How to Tackle ACTFL!

I have been to ACTFL 5 times and I never stop being amazed at the magnitude of this conference! If you’ve never been, please consider this something worth doing for yourself! We live in an age where schools don’t pay for PD very often but it is worth every penny to attend this conference at least once!

I have 5 helpful hints if you’re headed out for your first ACTFL and are feeling overwhelmed!

1. Don’t miss the opening session. It is at the opening session that you will get to meet the five candidates for National Teacher of the Year! They’ll name the winner right before your eyes! Plus, the ACTFL Keynote is always able to open my eyes to something I didn’t know before!

2. Don’t skip the exhibit hall! There are so many exhibits you could spend a whole day wandering around! Of course there are textbook companies but don’t skip the smaller publishers! You can walk out with armloads of Comprehensible readers at great prices! Read a lot of stories and decide which your students will love the most!

3. Pick out 2-3 can’t miss sessions per day! If you get caught up chatting with a like minded colleague after a session, you may end up missing one time slot but identify at least 2-3 a day that you will go to to keep yourself in a learning mindset! Sometimes that nap or that stroll around Nashville can be tempting but there is just too much great information available in these 3 days to skip out!

4. Have a dinner with a group of people you met at the conference! Some of my closest friends and collaboration pals live in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania! You never know which session your new conference bestie might be hiding in!

5. Send a thank you tweet! ACTFL and particularly Julia Richardson spend a LONG time making this so awesome! How great would it be on Sunday to see a ton of shout outs for all the hard work!

Hope to see you at ACTFL!

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Material World- A unit on world homes

If you don’t have Peter Menzel’s photo books Hungry Planet-What the World Eats and Material World, please buy them.  The images are ALL OVER THE INTERNET but his work is spectacular and I want teachers to support him as a photographer!  I’d love to see him update these projects!

I wanted to do a unit in level two where students could talk about their own homes and possessions but also dig deep into what people in other parts of the world are lacking!  I’ve been amazed by how they performed as we worked our way through image talks, comparison and contrast, and deep thinking about how much we really have!  This is just the first draft of the unit but I’d like to share in case you’re looking for a way to bring the world’s people to your classroom!

I relied heavily on some suggestions from the National Geographic community for the supplemental resources.  If you’re not a National Geographic certified educator, I’d highly recommend it!  Access to the community and the suggestions alone is worth the time to create the portfolio!

Homes Unit Proofed