Susanne’s MEAD project connected German language learners with first-generation German immigrants as part of the class she taught, ‘German immigration to the US.’ During a two-day workshop, German students at UMBC and German immigrants from the Baltimore area collaborated to develop a short video about the immigrant experience. Students and immigrants partnered up and worked on recording the immigrant’s story in her own voice, using photos and memorabilia to illustrate the story. Having had help from my MEAD mentor, Mohamed Esa, has been very helpful, especially for the technical aspect of this project. The stories will be made available on the internet to serve as a cultural learning tool for German language classes and as a model for other world language teachers. See them on-line at:http://www.umbc.edu/blogs/digitalstories/2009/12/digital_stories_from_german_30.html
You can also view Susanne's site at: http://www.umbc.edu/oit/newmedia/studio/digitalstories/profiles.php?movie=NMC10_susanna
Steven Berbeco, Charlestown High School, Boston, MA - 2009 Mead Fellow
High school Arabic is a new field that is growing rapidly. In collaboration with the Marhaba Project I am field-testing the first year Arabic curriculum we have developed at Charlestown High School, including leading professional development workshops. I also continue to support Boston University’s efforts to establish a teacher training program, the MAT in Arabic, by promoting the program informally at conferences and other networking events. In addition and with the support of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, I am working to establish informal and formal networks of K-12 Arabic teachers by demonstrating local, regional, and national leadership in professional organizations.
The MEAD project is going well so far! I am enjoying the opportunity to understand the diversity and unity of the profession across the country, and Wafa has helped me take several important "next steps".
Monica Mulholland, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC - 2009 Mead Fellow
In early 2009 I was honored with the Sans, Inc./ Mead Leadership Program at the Northeast Conference in New York City. My home professional association, GWATFL (Greater Washington Association of Teaching Foreign Languages) nominated me for the award, and I was also greatly supported by Northern Virginia Community College and the Catholic University of America. Both institutions saw potential in the project, and my mentor and constant source of inspiration, Dr Laura Franklin, has been of invaluable help throughout the process. The present blog project is an example of how language learning can go beyond the classroom walls and make the experience deeply meaningful and engaging for students and teachers alike. In my Spanish is Fun blog, college and university students contribute articles or poetry of their own as do participants from Argentina, Chile, Peru and other parts of the USA.
During the first two years of the project, I focused mainly on the blog itself (basically, written posts with accompanying pictures or videos). The topics include: Show and Tell, an ice-breaker type of activity in which students bring something to class that represents them in some way. The purpose of the activity is for each student to introduce himself/herself orally, and then write on the blog about the importance of that object in their life. Other topics are related to the 2010 snow storm, family roots, a trip to the art gallery, and a helping hand to Haiti and Chile among others. All the contributions can be accessed at http://spanishisfun.wordpress.com/
During the last semester (Spring 2010), the project moved a step further; we have integrated text, images and sound by means of Voicethread. This application allows contributors to upload pictures or Power Point Presentations and record a voice comment or description. The innovative aspect to it is that it allows participants from different locations to interact with each other. We have worked on several projects both in English and in Spanish. Particularly interesting to my students was a presentation on the Perito Moreno Glacier in the south of Argentina. The project leader, Prof. Goronas from Buenos Aires, shared with us a stunning presentation on her visit to the glacier, and my students left voice messages expressing their thoughts and feelings on it. It was certainly a most enriching learning experience for us. The project is still going on, so please, join us at http://voicethread.com/#q.b986007.i5254845 to leave us comments or suggestions. Also on Voicethread, my students collaborated with each other in the creation of a project based on the movie “Under the same moon” (Mexico, 2007), which taught us a great deal about the delicate topic of illegal immigration in the United States. The assignment can be found at https://voicethread.com/#u392238.b1004985.i5359856.
