Bobbie Harro, in his article, the Cycle of Socialization, says that society influences man’s thoughts and programs man’s behavior. All of us live in the framework of a society, and we are playing a variety of roles accordingly. The beginning of the cycle represents the situation into which a man was born. He/she has no control over this. There are no bias, assumptions, or questions. The second circle represents the institutions that help shape a man’s view and beliefs and help instill prejudice or acceptance. The third circle is additional enforcement – it can be rewards or punishments. And finally – a man is forced to make a decision.
I believe it should be a change. If we are talking about the current situation, we are keeping our genetic and cultural codes of behavior; on the other hand, we are brainwashed by mass media controlled by the government. When you speak different languages, it is fun to read or listen to the same news in different countries; however, they may contradict each other. As educators, we are responsible for teaching a new generation to read between lines, to choose their position based on morale, cultural identity, and common sense. Unfortunately, sometimes it is only the BIG words and no actions in a society. Ideally, it would be great to have a system and a curriculum in place, at least for all international schools first.
Flipgrid is a good tool to help students connect with each other and share their learning.
Pluses to use Flipgrid in WL class:
- Easy to use and authentic – a teacher creates a prompt (a question, video, or image), and students post video responses to the prompts;
- Useful to use during DL because it doesn’t require a real-time discussion
- It can be used to evaluate various skills (interpretive reading and listening, presentational speaking, and writing).
Teaching remotely became my new reality. Virtual lessons are not the same as in the classroom. I knew that I need to find another way to organize the learning environment for my students. I am teaching through Webex meetings, so I found that creating slides per lesson is the most organized way to put everything together and ready to go at any minute.
I have started to play around with slides: each slide is an activity.
The first slide is a welcome slide (the date, the name of the day, and a picture that gives a clue what we are going to talk about or brings a mood).
It will be the first lesson after the autumn break. It is said,“Good morning! Smile!” in the picture. The students will share their fun memories about their vacations.
The next two slides are the alphabet song and words that we will practice reading.
The next three slides present new grammar concepts (we use different pronounce when we talk about girls and boys in Russian). I used to have one slide with all these sentences. Now I created four other slides (one slide – one structure, different color code: red – describing girls, blue – describing boys). The slides’ background is gray because it is essential to understand this grammar concept, and I wanted to create a serious atmosphere.
The last two slides are a song about a family and Tic Tac Toe game.
MY MAIN OUTCOMES FOR CREATING SLIDES:
- Think about the audience (grade 1, Family Unit).
- Be authentic (use authentic resources – real pictures, songs, and games).
- One message per slide.
- “Color is a key way to communicate visually and to evoke emotion,” says Jurczynski. When I was thinking about my slides, I choose the colors, keeping in mind that each color can be associated with a feeling; also some colors can be matched organically, some – no. Orange color has a meaning of cheerfulness and stimulation, gray brings some serious atmosphere.
- Font and size can make a difference.
- Contrast, font, and size help to control audience focus.
- Maximum six objects per slide.
Teaching nowadays is challenging. One year ago, it was so easy to assess presentational skills – a student was making a poster and presented it in front of the class.
During DL time, I want my students to be motivated to learn Russian and improve their skills. I can not create the same atmosphere that we have in class. Still, I would like to implement a new type of thinking and solve the problem, new forms of presenting educational information, and assess students’ knowledge and skills.
Infographics can be used for different levels. What makes it unique? It is an authentic resource that can be used even for the Novice level. Infographics are created for native speakers and introduce the theme or problem to discuss; it visualizes key points.
Pluses of using Infographic in WL Class:
- Authentic resources
- Comprehensible even for beginner students
I created the Infographic for introducing Russian holidays.
Proficiency Target –Intermediate Low
Essential Question – How does learning languages help to understand other cultures?
Infographic – Праздники в России (Holidays in Russia)
Use – The teacher uses the infographic to introduce the name of holidays, dates, and the key information about holidays.
When I was creating this infographic, I had some difficulties:
- To choose the right picture (should it be a photo or a drawing)
- To choose only six holidays, among many; what are the main ones to know for ES students
- To summarize the information in short sentences
This infographic was used instead of two-pages of text. I believe that it empowered my students to explore more about each holiday. This way of presenting new information is more convenient and effective for the modern generation.
Reading infographics involves more detailed processing of information, it is not just an illustration of a topic, but also its analysis that allows students to rethink and visualize.
Nowadays the situation requires moving from a real classroom to distance learning. As a WL teacher, I was teaching online since the begging of the school year. The reason is that we can not mix the students from different classrooms. So, technology is currently the only means by which I can reach out to my students.
We have started to use a new web conferencing tool – WEBEX. It allows organizing the live sessions, sharing information and tasks, having breakout sessions – the students can work in smaller groups on different tasks depending on their language skills and knowledge.
Did we have complications with technology? Yes, almost every day.
1) The students do not hear me, or I can’t hear them. The solution – restart the meeting or rejoin the meeting.
2) Sharing the video with the right resolution or share the link and ask the students to watch the video by themselves and then come back to the meeting. Very challenging with little ones.
3) In order to have smooth lessons, we wrote the code of behavior together, such as be on time, unmute yourself, but keep a camera on, raise your hand if you want to speak, use a chat for learning purposes. When a student makes a presentation, they create Google slides following certain rules:
Use the common background for the whole presentation, and this background should support the main idea of the presentation
One big idea per a slide
Use a bigger font or different color for writing the main idea
Add the picture to illustrate and support the presentation
On the way, we are learning together how to solve problems. I always have a plan B in Seesaw if something does not go well in WEBEX. Unfortunately, it requires more time for planning. New updates appear so quickly that we watch tutorials together and try to figure out how it works on different sides of the screen.
Another problem is keeping ES students (5-7 years old) in front of the screen for 45-60 minutes in a WL class. It is exhausting for students and teachers. I have realized that a small chunk of a live session should be followed by individual student work (during this period, a teacher is available to answer questions and clarify). I believe that the live session should be interactive and creative. Another solution is creating/ or finding short videos of the lesson content that students can watch asynchronously at their own pace. During the live sessions, the students can demonstrate the knowledge they learned or ask for clarifications.
New distant learning reality changes the teaching practices and classroom culture tremendously.
It was difficult to come back to the routine of learning since our life has not yet become back to normal. We are teaching in masks and online at the same time. It is challenging to keep the attention and interest of 4 years old child for 45 minutes during World Language class.
When I have started to write COETAIL blog
I knew that colors, drawings, and font make the difference and attract the readers’ attention. I tried to use different fonts, colors, images, and videos.
In today’s internet, visual literacy is a skill to decipher what was being communicated, it helps to eliminate the barriers
Visual culture is playing a huge role in nowadays life. In today’s visual Internet, visual literacy is a skill and a necessary ability to decipher what is shared online and distributed in any other form of visual media. It happens a lot in learning foreign languages, the learners are trying to imagine or draw visuals in their heads when they are reading in a foreign language.
New things that I want to implement in my blogs:
- To put on top the main idea
- Use visual images such as photo posts, viral videos, charts, infographics in order to support my ideas
- Use brighter colors in order to attract the reader’s attention
- More space around elements draws the reader’s attention
- Use the dot points to summarize
These elements I am using while creating Seesaw activities for my little learners during distance learning.