For me the word came easy because it was already on my mind when I packed up for winter break. Now that my thoughts turn back to school and what needs to be done prepare for students again, this word hovers around me waiting for me to embrace it and run.
My #OneWord for 2015 is PERSONALIZE.
Like Colleen's wonderful choice, APPLICABLE, my word is multifaceted and begins with choices I must make as I lead my students towards the proficiency goals we have set. To begin, I plan push myself to lead even more by example by PERSONALIZING the units and lessons I will teach by finding personal connections I have to those themes and using my life and experiences as comprehensible input for my students. I know there are many teachers out there who are already masters at doing this, but this is an area of growth for me. How can I find things to share with my students that both model language and communication to them while allowing us to connect and build relationships that we haven't had before? Up until now I have trusted the curriculum to provide the narrative for what I would talk about with my students, but I have recently experienced many examples of how sharing a little of myself and what I am passionate about makes what we do with the language much more rich and fun! The challenge in personalizing my instruction is the deliberate planning it will require on the front end to find those experiences to use when loading new language for my students. I predict lots of trips down memory lane to shop for souvenirs of my own experiences to share with them. I am excited and scared, but curious to see how this will all play out.
The student side of PERSONALIZE is all in how I frame the learning experiences and language tasks I design for them. I am going to work hard to personalize each step of their acquisition so their processing is focused on pulling their stories out of them through the target language. We all know that they love to talk about themselves, so I am going to model that and provide multitudes of opportunities for them to share, share, share, but in ways they might not normally.
Here's my plan:
- Our new vehicle for personalizing learning will be individual teacher and student Spanish language blogs.
- Our blogging goals will be to write for an outside audience and to interact with others in the blogosphere.
- Our unit is all about being healthy, whole individuals, so I am throwing the gauntlet down with authentic resources and I will be asking them to take them in and explain how they see themselves through the lens of those resources. They will have to read about how soda effects the body.
- Our language focus is comparing the imperfect tense with the present, so I will blog about how my family always kept Cokes in my home all the time and how my Dr. Pepper addition developed. They will have to blog about their own soda consumption habits and maybe even examine how they feel when they drink it. I will blog about meals my mom always prepared for me as a child, why that is what we ate and how I think that has an effect on my diet now. They will blog about their daily diet choices, evaluate the health value of those choices and analyze how they feel after they eat the things they do. They will also reflect on their eating habits as small children compared to how they eat now since they have more choice in their food.
These are at least examples of what I have in mind for making their learning personal for all involved. As I said before, my challenge is in finding the personal hook to each item I hand them and task I assign. Well, that and changing the habit of using paper to checking up on all of their blogs regularly. I am nervous, but I think it is that feeling you get when embarking on a new journey. I have no idea how this is all going to turn out, but I am excited to see what unfolds.
What is your #OneWord for 2015? I hope it is scary exciting, too!