An additional highlight of the Spanish is Fun project so far has been the interest of one of my former students from Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus, Okie Dorian, who, in spite of having finished her formal Spanish classes several months ago, is still participating enthusiastically in the project, and she is now the most active volunteer blog contributor. Her posts, which amount to approximately fifteen in three years and none of which is shorter than 350 words, revolve around her daily life with her husband, her visits to the museums and theatres, her puppies, and her recent trip to Spain. Since she started writing for the blog, Okie’s Spanish has improved greatly and it has become more and more sophisticated. As if that was not enough, her interest in the culture of Spanish-speaking countries has grown tremendously and she is now planning to visit Latin America soon. Okie is a clear example of student motivation driven from within, and I am glad that the blog has proved to be an effective vehicle to develop and enhance such a powerful learning experience.
I am happy to say that the blog project has given me more personal and professional rewards than I could have ever imagined in my twenty-five years as a language teacher. Because of that, I have tried to share the experience with my colleagues as much as I could. I have done presentations at the GWATFL Conference, where I was honored with the Best of GWATFL, 2009 Award, I presented my results at the 2010 NECTFL, and I participated in the SHARE Language Teaching Convention in my hometown, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 29-30, 2010. I am deeply thankful to Sans, Inc., NECTFL, and to everyone else involved in this invaluable opportunity for teachers to reinforce our advocacy for life-long learning and our conviction that proficiency in more than one language and inter-cultural understanding and collaboration are absolutely essential in the world of today.
Cheryl P. Berman, Maude H.Trefethen Elementary Schools, New Hampshire - 2007 Mead Fellow
|1. Rationale for proposed project at local, regional or state level.
My aim for this project is to develop a comprehensive WL portfolio (linguafolio) for FLES programs that connects the National & State Standards for language acquisition, NCLB and most recently the Follow the Child Initiative for which my SAU is currently introducing with the NH DOE. Beginning with my own SAU, this project will benefit students in all FLES programs as they enter middle schools and beyond. The most important rationale will be to design this linguafolio so that it covers all requirements across the board for NCLB and Follow the Child while being contained within one student documented record.
2. Description of project.
The description of this project is to design a page by page linguafolio to Follow the FLES Child from but not limited to the inception of their WL exposure in the public school classroom. Pages to include world language acquisition skills beyond and in conjunction with NCLB, State/National Standards and Follow the Child Initiatives. Project folio will be made available to all FLES teachers statewide upon its completion. Beginning in my own SAU, this linguafolio will be presented to all FLES teachers and administrators.
3. Plan for implementation.
I will implement this linguafolio first in my SAU district for the 2007-08 school year. First I intend to gather information statewide on FLES programs currently operating statewide. Upon completion of the FLES linguafolio, I will seek funding for its publication through the NH DOE. Upon approval, this folio will ideally be placed on the NH DOE web site available FREE by download to all that would like to use it. I will send samples to all state Superintendents and be available to present a session to interested districts.
4. How this Project will provide leadership.
This project provides a great deal of leadership and leadershape. It will be an aide to teachers and an asset to students. It will facilitate increased communication with parents, middle school teachers and the state of NH DOE as a comprehensive world language portfolio that covers the important issues of NCLB and Follow the Child. It will broaden the scope and importance of world language acquisition. This project will increase communication in schools between teachers, students and parents as well as begin to increase global awareness at the elementary school level.
Contact Cheryl Berman
Fran Malkin, SUNY College at Old Westbury - 2007 Mead Fellow
|1. Rationale for proposed project at local, regional or state level:
The purpose of my proposed project is two-fold. It is an Action Research Project and a new Service Learning Spanish college level course. The course provides second language learners the opportunities to interact with native speakers in the community. The National Foreign Language Standard of "Communities" is not always an easy one to achieve. This project focuses on this standard by outreaching into the local communities and weaves in the other standards as well!
2. Description of project:
The project consists of altering the current Spanish curriculum to incorporate Service Learning activities. The students will have sufficient opportunities to interact with native Spanish speakers within the community. They will be working with Hispanic adults and children in local day care centers and community programs. The multicultural activities in which the second learners will be participating will directly relate to their coursework. Students will have many opportunities to use the Spanish language both within and beyond the school setting. They will gain knowledge, understanding and most importantly, appreciation of the Hispanic culture and practices. In return, the students will be providing a wonderful service to the neighboring communities.
