Estudiante AliderJoven by jgoge, on Flickr
"Estudiante AliderJoven" (CC BY 2.0) by  jgoge 

Last week, Langchatters were ready for an action-packed chat on authentic resources for reading. Participants discussed their go-to reading sources and talked about when they introduce them. They also shared their strategies to scaffold texts in an attempt to make them more accessible for students. Langchatters then considered how students can use authentic resources to build their vocabulary and commented on ways to train students in effective reading strategies. Finally, instructors brainstormed post-reading tasks to promote student accountability. Participants were so engrossed in the conversation that the end of the hour snuck up on them, with @alenord exclaiming, “Cannot believe it! This is the fastest hour of my week!”

Thank you to all those who contributed to an active hour of #langchat! We also extend a special thanks to our dedicated moderators. Amy (@alenord) led the Thursday chat, with support from Sara-Elizabeth (@SECottrell), Colleen (@CoLeeSensei), and Laura (@SraSpanglish), and John (@CadenaSensei) moderated the #SaturdaySequel!

Question 1: What authentic reading sources do you use, and how do you decide when to use them?

Langchatters had plenty of authentic reading sources to recommend! @LisaShepard2 suggested “Tweets, infographics, stories, articles, [and] anything comprehensible and relevant.” @Marishawkins echoed the suggestion for “news or magazines articles or infographics,” and @MlleSulewski encouraged a healthy dose of infographics: “Loooots of infographics!” Others recommended advertisements (@alenord) and song lyrics (@Frau_Cold and @alenord). Specific news sites were suggested by @MlleSulewski (“I love 1jour1actu articles”) for French and by @profepj3 (“I love using @20m for my classes. [The stories are easy to read, cover a] variety of topics, [and include] videos.”) for Spanish. The list of suggestions only continued to grow, expanding to include movie trailers, music videos, restaurant menus, and websites, such as airline pages or (@tbcaudill). @tbcaudill explained that on such sites, “[Students] know what things mean by context/icons/location on [the] page.” @AHSblaz proposed using another sort of website, specifically, one filled with reader contributions, such as “Quand j’étais petit” (When I was little). Additions to this growing list included cartoons (@MarciHarris), memes, and proverbs and sayings (@MundodePepita). @MundodePepita kindly shared her personal Pinterest collection of sayings. While resources abound for modern languages, @kballestrini pointed out that finding authentic texts for learners of Classical languages can be trickier: “[Well], it’s Latin… so, you know, [there are] lots of advanced [authentic resources, but sources are] very limited [for] lower level [learners and require] lots of scaffolding.” He added, “[Surviving] graffiti is fantastic; [it] requires some censoring, though 🙂 [It] often [contains the] same [grammatical] mistakes [that] students [make].”

Participants briefly commented on when they use these resources. Some use authentic readings to introduce a unit. For example, @Sra_NS wrote, “[I’m trying] to use [authentic resources] right from the start of a new [chapter] so [students] see the words in context. [I’m using] for [the] ropa unit.” Similarly, @tjeag said, “I like doing a lot of interpretive [work] at [the] beginning of a unit to build comprehension before getting [students] to speak a lot.” @LisaShepard2 likes to present these sources to “introduce [vocabulary or] structures, spark discussion, [or as a] prompt for writing.” @ProfeCochran noted that, when she uses an authentic text, she has students work with it for a good chunk of the class period: “I have [50-minute] classes, so I often have to devote [an] entire lesson (30 [minutes]) to scaffolding an interpretive reading selection.”

Question 2: How do you scaffold authentic reading sources to make them accessible to your students?

In order to make texts more accessible, Langchatters offered scaffolding tips. They commented on the importance of carefully selecting a text, taking time to pre-teach vocabulary, and breaking down a reading into digestible parts.

