Communication, Growth mentality, Listening

12 key questions to build listening skills in a second language

When language learning is divided into its four core skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing, listening is often an area where students struggle the most. Listening to an authentic speaker or watching a video in the target language feel overwhelming to them, and they need specific instruction in how to do it. If … Continue reading

Communication, Growth mentality, Lesson ideas, Personalized Learning, Teaching ideas

Six alternatives to oral presentation in second language classes.

I vividly remember what it was like to participate in my first university level French class. It seemed like everyone else was talking easily, having conversations and responding to the professor's questions in French. I, on the other hand, felt totally inadequate. Nothing in my high school French experience had prepared me for this. We … Continue reading

Assessment, Communication, Critical thinking, Curriculum, Growth mentality, Personalized Learning, Resources, writing

What I’ve learned so far about student translator use.

My two teaching areas are English and French. I haven't taught English for some time, but there are some pretty reliable tools available now to catch incidents of plagiarism. Translator use is considered plagiarism in second language classes, and it's no exaggeration to say that plagiarism is rampant in high schools. Simply put, work completed … Continue reading

Communication, Critical thinking, Differentiation, Growth mentality, Personalized Learning

Introducing choice-based writing in second language classes

Last summer, I read a book that was a game changer for me. The book was called¬†Writing Circles, written by James Vopat. Mr. Vopat has developed a system similar to literature circles, using peer-led small groups and micro lessons focused on skills and strategies to do the following: lead students from practice to progress as … Continue reading

collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, Curriculum, Differentiation, Growth mentality, Lesson ideas, Personalized Learning, Uncategorized

How to design stations for second language classes

My collaboration partner and I have been using stations (sometimes also called centers) in our secondary level French as a second language classes over the past year. When we tell our colleagues what we're doing, reactions vary. If we're talking to secondary teachers, the reaction is somewhere between asking us what we're talking about to … Continue reading

Communication, Critical thinking, Curriculum, Differentiation, Growth mentality, Lesson ideas, Listening, Personalized Learning

Skill-based strategies for listening in second languages

One of the big shifts in education in BC has been the transition from a content-based curriculum to one that is skills-based. There are many subject areas that are heavily driven by content (math and science, for example). Second languages are a relatively easy place to make the transition to skill-based instruction, but it is … Continue reading

Culture, Curriculum, Growth mentality, Personal and Social Identity, Uncategorized

Deep learning – exploring culture and identity

I've been working with my collaboration partner, preparing a presentation we will give at an upcoming conference. The focus of the presentation is the ways in which we integrate culture in our lessons. We've worked really hard to get away from viewing the integration of culture as (a) a checklist, or (b) simplistic. We have … Continue reading

collaboration, Curriculum, Growth mentality, Resources, Teaching ideas

Solving the puzzle: Aligning curriculum, resources and student context

Truth: Change is hard. Here in B.C., we've gone through a period of curriculum change that has transitioned through draft documents, public feedback, revisions, and then implementation periods. The end result was that every single course at every single grade level got a new curriculum document. Think about that for a minute - every school, … Continue reading