Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Cool Things from the 2012 OMLTA Spring Conference

Two weeks ago was the Ontario Modern Language Teachers' Association annual spring conference, and I was super excited to be able to attend! I learned so many cool things and got inspired by the numerous talented and dedicated second language teachers across the province. I've finally gotten around to putting together a list of a few fun highlights that I wanted to share with you...

Magnetic Printables
Great for making your own awesome manipulatives that won't be so easily lost, or blown around by your students for fun. (You remember I teach middle school, right?)

I am a little unsure about the durability of these once printed as far as water is concerned. Being in a portable, I do have to worry about humidity, rain, and kids playing with the spray bottle of water I use to clean my chalkboard. The presenters who showed us this, though, said that so far that hasn't been a problem for them in a classroom or on a cart.

Talking to Learn
This book, subtitled "50 Strategies for Developing Oral Language" is something I have not come across previously. I learned about it in an awesome session called Social Talk lead by several teachers from the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. The book however is co-authored by an educator from my own school board and they highly recommended checking it out, so I'm in the process of trying to do that right now. I've asked our school librarian if we have it already as a school, and am trying to figure out how to buy it - if necessary - as an individual rather than through my school.

I also found an interesting article by one of the authors.

Watermelon Works
Software and a board game that teaches phonics for FSL students? Why not? It's cute, and looks fun... and yes, there's an app for that! (It's not free, but could be very valuable for the right student, so you never know what parents might be willing to invest in for their child's success!) I didn't buy it - yet - but do plan to let a select few students know about the app.


Crêpes and Poutine
I didn't know any teachers personally who use the Ron Cahute and Jane Lapko CD products (which have matching teacher guides) but had heard of them through some online research and some US French teachers. I got a little taste of what the music is like in one workshop I attended, where the teacher was playing a mix of Etienne, Greg LeRock and Crepe Suzette as we got settled in for the work. There are two that I know about - Crêpe Suzette and Poutine - Fries with an Attitude. The song or possibly songs I heard were bilingual, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, but I can't pretend that I don't speak in English to my students, so check it out for yourself and see if you think your kids will like it. The high school teacher from Wawa who shared this claimed that her students love, love, love it.

Information Gap Activities
Apparently the next curriculum wave coming our way here in Ontario will involve us "professeurs" getting much more comfortable with having students communicate in authentic ways, such as negotiating, asking and answering questions to achieve tasks that are similar to everyday situations. Information gap activities were repeatedly suggested as one way to provide students with this kind of opportunity.
http://www.morguefile.com/creative/mantasmagorical

I referred one teacher I met to some simple info gap activities available on TpT through a couple of other sellers that I don't know personally but have either purchased items from myself or at least used some of their free products.

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