One Day In Heritage Language Teaching – November 13, 2019

Here we have it, the second annual compilation of submissions showcasing what we were doing in our heritage language classrooms on November 13th – all ready to go for your midday break reading in the teachers’ lounge.

I posted every submission I received. The only editing I did was to condense the content or fit on a slide. They are in random order.

No further commentary needed – get some inspiration below. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed!

If you prefer to see these as large photos, check out the same content below in album format on Google Photos.



Here are the links mentioned:

https://tinyurl.com/descripciondeunfamiliar

https://tinyurl.com/descripcionpersonal

The following 1-hr documentary was shown after student presentations:

https://www.pbs.org/show/my-neighborhood-pilsen/
Courtney’s blog: http://www.profenygaard.com





Here is that ejemplo de una narrativa: https://tinyurl.com/Narrativaejemplo

And Jen’s blog: https://growingwithheritagelearners.home.blog/






Here are the links:

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/ahc-have-spanish-as-dominant-language-in-the-philippines.366144/

https://www.tes.com/lessons/fkJM9Hg90hImrg/la-cultura-el-palenquero-colombia

Calls for contributions to One Day in HLT, Nov 13th, 2019

As heritage language teachers, we know that we are lacking in professional development and yearn to connect with other heritage teachers. One way to do that is to share out what we’re all doing in our classrooms.

In September of 2018, I asked for heritage language teachers to share what they were doing in their classrooms on October 3rd. Whatever they were doing, I wanted it. Many of you will recall that it is a spin-off on the “A Day In The Life Of” picture book series, which is where my idea of choosing one specific day came from. Over a dozen HL teachers from across the country submitted one Powerpoint slide that included a description of class that day with some sort of visual. Many HL teachers reported that it was helpful to see what other teachers were doing in their classrooms on that day.

Well, by popular demand, we’re doing a rerun of this! But this time, I wanted to capture a different time of the year, so this time the date will be Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

Would you like to participate? If you teach a heritage language class at any level, please do! Here is what you will do.

  • Send me a (1) brief summary, like a short paragraph, and (2) a visual of whatever you do in your heritage lang classroom on Wednesday, November 13th.
  • You can send it ahead of time, or send me a sum-up after you’re done teaching on that day.  Send to ccashman@chiarts.org no later than Sunday night, November 17th.
  • You could put it on a Powerpoint slide like below in the sample pictures, or just send me the info in the body of an email and/or an attached photo or video (or YouTube link), and I can organize it.
  • You can include as much ID information as you feel comfortable with, knowing that it could be shared with a wide audience. See sample pictures below, or last year’s “One Day in HLT” compilation here

* EXAMPLES*

One of the most common questions is, “I’m on a block schedule. What if I don’t teach a heritage class on that day?” Do it the next day, or the day before. The one thing I ask is that you don’t pick something from another day that you think is more awesome or more kick-butt than whatever you’re doing on the 13th. Let’s be real with each other and let us know what you’re doing on that day. If you’re giving a test, give us a taste of what your test is – without compromising the integrity of the content of your course.

As it was last year, I will compile everyone’s visual into a blog entry and then share it back out with the wider HLT community on ACTFL, heritage teaching Facebook groups, and Twitter. For now, no fancy videos or big production – it will be something easy to read and view during your prep period for some mid-day inspiration.

HL teachers across the country are looking forward to seeing what you do in your heritage class on Wednesday, November 13th! Can’t wait to get submissions in my inbox later next month.

A multi-year plan to measure how our students progress towards proficiency

In order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’re at.  

In our department recently, we decided to find out to what extent our scope and sequence is moving students towards higher proficiency.  

Next fall, the Spanish 1 teachers will be selecting seven promising students about two weeks into the school year for an OPI / proficiency study.  We said “seven” at our meeting on Thursday, but I think I’m going to come back later and suggest ten. I will do OPI’s with the selected students at the beginning of September, and then again in May during each year that they study Spanish.  

Span 1Sept OPI

May OPI
Span 2
Sept OPI

May OPI
Span 3
Sept OPI

May OPI
Span 4 or AP Span
Sept OPI

May OPI

I will also be looking to do this with my heritage students.  It’s trickier, because they are more varied in terms of their entrance proficiency levels, but that also makes it all the more worthwhile.  Are my heritage classes moving students forward with their language proficiency – or as Kim Potowski suggests, linguistic development? Will Intermediate students sneak into the Advanced range? Will Advanced-Low students become Advanced-Mid, over 2-3 years?

SNS 1
Sept OPI

May OPI
SNS 2
Sept OPI

May OPI
AP Span
Sept OPI

May OPI

Here are some questions we are attempting to answer.

  • We would like to determine the extent to which our curriculum is (or is not) advancing students upwards along the proficiency spectrum.  What’s the temperature of our curriculum as it currently stands? How do “strong” students, the ones who are invested in their learning and do the work we give, end up doing with what we teach?  
  • Are there certain courses in which language growth seems to slow down?  We have started questioning if the classes after Span 1 (especially year 3 and higher) are focusing on content that is too advanced and thus slows down progress. We should be able to hear a qualitative difference from September to May, in any proficiency-oriented class.  Will we?
  • Will the students themselves, and perhaps their classmates who look on, be more motivated to acquire language by seeing themselves and/or their classmates advance in proficiency from one year to the next?  
  • We suspect that the results we hear will lead us to hear what our students are not able to do and examine where our curriculum might be falling short.  This school year, we already started to implement some changes in Spanish 3 based on our understanding of proficiency. For example, we tossed out an environmental unit and replaced it with a unit of stockpiled Scholastic magazines.  What else should we do?

