Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Learning from Langcampct

Yesterday's Lancampct was nine months in the making.  I was thrilled to work with Maureen Lamb, Matthew Mangino, and Katy Reddick to plan the event.  I'm already looking forward to the next one.

My world language colleagues and friends truly inspired me today; it will take me weeks to process all of the learning from the sessions and also the informal conversations I had throughout the conference.

Langcampct session board at the end of the day

Some of my initial takeaways are below.  Please visit our virtual Session Board to link to the notes from each session.

  • Student teachers!  There were four student teachers from the University of Connecticut in attendance, and they were amazing!  It was wonderful to learn from them and to have these novice teachers connect with more experienced educators.
  • Session 1:  Strategies for staying in the target language.  My favorite idea from the session: Create a shared classroom document, that students can add to, with language functions in the target language, organized by category, for different tasks, such as playing a game, working on a project, common classroom questions, etc.  Review and model these language functions in context before beginning an activity. I also liked the discussion about using grouping strategies, props, and adopted identities to encourage interpersonal communication.
  • Session 2:  AP French.  I learned about many fabulous resources, especially those offered by RFI for those learning French.
  • Session 3:  Project-based learning.  This session was a great reminder about the excellent information offered by the Buck Institute, with their gold standard PBL.  PBL, in order to be effective, must be carefully designed using best practices.  An in-depth discussion comparing integrated performance assessments and PBL helped to deepen my understanding of both topics while simultaneously revealing how much more I have to learn. 
  • Smack down:  The smack down, at the end of the day, was a celebration of everyone's learning.
  • Public and independent schools.  I was pleased that the event attracted a mix of public school and independent school world language teachers.  I haven't worked much with colleagues from independent schools, and I learned so much. I look forward to continuing these collaborations.
  • Thank you!  This event would not have been possible without the support of the EdCamp Foundation, the Wethersfield Public Schools, or the participation of dedicated educators. 
I feel incredibly lucky to work with such passionate and committed educators.  This event confirmed my belief in the power of teacher-driven professional development.  I expect there will be more blog posts in the future as I think more deeply about the themes and topics from Langcampct.

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