  • Carefully choose a text: @tbcaudill encouraged fellow instructors to “work from familiar sources so [they feel] very predictable.” @SraSpanglish agreed, writing, “Familiar schemas are awesome scaffolding! I like Wikipedia articles :).” @ProfeCochran suggested that teachers “[first] draw students’ attention to things they know and recognize [and build] their schema from there.” Aside from schematic considerations, others highlighted the role of familiar vocabulary. @LisaShepard2 said, “Start with texts that are very visual [and] have lots of cognates, or previously learned words.” @MundodePepita added, “[Too] much new [vocabulary] means a resource that needs to be put back on the shelf [in my honest opinion].”
  • Pre-teach vocabulary: @Marishawkins tries to “[pre-teach vocabulary and] be selective so [she doesn’t] have to scaffold too much and [can] ask questions [students] can answer.” @placido also encouraged pre-teaching vocabulary, but suggested selecting a text that requires minimal preparation and thus reduces students’ frustration. @AHSblaz added, “I like to give [students] paper [and a] highlighter [to] mark all familiar words. [This makes the] text less scary [and allows students to] focus on [the] frequency of unknown words, etc.”
  • Chunk it!: Many advised breaking texts down into chunks. @VTracy7 wrote, “I like to chunk the text so that’s it less intimidating [and] then we focus on what we know and cognates.” @natadel76 agreed, writing that this allows students to stop and react or reflect in groups, and @ADiazMora added that this strategy makes texts feel less overwhelming.

Question 3: How can students use authentic reading sources to build their vocabulary?

As @tbcaudill observed, exposure to new words through authentic reading can naturally expand students’ vocabulary. @alenord wrote that students can be trained in paying attention to context to discover meaning: “Sometimes [it’s] powerful to underline cool words [and] then work together to [use] context to make guesses.” Instructors shared some specific tips to help vocabulary grow and stick.

  • Word journals/blogs: @ProfeCochran suggested that students keep a word journal with new words of their selection. Similarly, @SraSpanglish said, “I have students pick 3-5 words to look up [and] include in summary blog.”
  • Personalized vocabulary: @ADiazMora wrote, “I have students choose words that they find important or relate to who they are…[this] usually sticks with them.” @MarisHawkins agreed that “students learn cognates and see words repeatedly that they want to know.” To help new words stick, @_scolby has students pick out words that matter to them and draw a picture to make them more memorable. @placido added that free reading can naturally expose students to vocabulary related to their interests.
  • Application activities: @alenord wrote, “[Vocabulary acquisition] comes with repetition, too, so what are YOU going to do with the words they gain from reading [authentic texts]?” @nicola_work recommended a “personalized post-reading activity (opinion, likes, dislikes, reenactment, etc.) [to help] with some [vocabulary] building.”

Question 4: What strategies train students to be more proficient readers in their L2?

Participants noted the importance of training students not to get hung up on every word and to interpret words in context.

  • Not sweating the small stuff: @MlleSulewski noted a key strategy, namely, “not getting bogged down trying to understand every word!” @LisaShepard2 wrote, “[Students] just need to understand that they don’t need to know every word. It takes [a while] to develop that trust in the classroom.” @tbcaudill echoed this point: “[They’ve] got to get over not knowing each word! So hard to do!”
  • Discussing and interpreting vocabulary in context: As @CoLeeSensei commented, “[You] can’t go right to the dictionary until you read, discuss and guess! [Help students think about a text’s] context [and] purpose – why are we reading this? who’s it for?” @nicola_work also encourages “guessing from context, using anything [students] know (picture, previous knowledge, cognates, simple words).” @MundodePepita added, “[Steal] techniques from early literacy: look for what you know, look at illustrations, skip [and] come back, [and] ask ‘what makes sense?’”

Question 5: What post-reading tasks hold students accountable for what they learned?

Language teachers advised including reading content in assessments and having students engage in creative follow-up activities.

  • Incorporate similar activities in assessments: @MrsCoblentz wrote, “[Definitely] incorporate similarly-themed activities in the next [performance] assessment to see retention,” and @placido commented, “My [authentic resource topics] have a funny way of resurfacing on pop quizzes!” @ProfeCochran expressed her view that it’s “[even] better if you can incorporate [the] same sources and information gained in the assessment.”
  • Use creative follow-up activities: Participants shared a variety of potential post-reading tasks. Here are some of their ideas! @profepj3 suggested having students create a summary tweet: “I love the ‘summary tweet’ idea for what my [students] have read [or] listened to. [It distills] their comprehension to 2, maybe 3 sentences.” @nicola_work offered some more tips: having students “reenact [a text]; draw [a] graphic; create [a] dialogue; write [an] alternate ending; give [a] personal opinion; interview someone.” Additionally, @JeanineMotta proposed that students could “create an alternative ending and illustrate it [as a] graphic novel.”

