I know it's only June, but what a great time to plan something amazing for next school year! I love to take the summer every year and plan one or two really awesome units, projects, etc. This past summer I set out to create my first worldwide collaborative project. You can visit it at: www.beautifulmundo.com. The goal was to develop language proficiency authentically while at the same time developing global competency by recognizing diverse perspectives, challenging stereotypes, and exchanging ideas with other school groups from around the world. The question all participants set out to answer was: "How does our community reflect its diverse identity?" Each class designed a webpage to answer that question, and after viewing everyone's work, we had Skype chats with various classes. I created a step-by-step guide to help you create your own worldwide collaborative project!
We give finals to assess our students' progress toward all of our vocabulary, grammar, and most importantly, proficiency goals. But, how often do we assess their growth in global and cultural competency? I decided to try a new final exam for my mixed level 3/4 class. There was only ONE question: How has your worldview grown because of your Spanish studies? Students received a list of themes covered in the last 1-3 YEARS of their Spanish program. Grammar topics were listed as well. I asked the students to develop a multimedia presentation that could answer that question, while providing examples using the themes studied, and thinking about all of the linguistic skills gained that could aid them in their presentation. Here was one of my favorite videos!
What's the next new social media phenomenon we're going to have to quickly learn how to integrate into our lessons, am I right? It's hard to keep up! I've been looking for a way to integrate Instagram meaningfully, and I'm happy to share this lesson with you. With novice students learning to use the present progressive to express what is happening, we investigated the world in pictures, made predictions about cultural perspectives and products, and threw out our questions on Twitter with a #(country name) so that target language speakers with knowledge would respond and provide us with answers to our predictions! It was so much fun to check Twitter every day and find out if any of our cultural wonderings were correct, and more importantly, to use language with such authenticity. How is this lesson building global competency? Global citizens are curious about the world and they investigate it. They begin to develop an understanding of different cultural practices and perspectives and communicate with empathy and care when engaging in conversations with not only each other but with those people outside of their own practices, products, and perspectives. To develop global competency in this lesson, one needs to intentionally have these conversations as the lesson develops from the investigation (Instagram) to the exploration of ideas (making cultural predictions), to communication with others. It makes for so many teachable moments, and those are just THE BEST!
I have been a language teacher for fifteen years now and I am intensely passionate about language learning and helping students grow as global citizens. I'm so happy you are here!