Category Archives: Planning

Transitioning from a Traditional PK-12 World Language Program to an Oral Proficiency-based  Program
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Transitioning from a Traditional PK-12 World Language Program to an Oral Proficiency-based Program

Are you considering transitioning your world language program from a traditional one to an oral-proficiency based one? In this blog post, I will share the basic steps that we, the University School of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have taken to make such a shift in the last few years in our PK-12 World Language department. […]

Understanding Interpersonal Mode at the Intermediate Level
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Understanding Interpersonal Mode at the Intermediate Level

I think the biggest benefit of blogging for teachers is that it increases their ability to be reflective and articulate about their practice.  Stray thoughts and half-awarenesses get fleshed out into full-fledged epiphanies as teachers figure out how to talk with their colleagues about what they do in the classroom.  Back in April, I ended […]

Creating Order Out of Chaos: Crafting Appropriate Lessons Within a Thematic Unit
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Creating Order Out of Chaos: Crafting Appropriate Lessons Within a Thematic Unit

What can the biblical creation story teach us about unit and lesson planning? A lot! The Book of Genesis explains that God began with “tohu va’vohu” (sometimes translated from the Hebrew as “unformed and void”) and then differentiated the world into heaven and earth. From there, the Divine went on to separate light from darkness, […]

My Path to Proficiency: A Travel Journal
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My Path to Proficiency: A Travel Journal

The thing about embarking down the Path to Proficiency is that there isn’t just one single path you have to take.  When I first began my journey towards proficiency, I found myself often looking to others further along the trek than me and asking them for directions. I knew that I couldn’t implement everything I […]

Enough is as good as a feast.
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Enough is as good as a feast.

Yes.  I’ll admit it.  I’m a nerd. A big one. I’ll own it.  Grammar really gets me going.  Word origin, homophones, rhetorical devices and literary analysis excite me.  Old AP fill-ins were a challenging game I played against myself.  The Académie Française has nothing on me! (You French teachers know what I mean!) I won’t ask […]

Get in the Game: Let’s Talk About Stations
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Get in the Game: Let’s Talk About Stations

Hello, and Happy Spring! I just got back from the SCOLT conference for the 2nd time ever, and this time I got to present!  So this post, fair warning, is going to be partly about my process of submitting and doing a presentation, and the other part about the actual stations presentation as it happened. […]

Focus on the right things
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Focus on the right things

As a teacher, it is so easy to focus on everything I’m doing wrong: Have I graded that batch of tests yet? Have I planned enough activities to fill the hour? Have I contacted all the parents I needed to? Do I have enough grades? Did I get in that announcement on time? A lot […]

Holding Myself Accountable
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Holding Myself Accountable

In October, I laid out here the goals I set in the summer and, motivated by Alyssa Villareal’s fall post, committed to reporting back and holding myself accountable to them. This fall, without going down the rabbit hole of politics, I’ve found myself struggling to stay on my path and focus on teaching–as I have […]

But first, let me take a selfie…
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But first, let me take a selfie…

… as in, a self-assessment, on proficiency. Ask yourself: “What exactly do I know about the levels and what they look like? Can I explain it to students, and/or parents? Can I hear, read, and observe examples and then rate them?” For me, a lot of work went into the paradigm shift that is proficiency-based teaching, […]

Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?
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Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?

Have you ever had someone say something so startling that, in an instant, their words seem to smack you in the face with a reality check? I recently had one of those moments: an abrupt and much-needed a-ha! moment, that reminded me to be my best teacher self, I need to give myself grace and keep it all in […]