It’s been three and a half years since we’ve started this blog. Time flies when you’re having fun! Here’s a little update of what we’re up to now.
What are your big reflections from the past year?
Megan: Teaching isn’t easy… but it gets easier over time. I’ve been really lucky to teach the same levels at the same school for 7 years. I’ve been teaching languages through proficiency the whole time. I remember struggling to come up with good lessons. You know… authentic ways to show students language and let them learn the language more naturally (not through lectures of language or grammar). Each year I found myself redo-ing the previous year’s ideas. The struggle was real! Over time, lesson ideas come quicker, cultural inspiration is easier to find, and I’m better at promoting 21st century skills through project-based learning. I say all that to say this… If you’re a new teacher or you’ve recently broken away from a textbook, it can be hard. Especially at first. However, it gets easier and the results are much more rewarding! A change in the right direction is worth it’s weight in gold!
Kara: I’ve had an eye-opening year! I moved to Denver at the beginning of last school year because my husband Chris had a great job there. Trying to get a teaching job at that time was very limited. I took a short-term position teaching Spanish and ESL. It was an awesome experience to learn about a new district, their initiatives and standards-based grading (which I love!). I’ve also had the opportunity to observe and work with so many passionate teachers. My big take-away is that teachers care, work extremely hard, and are constantly evolving. It’s contagious! Also I’m loving the great inspiration that comes from the Denver community and environment. I’m not sure if this is a permanent move, so I’ll enjoy the mountains while I can.
Megan: I’m anticipating lots of new adventures! I’ve taken a step away from the classroom this year. Kara and I have decided to focus full-time on Creative Language Class to help teachers. We’re now doing workshops year-round. It’s so inspiring to see teachers reflecting on what they do in the classroom and helping them be even better! Also, I’ve got my first baby on the way late November and I want a little time to savor the little moments as a new mom.
Kara: After a rich 13 years of teaching in several different classrooms (and cities), I’m excited to be working with World Language educators. For the last 6 years, I was determined to make language learning authentic for my students. Now I’m sharing my experiences to help others make that wonderful transition. As long as I have an Internet signal, Megan and I can still work together.
What are your goals for Creative Language Class this year?
- Share more ideas! We still have so much to share from our classroom experiences including unit and lesson plans. If you have followed us from the beginning, you’ll know that we used to post quick ideas daily. Lately the posts are bigger ideas with more detailed and examples. They take a little longer to put together, but we’re making more time for that now.
- We will continue adding authentic resources in Spanish to the Chispas page. We’re finding new ones all the time packed with language and culture! Our hopes is to save you time searching by bringing our favorites all to one spot!
- We are developing videos to show how to do what we are passionate about. The plan is to have one out before Baby Smith arrives. Fingers crossed!
- Workshops! We fell in love with presenting at conferences like KWLA and ACTFL. Now we are doing workshops for schools, districts, universities and more conferences here and abroad. Check out our Calendar to see if we will be near you, or email us if you are interested in hosting your own workshop. We are seeing great things happening around the world with World Language instruction and we’re excited to be a part of it!
In conclusion, we want to thank YOU, our CLC community, for your constant support and thought-provoking questions. We believe teaching is a collaboration where we learn from each other. Can’t wait to see what happens this year!
Congrats on your changes. It sounds very exciting. I have to admit that I am a little jealous. Also I just now saw that you will be doing a presentation not far from me in October. I am really hoping I can convince my principal to let me come. I will need to figure out the logistics but I really want to attend. I attended Camp Musicuentos this summer and loved it.
Thanks, Kelly! Which presentation are you closest to? I always sold my trips to conferences to my principals by volunteering to do a short after-school PD for the school on something I learned that could relate to all teachers. We have to show admin how we add value to the school!
I just want to take the time to say GRACIAS!!! I’ve been following your blog from the beginning and I kid you not when I say that it’s my lifeline. I’m trying to get my team of teachers on board with proficiency based learning but it’s extremely hard because they are old-school and don’t want to break their old habits. It’s discouraging to watch and hear students talk about other language teachers and the activities that they have them doing in their classrooms. It is definitely a lot of work to switch to a completely proficiency based classroom but I agree with you when you say that the struggle is worth it. I’m not there yet, but am actively trying little by little every year. So, again, thank you for all you do to inspire language teachers around the country – I know you’ve inspired me and I am forever grateful!
Ali – Thanks so much for your comment! It really means a lot! We share ideas and wonder how crazy we must sound to all who read 🙂 and it’s nice to know it has encouraged you! Keep up the good work though. It’s so important to make the change. We have to do what’s best for the kids and it sounds like that’s exactly what you’re doing!
SO grateful for your inspiration and resources! Keep it up, I’ll be staying tuned. Hoping to bring you to Chico one day!
Thanks, Beth! We love the Chico teachers!