Saturday, December 10, 2016


I absolutely love going to conferences. I've been to my state conference every year since I started teaching in the States. I went to SCOLT two years ago. This year I got to go to ACTFL for the first time and it was amazing!  So many sessions! So many more elementary people - especially at the NNELL Breakfast! So many ideas  - big and small!

I know this is a little late - most people have already blogged their impressions - but I came home and turned around and went on a family vacation to Florida. And then there was the flurry of catching up the week after break because I hadn't done any planning because I was on a family vacation in Florida. But I think the extra time (and the 14 hours in the car) helped me to better process what I can use and not use from this year's conference.

Today I'm sharing a small bite - something that isn't mind blowing or completely changed my thinking toward teaching but something I was already doing but with a small twist I'd never thought of that makes big difference and that I started using right away.

On Friday afternoon I attended Implementing Content Based Instruction: A Tool For Teachers presented by Dr. Heather Hendry. She demonstrated a lesson on density by having us see if different school supplies would float or sink. At the same time we incorporated math by graphing how many floated and how many sank and how many floated. We did comparisons by talking about if the different items were more dense or less dense than the water. It was a great take on something we all teach.

But what I really loved was how she had us give our opinion before we put each item in the water. Every person had a paper that had "float" on one side and "sink" on the other side that we held up. Those of us who spoke Spanish (and were more comfortable in the TL of the lesson) shouted out our answers in addition to showing our cards. The teachers who taught other languages started by just holding up their card but by the end were also shouting out their answers.

It was fantastic - this one piece of paper gave us automatic differentiation and reinforced literacy. It helped the class stay in the target language and while the teacher could easily see what each student thought.

Kindergarteners after their Thanksgiving performance - hence all the turkeys!

And there are a million and one ways to use it. I came back to school and immediately made them for my kindergartners with Me gusta on one side and No me gusta on the other side. My third graders are using them with Estoy de acuerdo and No estoy de acuerdo. I envision using them with Quiero and Necesito with wants and needs. With same and different when doing comparisons. The list goes on and on.

Like I said, something really, really small and not even the heart of the presentation but something I loved and am using right away in lots of different ways.

How do you have student show what they're thinking in class? Share in the comments below!

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