New Year’s Revolutions
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New Year’s Revolutions

Whew, here comes 2018! Can you believe it? New year, new you? New students? New routines? For some, all of the above; for others perhaps none, or one. I teach on block schedule, so when we come back to school in January, I have all new students, a new prep, and a new schedule. I […]

When the Tail Wags the Dog, or How a Standards-Based Rubric May Make Me a More Effective Teacher
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When the Tail Wags the Dog, or How a Standards-Based Rubric May Make Me a More Effective Teacher

How do we convince students to stretch beyond their comfort zone when writing and speaking in the target language? I believe that teachers have to educate students about proficiency, both on a course level and the task level, so that they are invested in our collective work. Truly, we have a mighty task before us as we […]

Allowing retakes: how well is your parachute packed?
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Allowing retakes: how well is your parachute packed?

In my education program, my professor would tell us a great analogy about grades and retakes.  She said that as teachers we should allow students to retake assessments, so they can continue to practice and improve with the language.  We want students to practice so well that they can attain a proficiency with the language.  […]

Singapore American School Visit Catapults Us On Our Path
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Singapore American School Visit Catapults Us On Our Path

University School of Milwaukee World Language Teachers Share Their Notes From Visit to the Singapore American School This past May 2017, my colleagues, Alison Dupee, LS French teacher; Neelie Barthenheier, a MS French teacher and LS and MS World Language Chair; and I returned on fire with inspiration to grow as 21st-century world language educators. […]

Focus on adjustment
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Focus on adjustment

As teachers, we are constantly adjusting.  It seems like we adjust frequently with different trends that emerge- PBLs, no homework, IPAs, differentiation- you name it.  However, the best of each idea seems to stick as we work on the next idea emerging from education.  Also, as foreign language teachers, we are all adjusting our beliefs […]

Don’t Get It Twisted
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Don’t Get It Twisted

As we kick off another school year, a lot of topics are swirling about in department meetings, district PD, online forums, Twitter, workshops, and more. This organization system or that one, new seating charts or going deskless, standards-based grading or category percentages, and much more. But, as Rihanna tells us, don’t get it twisted. There […]

Unpacking My Old Classroom Practices
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Unpacking My Old Classroom Practices

This fall, I’m returning to the high school classroom after being away from teaching students for five years.   During this time, I made an effort to remain professionally active and connected, and I learned more than I would have if I had been working full-time, thanks to social media, professional organization, podcasts, and conferences.   Since […]

I’ve never met a rubric I liked.
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I’ve never met a rubric I liked.

Did I really just spend June and early July working on a series of performance rubrics (about 20 hours worth of my life) only to throw them all out in late July with a smile on my face? Well, sort of… I’ve been creating rubrics for world languages for a long time. Back in the […]