Ensuring Student Voice
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Ensuring Student Voice

How do we provide our students voice in our classrooms? In one of my graduate classes in urban education, I am reading a book by bell hooks (she chooses not to capitalize her name), Teaching to Transgress. In the book, hooks talks about voice and since reading this selection, my initial question keeps swirling round in […]

How do you know they know?
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How do you know they know?

I think the act of teaching is a rather courageous process. It may not always be regarded as such, but it nonetheless is a courageous act. Through teaching we really put our best selves forward. I really believe (yes you’ve already heard this a hundred times but as a reminder…) that all teachers set out […]

Taking ownership of their proficiency path
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Taking ownership of their proficiency path

Coming back to school after the winter break was a fulfilling time for me this year! We revisited the proficiency guidelines, and students reflected on their progress on the path to proficiency infographic. What more could they do now that they couldn’t in October or even in August? As I teach students in Spanish 3, 4 […]

Performance a la Mode
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Performance a la Mode

Thanks to a couple of Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grants I was very fortunate to be able to build K-12 language continuums. Working in the 21st largest district in the country, providing a meaningful language experience for all students in all 125 elementary schools was out of reach. I was  however, able to build a LCTL […]

The Path to Proficiency
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The Path to Proficiency

We have been working on realizing our goal of having performance-driven world language instruction in our district for many years. When shifts to our evaluation process came for world language teachers in 2011, it became urgent that we really own performance-driven teaching, learning, and assessment because jobs were on the line. Teachers could be dismissed […]

Proficiency and Grading Mashup
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Proficiency and Grading Mashup

“I can’t put Intermediate 1 in the gradebook,” I declared to my class. “I wish I could, but I can’t.” I continued, “So how are we going to show the number equivalent to your proficiency rating?” It turns out that everyone’s fine with being on target unless it interferes with their GPA. Shelby County Schools, […]

Shifting Gears
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Shifting Gears

If students can’t use the language they are learning for practical – REAL WORLD – purposes then why do we do what we do? I think (desperately hope) that most teachers agree our focus should be on teaching students how to use the languages they are learning. Many of us have attended a workshop on proficiency or maybe […]

Some thoughts about the “g word”
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Some thoughts about the “g word”

No matter what group of teachers. No matter what the original topic of the conference session, workshop, or professional learning training. Without fail, at some point someone is going to ask the dreaded question: “But how do I grade this?” While I try to be as helpful as possible and provide some solutions for the […]

Tracking Proficiency
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Tracking Proficiency

When I taught in a charter middle school, the administration wanted us teachers to post summative data about our students–how they did on what test and what the criteria were. I was always behind on posting mine because we did so much formative assessment in class. As the only Spanish teacher in the school at […]