We Cannot Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month Without Celebrating Immigrants

by Diego Ojeda
ww.SrOjeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66
@Sr_Ojeda


Between September 15 and October 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, honoring the people of Hispanic origin within the United States. The initial 1968 proclamation created Hispanic Heritage Week, and it was repeated yearly for twenty years. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it and signed into law as Hispanic Heritage Month. It urges the American people, especially educational entities, to observe Hispanic heritage and culture with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Many public and private schools, especially those in which Spanish is taught, carry out cultural activities that seek to inform students about the Hispanic community. Piñatas, papel picado, music in Spanish, and the sharing of Hispanic food are all popular ways to celebrate this month. All of these activities are well-intentioned and fun for students. But are they meeting the goal of helping our students appreciate, understand, and respect the Hispanic community for the rest of their lives?

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5 Tips For Setting Boundaries This School Year

By Elena Spathis
@ElenaSpathis

After one of the most unpredictable, tumultuous years of teaching in the books, the time has come to rethink, revamp, and reprioritize. We teachers often put so much pressure on ourselves to do more. Likewise, on top of managing our families and personal lives, we are frequently given extra duties and responsibilities at school outside of teaching. At times, it seems impossible to juggle it all. Moreover, at various points throughout the school year, we feel jaded, overextended, and exhausted – mentally and physically. 

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Lessons Learned from Hybrid and Remote Teaching

by Elena Spathis
@elenaspathis

This past year was one marked by change, loss, and unimaginable hardship. For the first time, after being closed for an extended period, most schools across the nation reopened with unique hybrid schedules. Rarely-used terms like “hybrid,” “remote,” “social distance,” and “virtual” suddenly became part of our everyday vocabulary. For teachers and students, the ordinary school year as we knew it quickly became a distant memory. Even the classroom looked like an unknown space, with desks and chairs spread far apart. 

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Supporting Both Heritage and Non-Heritage Learners in Your French Classroom

by Elizabeth Zwanziger
@ElizabethZwanz1


The demographics of French learners in the United States continue to evolve as we welcome newcomers from around the globe and our population grows more diverse. According to Statista, in 2019 there were over 1.2 million people in the U.S. who speak French at home,1 and francophone families must make important decisions regarding balancing language use at home and at school. Francophone families speak French at home to maintain cultural ties to their place of origin or to ensure children can communicate with family members here or abroad.

Children in these families are likely to be considered heritage speakers of French, a subset of multilingual people who have varying experience in the language. They may or may not have lived part of their lives in a francophone country or attended school in that language. They may understand the language, but not speak it. They may speak the language, but not write it. They may not have used the language themselves, but feel a familial or cultural connection to it. Each individual heritage speaker’s cultural and linguistic biography is unique.

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Building Mental Highways with Latin

by Alex Terwelp

When I was 18 years old, my mother fell on the ice and developed a brain hemorrhage. As a result, she lost her speech and had to start over again; luckily, it was much quicker to learn the second time around. The doctors described it as the signals from the brain, which usually take the highways to get to their destination, now needed to take the back roads and figure it all out. This analogy helped me understand the situation I found myself in five years later when I became a Latin teacher.

When children are born, they develop roughly 80% of their brain capacity by age two. Adolescents’ brains grow to fill out the remaining 20%. After teaching for a few years, I began to realize that my 7th graders did not have the highways built yet, and the construction would continue into their early twenties. I recognized it was my job to be the brain foreman for as much time as I had them in class. After this epiphany, I stuck my foot in the door of my school’s student support office because I knew my role as a Latin teacher was more than teaching Latin. However, I soon realized that Latin did me the favor of supporting my students in the development of executive functioning skills – Latin is the vehicle that brings these skills to my students.

Below I have selected a few executive functioning skills that I believe Latin can help build:

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Jamboard – A Virtual Whiteboard and So Much More!

by Maureen Lamb
@latintechtools

Want to get your students excited to start class? Start by having them join a Jam of the day! When I first started using Jamboard, it felt much clunkier and lagged more than Slides, so I did not use it very often. However, Jamboard has received some significant updates the past few months which has made it more functional than ever. Google for Education has announced that another update is coming soon, which will allow for search history on Jams to see who has contributed what and when. 

At its core, Jamboard is a virtual collaborative whiteboard. Within that whiteboard, there are options to add many things, including backgrounds, text, shapes, images, screen shots, and sticky notes.  Individual Jamboards are called Jams, and you can have up to 20 Jams going at a time. Although you cannot assign Jams using “@” like you can with Google Slides and Google Docs, it is easy to assign students to Jams by adding sticky notes indicating which student or group of students is assigned to each. 

Curious to know what you can do with a Jamboard? Here are five of my favorite ways to use it:

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Transitioning to Proficiency Part II: Baby Steps to Comprehensible Input

by Alex Terwelp

I have a two-year-old son, and watching him grow, I have discovered there is nothing more fundamental than the process of a child learning to walk. I see four stages to this process, namely supported standing, cruising, staggering, and finally, walking. We can apply the metaphor of learning to walk to a journey toward Comprehensible Input (CI). I am taking that journey in my Latin Classroom, one step, and one stage, at a time.

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Transitioning to Proficiency Part I: Advice From a Recent Convert

By Conner McNeely
@indyprofe1

 Would you rather conjugate verbs in another language or have a conversation with someone who speaks another language? Unless you are a true grammar geek, you prefer communicating. That is why teaching through comprehensible input and using a proficiency-based practice is what we language educators should all be doing with our students. The question should not be whether to transition to a proficiency-based curriculum, but instead when and how to begin the transition.

My department has recently adopted the proficiency-based EntreCulturas and EntreCultures series for Spanish and French. It has been a challenging process, but during the transition, I have learned a few things I would like to share with you:

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6 Ways to Celebrate National Foreign Language Week

by Elena Spathis
@elenaspathis

Every year, National Foreign Language Week serves to highlight and honor all languages. In our increasingly globalized, interconnected society, it has never been more crucial to promote the value of language learning. Although this year presents several unique challenges with hybrid and virtual settings, there are still ways to encourage your students to celebrate languages and cultures. Read below to see how you can incorporate this special week into your classroom, from March 7-13, 2021.

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