Episode 9: Conferencing Intentionally: A plan for implementation!

conferences Jul 06, 2022

Let's talk about being more INTENTIONAL during this conference season! Last episode, I told you about the various conferences I would be attending... THIS episode I want to talk to you about how to MAXIMIZE your learning experiences and create a plan for implementation for this fall!

First and foremost, grab my FREE resource which includes observation pages for both language labs and workshops! The guiding questions will help you be more intentional in the way you observe and purposeful in the way you learn at the various conferences you're attending.

Here is a link to the blog I posted yesterday where you can also find the resource!

If you're interested in joining OUR family of accountability partners, click here to get on the waitlist for La Familia Loca PLC! (We'll be opening again soon and would LOVE to help you be more intentional about implementing your summer learning!)

ENJOY this conference season (or not!) Either way, be present in whatever you're doing, and I look forward to connecting with you at a conference this summer or in the next episode!

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Welcome to Teaching la Vida Loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity, and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabelle, most people call me La Maestra Loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do.


 Summer Conferences

Hello, and welcome to Episode Nine of teaching la Vida Loca, I'm so glad you're here. Because today I'm talking all about how you can be far more intentional about the way that you conference this season. And most specifically, how you can be intentional about the implementation of your learning when you go back into your classroom this fall. This can apply to conferences right now this summer, or in the future. If you're watching this in the future, if you just heard a loud bang dynamite, I live on a street with three individuals who like to blow literal dynamite instead of fireworks. Today is July the fourth and so that's going to be interesting to hear during the recording, my kids are down for nap and my husband's out to AutoZone. I was able to shut off the AC so hopefully you don't hear that in the background. And let's crank out this episode. I'm so excited to get started with you. 

Free Resource!

The first thing that I want to share is a free resource for you. It's a resource I created last year in 2021 on how to really be intentional when you're listening and observing during the language lab, and how to be really purposeful when you are engaging in a workshop session or presentation. I created these it's four pages, it's a PDF file. And what you can do is you can download it, print it out. Or if you are a person who likes to fill out PDFs by just entering texts on your computer, you can do that. Two of the pages are just observation pages, one for learning labs, and one for workshops. But the secondary page to both of those has lists of guiding questions to really help you during your observation, hone in and focus on the most important things to be looking for and listening for when you're in a language lab or considering when you're in a workshop. These pages, I personally use all the time. And I've received wonderful feedback from teachers who use them. It who were part of my email list last year and received them last summer and use them at conference in the cloud and IFLT. 

Guiding Questions

Now once you have those, some things to really consider and these are just a couple of the guiding questions, for example, on the language lab. One is when you're observing a language lab, and what I mean by that is a class that is being taught by a teacher with children and you are watching. One of the things to watch for is how is the teacher keeping it comprehensible? So, what strategies is the teacher using to make sure that students are understanding the language that is being used? Is it that they're going really slow? Is it that they're pausing and pointing? Is it that they are using the student's name to like reengage them? Is it that they are moving and pointing at images? What is it that they are doing to intentionally make it more understandable for their students? So how are they keeping it comprehensible? Another question on the guiding questions that I provide in this free resource for bringing more intentionality to your conferencing, is how is the teacher creating an inclusive classroom where every child or student feels seen, heard, loved, cared for and empowered? So, how are they creating a classroom where everybody feels like they belong? How are they working to build and create that environment? Considering taking, into consideration that language labs in most of these conferences, teachers are meeting these children for the very first time that week? Right? Conference in the cloud, we have a very unique and special situation this year where Amy Marshall is getting to teach her own students live in person and this is going to be streamed on Zoom, as is Alison Litton. So that's going to be really unique and special to see. But typically, teachers are meeting students for the very first time that week. So how are they starting to create that classroom environment where every student feels included and and really seen and heard for who they are, even if it's in the beginning stages of building that community. 


