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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Engaging All Students with Google Slides

by Maureen Lamb
@latintechtools

At a Google for Education conference in 2017, another educator referred to Google Slides as the swiss army knife of the Google Suite. At the time, I really thought it was just a digital answer to PowerPoint. I had not used it extensively except to upload my existing PowerPoint slides onto my Google Drive. 

Well, I was in for a shock when I began exploring all the amazing features! I Immediately started converting almost all my Google Docs to slides because of the wonderful functionality of the program. Some of my favorite key features of Google Slides are the ability to assign slides to different students or student groups, to ask and answer questions interactively, and for students to add notes on their slides.

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French: From Classroom to Community and Back Again

by Elizabeth Zwanziger
@ezwanziger

A few years ago, I ordered a stationary bicycle for my home. When the two delivery people brought it in and started putting it together, they began to chat in very technical terms – in French! It turns out, they were from Togo and had relocated to the Upper Midwest a couple of years prior. As a French teacher, I was thrilled to hear them speak a language I also speak and to join in when they explained to me how to use my new equipment.

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STEM and World Languages: A Perfect Match!

by Angelika Becker
@diebestefrau

Effective communication is an important factor in any field, whether you are a teacher, a nurse, an administrative assistant, a chemist or a computer programmer.  Today’s students, regardless of which path they will choose, need to be able to express their ideas clearly, communicate effectively, be persuasive, and accept criticism gracefully, in order to encourage innovation and social change. What better place to learn this than a world language classroom! Not only do they learn important communication strategies, but they also learn to communicate in a different language and make connections across cultures, a skill that will only gain importance in our global economy.

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Négritude – Empowering the African Diaspora in Francophone Literature and Thought

by Beth Velletri

We have all probably heard of the Harlem Renaissance, that pivotal African American intellectual movement in the early part of the 20th Century. But did you know its influence spread across the ocean to France, and all francophone countries through a literary and ideological movement called Négritude?

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Representing Women in Greek and Latin Classes

By Maureen Lamb
@latintechtools

Many Latin and ancient Greek textbooks, and even the AP® exam, focus largely on the experiences of aristocratic Roman men. But as a high school teacher, I want my students to see that there is more to the language and culture than just the experiences of free, wealthy men. The good news is there are many opportunities to teach texts about and by women in Latin and ancient Greek.

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Thank You, 2020!

By Diego Ojeda
www.srojeda.com
@DiegoOjeda66
@Sr_Ojeda

The end of the year is a special time.  Starting with November’s Thanksgiving celebrations, we begin to publicly acknowledge our gratitude for those who have inspired and challenged us. However, this year has been different, and much more stressful, than past years. Typically, there would be social media threads dedicated to enhancing collaboration and mutual support, but this holiday season, social media has been full of messages about how 2020 is a year to forget, not to be thankful for. 

Christmas is approaching, and I am already beginning to hear voices clamoring not to celebrate it or even mention it. I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I also know that the end of the year is a special time when we love to feel closer to the important people in our lives. There is nothing religious about that, and celebrating does not hurt anyone.

We teachers always want to motivate and empower our students, especially when they may be feeling defeated in their academic, social or family lives. We are aware that we are responsible for academic content, but we also know deep down that nothing teaches more than the constant support we give our students through a positive and hopeful attitude. However, I keep finding the same kinds of messages: “2020 is to forget. 2020 has been the worst year in the history of the world. There is nothing to celebrate in 2020. I hope 2020 will end soon.”

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Io Saturnalia!

By Alex Terwelp

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to express your joy than a sacrifice to the god Saturn? The Romans had some odd festivals and traditions, and Saturnalia was one of them. It was a special event that provided liberation to slaves, gambling across the city, and crowned the “King of Saturnalia.” The celebration began on December 17th and eventually was extended to incorporate days up to the 23rd. Beginning with a sacrifice to Saturn, everyone would partake in a public feast.  Back at home, masters would serve their slaves food, and the guests would elect a “King of Saturnalia” to provide direction for the night. Groups would also exchange small and typically gag gifts, “White Elephant” style. As Catullus so accurately stated, it was “the best of days.”

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Tags & Searches: How You Can Get the Most Out of this Blog

by Beth Velletri

At Wayside, we strive to empower our teachers by providing them tools to succeed with their students in the world language classroom. To honor this mission, we’ve teamed up with real life world language teachers -just like you- to offer advice, tips, reflections and fresh perspectives through our blog, Proficiency Talks.

Here is the situation: you may have read a post and thought it was worth re-reading at another time (but what was the title, again?). Or perhaps you are new to our community and do not know the topics or authors, but want to read a post that more closely speaks to you. How do you go about finding these?

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