Frau and I have been teaching for several years in various schools and departments. We were both educated at U of Illinois. We started attending professional conferences together while teaching. After several years of self-doubt and budding self-confidence (We strongly believe that it is vital for human beings to be able to hold contrasting thoughts in their minds and hearts at one time) we asked ourselves…
How can we take ALL the things we’ve learned from ALL the people in ALL the different formats with ALL the different research, and…
- Throw away what we don’t like/trust/believe in
- usually after one of us at least TRYS it first
- Keep the things we do like
- Stay faithful to our beliefs about our role as language educators and members of the human family
- Stop thinking that there is a right way / wrong way
- And stop trusting people who present their information like that
- Incorporate things into our teaching that don’t really SEEM like they come from the same approach (Can I use #authres AND TCI??? GASP!! NOVELS AND IPAS?!?! STAHP!!!) 😮😮😮😮
…do all of that in two different languages from two different schools?
(you can decide who is Frau and who is Señora)
So… what do we like?
- Having a plan for the year a la “Units”
- Themes – like… AP or Global Themes (Clementi/Terrill)
- Teaching with compelling comprehensible input
- A focus on high-frequency verbs and structures – things kids will ACTUALLY encounter in their use of the language outside of our classroom.
- Culture and “other” is important (music, food, social justice perspectives, schools, environmentalism…)
- Maybe it’s that people AREN’T really all that different… or that they ARE. Either way – the culture of people who speak German/Spanish natively cannot be ignored and it is irresponsible to do so.
- #authres when possible
- ACTFL core practices are legit, but we are dynamic women who contain multitudes. Sometimes building relationships and being the reason a kid doesn’t kill themself is more important than using TL 90% of the time or using #authres. 🤷♀️
- (I’m sure there are way more things we could add to this list of #thiswebelieve but this is what came to mind right now.)
So… what did we do for Curriculum Camp
Frau drove 3 hours to come stay with me and my crazy fam (3 year old, husband, 2 80 lb hound dogs) for a few days. We tried to do this with other coworkers in the past, but it never really amounted to much. We believe it’s our teacher BFFship that really made it possible to do real WORK together. So what did we do? We…
- Went through all of the things we’ve saved over the years. Pinterest, sending things to ourselves on Twitter, the save feature on Facebook, folders of papers from PD and conferences. Of huge importance were the scopes/sequences/curriculum maps of some of our heroins… Carie Toth, Martina Bex, Allison Wienhold, Elisabeth Alvarado, Kristy Placido, and more…) Sharing is caring, seriously ladies, THANK YOU.
- Looked up words and bloggers and phrases and techniques that stuck out to us. Defined them on a shared doc so we’d have common language while discussing.
- Had #realtalk about what we liked and what could get out of our faces.
- Made a blank chart based on the 1000 templates from 1000 people, conferences, books, PDs, and departments who’ve tried to help us/others organize and define what we’re doing.
- Printed and scribbled on paper things that we’ve done and liked in the past that we want to try to incorporate next year. Tried to make it look like a plan.
- Looked at gaps, deleted, added, discussed, ate veggie straws, drank beer, etc.
Here’s what mine looks like NOW:
Note: It is obviously a mess and incomplete. The flaw with planning on paper is that you cant create links. You just write “use Selena presentation” but have to find it later. Another flaw – not every unit meets every demand of our form. Not every unit has “enduring understandings” or “essential questions” … and some don’t REALLY have a theme. This goes hand in hand with our beliefs (see above). There is not ONE way to do ALL things.
So now you know who I am, who my teacher BFF is, and what I’m trying to plan for next year. It’s been real, Y’all.