Saturday, August 23, 2014

Modifying with the Modes

Differentiated learning is something I really love. It takes you out of being the center of the classroom and puts you in the role of facilitator- and that's what it should be. Your students are the center of learning and you need to place yourself on the sidelines and coach them on as they learn! I can't believe that I spent so many years of teaching thinking that I needed to lead the class hour...and I worked to craft every single moment of my language class. I must confess that am a detailed planner and was pretty proud of the fact that my classroom ran smoothly and that students learned a language, but I realized one day that I was working so much harder than them and thought: How much more could they achieve if I just got out of their way? My experience has shown that an instructor can not and should not control everything in a classroom. We just need to let students go, trust them to take responsibility, plan for active learning in the class and let the students assume control of the material. Looking back, I see that some of the best learning happened in those moments when I let go and let the students take the lead, learning in their own way and at their own pace. Now it is my mission to make every moment in my class like that!

Which picture looks like more student learning is taking place? I know, it's obvious. Active learning fosters so much more student growth!


Language students experience a modified flipped classroom with me. They gain proficiency through learning stations every day that build their proficiency, but one of my goals this year is to to further structure those learning activities so that students see the academic vocab of the ACTFL Modes of Proficiency on a consistent basis. I would like my students to understand that Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational modes are our communicative goals for the year that develop our language proficiency.

I took a template of differentiated activities that I have used in the past and edited it a bit and I am really pleased with it. I included some places to insert activities for structure development, learning games, challenge activities for high-performing students and a free choice area.

I am sharing my template with you as well- feel free to use and adjust to your course!
I would love to hear about your experiences incorporating the Modes into your teaching or any suggestions that you have. Here's hoping that you are off to a great school year!


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