La Corrida de Toros

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ALTE Can Do Statements

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ALTE Can Do Statements: The ALTE Can Do Statements are descriptions of what can be done at different levels of language proficiency and are published by the Association of Language Teachers of Europe. They are similar to Linguafolio, but organized by the 6 levels recognized in Europe of A1 and 2, B1 and 2, and C1 and 2. Unlike the ACTFL inverted pyramid, proficiency descriptors expand within a topic, making it easy to understand how the requirements of a task are fulfilled at each different level. For example, what one might do as a B2 level speaker shopping would be much broader than an A2 level speaker. For example, an A2 speaker could read the descriptors for what would be required to fulfill the task at their level. Specifically, they include being able to bargain minimally. They can then look ahead to B2 and see the additional requirements for that level. A B2 speaker can effectively ask for a refund. Concrete goals can be set to work towards the task at each higher level. This can be a self-assessment or one done as part of a class.

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Linguafolio Self-assessment Portfolio

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LinguaFolio® - National Council of State Supervisors for Languages 2015-02-27 05-26-40

Linguafolio: Linguafolio is a list of proficiency tasks. The tasks are beautifully organized by ACTFL proficiency range and sub-level. These can be used as self-assessments for teachers and students. They can be used to develop exams, quizzes, portfolios and learning targets. These lists bring the black and white tasks on the ACTFL scale to life. The discrete tasks within each ACTFL sub-level are explored in greater detail in the form of what the speaker at that level can do specifically. This gives all engaged in Linguafolio concrete descriptors of what is required to complete each task. For example, the Intermediate Low student might do a dramatization demonstrating that they can talk about their life at school with another. This provides evidence for the teacher and student of their level of mastery of that task and eventually serves as an indicator to move on to the next level.

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Proficiency Testing Training

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Testing & Assessment 2015-02-27 05-14-09

CAL Rater Training Kits: Teachers can train in proficiency testing through the Center for Applied Linguistics. Candidates take a test following recorded directions and prompts. While this can’t provide the same type of adaptation specific to a learner that the full face-to-face or telephone OPI can provide, linguistic proficiency can be measured. Teachers can complete the training modules, and then practice rating speaking samples. After completing the practice ratings, rater candidates can send an application, a fee and their work to CAL. If a certain percentage of ratings are correct, a rater certificate is awarded. I have personally found this to be some of the best professional development that I have done. It was a huge help as I moved towards a proficiency-based language class as it helped me better understand the specifics of each range and level.

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Want some concrete ways to test your own language proficiency and begin to learn to apply this in your classes? Here is a great resource to explore:

Language Testing International | Validated and Certified Language Proficiency Testing in 100+ Languages 2015-02-27 05-00-03

ACTFL OPI: The ACTFL OPI is a spoken test taken through LTI (Language Testing International). Candidates take the test and later receive their rating. Taking the ACTFL OPI was invaluable for me as a learner and teacher. After taking this test, it really illuminated for me what each range and level of the ACTFL Proficiency Scale meant. It gave me a specific target to work towards to improve my language skills. It also helped me understand the language of proficiency testing and teaching. Candidates gaining a certain level can train to become a rater for the full OPI, or the Modified OPI (certifies to assess lower ranges). I can’t imagine a more powerful tool for a language teacher. Imagine being able to give the type of detailed, individualized feedback to each student that this assessment provides. Knowing if your students speak closer to the level of a student approaching the end of their undergraduate degree in a foreign language or a student in a beginning-level class will really help in setting goals and achieving them. Having this type of tool also helps us team vertically with colleges and universities, as well as with real-world foreign language assessments.

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Post It Notes for World Language Class


photo by Dean Hochmanh

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Label vocabulary: Have students label vocabulary in your classroom, around your school, their clothing, parts of the body, realia- anything. The possibilities are endless!

Categories: Have students write themed vocabulary during a unit of study on Post Its. They stick them to a board and have them to refer to throughout the unit.

Pinterest: Have students research any aspect of the target culture and bring in photos. They should use a Post It note to write a caption. Hang up the boards. Students write their comments on Post It notes and add to the thread.

Test Review: Have students write questions from any chapter or unit of study you are working on. Organize them by theme on a large piece of paper or the board. Get the class together and review the content on your assessment.

Jeopardy: Have the students write answers from the content you are studying on Post It notes. Organize them on a board. Students must ask questions.

Quiz/Challenge Board: Have students write questions on any given topic. The class divides up into teams and plays.

Reading: As foreign language teachers, we give students reading selections that have a great deal of unknown vocabulary. Have students read in pairs, making notes on Post Its on meaning, context, vocabulary, etc. in the margins. This is an active way to help them negotiate meaning.

Interactive Reading: A variation of this is to have students write a question or two on certain sections of text, as well as the answer. They then ask and answer the questions when the class takes turns reading out loud. This is another active reading lesson that requires a great deal of engagement.

Speech Feedback: During oral presentations, have the audience write feedback for the presenter on Post It notes. We usually set some ground rules before doing this so that all understand what constructive criticism is and what it is not. At the end, the audience puts their notes on a piece of paper and the presenter walks away with feedback. The feedback can be themed (i.e. use of a structure, a question, a compliment, etc.).

Mini Writer’s Workshop: Again, the students share something that they have written. Feedback (normally what is great and what can make it even better) is shared on Post its. The author walks away with a paper full of feedback.

Ask a Question: Have the students write questions they need the answer to on Post its. They pass the notes around looking for people with the answer. After the notes have been passed around, the class convenes and discusses all the questions and answers.

Illustrate Reading/Label: This is great for tackling difficult reading. Give students small Post its to label unknown vocabulary in the text and larger ones to illustrate sections of the reading. Students can use the illustrations to retell the story to the class.

Jigsaw/Summary: Students can be assigned a section of a text. They are responsible for mastery of that section. Give them small notes to label vocabulary and large notes to summarize, or put in bullet points, their section of the text. As a group, put the selection together. The Post It notes can be placed in order on a paper and copied. The students then must retell the content in their own words.

Park a Question: They don’t know something? Have a section in your room where they can ask and park a question they don’t want to ask the class.

Describing Paintings: If you have paintings in your room from the target culture, students can write a sentence or two-length description and place it on the painting. The students can practice reading and descriptions.

Storyboard: This works well for narration. The students can take four or five (or however many you want) medium-sized Post iIs to craft a short story. They can write bullet points and drawings on the notes. These notes then can be used to narrate a story.

Essay Organizer: Similar to Storyboard, this activity helps students organize an essay using Post its. One example is the classic five-paragraph essay. Students should make bullet points on one for the introduction, one for each of the three paragraphs they will write and one for the conclusion. Organize the notes and write the essay.

Organize a Letter: Similar to Essay Organizer, have students bullet point what will go in different parts of a letter. Organize it and write the letter.

Rubrics: Giant Post its can be used to create rubrics with students on an assignment. Keep the Post it up as they work as well as type out a copy for them to take home.

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