and figure out the answers.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

I spent some time coming up with the “equations” and templates so that I can just add in the topic vocabulary and write the clue sentences.  I decided to create 4 versions that increase in challenge level.

You can download your own templates and get to work creating your own logic puzzles for your students. The link below will make a copy of the Google Slide™ temples in your Google Drive™.  Just follow the equations for the clues and you will soon have logic puzzles using the specific content that pertains to your students.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

How does it work?

  • There are 4 versions of the logic puzzles for increased challenge. The directions are in English, but can be easily changed to any language.
  • Begin by filling in the boxes in the top row and the column on the left. This can be names of people, pictures, anything.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

  • Use the data “equations” to write sentences that lead students to follow the logic and figure out the answers. “=“ means a positive statement and “≠” means a negative statement.
    • 1. C ≠ 2
    • 2. B ≠ 4
    • 3. A = 2
    • 4. D ≠ 3
    • 5. C = 1
  • Using the example above:
    • 1. C ≠ 2 :  Mateo does not have a tablet.
    • 2. B ≠ 4 : Lucía doesn’t have a computer.
    • 3. A = 2 : Laura has a tablet.
    • 4. D ≠ 3 : Julia doesn’t have a pencil.
    • 5. C = 1 : Mateo has a notebook.
  • The checkmarks are there to make sure you are following the equations. When finished, be sure to delete the checkmarks and the letters/numbers above and to the left of the grid.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

  • The last thing to do is to add question below where the students will find the answers in the grid.

Have fun with these and let us all know what you come up with.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

76: Interpersonal Activities with Meredith White


Are you getting the most out of the interpersonal activities that you use in your classroom?   In this episode, THE Meredith White, a Spanish teacher in Georgia, joins me with lots of ideas for interpersonal activities that you can use right away in your classroom.  So many of my guests have mentioned Meredith White and the activities that she shares. I had to get right to the source …So let’s jump in. 

Topics in this episode:

  • Meredith’s  personal journey with interpersonal activities
  • feedback from Thomas Sauer : “But what’s the point?”
  • what makes an activity communicative and what about those partner activities that appear to be interactive and interpersonal, but might not be
  • how prescribed (curriculum) grammar and vocabulary come into play with communicative activities?
  • effective interpersonal (and communicative) activities that we can use in our classrooms

Connect with Meredith White:

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

75: What’s to Come in 2023?


In this episode I want to give you a preview of what is coming up this winter and spring on the World Language Classroom Podcast.  The themes I will personally cover as well as the guests and topics that I have lined up to share with all of you. I am incredibly honored and appreciate each and every guest’s willingness to share with me and the World Language Classroom Podcast community.  Can’t wait to tell you about everything coming up.

Links mentioned in this episode

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

74: State Language Associations with Jenny Delfini and Mike Mitchell


Are you a member of your state language association?  Do you know what might be available to language teachers in your state? In this episode, Jenny-Lynn Delfini and Mike Mitchell highlight the work of state associations for language teachers.  Jenny was the 2022 president and Mike is the executive director of NYSAFLT, the New York State Association of Language Teachers. If you’re not a member of your state language association, you will surely want to be after this discussion.

Topics in this episode:

  • Jenny and Mike’s journey and history with NYSAFT, from first-year teachers joining as members for the first time to becoming part of the leadership
  • what they Jenny and Mike have gained as members of their state language association
  • resources that state language associations provide to members
  • how members can get involved
  • why every language teacher should be connected to the in their state language association

Connect with Jenny-Lynn Delfini, Mike Mitchell and NYSAFLT

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic

I came across an activity on theteachertoolkit.com called Nothing Ventured.  The wheels started turning right away as I thought of the ways that it could be used in a language classroom.  There are lot of useful ideas on the Teacher Toolkit website, but they are not specific to language teaching.  No fear.  I got you covered.Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

I got to work creating a template to use with my students in the target language.  I also put together templates in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian.  You can download them all here and it also includes the directions for the doing the activity in your classroom.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

I chose the title The Die Decides for my take on this activity.  I’m always looking for ways to incorporate different materials and that little die can be used for so much.  I’m happy to have yet another way to put it to use.

