Holiday activities for your world language classroom

By Diego Ojeda

Christmas and the end of the year are two important events for most of the Western world, but of course there are differences in how they are celebrated in different countries and cultures. I am originally from Colombia and I came to the United States 20 years ago and I still remember my first Christmas in this country as if it were last year.

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ACTFL 2019 Conference Hacks


Attending a large conference can be overwhelming. So many sessions! So many exhibitors! So many new people to meet! To help you out, we collected some amazing tips from our instructional strategists. Deborah Espitia, Cristin Bleess, Jay Ketner, Jen Carson, Helen Small, and Michelle Olah know how to get the most out of a large event like ACTFL. Below, their best suggestions for ACTFL 2019: 

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Why should I attend a language conference?

For language teachers—or really for teachers of any subject—it may often feel like you are tucked away in a silo, toiling away alone day after day. Attending a language conference can remind you why you chose this profession in the first place and connect you with hundreds (or in the case of ACTFL, thousands) of like-minded educators.  You will walk away with not only professional growth, but also with lifelong friends. 

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Day of the dead; day of the living

By Diego Ojeda

Celebrations such as the Day of the Dead allow us, Spanish teachers, to reflect on the purpose of our classes. Do we teach Spanish so that our students learn to decode the language? Or is it also our responsibility to teach about culture? A language is not only its syntax, but also its semantics, and it is semantics combined with cultural expressions that allows us to find the ultimate meaning of each interaction.

The Day of the Dead is one of those celebrations that can cause problems for more than one Spanish teacher. In Western European culture, death is a dreary, sad and sometimes even forbidden topic.

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See you at FFLA 2019

Find Wayside at booths 21-22

We can’t wait to see you at the annual FFLA conference this week and show off our latest language programs like EntreCulturas for Spanish, EntreCulturesfor French, and the new Triángulo APreciado. And we want to hear what you need to support your instruction and your students this year.

Don’t forget to enter the conference raffle to win Wayside’s delicious snack box, a tote bag, and free classroom readers!

Mark your calendar for sessions with FFLA past-president Michelle Olah: 

  • 8:15 a.m. Friday: Brain-Friendly Lesson Design 
  • 8:30 a.m. Saturday: From Authentic Resources to Authentic Assessments

See you in Orlando! 🌴

Michelle Olah, Debbie Simoes, and Eduardo
 Wayside Publishing’s Florida Team

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Beyond the piñatas: An authentic celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

By Diego Ojeda

It was my first year of teaching Spanish in the United States when just a few weeks after I started the school year one of my colleagues approached me and asked me about my plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I confess that I was a bit perplexed because I had never heard about this celebration. For a moment I thought she was referring to Día de la Raza, a celebration of Latin American countries where we honor our roots and our identity.  But I soon realized that we were in September and that Día de la Raza is celebrated on October 12, the same date of the federal holiday that celebrates the life of the man who left so much poverty and sadness after the “discovery” of America.

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The power of authentic resources

By Ed Weiss

During my teaching career, I always had a true affinity for the use of authentic materials.  All the research indicates that student proficiency increases with exposure to a variety of authentic materials.  Perhaps even more compelling than the research, is the memory of my secondary education.  My teachers were well trained and had clearly mastered the language, but those were the days of grammar-centric world language classes.  Verb conjugations and vocabulary lists were featured aspects of instruction.  My only memories of authentic materials were posters from Air France and SNCF and the weekly arrival of Paris Match magazine.  The tasks that we were assigned were essentially decontextualized sentences accompanied by verb form drills.  The curriculum was primarily based on mastery of forms with minimal real life applications of language skills.  From a student perspective, we didn’t know any better.  We couldn’t envision an intercultural, multimedia course with internet access to enrich and connect with students.  Our teachers were limited by their lack of resources and the pedagogical philosophy of that era. 

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Speak Up for Languages

Do you remember the time when languages “clicked” for you? When you knew that languages would always be a part of your life? When an encounter with a different culture or a trip to a foreign country made a lasting impact on you?

We want to hear that story.

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Wayside is hitting the road

Join us this fall as we attend several state language conferences across the country. Be sure to visit our booth at one of these events to find out about our latest products, get free digital samples, or pick up a cute owl sticker or magnet! Stay tuned for our list of instructional strategy sessions and other events at several of these conferences. We can’t wait to meet you! 

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