Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Messages of Love for Paris

Students is Maria Arevalo's Spanish 4 class expressed their love for Paris and wishes for world peace through touching and beautiful posters that now decorate the world language hallway. The messages are in Spanish, but the sentiment is universal. Thank you to these students for such lovely wishes!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Perfil en Facebook" - Integrating Technology & Language in Spanish Class

Students in Maria Arévalo's Spanish 1 class used their language and technology skills to create authentic Facebook profiles in GoogleDrive. Ms. Arévalo developed the project as a summative assessment focusing on students' ability to provide basic information about themselves, talk about likes and dislikes, and ask basic questions.

According to Ms. Arévalo, the project followed these steps:
  1. Students worked on the computer lab with a Facebook Profile on model profile that I had created in Spanish. They had to answer the questions on a comprehension guide while reading the profile.
  2. After that, students had to pick a famous person and, using information from the model template, they had to create the Facebook profile of that person. Students were encouraged to choose a Spanish speaker.
  3. After students submitted their profiles, I had students look at each other's work in the Language Lab. Students had a table with information about different characters, and had to navigate through the profiles of their classmates looking for the name of the character who responded to that information. For example: Es de Colombia, pero vive en Barcelona ¿Quién es?
Here are some sample Facebook profiles these beginning language students created:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Arlington World Language Teachers Present and Learn at MaFLA Fall Conference

Many Arlington Public School World Language Teachers both presented at and attended the annual Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) Fall Conference last week, sharing their knowledge with other teachers state-wide as well as attending workshops and sessions to grow and develop as educators.

Here are a few highlights of the conference:
For the past few years, the World Language department has been well-represented at this conference, with a strong turnout of presenters, attendees, and award-winners. Additionally, World Language Director Catherine Ritz is currently serving as the President of MaFLA. 

Congratulations to all who attended and presented! 

Anne Zachary presenting her session
Na Lu-Hogan leading her workshop

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Arlington Model WL Assessments Presented at DESE Fall Convening

Five years ago, a process to develop common assessments in the World Language department was begun, with a decision to focus one of theses assessments on the important skill of Interpersonal Speaking. Last week, World Language Director Catherine Ritz was invited to present this assessment at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Fall Convening as a model assessment for other districts. As part of a small group led by Craig Waterman of DESE, Catherine shared the model assessment, discussed the process Arlington went through to develop it, and explained the process for scoring the assessment using a department rubric.

This assessment is now posted on the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) website as a model "District Determined Measure" (DDM, or common assessment), and will be posted as well on the DESE website.

Teacher Professional Day Digs in to Authentic Assessment

On the November 2nd Teacher Professional Day this week, World Language teachers attended a full-day training led by international expert and author Bonnie Adair-Hauck. Bonnie is the author of "Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment," and the training focused on developing these types of assessments, which are commonly referred to as IPAs.

An important focus of IPAs is first selecting an "authentic document," which is defined in world language as something created by a native speaker for a native speaker, as opposed to materials developed for language learners. A series of assessments are then designed to fit the theme of the unit to best use the authentic document. These connected assessments focus on the so-called "three modes of communication": 1) Interpretive - reading and listening to authentic material and interpreting its meaning, 2) Interpersonal - engaging in a spontaneous two-way dialogue or written communication about what has been read or listened to, and finally, 3) Presentational - preparing a spoken or written presentation, essay, article, etc. These three modes are joined through the IPA with a connective theme, and focus on a real-world task in which students need to draw on their language skills.

This training was part of a long-term vision to shift curriculum to focus on developing student proficiency in the language through authentic, real-world language use.

Bonnie Adair-Hauck leading a discussion.

AHS Spanish Teachers collaborated on developing an IPA for their classes.

French Students Present at Project-Based Learning Conference

Students in Véronique Lahey's AP French class accompanied her last week to present at the 6th annual Project-Based Learning Conference at Regis College. Ms. Lahey had been invited to present her award-winning Café Parisien project which students participate in while they are enrolled in French 4. Students Alice Tracey, Sam O'Keefe, Kiran Gite, and Vignesh Chockalingam shared their experiences participating in this project, in which they had to work in collaborative teams to develop a business proposal launching a restaurant in Paris.

Congratulations to these students and to Ms. Lahey!