3. Plan for implementation:
The course curriculum will be revised to integrate the Service Learning activities. Exercises will be developed that directly reflect the objectives of the chapters and the four functions of language learning (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Extensive research will be done to assess which areas of the community will benefit most from this type of interaction and service.
4. How this Project will provide leadership:
This program will empower the second language learners and allow them to become leaders in their local communities. They will have the chance to work with native Spanish speakers and facilitate activities in the target language. The project will also allow the Language Program at the State University of Old Westbury to adapt their coursework to the needs of the students and the community. An evaluation of the students' proficiency levels (oral and written) at the end of the course will be compared to students in the same level Spanish course (without the Service Learning). This will allow the Department to further assess the benefits of community outreach and interaction.
Contact Fran Malkin
Natalie Puhala, Gateway School District (PA) - 2007 Mead Fellow
|1. Rationale for proposed project at local, regional or state level.
With an ever-shrinking world community, teachers must produce students who are more than just 'American' citizens, but citizens of the world. Not only should our students speak the target language, but they should know and care about the people of the target culture. As educators, we should be committed to creating a positive force for change in our world, in a way that really works. Our mission should be to provide opportunities to educate and to involve our students in service to those less fortunate; to transform their lives, their families, and together the communities of our world. My project will promote the incorporation of community service into local World Language classrooms and hopefully spread to regional and state levels and beyond.
2. Description of project.
Based on my project funded by a 2005 mini-grant from the Gateway Foundation ('Gateway to Guatemala') in which my students learned about Central America and raised $1100 for Friendship Bridge of Guatemala, the goal of this project is to raise social awareness amongst students in World Language classes and to inspire them to make a difference in the target culture. To start, I would like to form a collaboration of local Spanish teachers who are willing to work together to support Friendship Bridge, a charitable organization devoted to providing micro-credit business loans to Mayan women and tuition for their children. With time and success, I would like to see this collaboration spread statewide. I would like our group to be a model for other World Language teachers to follow for implementing a community service project in their own target cultures. Eventually, I envision Community Service Organizations for all World Languages working together to change our students and our world.
3. Plan for implementation. 2006/2007 School Year
This project will develop leaders in all involved districts. Each teacher will be a role model for their own departments, demonstrating how rewarding community service can be for educator and students alike. Ideally, leading by example will encourage colleagues within their school to become involved. Also, each teacher will develop leadership by representing his/her school in a statewide educational collaboration, going above and beyond the traditional duties of language instruction.
Contact Natalie Puhala
Amanda Seewald, Maracas Spanish Programs (NJ) - 2007 Mead Fellow
|Since being awarded a small, local publicly funded grant in 2003 for a pilot Spanish language-class for young learners, I have been working to develop a comprehensive language program that begins with some of our earliest learners (age 2). My program, Maracas, is designed to entice, invite, and engage students and their families in the language learning process. After completing my first semester, it became even more apparent that this type of program was necessary to help fill the void of language learning opportunities for children in my local area. Having taught in the Arlington, Virginia public schools' partial immersion program, I was acutely aware of the intense value of partial immersion education. Despite the fact that I knew I could not single handedly create that here in my area of New Jersey, I have spent the last several years endeavoring to define a clear path for children and their families to learn and enjoy a second language. It is important to me to express that I am in no way looking to advance a business enterprise, but rather seek another avenue to advocate for early language learning via solid, classroom-based practices supported by rigorous research.
In that time, I have developed sixteen short semester learning modules as well as two full year programs. These range to accommodate student age and aptitude level. In addition, I now teach full year programs in five private early learning institutions. The short semester programs have been proven successful by the high rate of continuation and student/family enthusiasm for ongoing Spanish education within Maracas. I have students who have been taking classes, which I tailor specifically to their age and developmental levels, for as many as three years and many of them are now 6, 7, and eight years old. I include in this group my five year old daughter who has been a part of these classes since she was two. The methodology of centering each learning experience on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) has truly proven effective as demonstrated by my students' ability to retain ideas and concepts presented from semester to semester. As my students continue to develop skills in public school in English, I feel it is important for me to strive to construct new curricula to meet their growing interests and skills in Spanish. I believe it is my responsibility to continue to create classes to build their comprehension and language aptitude using creative pedagogical strategies. Thus far, this journey has been incredibly gratifying and has proven to be the most exciting action research project I could imagine as an educator. I am humbled by my students' desire and dedication to language learning and to my classes, and I look forward to meeting and engaging more students in this essential life skill of second language learning.