Finally, @alenord shared her view that “[a during-reading] activity is just as powerful as [a post-reading] activity [that informally] assesses [students’] understanding.”


Last week, Langchatters had plenty of tips on authentic reading to offer and read from fellow language instructors. They shared their authentic reading sources of choice and talked about when they use them. Participants also discussed scaffolding strategies, considered how students can build their vocabulary through authentic texts, and reflected on ways to train learners in effective reading techniques. Finally, instructors brainstormed post-reading tasks to promote accountability.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who contributed resources and tips for engaging with authentic texts! We hope that you continue to join us on #langchat once or twice a week! If the Thursday at 8 p.m. ET chat feels too fast, consider returning for the slower #SaturdaySequel, 10 a.m. ET! Due to space limitations, many tweets had to be omitted from this summary. To view the entire conversation, you can access the full transcript on our tweet archive. Have an topic that you’re impatient to discuss?! Send us your ideas for future #langchats!

College Students by CollegeDegrees360, on Flickr
"College Students" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  CollegeDegrees360 

If you snapped along to last week’s #langchat snapper, now you can snap for the summary! Participants were eager to discuss four unrelated questions that have been weighing on their minds. They shared their favorite ways to promote and advocate for world language learning. Participants then moved from chatting about advocacy to just… moving, talking up how to integrate physical activity into second language learning. Langchatters also suggested how to capture students’ speaking performances, and, finally, they talked about how to teach students to responsibly and productively use translation tools.

Thanks to all who joined us for a snappy talk! We would also like to thank the Thursday moderating team: Sara-Elizabeth (@SECottrell), Laura (@SraSpanglish), Kris (@KrisClimer), and Amy (@alenord), as well as those who led the Snappy #SaturdaySequel: John (@CadenaSensei) and Diego (@DiegoOjeda66).

Question 1: How do you promote and advocate for your program?

Langchatters agreed that instructors shouldn’t be shy to talk up their programs! They offered lots of great ways to advocate and promote foreign language teaching.

  • Student advocates: @klafrench spoke for many in writing, “My kids are my best advocates!” She explained, “They tell other people to take my class. Good relationships are the first step.” @tmsaue1 added that learners can give public visibility to the success of our programs: “[Producing] highly proficient users of language is the best kind of advocacy.” Additionally, @SenoraLauraCG’s students advertise the language program across campus: “[Students] made #whyitakespanish posters [and] videos and tweeted to encourage lower levels to continue on in Spanish.”
  • Long-term goals: Other instructors try to help learners envision long-term goals to promote student retention in language programs. @LisaShepard2 said, “[There’s lots] of talk about what [students will] learn next year. I try to lead with the assumption that they’ll be in the program for 4 [years].” @klafrench replied, “I do this too! I make a big deal about how sad I am when they don’t register for next year.”
  • Open House: Others noted that Open House can be a great place to promote language programs. @klafrench wrote, “I aim to wow [and] amaze at our Open House. Student volunteers scream ‘Bonjour!’ at people while wearing mustaches.” @lotteesensei also uses Open House to spread the word, writing, “[I] table at 8th grade [Open House] and get current students involved talking to prospective students and parents.” You might even consider asking the school counselor to promote language learning at such events. @SECottrell suggested, “[Get the] school counselor involved. [Our] parents would believe anything [the] counselor said about how colleges choose.”
  • Foreign language classes in the news: Langchatters encouraged one another to get their programs in the news. @SECottrell said, “[Sometimes] contacting the local news to make a big deal out of [something] in your program works!” @rlgrandis noted that news directed at parents is also important: “I send parent newsletters…[The] more the community gets involved the easier it is to promote,” and @SraWienhold kindly shared her newsletter template. @klafrench added that instructors might try to publish their school newsletter in the town paper as well.