Now when it comes to workshops, being intentional about your observations there. One of the guiding questions I provide in the worksheets is how does what you're listening to apply to your context, because sometimes it can go one of two ways. Sometimes you're observing and you're like, Oh my God, this just doesn't even isn't gonna work for me doesn't apply to my school or my kids or the demographic, I teach whatever. Or you're like, Oh, I love this idea. And you're not at all considering how it might apply to you and your context. So, it's really important before you go in, to have your context, your school community, your students in mind as you're observing, and then stay positive when you're observing. And you think, Okay, well, I don't see how that specifically fits. But if I twist it, and use it this way, it can apply or work for me. So that's one thing. And then also make sure that every presentation or workshop you're walking away from, don't walk away with more than one or two highlights or favorite things that you want to try or consider moving forward. 

Narrowing It Down

The next thing I'm going to say to you is going to be really challenging, it's really going to push you because I find that it is the number one mistake people make at conferences. The number one error that I see from teachers, is they walk away with a notebook full of 20 or more things that they want to try. And then what happens is they go back to their classrooms and actually don't implement anything at all. And that's normal, don't feel bad, I've done it. Like I do it all too often. That's actually why I created these pages to be way more intentional about it. But what I'll push you to do is sit down at the end of the conference. And look at all of your notes, and your pages. If you've used my pages that you know the conferencing intentionally the language lab, or the workshop ones, look at all of them, put them all together, circle your top three to five things. And then try and narrow that down to one to three. Star your number one strategy, whether it whether it might not be a strategy, it might be a skill, it might be an activity. What's the one thing you want to be intentional about implementing in the coming school year, in the fall. Once you have that one thing starred, you can start to become not to become an action plan but to create an action plan for implementation. 

Being Intentional

And this should be very, very doable, intentionally you should be intentional about the timing in La Familia loca PLC, who we are having an action plan that teachers who are attending conferences or learning PD this summer, we are creating an actionable goal of the first quarter, you're going to try and implement your number one thing that you learn, and then we are holding each other accountable to that by everybody is filling out a Google doc together, we are then holding each other accountable to the action step that we wanted to take in the first quarter and then meeting about it at the end of that first quarter to talk about our reflections. What went well, what felt tricky, so we can support each other further. Now, on that note, once you have chosen that one thing, and chosen a date, you want to do it by whether that's the first quarter or the first semester, first quarter might be better even I think first month is tricky. You know, first month of school might be tricky. But if you can be really intentional about a date, then you need to think about that accountability piece. Like I said, in our PLC we're all holding each other accountable. How can you find one person that perhaps also attended the conference with you? Who also should create an action plan with an implementable step? How Can y'all hold each other accountable, setting a date for y'all to meet for an hour over zoom, if they're in another state, to talk about what you implemented and how it went? Really being intentional about what is my action item? When do I want to do it by and who is going to hold me accountable to it? Because all too often, especially in these rich and incredible summer conferences. We walk away after a week feeling so energized and so excited about all the learning we just walked away with. But it's so much or we're being very focused and intentional about what am I going to actually implement. I witnessed all these amazing things. What is my favorite? What do I need to be intentional about implementing in the coming school year? So, that's my push for you today and I'm really really, really excited to hear how conferencing goes for you. I really hope that you'll download these conference pages, they are awesome and they are free for you to use. I'll link to a blog that I wrote yesterday about intentionally conferencing that has them in them. But I'm really excited to hear about it. No brain break this episode because it was a 10 minute episode. Okay, a little over 10 minutes but I'm really excited to connect and reconnect with some of you this summer. And I can't wait to learn with you and grow together. It's going to be awesome. 

Thank you!

Until next time teacher, I hope that you will be living your best life this summer because I'm definitely not going to be teaching la vida loca unless you consider me teaching all of you at conferences, so I guess I will be teaching la vida loca and hopefully you'll be learning la vida loca or just living up summer and just being really present in your rest. Excited to connect or not! Love you teacher, take care! Bye bye!

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