My pedagogical focus is on the creation, development, and sustainability of a foreign language program designed specifically for pre-school and early elementary students. The program's framework is based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) and revolves around components of brain research (Genessee, 2000). Research supports the idea that the commencement of foreign language education at an early age can truly augment the level of proficiency attained by children as well as promote academic growth in other areas (Center for Applied Linguistics, 2004) For this reason, it is essential to develop sustainable curricula to immerse children in the rhythm and sound of a foreign language as early as possible. It is my goal to not only create and implement such a curriculum, but also to focus on the value of building a curriculum within current state content standards as a mirroring tool and a developmental stepping stone for learners. These include units and learning modules for areas of science, reading, writing, math, and culture or social studies.
As a MEAD Fellow I would center my attention on the development of literacy in Spanish. The project I propose is ongoing and requires the involvement of private pre-schools, the local recreation department, and family buy-in. I plan to implement this program within the school year in short six week semesters. Each semester would be a learning module that would employ Multiple Intelligence Theory as put forth by Howard Gardner (Gardner, 1983 & 1994) and strategies of TPRS (Ray, 2006). Because literacy is such an essential component to ultimate bilingualism, I feel that it is necessary to give my students and hopefully many other students the opportunity and wherewithal to build reading and writing skills in Spanish. If native-like proficiency is the goal, then this is not a skill that can wait until middle or high school. Instead it should grow in Spanish simultaneously as the students work on these skills in English. The challenge I face is the fact that I work outside the confines of the public schools and often do not have direct contact with the public school teachers. (I offer classes through the local recreation department and local private early learning schools because funding is not available for schools to offer languages to preschoolers and my local schools do not begin language instruction until 2" or 3r grade.)
By working with the state guidelines as well as the ACTFL standards for early language learning, I feel that I can create a developmentally sound model which utilizes many tenets of the current best practices for working with early learners. The Multiple Intelligences form a foundation for the project as with my previous materials. The versatility and student centered approach has provided a fun, enriching, and motivational environment for my students to use as a springboard to a bilingual and biliterate future. "MI theory has the potential to make a positive impact on both teachers and students. Practitioners who thoughtfully apply the theory to support educational goals may discover multiple paths to contribute to their overall effectiveness as educators." (Hall Haley, 2004)
I believe that this project will provide leadership as a resource to teachers of all languages searching for innovative ways to reach out to their students. Because my programs are designed in 45 minute to 60 minute classes, I am confident that public school language teachers will be able to adopt these ideas and use them in their classrooms easily. I am eager to have the opportunity to provide workshops for schools looking for ways to develop or improve their language programs and educational organizations seeking to provide professional development for teachers and administrators. I also hope that this type of work will encourage the public schools to reevaluate the way in which language is introduced and taught, to focus on the value of beginning earlier than 2nd or 3rd grade and on providing, not just content, not just culture, and not just language, but rather, in harmony with those essential ideas, a welcoming and even stirring way to present children with the dynamic idea of communication in another language.