Question 2: How can we integrate physical activity into second language learning?

Participants suggested plenty of ways to get students up and moving while languaging! Here are some of the tips they had to share:

  • Games: @MmeHibou wrote, “Playing games and creating gestures for [vocabulary] allow for physical activity in language. AIM is a great resource for the latter.” @SraSpanglish proposed a kinesthetic game: “[Sometimes] we have verbarobics. I put on some dance music, call out [a] verb, [and students] do the action in time until [the] next call out :).”
  • Movement to music: @learnsafari suggested this combo, writing, “Get your kids to dance and sing along to music in [target language]. It’s the best!” @MmeBlouwolff added, “Learning a flashmob dance from a [target language] video is a fun 5-minute daily [activity].”
  • Seating and partner changes: @KrisClimer recommended “transitions, changing partners, movable seating, standing…” @natadel76 pointed out that this could be “[as] simple as stand up [and] find a different partner across the room, NOT at your table.” @JessieOelke wrote, “@grantboulanger has [students] randomly switch chairs after he yells [the] ‘Cambia’ command.” @tmsaue1 offered additional ways to reconfigure pairs: “bicycle chain [and] inside/outside circles are other ways to get learners up and out of their seats.”
  • Surveys in motion: Many recommended getting students up and interacting by having them survey one another. @SrtaJohnsonEBHS said, “I like to do encuestas [surveys] where we get up and have to ask [and] answer [questions] to [different] people in the room.” As a variation on this, @KrisCimer suggested speed-dating or speed friending as an activity with plenty of movement. Others proposed surveys directed at the class as a whole. @SraSpanglish wrote, “Sometimes we have ‘de acuerdo’ [in agreement] and ‘no de acuerdo’ [not in agreement] sides of the room [with] a series of statements in [target language].” Similarly, @alenord recommended ‘Take Off, Touch Down,’ which she described as a game in which students stand if a statement applies to them. She added that this is also a great listening activity.

Question 3: How do you capture speaking performances?

In the next rapid snapper, Langchatters discussed how they capture student speech. Some expressed their preference not to record. For example, @MmeBlouwolff wrote, “[I listen] live and only live, [because] I just don’t have it in me to listen to recordings. Should I try [and] get over this?”

Others have been experimenting with recording tools. Here are some of their tips! @SECottrell said, “I love Google [Voice] for presentational [mode because] I can listen on my phone at my convenience.” @espanolsrs noted that, as a homework choice, her students can “call [and] leave [her a] voicemail via [Google Voice].” @rlgrandis agreed that “Google [Voice] is quick [and] easy,” adding, “Educreations is a fun project, and just recording with an iPad is good for skits [or] presentations.” @virgilalligator added “AudioBoo, [the record feature] in Notability, as well as Croak.It!” to this list of tools. @MmeDJones also mentioned Voicethread and @klafrench commented, “I’ve used also. I like it because you can put a picture up for students to describe.” @nicola_work noted that voice memos on iPads and iPhones are one easy option, and she also offered some fun applications for recorded video conversations: Tellagami, Photospeak, and Fotobabble. Along these lines, @SraStephanie suggested letting students record with an avatar using Voki: “[This is cute for a] class presentation, [and students] can also present in a station [with a] small group.” In case you are still looking for more applications, @CatherineKU72 shared a great resource with a wealth of applications and sites for recording.

Some instructors also touched on what student recordings can be used for. @kltharri has “students record [conversations], transcribe [them], and reflect.” @SraSpanglish uses recordings for student portfolios: “I have kids record daily conversations about songs [and] edit the best ones together for portfolios [one time per] grading period.” @SrMedina_NNHS suggested another way to have students engage with recordings: “[Also] a great idea is turning their [presentational] speaking into an [interpretive] listening [activity] for other students.” @SraSpanglish shared yet another possibility: “I had students record [introductory videos] for @BeckyLeid’s students before setting up penpals!”

Question 4: How can we teach students to responsibly and productively use translation tools?

