Welcome back to the second post of this summer's series Hot Topics. Last week I asked for guest submissions on how you or your colleagues incorporate technology in the classroom. This week we are highlighting a submission from Aymer Rojas, Spanish teacher in Lexington-Richland District 5 who will be discussing how he uses technology in the elementary classroom. Aymer submitted a beautiful paper that I will link below with research to back the claims. For the blog, I will be highlighting his list of technology, including virtual field trips! Please do take the time to check out his attached essay it has pictures of what these activities look like in the classroom!
Using Technology to Engage your World Language Class in Elementary
By Aymer Rojas
Engaging students can be tough. The high performing students seem like they don't need it and the low performing ones need an extra push to be engaged. In truth, all students can benefit when we transform our classrooms into engaging environments. As Foreign Language teachers, we have a lot of content to teach, but we also have the responsibility to teach our students to be culturally competent and guide them to learn how to respect, be open-minded and enjoy another language. In my twenty years of experience, I continue finding that our students change every year and for that reason, I have created a list of activities and technology tools that my students enjoy.
Voki Voki is an educational tool that allows users to create their very own talking character. This tool is created by Oddcast and is located in New York City. Voki characters can be customized to look like historical figures, cartoons, animals, and even yourself!
Kahoot! is the oldest of the review games, launched in August of 2013. In a standard Kahoot! game, questions are displayed to students on a projector or display. Students respond on their own devices. At the end of a Kahoot, teachers can download the results.
Quizizz takes the excitement of a review game and puts the whole experience in the students’ hands. Everyone sees the question and possible answers on the projector and answer simultaneously. Quizizz is different because the questions and possible answers are displayed individually on student devices.
Skype in the classroom I used this technology to connect my students and fellow educators globally. We had collaborative projects where students worked with people in different countries and had virtual field trips. We Skyped a classroom in South America and the result was lots of engagement. The process was very simple and my students had the opportunity to practice Spanish with native speakers with the same age as them.
Memes in the classroom Classroom Memes can be used to connect with your students. You can also have some fun exploring the meme generating sites - maybe create one or two with the class. While creating memes can be an exciting process, you need to be cautious as some meme-generating sites can be inappropriate.
Virtual Field Trips I have been doing virtual field trips with my third through fifth- grade classes and these have brought fascinating experiences. My students have virtually experienced Angel Falls in Venezuela, Machu Picchu in Peru, and La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. To further enhance the experience provided by virtual field trips, you can also use 3D goggles.
Padlet is another collaboration tool that teachers can use. Students can comment and interact with it as needed. Teachers can monitor all interactions that students have with the content and track engagement analytics.
Edpuzzle It is a free assessment-centered tool that allows teachers and students to create interactive online videos by embedding either open-ended or multiple-choice questions, audio notes, audio tracks, or comments on a video.
FlipGrid This tool allows to record the students and let then set up and decorate a background. This encourage quiet students to speak their minds without feeling intimidated and practicing their speaking skills.
Animoto is a cloud-based video creation service that produces a video from photos, video clips, and music into video slideshows.
Spark Video Sis part of the Adobe Spark suite. The application allows students to produce short, animated, narrated videos. Students can easily add photos, voice, as well as sounds to their video creations.
SCFLTA wants to hear from you!
What technology do you or your WL colleagues use in the classroom?
In the next Crescent post, SCFLTA is featuring guest writers who are sharing how they apply technology in the classroom! I can't wait to share with you how one particular Lexington-Richland 5 Spanish teacher uses technology at the elementary level!
Questions, comments, kudos for your tech-savy teachers? Comment below to get them featured!
2019 President: Heather Giles
Hello! It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your SCFLTA president for 2019-2020.
I am originally from Spokane, WA and live in Rock Hill, SC with my husband (Jeff), daughter (Annika), and son (Colton). We love our critter menagerie of seven cats and two dogs. In my spare time, I enjoy DIY projects, reading, kayaking, and anything multi-cultural. For the last 23 years, I have worked at Rock Hill High School, where I teach Spanish 2 and Spanish IB, and have also taught English as a Second Language in the past. I hold degrees from Eastern Washington University and Winthrop University, in addition to being National Board Certified since 2007.
Between the SCOLT conference in March, the inaugural Bilingualism Matters conference hosted by USC, and numerous smaller workshops and meetings with colleagues, this spring has been a season filled with powerful conversations and exchanges of ideas. A common thread running through many conversations has been support and collaboration among language teachers in South Carolina. I am excited about the opportunities for growth with the Seal of Biliteracy along with other state and local initiatives. At the same time, many teachers and schools are facing challenges related to funding, curriculum, and enrollment. Continuing these conversations is an opportunity to forge new partnerships and share the wealth of ideas and resources with colleagues from all around the state. I would like to invite you to continue these conversations by responding to the short survey below. What do you most want to talk about? How would you like to take part in the conversations?
SCFLTA Spring 2019 survey (link)
Thank you in advance for your feedback, which will be used by the SCFLTA board to plan future workshops and professional development opportunities.
Wishing you a smooth end to the school year and a summer filled with what you love most!
2019 President-Elect: Dr. Liza Speece
I am so pleased to be the new President Elect for SCFLTA. I have been an advocate for world languages in South Carolina for many years, both as a member of SCFTLA and in a variety of other roles, such as non-profit work, consulting and teaching. I have been serving as the World Language Teacher Support Specialist and recently have been named World Language Coordinator in Lexington One. I have the honor to work with some incredible world language teachers every day. Before that, I taught third grade Spanish immersion, and prior to that I taught Spanish at Columbia College. I also currently teach graduate courses in the fields of language and literacy and ESOL. I am excited to plan the upcoming SCFLTA conference with my fellow board members, and to be of service to you in any way that I can.