Contact Amanda Seewald
Stephanie A. Keebler, Clarion Area Elementary School, Clarion PA -- 2006 Mead Fellow
|With the need for new teachers to be versed in elementary foreign language curriculum and strategies for instruction due to the K-12 certification, my project focuses on helping universities develop language methodology courses that include FLES/FLEX components. The project is developing a program in coordination with the modern language department and education department of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. This program will increase awareness of FLES/FLEX programs, curriculums, K-12 articulation examples and instructional strategies. The program will also create classroom observation and student teaching opportunities. This project is a great community relations builder between K-12 schools and secondary education.||
Contact Stephanie Keebler
Sandra Raab, Olivet Elementary School, Pittsgrove NJ -- 2006 Mead Fellow
|My project will be to create a framework for curriculum development that can be followed by all F.L.E.S. teachers, grades 1-4. This framework will be based upon current Second Language Acquisition theory and practice, State and National World Language Standards and the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. In addition, this framework will demonstrate how a successful world language program should reinforce the basic curriculum of each grade level. This type of program will benefit the children, as well as the regular classroom teachers. Furthermore, it will benefit World Language Teachers and programs in that they will become invaluably tied to the regular education program and its objectives.||
Contact Sandy Raab
Francis J.Troyan, Expeditionary Learning High School, Portland ME -- 2006 Mead Fellow
|My project explores the multiple realities in a start-up high school's modern language program. The program uses the Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) as a tool for curriculum development in a highly collaborative, cross-curricular model. As the grading system in which the assessments are used assumes that all students can meet standards given adequate time and support, the article speaks to the multiple realities in our classrooms in guiding students toward meeting the standards in the IPAs.
Questions explored include:
What does it mean to meet a standard?
If a student doesn't meet a standard at the end of a given period of time (e.g. a trimester), what happens next?
How do we articulate the standards to our students and their families?
How do we plan school-wide learning which is highly collaborative and honor the language acquisition process?
How do we begin to have the difficult conversations with students who don't quite meet the standards at the end of the year, yet at the same time celebrate their accomplishments and avoid the word "fail," which students so easily return to.
Data includes e-mail correspondence between teachers during the planning process and notes from planning meetings, student reflections about (1) connections between Modern Language classes and other classes in the school and (2) student perceptions of assessments, exploration of the grading system and governance structure which allow standards-based assessment to occur. The article concludes with a discussion of the practical implications not only of the IPA in curriculum development but also of the role of collaborative planning in high schools.
Contact Frank Troyan
Ruth Ann Dunn, Twin Valley High School, Wilmington VT -- 2005 Mead Fellow
|Advocacy for Elementary Foreign Language Programs: I conducted a statewide survey of public elementary schools in Vermont to determine how many had foreign language programs and the characteristics of these programs. The results were presented to the State Board of Education at several meetings to propel discussions about a statewide requirement for elementary schools to offer a foreign language. The information will be used to develop an advocacy packet to help schools start programs similar to other successful sites in Vermont. Regular updates of survey information will be done.|
Dana Pilla, Edison High School, Edison, NJ -- 2004 Mead Fellow
|This project has two purposes: to set up an action research project and to implement a Sustained Silent Reading program in a Middle School or High School Spanish classroom. The advantages of creating an Action Research Project in Sustained Silent Reading in any language at any level will be evident after evaluating the results of the program I have implemented at the high school. This project can be adapted to fit all levels. This project will help me further investigate ways to involve native/heritage and non-native speakers in the language acquisition process through authentic materials and culturally relevant subject matter. This project will also allow me to share the set up, implementation and language acquisition process of Sustained Silent Reading with my colleagues to create a school-wide (and hopefully state-wide) World Languages Sustained Silent Reading Program.||
Contact Dana Pilla
Tiesa Graf, South Hadley High School, South Hadley, MA -- 2004 Mead Fellow
My goal for the NECTFL/MEAD fellowship is based on a need that I have observed in the past thirteen years of my professional career. The ACTFL National Standards for foreign language education (and the Massachusetts State Frameworks) have clear standards regarding a connection between the classroom and the community. In my experiences, this has been one of the most difficult standards to achieve. My objective is to make this standard more accessible for foreign language educators, inspiring them to take action. I intend to design a template for foreign language teachers/leaders to help facilitate the integration of the community into the classroom. My action research will take place in Western Massachusetts, but the process will be transferable to other teachers across the northeast. Participants attending the workshop based on the results of my action research will be provided with concrete steps and tools that demonstrate many options for community involvement. My ideas combined with the experience of participating in the NECTFL/MEAD Leadership Fellows Program will be invaluable in terms of improving foreign language teaching and learning for many students and community members from across the Northeast.