We are looking forward to learning about our students, about our curriculum, and about  proficiency in the classroom as we embark on this in a few months. Fortunately, our school offers a school-wide 60-minute lunch break, so it’ll be easy to get them all in in half hour slots, still leaving me enough time to eat.  

My intention is to keep recording our findings and our realizations on my blog here, so stay tuned over the next few… years.

Have any thoughts about this?  How about a name for this project?  If you have any ideas, let me hear them!  

Are your heritage courses producing any results? How do you know?

So one of the up-and-coming stars of heritage language teaching, Adrienne Brandenburg, asked a very good question recently for heritage teachers, which I’m sure their administrators wonder also:

I’d like to answer that question with more questions:

How do the American Lit teachers on the third floor know that their instruction is working?  What does it look like when a British Lit teacher’s instruction is working?  What research is showing that English 101 is working?  Hm, “working”…

In the heritage classroom, we are less language-y and more language arts-y.  So how do language arts teachers prove the effectiveness of their classes?  I have two impressions based on interactions with my language arts colleagues:  (1) You can show some improved reading comprehension and knowledge of mechanics of grammar and writing through STAR testing, PSAE, PARCC, and other fun exams; but (2) progress is not always quantifiable, but we trust – oftentimes anecdotally – that being immersed in the reading of novels, discussions about them, writing research papers and essays, all does improve our students’ written, verbal, and cognitive skills.

Unless your school funds the National Spanish Exam, AAPPL, or the Stamp exams for your students every year, you really don’t have access to all the assessment resources you would need in order to show hard proof that your heritage class is working like our language arts colleagues do.  That being said, people constantly raise questions about how worthwhile those language arts oriented exams are anyway.

We do have a way to measure how effective our heritage classes are.  It’s called ACTFL’s 5 C’s, the World Readiness Standards.  “But wait- all that ACTFL stuff is for L2 learners!”  Generally speaking, I disagree, but the devil is in the details.  I’m actually going to present a conference session in February addressing this very issue (my first conference presentation ever – I’m insanely nervous), and I guess this blog post is turning into a sneak preview of where that’s going:

COMMUNICATION

  • Reading- Are your students being challenged to read texts in your heritage class that they wouldn’t encounter in an L2 classroom or outside of a classroom?
  • Speaking- Are you having conversations at the Advanced and Superior levels in your heritage class that they wouldn’t have at home or in the community?
  • Listening- Are you exposing your students to media and audio resources that contain topics at a higher level than they are able to speak and write at in order to move them up the proficiency pyramid?
  • Writing- Are you attempting to help your students spell better, revise their work, use more creative vocabulary, and write within genres that they would never have to if they weren’t in your class?

Codigo de correcciones screenshot

I am going to say that most heritage teachers will give a resounding “yes” to the above.  Your class is worthwhile.  You are doing the work that the field (ACTFL) is telling you to do and doing things to improve your heritage students’ proficiency.  Check.

CULTURE

  • Is your students’ knowledge of their own history and culture expanding in your classroom?  Take a look at some of those questions towards the middle of my post here.
  • Is your students’ knowledge of the history and culture of the wider Spanish-speaking world (or worldwide Chinese community, or Vietnamese history and culture) growing?

I bet it is.  Your heritage class is worthwhile.  Check.

CONNECTIONS:

Are your students learning about science, technology, the environment, politics, and current events in Spanish?  We talk about drones every year.

5-21 preguntas about drones

Double-points for learning about those things, and improving their language skills along the way.  You are doing the work.  Check.

COMPARISONS:

  • Do you have students compare English and the heritage language?
  • Do you ever compare American culture to the heritage culture(s)?  This is one of our best discussions every year.

4-27 Los padres cultural relationship difference a comenzar

Don’t we do those things all the time?  You’re doing the work.  Check.

COMMUNITIES

  • Do your heritage students have pen pals in Spain, Uruguay, Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic?

  • Do you ever do “Latino studies” in your class?
  • Do you have your heritage students interview family members or someone in the community about their experience immigrating to the U.S.?
  • Do you do something like one of these things above?  If so, check.

SEAL OF BILITERACY

Is it more likely that your heritage students will be able to be Intermediate-High or Advanced-Low speakers and writers by taking your class, thus increasing the probability of earning the Seal of Biliteracy in your state?  Then you’re giving something beneficial to your students and your district.  Check.

Has your state not approved the Seal of Biliteracy yet?  Why not, for crying out loud?

Heritage teachers will have just as hard (or easy) of a time proving the effectiveness of their courses just as much as language arts teachers will.  When I see my students leaving my heritage class knowing who Diego Rivera was, knowing more about the Aztecs, knowing why they all have a little bit of Arab blood, understanding the cycle of dictators in Latin America, identifying what “UNAM” is, having some rules to rely on for knowing where to put accents, and being able to explain the historical figures embedded in the murals and posters in my school’s immediate community, I have full confidence that my heritage courses are effective.

 

What heritage teachers were doing on October 3rd

Learning about big ideas is great.  So is seeing and hearing what teachers did on Wednesday morning, so that’s what we’ve done here.  Fourteen awesome participants, from the East and West coast, from the north and from the south, all sent me what they did in their heritage classrooms on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018– the only goal being to share their ideas with you, their colleagues (and future colleagues).  One teacher below teaches three different levels of Heritage Spanish on the same day, so she sent three lesson plans at different levels, which is very useful to see.

I won’t include a lot of commentary here because I believe the snapshots shared below speak for themselves (plus, I want the college students I’ll be teaching to try and make their own observations 🙄).  But suffice it say that ya’ll be kickin’ some heritage butt out there.  So without further ado, here’s what I received.  If you want to view in Google photos click here.

If you find this “One Day” post helpful, click “like” at the end!

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