2019 Past-President: Caitlin Howard
¡Saludos! I’m Caitlin Howard, SCFLTA Past President. I grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, so I love the Browns, Cavs, Indians, and Buckeyes! I teach Spanish at Clover High School in Clover, SC.
I attended Universidad de Murcia in Murcia, Spain 2004-2005, earned my Bachelor’s in Spanish Education from Clarion University of PA in 2006, Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from University of West Florida in 2013, and National Board Certification in Spanish in 2015. This is year 13 of teaching high school Spanish and I love it! I look forward to serving another year on the SCFLTA board and seeing what this year brings.
Executive Director- Jason Bagley
When asked to introduce myself for the SCFLTA blog, I suddenly developed writer’s block. I am not one to “toot my own horn”, and prefer to stay in the background.
My name is Dr. Jason Bagley, and I currently have the privilege of serving as the Executive Director for SCFLTA. I am also a high school French teacher, and work part time as a STAMP rater and International Baccalaureate (IB) examiner. On a personal level, I enjoy traveling, reading, sporting events, and the outdoors!
If I had to discuss my type of leadership, I would certainly say that I am a servant leader. I enjoy doing for others, and have a passion for helping teachers become the best that they can be at their craft! I consider it my responsibility to go get information and bring it back to and share with my team.
I enjoy staying current with things that are happening in our field, especially with technology and leadership. Currently teacher leadership is a big focus, and I believe that you do not have to have a title or be in an office to be a leader. Some leaders serve what may seem like small roles in their schools or departments while others may be at every conference sharing their expertise with colleagues. There is a place for everyone, and each and every teacher has a unique set of gifts and skill sets that makes them unique and valuable! I encourage everyone to self-reflect on what their strengths and talents are. Some may have the gift of making connections with everyone they meet, others may have great organizational skills, while others may be dreamers and have great ideas. When you put those talents together, great things can happen!
If I can be of service to you, your department, school, or district, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
On that note, please be aware of the following changes to contact information!
Effective immediately, my email address is changing. Any SCFLTA related questions or contact with me will go to firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective July 1st, 2019, my (and any SCFLTA mail or business) should go to:
Dr. Jason Bagley
SCFLTA Executive Director
25 Paddington Avenue
Greenville, SC 29069
Thank you for all that you do for World Language Education and for the young people of South Carolina!
In the next series for the Crescent, we will be introducing and celebrating our SCFLTA leaders. Before we get to that, I want to ask you your thoughts!
What makes a good leader?
How do you (or someone you know) "Lead With Languages"?
Who are the leaders that inspire you? (Let's recognize those people!)
While it is impossible to list all the qualities of a great leader, SCFLTA has encountered countless leaders who:
1. Go above and beyond to spark interest in world language learners inside and outside of the classroom.
2. Recognize leadership potential in others by encouraging them to share their expertise.
3. Present best practices and share resources with others.
4. Recognize those strong colleagues and put them up for awards and recognition.
5. Advocate at district, state and national levels. See how to advocate here
6. Inspire future educators through mentorship and guidance.
One way ACTFL challenges individuals to Lead with Languages is by funding college scholarships for up to $6,000 for future world language educators. Click here to see the Lead with Languages Scholarship
Whether it is presenting at the 2020 SCFTLA conference, writing letters to your legislature, mentoring fellow language teachers or inspiring world language learners, SCFLTA challenges you to Lead with Languages. And, when someone has been an awesome leader, recognize them so that we can give them a shout out!
What do you want to see in your SCFLTA Leadership?
Who are the leaders that inspire you? (Let's recognize those people in the comments!)
Salut mes amis! Welcome to the first blog post for the Crescent! We have made the switch from a newsletter to a blog and I am excited to hear what all you have to share! Today's post is one dear to my heart, but I am excited to hear about any submissions you may have! Share what is going on in your and your colleagues' classrooms! Any interesting news you want to push out? This blog is for you! Contact me to get featured/be a feature writer!
"To have another language is to possess a second soul"
These words, spoken by Charlemagne, have us all shouting "YESSSSS! Oui! Si! Ja!". A few years ago, I came across the article The Voice of a Translingual Memoir by Mary Besemeres where she begs the question:
Do specific ways of speaking impact particular ways of feeling? Does living 'in' a language help to engender certain emotions?
Since then, I have been fascinated by how the language we speak shapes the way the see the world. Take a look at bilinguals. What language do they express anger and frustration in? What about feelings of admiration? If language affects our emotions, how does it affect the way we see and hear things? Below is a great Ted Talk on the topic.
Simple Activities to do with students to get them thinking about the impact of language:
Activity 1: Animal Noises
-Give students a list of animal sounds in the language like "Coin Coin!".
-Have students try to guess what animal the sound goes along with (They have a blast pronouncing the words out loud and trying to pair it with an animal!).
-Discuss how the languages we speak affects the sounds we hear.
Activity 2: Beliefs
-Find an authentic blog about children's beliefs. You will find that many of children's beliefs are based off their native language. A French example is "perdre les eaux" vs. "perdre les os". These francophones believed that women lost their bones when giving birth because of the similarity in pronunciation of "os" and "eaux".
-Have students categorize the beliefs into categories such as: religious, linguistic, cultural or media to discuss further. Make cultural comparisons to our own native and culture.
Tell me your story! How do the languages you speak affect the way you see the world? Any interesting classroom activities to share on the topic?