Before the end of the hour, participants discussed how to train students to use translation tools appropriately. Many emphasized the importance of announcing clear guidelines from the start. @rlgrandis wrote, “Be VERY clear with guidelines. I introduce [students] to [them] on [day] 1. [Talk about what’s] fine [and] what’s not, and show [students] WHY it’s mostly not okay.” @espanolsrs noted the importance of relieving students’ pressure to reach perfection, which can lead to inappropriate use of resources: “Being honest [and] open [with students] about effort over perfection takes pressure off [and] makes ‘cheating’ not ‘necessary.’ Teach responsibility.” In order to avoid potentially irresponsible use of translation tools altogether, @natadel76 has students do their writing in class: “Yes, all important writing is done in class where I am able to monitor [and] help, clarify, [or] suggest when needed.”

Instructors highlighted the need to train students in appropriate use of dictionary and translation tools and to expose them to shortcomings of machine translations. @kltharri said, “I tell my students to type their Spanish into Google and see if the English [makes] sense to them.” Similarly, @AHSblaz said, “[I] show [students] how bad [and] easily detectable translators are.” @alenord pointed out, “[Students] need to be taught how to use a dictionary first!” and @caraluna34 demonstrates effective dictionary use in her class: “I try to make [WordReference] their comrade. I model it myself.” @srtamartino agreed, “[Students] need to use resources like WordReference and RAE (for Spanish) to apply their knowledge and look up what they don’t know.”


Last week’s chat contained a quick succession of four topics Langchatters were eager to discuss. The conversation focused on promotion and advocacy of world language programs, integration of physical activity in second language learning, ways to capture student speaking performances, and training in appropriate use of translation tools. The end of the hour caught up with everyone (Oh, snap!), but participants were eager to continue exploring the topics raised in this quick snapper-style #langchat!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who joined in and contributed to a productive chat! Instructors like you make this professional learning network thrive. We hope that you continue to find us on #langchat once or twice a week! We will be online and ready to chat on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET AND Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. ET!

Due to space limitations, many tweets had to be omitted from this summary. To view the entire conversation, you can access the full transcript on our tweet archive. Have an topic that you’re impatient to discuss?! Send us your ideas for future #langchats!

Ayesha leads a Q&A with author Jay Heinr by THINKGlobalSchool, on Flickr
"Ayesha leads a Q&A with author Jay Heinr" (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  THINKGlobalSchool 

Welcome back! Last week, #langchat joined forces with #GlobalEdChat for a chat on the importance of 21st century skills for world language students. Instructors first discussed challenges to integrating these skills into classrooms. Participants then considered how to promote life, career, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills to prepare students for a global society. Instructors also shared some of their favorite resources for teaching 21st century skills. Finally, they reflected on ways to promote creativity, as well as information, media, and technology skills to prepare students for life beyond the classroom. The quick pace of this chat left some ready for a #langnap (@SraSpanglish). In case you missed a beat, we bring you some of the highlights!

Thank you to all of the Langchatters and GlobalEdChatters who weighed in on this relevant topic. We would also like to thank our Thursday moderators: Amy (@alenord) and Sara-Elizabeth (@SECottrell), as well as Laura (@SraSpanglish) who doubled up and led the #SaturdaySequel with Colleen (@CoLeeSensei) too – thanks ladies!

Question 1: What are some of the biggest challenges to integrating 21st century skills into the classrooms?

Certain obstacles can complicate integration of 21st century skills. Participants cited limited or no access to technology, a lack of time, students with immediate interests, and instructors who are unprepared to support 21st century skills as notable challenges.

