Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative
Meeting January 29, 2008
The following World Languages instructors met on January 29 and shared ideas
they have used for class projects:
Norm Fineman - Holbrook Elementary School - French
Lynda Millar - Connors-Emerson School - MDI - French
Leslee Fiveland - Bucksport Middle School - Spanish
Janice Clain - Hermon High School - Spanish and German
Norm has his students prepare and present a project on culture
and geography. Most work alone or with one or two partners to explore
a French-speaking country. Each student in the group researches the culture,
history, customs, food and other aspects of the country. They share this
information with the class. The presentation includes a greeting with some
type of "party favor", a display of a piece of clothing from the country, a
10 minute presentation (in English) that includes a brief history, the
people, school life, travel tips, foods, sports, music, politics, religion,
human rights issues and economic issues.
They also have to explain and share a dish or drink from the country.
They are graded as follows: up to 15 points for greeting / party favor
up to 15 points for clothing
up to 50 points for the classroom presentation
up to 15 points for the food presentation
5 points for references
Norm also has his students prepare a poster board verb display,
with illustrations of the action.
Lynda Millar explained her maison d'escargot project. Each student has an
(snail) and creates a home for it. Work is done at home. The maison has to
be vertical, like a doll house. They must present the house in class and
must describe it orally. Lynda is in the process of preparing a rubric to
grade the project, and includes oral presentation and creativity in the
Leslee Fiveland has her students create a country specific menu.
Students have to take into account the climate of the country and
native foods. Prices have to be listed in the currency of that
country. Students score themselves on their projects. Leslee also
assesses each project using a rubric.
Leslee also has her students create a holiday mini project. They have
to name the holiday, tell what traditions are associated with it and foods
prepared for the celebration. They also must compare the holiday with one
observed in the United States.
Leslee has been working with the technology teacher to create a boat from
a Latin American country. Items to be incorporated include: currency, flag,
climate, natural resources of the country.
JaniceClain has her second year students prepare a "Book of My Life"
to demonstrate mastery of uses of the two past tenses. Students may include
photos, and are assessed with a rubric that includes use of language and
creativity / design.
Janice's students also create a brochure for a hotel, and may use hand
created illustrations or photos from the internet. Because the project
is done in conjunction with lessons on the future and comparisons,
both those grammar constructions must be included. The grading
rubric includes vocabulary, language and appearance / creativity.
The next meeting of the Penosbcot Foreign Language Collaborative will take
place on Tuesday, March 18. The topic will be "How to create a rubric".
Attendees should bring an assignment they use, or would like to use, and
their current rubric, if they have one.
March 18, 2008
The following language educators met at Bucksport Middle School on March 18,
Lynda Millar – Connors -Emerson School, Mount Desert
Leslee Fiveland – Bucksport Middle School
Janice Clain – Hermon High School
Leslee shared a list of websites she acquired at a workshop session at the FLAME
conference. She also explained how she uses the Noteshare web site to post notes
and assignments for her students.
Lynda brought a rubric she created for a “New Language Project”. She has her
eighth grade students investigate a language for which they have no personal
experience. Students have to learn phrases from the new language, record their
findings and reflect on why they might like to learn the new language. This
project helps students make reasoned choices regarding the language they will
study at the high school level. Lynda had a basic rubric to evaluate the
project, but asked for input to refine the standards listed. Leslee provided
tips for stating standards in positive terms.
Janice brought examples of rubrics from the ACTFL publication The Keys to the
Classroom. This basic manual has provided helpful tips for beginning
language teachers. The book, available from (www.actfl.org)
has proved to be a useful resource for the two new teachers at Hermon High
Janice also brought examples of rubrics she uses in classes, including one to
assess a Maine geography report for her second year students.
The next meeting of the Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative will be a
social meeting, on May 7, at Fresh Ginger, in Hampden. Language teachers
from the Penobscot Valley area are invited to get together for the social
evening, even if they have not been able to attend meetings throughout the year.
Look for more information at the beginning of May.
Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative
The following language educators attended the first meeting of the Penobscot
Foreign Language Collaborative for school year 2008--2009:
Shawn Dulac - Brewer High School
Fred Ravan - Brewer High School
Anita Tassel - Bangor Montessori School
Kristina Ryberg - Glenburn School
Leslee Fiveland - Bucksport Middle School
Janice Clain - Hermon High School
Carolyn Horth shared information about the monthly newsletter from the
French consulate: check
She played Images de France, which the consulate had
provided free of cost. Carolyn sent three blank CDs, and in return
received materials on several cultural topics.
Carolyn and Leslee Fiveland also related experiences last summer
with Children's International Summer Village. Carolyn is a local contact for
the program, which brings international students to spend a month on a
school campus and make three home stays. The "village" last summer was at
Brewer High School.
The group brainstormed topics for collaborative meetings for the year. The
most often mentioned topic is the use of technology in the classroom. Other
ideas are advocacy for world language study, and an idea swap, sharing
The next meeting of the collaborative will be on Wednesday, October 29,at
Center Drive School, in Orrington. The topic will be advocacy for world
language learning, and will focus on planning ideas and materials to
promote World Languages Week, the first week of March.
Two meetings highlighting use of technology are tentatively set for December
3 and January 28, at Brewer High School. An idea swap is tentatively
scheduled for March 18, the week following the FLAME Conference.
