Monday, October 27, 2014

Arlington teachers well represented at MaFLA Conference!

There was lots of excitement of this past weekend at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Fall Conference, where I had the honor of serving as Conference Chair. There was a strong attendance from Arlington world language teachers!

Here are some highlights:
  • Three Arlington teachers presented 75-minute sessions, demonstrating their leadership and engagement in professional development:
    • Abbi Holt presented a session entitled, “Activate the Latin Fandom!” She shared how to connect Latin teaching to popular fantasy tropes such as Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes, and included a demonstration of the Gladiator Cardboard Wars assessment she developed last year at Ottoson. Attendees were completely intrigued and I’m sure we’ll see this assessment being used in other schools in no time!
    • Katia Haberman presented a session called, “Peru: Empire of Hidden Treasures.” Katia has become a regular MaFLA presenter in the short time she’s been teaching, having been asked to present at a MaFLA spring event, as well as at the MaFLA Summer Institute. Her enthusiasm and engaging style work as well with adults as it does with her students… the room was packed! 
    • Na Lu-Hogan presented a session for Mandarin teachers, “Integrate Engaging Activities to Advance Mandarin Chinese Proficiency.” Sharing many of the creative, student-centered activities she’s developed since she’s joined Arlington Public Schools, Luna’s presentation was so good that a few teachers came running up to me afterwards asking where they could buy some of the resources she had shown them. 
Abbi Holt presenting, "Activate the Latin Fandom!"
Katia Haberman presenting, "Peru: Empire of Hidden Treasures"
Na Lu-Hogan presenting, "Integrate Engaging Activities to Advance Mandarin Chinese Proficiency"
  • AHS teachers Véronique Lahey, Emmy Osterling, and Ed Foley, and Ottoson teacher Paula Nicholas, attended a 6-hour workshop on Thursday by national world language expert, Chantal Thompson, on proficiency development. Our department goal this year is to better understand the world language proficiency levels, set appropriate proficiency targets for each level, and ensure that our assessments (DDMs) are valid and reliable. These teachers are planning to bring back what they learned and will prepare a presentation to the department for the Nov. 4 PD day.
  • AHS teachers Christina Toro, Tony Di Sanzo, and JoLinda Alderuccio, and Ottoson teachers Merridith Minerd and Ali Matson attended a variety of workshops and sessions on Friday along with Abbi Holt, Katia Haberman, and Na Lu-Hogan. Among the sessions they attended, Merridith, Ali, and Tony went to another 3-hour workshop focused on proficiency, and are also preparing materials to present to the department to support our work this year.
  • At the Business & Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Katia Haberman and Na Lu-Hogan were awarded New Teacher Commendations, only given to four teachers per year state-wide. This award is for teachers who have been teaching less than five years and who have demonstrated excellence in foreign language education. As recipients of the award, Katia and Luna are given three years of complimentary membership to MaFLA to help support their professional development. 
Katia Haberman and Na Lu-Hogan receiving their New Teacher Commendation
I was also delighted that elementary principal Mark McAneny was in attendance, and went to a session entitled, “Peek Inside an Effective Elementary Program,” presented by the K-8 World Language Coordinator from Brookline Public Schools. I hope this is a sign of good things to come for Arlington! 

Finally, I am delighted to announce that I have been elected at President of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association for a two-year term beginning this January. I look forward to representing Arlington and supporting world language teachers across the state with high-quality professional development.

Arlington is on the map for its World Language program!

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