Learning Log- Looking back…

18 Dec

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) give Standards for Foreign Language Learning.  They state that communication

in the target language, or in my case, Spanish, is understood as a process that involves three modes: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.

Within those modes are five genres that teachers use to help students better comprehend the language they are learning. They are listening, speaking, reading, writing,

and viewing.

Looking back over the tools we covered in the last 8 weeks, I wanted to more closely examine which tools would best match each genre specifically. With a little research, I

actually found an article that addresses this this topic specifically. The article begins with the listening genre and states that it’s more than just getting the statements made by

 each person. It’s “morphology, syntax, vocabulary (grammatical competence), the social and cultural expectations of native speakers in the language studied (sociolinguistic

competence), how to use pronouns and conjunctions in a cohesive and coherent manner.” Learners also need to be able to make educated guesses to fill in the blanks when they

hear words they do not recognize. Students can listen to a conversation, poem, music, broadcast, presentation, or story and do everything listed above but what about

technology? Students can listen to videos on youtube, podcasts online, skype with someone who can speak Spanish, download music from an app on their phone, or listen to a


After listening and interpreting, the student will probably be dying to share their input. Next comes speaking. In class, we try to do a lot of that. However, little technology has

been incorporated up until this point. Conversations with partners are common, acting out skits, singing, telling a story, or describing someone or something are all common

activities in my classroom. But why not capture these moments so that they can be viewed again by the student or by others who could learn from their words? We have flip

cameras at my school to capture skits or plays students are working on. These can be uploaded onto teachertube to reach a wider audience and even put into moviemaker or

photostory. The audio could be recorded so students can hear what they sounded like at the beginning of the year versus now. Students can speak on their or others’


Currently, there is a big push for collaborative and argumentative writing in the classroom. So besides pen and paper, what can be done? GoogleDocs is the first tool that comes

to mind. I can give students extra individualized help by utilizing googledocs and informally check for comprehension. Students can chat or email with other students learning

the same content as they are or can even write to a native speaker. Online discussions are popping up everywhere on twitter, facebook, diigo, blogs, and wikis. Journaling about

what you are learning is a great topic for a blog and a student has a much clearer understanding of what they are getting and what they are not. Stories or comics can be created

but first, a script is needed. Class notes can be taken on a googledoc, posted, and read by a student who was out sick. Students must learn how to safely communicate and

collaborate in online communities but that is a requirement now. We need to be teaching them now.

Reading is critical when learning a foreign language. Students need to be exposed to proper positioning of words in sentences in the target language. However, if what they are

reading does not interest them, they probably aren’t going to pay very close attention. But what if they are reading an email from the pen pal in Mexico and they know they will

have to respond? They are probably going to pay attention to every little detail that they read. They can read stories, poems, scripts, texts, emails, googledocs, slideshows, etc.,

“Through viewing activities, students can observe authentic interactions among native speakers, learn about differences among dialects, accents, registers, and body language

without leaving the boundaries of their classroom.” Grammar does not interest most students but seeing a culture come to life can motivate any learner. Performances,

traditions, conversations, movies, documentaries, commercials, exhibits in virtual field trip, and images from anywhere in our world can be viewed right here in the classroom

in Carroll County. Hooking students is never easier than with a crazy video on youtube that some loco teacher put together in all their free time. Conjugations Back

There’s nothing like viewing projects other students have created and involve your students in making an even better project. Get competition in the mix and there’s a win-win.

I know that not everything was covered in this learning log but there are great activities that are already occurring in world language classrooms everywhere and they may just

need the name of a tool to get them started. Good luck all! Dive into that tool box!!!

2 Responses to “Learning Log- Looking back…”

  1. slm508*M*M*W* at 10:39 am #

    It’s not the 19th yet wordpress!!!!!!! It’s 10:38pm on the 18th still!!!!!!!

  2. slm508*M*M*W* at 3:54 pm #


    Screencast showing the incorrect date with this post! Aaaaahhhhhhhh….LOL

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