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!

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 gmail.com.

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