Happy summer everyone!
It seems so strange to say that, especially since I probably started preparing for next school year back in April. If you read my last post, you know that I had a pretty transformative experience at the end of the year when I tried out some techniques I had learned at an ACTFL OPI familiarization course. Last week, I spent a WHOLE lot of money to take the full OPI certification training, and let me tell you
IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY!
I have been through many life-changing professional development workshops, and, of course, the National Board certification process was the spark that lead me to a whole new life in my teaching career.
But, if you are already a proficiency-minded teacher who loves to grow and change, then OPI certification training should be on your immediate to-do list.
In fact, if you are a World Language teacher at all, it should be on your immediate to-do list.
Just imagine having the keys to language learning, unit planning, and assessment development all packaged nicely and neatly into a four day workshop…and you’ve got the OPI training!
Ok, enough with the commercial, let me move onto what I actually plan on doing with this new learning.
Now that I am aware of what are the attainable goals for our levels in World Languages, given the time frame we have, along with the questions that are answerable for our students, the topics that they can handle, the functions that they can perform, and ways to elicit the desired responses, I can now create a curriculum for my kiddos that will truly help them learn and see their progress.
I have two more big changes up my sleeve that I am hoping will also achieve this goal of allowing my students to see their progress.
1) Teach them about proficiency.
I have a proficiency unit planned for the beginning of the school year– three weeks for my Pre-AP Spanish 2 class; two weeks for Pre-AP Spanish 3, AP Spanish, and Spanish for Heritage Learners– that will introduce all things communication to my students, as well as help them to fully understand what their learning targets are. My greatest hope here is that with each summative assessment, I can hand students a rubric and set them in front of a video of themselves, and yes, they will be able to score themselves! At least on a minimal level, I hope they will be able to circle “I used all complete sentences,” “I used some individual words and phrases,” or “I used only individual words and phrases.” That sounds attainable, right?
For inspiration, check out the Shelby County Schools World Languages proficiency units.
2) Help them keep track of their learning.
Notice that I didn’t say “help them keep track of their progress.” We track our progress through portfolios, and this year I am switching over to Fresh Grade in hopes to make the work in that area less time consuming. In addition to tracking progress, though, I want students to be able to track their learning. Confused? Ok, I’ll say use the buzz word. I’m talking about interactive notebooks. I’m not big on that term, because, really, haven’t these been around since the beginning of schools? But what I have learned is that I need to let go of the idea that I am such an amazing teacher, that every word I say sticks in my students’ heads like glue. That’s a pipe dream, to say the least. My kids have at least six other classes, most of them AP, and most of them have sports, band, and a wide variety of other extracurricular activities to also take up valuable mental space. So, I can honestly say, I’m “so over myself!” Notes are good, notes help students, and yes, notes help me! There, I said it. And it feels good 🙂
So, what are your goals for the next school year? Are you planning to do anything different?
Ps. I hope you’ll look for a local ACTFL OPI training to attend!