  • Gaining Access to Technology: As @SECottrell noted, at a “rural school with no [technology], sometimes [the] 21st [century] seems ‘a world away.’” @la_sra_hinson added that, even when classes do have access to technology, school restrictions can greatly limit use: “[We do] not [have] many iPads…but those we have can’t download [applications] so [they are] used like [computers].” @MlleSulewski echoed this point, writing, “[Our] school blocks [YouTube]! Talk about frustrating.” @ProfeCochran summarized the situation: “[There are so] many barriers and blockades to useful collaboration sources and sites, and that’s IF you have access to [technology].”
  • Finding the Time: Others commented on a constraint that teachers are all too familiar with: time. @caranowou mentioned “[time and] the [teachers] being required to focus on standardized testing.” Similarly, @ProfeCochran cited “[limits] to schedules and interruptions [and] unrealistic timelines for grades” as obstacles.
  • Getting Students on Board: @SraSpanglish wrote, “[Getting] inherently self-centered adolescents to focus on something global [can be a challenge].” She added, “You want to use [students’] interests, but sometimes their passions are not so…global.” Along these lines, @bjillmoore mentioned “students with a very limited knowledge of life beyond their immediate interests.” @alenord framed this as a difference in how teachers and some students understand learning: “[We have to] get [students] to LEARN rather than grub for points, complete rather than consider [things] assignments [and] tasks.” While it may be difficult to get students on board, the rewards can be amazing, as @Meriwynn pointed out: “[But] the cool thing about global is that once you crack that nut there are endless possibilities.”
  • Training Teachers to Support 21st Century Skills: @Morgandanielk wrote, “[Teachers] who don’t model being 21st century learners or global educators… everyone here being the exception [represent another challenge].” @CatherineKU72 pointed out a major issue, namely, the fact that teachers do not receive training in this area: “Many teachers are not aware of the resources that support 21st [century] skills. [These are not] ‘taught’ at [educational schools or in professional development] for [world languages].”

Question 2: How do we promote life, career, and critical thinking skills that prepare students for a global society?

Participants recognized the value of endless questioning and community connections in supporting students’ life, career, and critical thinking skills.

  • Question, question, question! @SraDentlinger suggested, “Create units with essential questions, not [just] list of [vocabulary]. Give [students] a question to answer!” @caranowou added, “[In] addition to giving [students questions], encourage [and] challenge [them] to want to ask their own [questions] every day.
  • Community Connections: Several instructors highlighted the role of community connections in supporting student curiosity, critical thinking, and development. @ProfeCochran wrote, “Inquiry-based service learning programs can be a real win for all things 21st [century].” @SraSpanglish agreed, writing, “YES! Service to a real, tangible community [makes students’] community global!” @Meriwynn reiterated this point: “Global issues are present in [our] own communities; we need #empathy to see ourselves in others.” @MbiraAbby offered another way to help students cultivate empathy and community connections: “[Plan] your unit to first invite [the] community into [your] classroom as [a real audience] #classroomisrealworld.”

Question 3: How do we promote communication and collaboration skills that prepare students for a global society?

Participants acknowledged the importance of training students in good communication and collaboration skills inside the classroom before they engage with the world beyond.

  • Train Students in the Classroom: @alenord observed, “We have to get [students] to be better communicators to each other, [face-to-face] FIRST.” She added, “[This is small], but [it’s important to train] kids to use [the target language] to talk to each other [the] way they do in [their first language]. BE REAL PEOPLE just in Spanish!” Instructors suggested ways to guide students in their interactions. @Anamaria_Knight wrote, “Keep asking ‘why?’, ‘how else?’, from a place of wanting to learn, not judgment . [Never] stop the inquiry,” and @cvaughanlee said, “Encourage diverse points of view with students.” @tchlrnchnge added, “Communication [and] collaboration requires listening to develop perspective consciousness. Learn from, not just about [people].”
  • Help Students Practice Communication and Collaboration Beyond the Classroom: Following in-class practice, @MlleSulewski suggested, “Introduce [students] to people from [the] target cultures! Give them a reason to care!” @MsbatistaL recommended “projects that promote collaboration [and] communication,” encouraging instructors to “hand over the teaching to [students and have them] go outdoors for [real-life observation].” Others mentioned connections with classes abroad. @AHSblaz wrote, “[This year we] began [communicating with] penpals [from] France who will visit [us] in 2017. [We will] go there [in] 2018. Talk about motivation [and] relevancy!” Others pointed out that connections with classes abroad could be forged online without ever leaving the classroom. @caranowou suggested, “[Make] connections [with] classrooms in other cultures [through] social media, [via places] such as @SkypeClassroom.” @hsingmaster commented, “Time differences can be a big barrier, but there are some new asynchronous platforms coming out now.”

Question 4: What are some of your favorite resources for teaching 21st century skills?

