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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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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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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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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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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The Imagination Within Latin

by Alex Terwelp

When I was little, imagination drove my sand empire and my castle in the woods. It brought me playmates made of dancing leaves and shadows in the sunlight. As I grew older, it sparked my curiosity about adulthood, and it led me to a career that fuels others’ imaginations. 

Some believe imagination wanes as we mature, but it only takes looking at ancient Roman culture to know it exists in people of all ages. It led to the naming of the constellations, the building of arches and roadways, and the creation of the Julian calendar. Indeed, imagination drove the Roman Empire. 

Students benefit immensely from using their imagination to make connections with abstractions. You will not find a student in your career who has met an ancient Roman or has visited ancient Rome. Because they cannot immerse themselves in the culture, students must imagine everything. 

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The Power of Feedback in the Proficiency-Driven Classroom

by Holly Morse
@Srta.Morse

When I was in my undergrad program, I had two professors who stood out to me. The first, let us call him Professor Deadly Pen shredded our papers with his red pen. Reading his comments was exhausting and at times a bit demoralizing. The second, who I will call Professor Nonspecific, gave little feedback, and what she did provide was vague. Which teacher did I resent? Well, both! One made me work hard for my “A.” The other seemed indifferent and was not particularly helpful. But I bet you can figure out which one I admire today. Yep, Professor Deadly Pen. He set expectations and worked with us to meet them by outlining proficiency requirements for the class, then provided consistent feedback. 

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