While many teachers appear to be on spring break around the country, many of them are also taking the opportunity to reflect on their practices. Let’s face it, a teacher’s job is never done and it is hard for us to turn off our brains thinking about improving that lesson, finding that resource, and developing that next assessment. This week provided us with a treasure trove of blog posts and here are just some that caught my attention.

  • Teaching for Proficiency … A Career Long Journey

    Ever feel overwhelmed and don’t think that you can really make this switch to a proficiency-based classroom? Before you go back to your language teaching past, read this post by elementary and middle school Spanish teacher Valerie Shull. In the middle of her own journey she shares some important insights to what she wish she knew when she got started: 1) You are not alone, 2) Be generous and forgiving with yourself and others, and 3) You’re never done. What an important message for anyone to hear every now and then. Read Valerie’s post –> 

  • 90% TL: just do it!

    Screenshot 2016-03-26 07.50.21You can’t go to a world language conference these days without hearing a discussion about the importance of using the target language. We have the ACTFL position statement, the TELL Project reminds us and provides several helpful tools, but when you are standing in that classroom in front of 34 pairs of eyes, it is a much different story. And from my own experience as a teacher, I admit: THIS IS HARD! We often blame our students for not wanting to commit to using the target language more, but as French teacher, Wendy Farabaugh points out so wisely: “I, however, was twice as terrified as they were. I’ve heard it said that the teacher is often what holds a class back from 90% TL in class. And for me, it was SO TRUE”. In her blockbuster post, Wendy goes on to share how she did and more importantly how her students reacted to it. Read this post if you are struggling with target language use. Read this post if you don’t think it can be done. Just read this post, be inspired and then “just do it!” Read Wendy’s post –> 

  • The evolution of my interpretive reading tasks

    As a field we have become pretty good at developing authentic tasks for the interpersonal and presentational modes of communication. A quick google search will yield in a ton of good examples and rubrics to go along with them. It’s the interpretive mode that is a much different story and coming first in the language acquisition process, it’s one we should spend more time thinking about. Spanish teacher, Maris Hawkins, shares an important ACTFL resource that she used to help get a better understanding of how to assess reading with her students. Read Maris’ post –> 

  • Nerd Out: Finding Professional Development Opportunities That Inspire Lifelong Learning

    Finding just the right professional development is not an easy task and it is easy to go down the blaming everyone else for bad PD road. For those reasons I’m including this blog post from elementary school teacher Tamera Musiowsky-Borneman, who reminds us to not  “be afraid of being a nerd. We all have a little in us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be teachers.” and provides some suggestions for improving your professional development journey. Read Tamera’s post –> 

  • From the Path 2 Proficiency: Another take on the G word …

    Oh, what would we do without grammar? Admit it, you love grammar! I did. It was just so logical (thanks German language) and made sense. Unfortunately, it seldom if ever helped my students learn the language. Don’t miss this great post from educator, Alyssa Villarreal, in which she reminds us that grammar doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if “Grammar instruction is aligned to our targets and be presented within a meaningful context while grammar information is easily accessible so that we best prepare our students to meet or exceed performance targets.” Read Alyssa’s post –>

  • From the Path 2 Proficiency: Finding Resources is the Hardest Thing

    Finding the right resources can be very time-consuming, and educator Sharon Deering, provides some guiding question you should ask yourself BEFORE looking for that perfect resource. “Does this text fit well into my overall curriculum and move us toward the learning target? Is it age appropriate in terms of content and interest? Can the students effectively interact with this text and thus acquire or solidify some new skill(s)? With whom can I share the outstanding resources I find?” Find some answers to these and more questions in her post. Read Sharon’s post –>

  • From the Path 2 Proficiency: Solving the Note Taking Puzzle

    Have you ever been told: “You are not supposed to be the center of attention. You are supposed to be facilitating the learning.” How do you do that and still provide input to your students? Spanish teacher, Rosalyn Rhodes tackles the note taking puzzle in her latest post. She figured out a way to provide input to students, allow them to process it and immediately start building ownership in the target language. Oh and she even shares her resources. Don’t miss this post! Read Rosalyn’s post –>




Published by Thomas Sauer

Thomas Sauer is the Director of Design and Communication for AdvanceLearning and an independent consultant. He previously held positions as world language specialist in the Fayette County Public Schools and Jefferson County Public Schools for almost ten years and taught German at the University of Kentucky, Georgetown College and Kentucky Educational Television. He has directed a variety of state and federal grants, most recently as program director and consultant for several successful STARTALK programs. Thomas has served as President of the Kentucky World Language Association as well as on the Board of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages and the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Named the 2011 Pearson/NADSFL Supervisor of the Year and a 2010 Global Visionary by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, Thomas is passionate about helping educators making the shift from teaching to learning.