We bring you a sampling of instructors’ go-to resources for supporting 21st century skills!

  • Pinterest: @SraSpanglish wrote in favor of Pinterest, noting, “[There are so] many global perspectives right there for the taking!” @learnsafari commented, “Pinterest is awesome! But I get totally lost in it and next thing I know, dinner is on fire!”
  • AJ+ Español: @SraDentlinger said, “I love @ajplusespanol to help find new material for my classes. GREAT inspiration!”
  • Asia Society: @TaraNuth wrote, “Asia Society’s Educating for Global Competence is a [favorite] resource of mine!” @ProfeCochran also wrote in favor of Asia Society, commenting that their “Global Competence Matrices are AWESOME.”
  • Immigrant Archive Project: @SrtaSpathis said, “Immigrant Archive Project videos are excellent resources to give insight into the immigrant experience.”
  • News Media: @VTracy7 recommended “[comparing] different news media [sources] while keeping the audience in mind.” Speaking of news platforms, @MlleSulewski mentioned a favorite: “I love TV5Monde. ‘World’ is right in title.”
  • @TPRSPublishing: @SraDentlinger wrote, “I love @TPRSPublishing for helping me make my classroom more globally minded! Thank YOU!”
  • Real People: @jdeborahklein noted, “The best resource for learning languages is real people and an urge to connect!”

Question 5: How do we promote creativity skills that prepare students for a global society?

In order to promote creativity, participants recognized the importance of first knowing how students define it. They also acknowledged the need to help students embrace uncertainty.

  • Know What Creativity Means to Students: @SraDentlinger wrote, “In order to teach [students] new creativity, [we] must understand what they think is creative [first].” @TaraNuth wrote, “Connect with kids’ [favorite] forms of creativity and expression. My classroom is covered with MEMES!” In an effort to support individual creativity in design, @ProfeCochran wrote, “Always, always, always offer choice in the end product.”
  • Help Students Embrace Uncertainty: @William_Caze suggested taking “baby steps to encourage [students] to accept, even embrace uncertainty,” adding, “[There’s] no standards-based rubric for life!” @alenord agreed, noting that students should understand “that creativity REQUIRES the willingness to try, fail and try again!”

Question 6: How do we promote information, media, and technology skills that prepare students for a global society?

Participants recommended training students in how to use technological resources to support their learning. Many instructors thought that personal technological devices could have a place in the classroom if students were instructed in appropriate use. @SraDentlinger wrote, “I think NOT banning cell phones is a great place to start but [things could get] out of our control.” @alenord advocated for “[putting students’] smart devices to good, appropriate use in [the] classroom, [finding] ways to use them for LEARNING.” @ProfeCochran recommended that instructors “[give] students a real reason to use [their devices], and use them well—[to] research, argue, solve problems.” Similarly, @srtamartino suggested that instructors “show [students] how they can use social media for [language and culture] learning, [applications], sites that are reliable and/or authentic.” Additionally, @nicola_work advised discussing “[Internet and] online safety” and showing students “how to find information [and] evaluate it.”


Participants recognized challenges to integrating 21st century skills into the world language classroom, but they also shared lots of ways to support students’ development as critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators and global citizens who possess technological skills, creativity, and empathy. As @8rinaldi wrote, “No matter the obstacles, we have to move forward and implement new [technological] skills to empower our [students] to create and share globally.” @jdeborahklein added, “A #langchat teacher told me recently she sees every challenge as an opportunity to educate her community. Optimism is key!”

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone in our global network who contributed to this chat on educating students for a global society. Participants themselves expressed thanks to ACTFL for helping foreign language instructors to develop a global vision for students. @SraDentlinger said, “I’m SO thankful @ACTFL does this work for us! Other subjects aren’t so lucky!”

We hope that you continue to join us on #langchat once or twice a week! We will be online and ready to chat on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET AND Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET! Due to space limitations, many tweets had to be omitted from this summary. To view the entire conversation, you can access the full transcript on our tweet archive. Have an topic that you’re impatient to discuss?! Send us your ideas for future #langchats!