Contact Tiesa Graf
Ken Hughes, Lake George Junior/Senior High Schools, Lake George, NY -- 2004 Mead Fellow
|I'm developing a web site that will allow webmasters from member states to work together to better their state association web sites. I'm providing a forum for successful tips that I've used in the past as well as learning some new tricks that other webmasters have used.||
Contact Ken Hughes
Andrew Armstrong, Varina High School, Richmond, VA -- 2003 Mead Fellow
As part of my Mead project, I have chosen to examine the supervision process in the foreign language classroom in the hopes of developing a more clinical, focused, and teacher-centered method of classroom supervision, based on the principles of clinical supervision. Clinical supervision, in contrast to many popular classroom evaluation methods, focuses on involving the teacher in the process and highlighting very specific elements of instruction, rather than an arbitrary checklist. This project is a result of trials with several supervisory methods in the foreign language classroom from the vantage point of school-level administrator. The results of this project will be of use for any classroom instructor, specialist, or administrator in any type of secondary classroom setting.
Contact Andrew Armstrong
Rocio Dominguez, Ministry of Education, Peru (formerly Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA) -- 2003 Mead Fellow
|In my work on curricular innovations for teaching L2 literacy, I found out that student assessment is a crucial component for the adoption of curricular innovations. My findings showed that teachers were inclined to adopt an innovation after observing positive results in student outcomes. Thus, I believe that it is important to train teachers to design appropriate assessment tools for young FL learners. My findings also revealed that good communication among teachers may enhance their adoption of innovations because it allows teachers an opportunity to listen to and learn from each other.||
Contact Rocio Dominguez
|Considering these findings, my Mead project was designed for providing a fifth-grade Spanish teacher with an opportunity to guide her newcomer colleagues in the design of an oral Spanish test for sixth graders. The main goal was to give this teacher a chance to demonstrate and apply her acquired knowledge on FL assessment in order to ensure the transfer of this knowledge within the Spanish program. In doing so, I wanted to promote her status as a knowledgeable leader among the Spanish group.|
Andrea Morris, Laurel High School, Laurel, MD -- 2003 Mead Fellow
The purpose of this project is to increase students' interest in foreign language study through the use of technology. Students' desire in foreign language increases when there is a variation in the assignments/assessment tools, especially when the assignments/assessment tools are integrated with technology. In this case students will be engaged in technology at the novice-intermediate level with Power Point Slide Show and will complete interactive, online activities (cultural readings, vocabulary and grammar practice).
Power Point Slide Show projects created by students are useful tools in the facilitation of assessment/evaluation of students (if accompanied with a well detailed rubric); more entertaining for the teacher and student than a basic oral presentation; and less time consuming than written compositions. From online activities I am hoping to show that students enjoy language learning more and that it takes away from the monotony of worksheet, textbook or workbook assignments. By increasing students' enjoyment of language learning and decreasing the usage of conventional language learning materials students will gain an intrinsic willingness to continue their L2 learning instead of continuing because they are required to have two to three years of a second language.
Leslie Port, Toms River High School, Toms River, NJ -- 2002 Mead Fellow
This project focused upon steps used to design a new curriculum for Spanish Heritage Speakers, including criteria for the evaluation and selection of textbooks, placement of students, and thematic unit web page designs, including multi-media lessons webs for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Mamiya Worland, Great Falls Elementary School, Great Falls, VA-- 2002 Mead Fellow
In 1996, I was an active participant in Fairfax County Public School's development of a "Framework for Japanese Oral Language: Functions and Forms." This framework outlines 61 functions that measure oral language for each grade level from 1st to 6th. Currently, I am working towards modifying this framework to allow for a more practical utilization of this standard of measurement. This will in turn allow for a more systematic method of assessing achievement of students in the immersion program. I have also been working with the teachers of middle schools and high schools to develop the vertical articulation of the Japanese language so that the students will be able to reach the ultimate goals of the Japanese language proficiency at each school level.
Contact Mamiya Worland
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