Blow your Colleagues’ Minds: For real!

Are you trying to make a paradigm shift with little success?  How about a little game with your colleagues!?

How much do they know about ACTFL’s proficiency guidelines?  Play this little game with them and let them see how unrealistic many of our goals in language programs throughout the years have been!!

Top two reminders:

  • In many states, language teachers must be Advanced Low proficiency on the OPI exam to get certification.
  • In those same states, many teacher candidates without study abroad (and even some with) struggle to get past intermediate high.

To play the game:

  • Print all sheets. (Enough copies for groups of 3-4)
  • Cut apart the writing and speaking descriptors.
  • Allow the teacher groups time to place the descriptors beneath the level they think is being described.
  • When teachers are finished grouping, reveal the secret… ALL of these descriptors are either Advanced Low or Intermediate High!  Teacher candidate level.  Bold represents Advanced Low.
  • Look together at these descriptors and discuss how many we have been expecting as early as level 2 (perfection with past tenses) for years!!!
  • Discuss ways to design a curriculum that truly moves students toward Intermediate High proficiency!
  • Preparing the Troops Game

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

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