Meetings of the Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative begin at 3:30.
They provide an opportunity to network with teachers at area schools,
to learn about new strategies and materials, to share what works, and
to connect with educational resources.
For further information about the collaborative, contact Janice Clain
at Hermon High School.
Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative
October 29, 2008
following world languages instructors met at Center Drive School on October 29,
Leslee Fiveland – Bucksort Middle School
Carolyn Horth – Center Drive School, Orrington
Janice Clain – Hermon High School
Leslee reported on the FLES conference and shared materials and ideas presented
there. These included strategies for advocating for language instruction. Many
of these strategies came from Christie Brown, who was keynote speaker at the
FLAME Conference in March. She advises that language instructors think of
themselves as part of the team, and not as add-ons. They should promote their
role in supporting the broad goal of improving literacy. To that end, language
instructors reinforce mechanics and vocabulary building of the English Language
Arts curricula. Language instructors should observe and establish a personal
connection with ELA instructors. The other content area that provides a natural
link to language instruction is social studies. Christie Brown recommends that
modern language teachers ask social studies instructors what they don't have
time to cover, and then offer to incorporate that topic into their classes.
Leslee has been able to work with the social studies teacher in her school to
offer a project that teaches about the exploration period and the Native
American groups in Latin America.
Several members of the Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative sent messages to
Education Commission Gendron to express concern regarding a proposal to the
Stakeholders Group to exclude the World Languages from diploma requirements. The
Commissioner responded to each of these messages, and explained that her
proposal is to require students to meet the state standard in the four core
areas, English, math, science and social studies, and in one other area of their
choice, and to partially meet the standard in the other three content areas. She
has also recommended that Don Reutershan meet with World Languages instructors
and FLAME representatives to formulate a plan of action.
Carolyn Horth and Leslee both shared examples of games they use to reinforce
vocabulary lessons and promote oral communication. One asks students to use a
particularly difficult vocabulary word as a signal in the old “hot and cold”
guessing game. The teacher asks one student to leave the room. Students will
select one object in the classroom which is the chosen item. Instead of
signaling with “hot or cold”, students signal by saying the target vocabulary
word louder or softer, helping the “guesser” to identify the chosen item. A
similar game called “Black Magic” helps the “guesser” locate an object chosen by
the class. The teacher and the student who has to identify the chosen item
confer and agree that the chosen item will be the one after a black object.
Carolyn also showed examples of videos available on Teacher Tube and You Tube
that support language instruction. Check out “Cry me a verb.”
Fred Ravan has created a Face Book site for the Penobscot Language
Collaborative. Check out the site and communicate with other language
next meeting of the Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative will take place on
December 3, at 3:30 pm, at Brewer High School. The topic will be “Using
Technology in the Classroom.”
Penobscot Foreign Languages Collaborative
The following language educators attended a meeting of the Penobscot Foreign
Language Collaborative on December 3, 2008, at Brewer High School:
Shawn Dulac - French - Brewer High School
Paula Martel Tarr - French and Spanish - Brewer High School
Fred Ravan - Spanish - Brewer High School
Sue McCallum - Spanish - Brewer Middle School
Jessica Umel - Spanish - Orono High School
Lynda Millar - French - Connors Emerson School, Bar Harbor
Leslee Fiveland - Spanish - Bucksport Middle School
Janice Clain - Spanish and German - Hermon High School
Fred Ravan has created a Face Book site for the Penobscot
Language Collaborative. It's easy to join and there's no cost. Just find
the Face Book site and follow the instructions to join. Check for Penobscot
Language Collaborative under the "groups" icon. A teacher from Spain has
also joined the group. He's looking to share activities.
The latest news from Education Commissioner Gendron is that all high school
students will be asked to meet the standard in the four core content areas,
Mathematics, Science, English / Language Arts, and Social Studies, and in
one other area of their choice. They will have to partially meet the
standard in the other three content areas. Several World Languages
instructors met with Don Reutershan on November 14 to prepare a plan to
present to the commissioner for how to deal with World Languages within the
Maine Learning Results. To date there is no public information on the
results of those discussions.
Fred Ravan demonstrated the use of Garage Band software, available on
the state-issued laptops, to record student conversations. This technology
was presented at the FLAME Conference in March and at the AATSP annual
conference in October. Fred has experimented with GarageBand in his
Spanish 1 and 2 classes. Students work in pairs and write a short script,
which they record on Fred's laptop. They also write five questions over the
content of the conversation, to ensure that other students listen to the
recorded material. Fred then posts the conversation to his own web page,
and plays the conversations in class. For teachers who may not be
knowledgeable in the use of GarageBand, Fred and others assure that the
students are already familiar with the program.
Leslee Fiveland noted that all the state issued laptops also have
imovie,which is also easy to use. Other collaborative members
have demonstrated this technology in previous meetings. Students may
make their own recordings with both audio and video.
On a less technological note, several language instructors have noted good
results with students' individual white boards. These allow students to be
physically engaged in class and to have instant feedback from the teacher.
The next meeting of the Penobscot Foreign Language Collaborative
is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 28, also at Brewer
High School. This session will also focus on technology, and attendees
are encouraged to share strategies they have used in their own classes.