The Die Decides is an interactive activity that can be used for almost any topic in your language class, such as:

  • practicing vocabulary themes
  • practicing language structures
  • assessing understanding after reading or listening
  • reviewing before an assessment

The teacher creates the questions based on the topic being covered.

How the activity works

  • Individual students, pairs or small groups each need a six-sided die and a “The Die Decides” sheet.
  • Players (individual, pair or group) roll the die before each question is presented either verbally or in writing. They record the number rolled in the “Die” column of their sheet.
  • The teacher says or shows a question (perhaps projected). Students discuss, if in pairs or groups, and write their answer in the “Answer” column of their sheet.
  • The teacher says or shows the correct answer to the question. It can also be part of the projection slides or simply written on the board. Students check their answer and determine whether they were correct or incorrect. The teacher should be vigilant to make sure answer are not altered.
  • If the answer is correct, players get the points that they rolled prior to the question being asked. If they are incorrect, they lose those points.
  • Students then update their total as they continue on with each question.
  • The player (individual, pair or group) with the most points after all the questions have been asked wins the game.

Students enjoy this activity and use so much language as they discuss possible answers, listen to and read questions and react to their points changing as they progress through the game.  Remember that you can download templates in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

73: Common Ground Redux and a Reminder


Have you read Common Ground yet?  This book by Florencia Henshaw and Maris Hawkins has been widely used by many educators in the language teacher community.  This week’s episode is a rebroadcast of my first episode in the series that I devoted to the book in October. I’m sharing it again with the reminder that you have a few weeks left (end of December 2022) to get your own copy of Common Ground with a 25% discount through the link to Hackett Publishing in the show notes.  Listen for the first time, or listen again for inspiration form this incredibly useful publication from Florencia Henshaw and Maris Hawkins.

Topics in the episode:

  • Why this book? Why now? 
  • Why I’m a fan of Florencia Henshaw and Maris Hawkins.  
  • How the book is set up.
  • What to look for in the upcoming episodes devoted to Common Ground.
  • Making the discussion interactive on Twitter with Joshua (@wlcalssoom), Florencia Henshaw (@Prof_F_Henshaw) and Maris Hawkins (@Marishawkins).

Get your own copy of Common Ground.  Hackett Publishing has generously offered a 25% discount when you use the code WLC2022. [Available through December 31, 2022].

**The 25% off discount code can be used for any book through the end of December, 2022.  Hackett publishes several intermediate language-learning textbooks in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, and Classical Greek. New releases include Cinema for French Conversation, Cinema for Spanish Conversation, and Les Français.

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Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom. Join me on the podcast.  We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

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72: What Does it Mean to “Teach” a Language?


What does it mean to “teach” a language? In this episode I look at this question, particularly considering the shifts in language teaching and learning over the past 10 years or so. My approach to this question is grounded in a quote from Larson-Freeman and Long that a professor shared with me in graduate school. It continues to guide my approach to teaching.

“[It is not] because some plants will grow in a desert, [that] watering the ones in your garden is a waste of time. In fact, of course, while the desert may provide the minimum conditions for a plant to grow, watering it may help it grow faster, bigger, and stronger, that is to realize its full potential.”    [Diane Larsen-Freeman, Michael H. Long; An Introduction to Second Language Acquisition Research (1990)]

Links mentioned in this episode

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

 

71: Supporting Students in Leveling Up Their Language


In this episode I’m taking on the question of leveling up.  We often talk about proficiency levels and the output that goes along with each level.  We’ll take a look at some concrete examples of language produced at each level and I’ll share some suggestions for how we can support students in leveling up their language.

Topics in This Episode:

  • The ACTFL Proficiency Levels (Interpersonal)
  • Novice Low/Mid/High: single words, chunks, chunked phrases.
  • Intermediate Low/Mid/High: discrete sentences, strings of sentences, moving toward paragraphs
  • Advanced Low/Mid/High: paragraphs, multiple paragraphs
  • Concrete examples of the language that students produce at each level and sub level and what can they do to move up a level or sub level.

Links mentioned in this episode

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

Follow wherever you listen to podcasts.

Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.