This past week and a half I was on vacation, hanging out with the cutest and coolest girl ever! It was glorious! It was thrilling! It was relaxing! It was hot, humid, and sometimes rainy, but it didn't matter. I was on vacation in Florida! No twitter. No email. No work...well that's a stretch, I always work—but, I worked less! And now, it's OVER! I've realized that I have exactly 13 more weekdays until my first day of school! OMG!
I'm freaking out!
Guys, I am scared! I have a genuine fear of what is coming this school year. Trying to get myself in order has been incredibly stressful. I'm feeling the heat! This school year I will be teaching Spanish I at a different high school and will also lead the world languages team as their department chair. Since I'm new to the school and teaching Spanish I, I know I need to set up and create a strong foundation for my students. Being the only CI and TPRS teacher at the school makes me feel like I have to prove myself even more! I know what is necessary for language acquisition. I've been teaching this way for 6 years, so what's the problem? Well I'm stuck! How do I make sure my students are where they need to be next year because I've covered all bases? Do I follow Bex's curriculum? Do I follow Jalen Waltman's curriculum (which is more aligned to Spanish textbooks? Do I meld the two together? Do I pay for Señor Wooly's curriculum (I mean Billy is so cute!)? Do I use Amy Bachman Catania's resources? Oh, how about using Blaine Ray's "Look I can Talk" curriculum? Or maybe I should use Carol Gaab's, "¡Cuéntame más!" curriculum? Do I *gasp* (I haven't used one in the entire time I have been teaching Spanish) try to follow a textbook and complement it using CI methods and strategies? I don't know what to do! My head is spinning around and around, and it's really slowing me down in terms of preparing myself for the new school year. As I am the only CI and TPRS teacher at the high school, will using these methods and strategies ensure that the kids will be ready to move on to Spanish II? What if I don't cover things I am supposed to cover? What if... What if...What if... I feel like I am in limbo, and I'm not sure how to get moving. What direction do I choose? Being out of the game for a whole year (I taught special ed last year) is really doing a number on me.
the problem with too many choices
All the choices above are really good ones, but now there are so many choices and so many resources that it's hard to pick the "best" one (for me). Do you know about the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz? Here's a TEDtalk about it.
overcoming my fears
Overthinking everything feels like I am dragging my feet in the sand, getting nowhere quick! As it should. I need to trust in my instincts, be flexible, and have courage. I need to believe in myself and sometimes that's hard. But, if I am ever going to fight my fears— and win, it must be done.
what needs to happen?
First and foremost, I need to make a choice. OK. Choice made. You'll never know (jajajaja--evil laugh). JK I chose to follow Bex's curriculum primarily with Catania's as a supplement (and a lil' sprinkle of Waltman in there too at times) and I'm sticking to it! Now that I have finally made the choice, I am exhausted. My mind needs to take a break. So, while not focused on resources and curriculum, I also made the choice to start thinking about my classroom decor, which makes me super happy, and for the most part stress free. My husband and I have set aside a budget and I've started using it on these awesome resources below:
jam-packed sessions full of valuable information to over 140 participants from all over the US (and even from Switzerland). She was extremely gracious and kind and humorous too (bonus!).
I didn’t want to come off as a creepy stalker so I limited my interactions with her to an introduction and a selfie, which turned out quite wonderful if I do say so myself. I hope that if she ever reads this post, or my blog in general, she will know how influential she has been in regards to my teaching career and making the switch to TPRS® and CI.
So, after my initial, “OMG that’s really her and OMG I’m really here!” moment, I got down to the business of trying to soak up every bit of information that came my way. Since my head is still processing all the information (yes, 5 days later!), I’m going to list 5 main takeaways of information that stood out to me to be essential and relevant when it comes to comprehensible input as I understood it.
Disclaimer: To reiterate, these are my “notes” from the information provided as I understood them.
Ultimately, if you ever have a chance to see Martina Bex at a workshop, Do It! The amount of information, tips and tricks to create impactful CI units, and experience that she encompasses are invaluable. For her to impart such knowledge is a genuine treat. I can say I am well-prepared to continue my CI journey, and I feel pumped about it. No matter where any teacher is on his or her CI journey, there is always something new to learn. I was happy that I walked away with tons of new perspectives.
In a nutshell, I am grateful and blessed that I could attend this workshop. And after two days of cramming my brain full of great information and fresh ideas, it was time to leave. You know there’s just no place like home!
Important Note: The hashtag for the workshop was #CIwizards. Search this hashtag if you want to see what others have posted via twitter.
I woke up this morning feeling super pumped about the Follow the Comprehensible Road to Proficiency workshop being given by Martina Bex that’s happening in just three days! This 2-day conference in upstate New York is focused on how to infuse a range of Comprehensible Input (CI) strategies into one’s respective, existing curriculum(s). At a time where CI strategies and methodologies are being explored and spreading like wildfire, it’s important to really understand the “why’s,” “how’s,” and what’s” of CI as Ms. Bex puts it.
I’m also super pumped because it has been a while since I have been to a conference. If you are a conference-goer, you know how much excitement, knowledge, and fun conferences can be! Additionally, there’s such a rush when a group of like-minded professionals get together and explore this whole CI thing together. I’ve missed this, especially since last year I was not a Spanish teacher. This conference is also happening at a great time—late in the summer (leaving plenty of time to plan), but close enough to when school starts.
In regards to Ms. Bex, I have followed her blog for many years and have been using her resources throughout my teaching career. Her SOMOS curriculum really helped me out when I was transitioning to be a more TPRS® and CI oriented teacher. Thankfully, I met Blaine Ray and his son Von Ray during the TPRS® conferences that I have attended. Now I really look forward to meeting Ms. Bex in person and learning her tips and tricks firsthand.
Currently, I am working on planning my school year (big picture/units) so that I am better organized and have a more complete idea of what I am going to cover and when I am going to cover it before the conference begins. I look forward to receiving wonderful new insight on the how by attending the conference. A goal this year is to have units that are infused with more culture. Therefore, I look forward to creating more culturally rich materials and resources.
Eek! I can’t wait! I'll tweet conference highlights and moments.
Are you going?