Thursday, August 6, 2015

IFLT15 - Post 2 - Workshops

The IFLT15 conference was held on July 14-17 in St. Paul Minnesota at Tartan High School.  As I mentioned in the previous post (IFLT15 - Post 1), Carol Gaab and Grant Boulanger were the organizers of the event.  They created a schedule that provided the opportunity for participants to observe teachers in the morning, both elementary and secondary classes, as well as workshop sessions in the am and pm sessions.  In the previous post I shared what I experienced from observing the teachers, which was fantastic!  In this post, I'll share information from the sessions that I attended each day.

Opening Plenary Session
The Opening Session was conducted by Carol Gaab, Kristy Placido, Carrie Toth, and Darcy Pippins.  I was helping with registration so I didn't see the first half hour but I was there for the remainder of the session. 

Carrie Toth and Kristy Placido (@senoraCMT & @placido) shared their experiences working with KIVA and the Pulsera Project and how they extended their classroom beyond the 4 walls.  Through their projects, they connected their students to other communities in various countries and helped students to have a more global view, including raising funds to build wells in Mali. You can read about their projects on their blogs (Kristy Placido and Somewhere to Share - Carrie's blog). Carrie also talked about: how to use Twitter as an authentic resource, her Water is Life unit and connecting it to science, 

Darcy Pippins (@darcypippins) gave a brief talk on the success she has been experiencing with her AP students.  After hearing Darcy speak about her students, I made a note to attend her session later in the week to learn the steps involved from beginning levels to AP.  

(Carol Gaab spoke to the group in the Opening Session and in the Experienced Workshop after lunch.  It's been a few weeks and I don't remember which information was shared in each session so I lumped it together below.)

Carol Gaab (@carolgaab) reminded us about the importance of backward planning, how to plan a "unit" based on novels, the importance of repetitions, and the need for a variety of experiences for the students.  Some quotes from Carol (and I hope I wrote them correctly while frantically typing on my mobile device):
"Point & Speak, Pause, Repeat" - the basics
"Pacing is an Art"
"Talk to your students to find content"
"You don't have to create a story; stories are all around you"
"Timing and Repetition is Crucial"
Referring to repetitions "don't be nice, be sneaky"

"Refine, define, combine"

Carol gave a demonstration on different ways to involve students (in this case teachers), with a story about Jane and Tarzan, and demonstrated story-asking with a reading action chain. She wove an incredible amount of repetitions into the "lesson" to show us how to keep it fresh and novel for students.

Due to observing extra teaching sessions and helping to coach on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, the sessions I attended was reduced.  To get the most of my time, I chose presentations that I hadn't seen at other conferences and/or presenters that I hadn't seen before.  

Carrie Toth - iPads
- use apps to enhance the CI and storytelling
- uses Educreations with Chac Mool: students sketch pictures on regular paper, take photos with ipad and upload to Educreations
- students work in groups to write a story similar to the class story, students pose for photos, upload photos to Educreations; Carrie records the story on Educreations and plays it for the class the following day
- Popplet: make a thought web of a character from a novel
- Appsmash Feltboard & My Comics; create a scene using feltboard app, upload to MyComics app, add speech bubbles
- Puppet Pals - for review of a novel
- Thinglink: describe a character from a novel; related information
- 30 Hands - students used this for their KIVA advertisements and uploaded the video to YouTube
- Tellagami: Appsmash Tellagami and Explain Everything

Martina Bex - Culture Units
Martina (@martinabex) walked the participants through the process of creating a culture unit.  She outlined 7 steps to follow when creating a culture unit, and she paused after each step to allow participants to work in small groups to discuss and create a possible unit. Check her handout for the outline and a graphic organizer to start planning your next culture unit! Also check her website, The Comprehensible Classroom, for a goldmine of resources.

Her handouts, as well as many other handouts for IFLT15, are on TPRS Publishing, Inc. website. Click on the IFLT15 Conference tab, then click on IFLT 2015 Program.

Darcy Pippins - AP
Background on Darcy's school's language program:
- Spanish is required for grades 4 & 5
- Spanish 1 is offered in 8th grade
- AP Spanish taken in senior year (with some exceptions).  If students do not take Spanish in 8th grade, they may skip Spanish 4 and go from Spanish 3 into AP as a senior. 
- High school Spanish classes have 160 hours per level. 
It's obvious that her school district understands the value of learning a second language!

- Darcy recommended the book "Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller. This author tells how her students read 40 books and kept journals of books they read. 
- Darcy had create ways to keep her students in the target language: La Rana de Vergüenza - a stuffed frog; if a student spoke in English the frog "jumped" to that student's desk and remained there until another student accidentally spoke in English. 
- Word sneak game - see Jimmy Fallon's video of word sneak to see this demonstrated
- Cloud of Doubt - how Darcy referred to the subjunctive without using the grammatical lingo
Darcy outlined the novels that students read in each level.  They are:
Sp1: Brandon Brown quiere un perro; Las aventuras de Isabela, Esperanza, Isabela captura un congo; Piratas
Sp2: El viaje de su vida; el Nuevo Houdini, Problemas en paraíso, Felipe Alou
Sp3: Viva el toro, La herencia, Los ojos de Carmen, Vida y muerte
Sp4: La guerra sucia, La calaca alegre, Esperanza renace, Vida o muerte en el Cusco, La hija del sastre

Mike Coxon - Beyond Movie Talk
Mike (@coxon_mike) shared ways he continues providing Comprehensible Input beyond Movie Talk.  His link to his blog is Optimizing Immersion.
- "Don't forget about the R in TPRS when using Movie Talks"
- Go beyond the story by asking for the Backstory, what happens before or after the clip, have students act the parts in the video so draw out more information and conversation
- two videos he uses in class:  The Balcony Girl, Vampire's Crown

Those are a few of the notes I took while attending sessions.  If you want more quotes and links for resources, I suggest you check the Twitter hashtage "iflt15 and/or search for Wendy Farabaugh's twitter feed from July 14-17 (@MmeFarab) or Dustin Williamson's tweets (@dwphotoski).  Others were tweeting also and, by the end of the week, there were tweets from new Twitter accounts thanks to Kristy Placido's and Carrie Toth's lunch session on Twitter. Also, according to Martina Bex's blog, The Comprehensible Classroom, she will blogging about IFLT (and NTPRS) in the near future.

The conference ended with an inspiring and informative talk by Dr. Stephen Krashen.  Some of his remarks:
"The human mind yields helplessly to the power of a story."
"Comprehension is win-win."
"We are not against testing, we are against excessive and useless testing."
"We have school and we have the brain..which one can you change?"
"Reading is not A way to develop the highest forms of language; it is the ONLY way."
"Read for one hour/day for pleasure and your proficiency will go from intermediate low straight to the top"
and so much more - Check @MartinaBex and @mike_coxon on 7/17 for more tweets on Krashen's talk (which is the source of many of the quotes above).

Overall, GREAT conference and one I recommend to EVERYONE!

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