IMG47 by US Department of Education, on Flickr
"IMG47" (CC BY 2.0) by  US Department of Education 

Last week, #langchat had some great questions (and answers!) about inquiring-based learning! Participants described what inquiry-based learning looks like and discussed how to design and evaluate a quality end product. Instructors also shared tips on how to scaffold to support student inquiry in the target language at different proficiency levels and how to keep students on task. Finally, Langchatters reflected on how to integrate an inquiry-based learning model into a prescribed curriculum. While the chat only lasted an hour, it left participants ready to inquire into inquiry-based learning for hours to come. @KrisClimer wrote, “If your head is spinning, as mine was, comb through the chat, open up some tabs and settle in for an hour or five.” Don’t have five hours to spare? Your #langchat summary has got you covered!

Thank you to everyone who joined the conversation last week. We would also like to thank our moderators: Kris (@KrisClimer) and Sara-Elizabeth (@SECottrell) led the Thursday chat, with support from Amy (@alenord) and Laura (@SraSpanglish), who also led the #SatSequel!

Question 1: What does inquiry-based learning look like?

#Langchatters agreed that students drive inquiry-based learning. @ADiazMora described it as fundamentally student-centered. Given its focus on students, @MlleSulewski imagined that inquiry-based learning would be “very personalized.” @ksampson4 agreed, writing, “It looks like [students] asking the [questions] that matter to THEM.” @William_Caze noted that a focus on personalization supports students’ quest for knowledge: “[Inquiry-based] learning needs freedom for students to choose a topic that makes it easy to go ‘down the rabbit hole’ of information.” @ProfesoraM207 noted that the teacher serves as a facilitator, and several instructors commented on the value of scaffolding and guidance. @ksampson4 wrote, “[World language teachers] need to scaffold, but I agree that [students’] interests can guide the curriculum.” In the words of @frenchfr1ed, “Allow for freedom of discovery, but set up cool things to discover!”

Question 2: How can we design and evaluate a quality end product?

Langchatters pointed out that instructors should involve students at every stage of inquiry-based learning. @ksampson4 wrote, “I work on design [and] evaluation WITH the [students]. They are a part of the whole process.” @SraSpanglish shared her observation that some degree of structure can be comforting for students: “I was so gung ho about CHOICE when I started that it made my kids feel unsupported!” @SigDrucker offers students a general framework with room for flexibility and creativity: “I try to be flexible with some projects by giving [students] a general idea and then telling them to be creative with their formats.” Similarly, @profepj3 commented, “I gave the overall theme, but [students] came up with the topics. I also met [with] them as they ‘pitched’ their ideas.” When it comes to end product design, @SraDentlinger wrote, “Personally, if students are choosing the topic I think they should be able to choose how they demonstrate understanding.” Langchatters shared some possible end product forms that could be suggested to students: videos, podcasts, infographics, tutorials, skits (@sr_connolly), drawings, postcards, etc. (@SigDrucker). With regard to evaluation, @frenchfr1ed proposed, “[Let students] evaluate. What better commodity than the opinion of their peers?” @senornoble agreed that “it’s great when [learners] can share their project rather than simply turn it in.”

Question 3: How do you scaffold to keep students in the target language at different proficiency levels?

Participants shared useful tips to help keep students of all proficiency levels in the target language as they engage in inquiry-based learning. Some suggested frontloading useful vocabulary and phrases. @SraSpanglish offered one scaffolding tip: “[Focus] on a few essential verbs that work for questions, answers, everything,” and @SigDrucker proposed a way to help students reinforce key vocabulary: “[I] often set up @quizlet of essential terms to study [and] practice before topics so [students] feel more prepared.” In addition to vocabulary, @profepj3 noted the importance of reviewing essential structures and tenses: “Anticipate what structures [students] may need to accomplish tasks. Talking about childhood hobbies? [Stress the imperfect tense]. Potential jobs? [Review the future tense].” @kltharri added that instructors can adapt mediation based on student needs: “I use different levels of mediation. [I] start open [and] keep narrowing in until they get it.” Langchatters agreed that novices need more support to stay in the target language. @SECottrell said, “[My] opinion is [that] you have to give serious guidance [and] limit choice with novices. I create questions. I guide [the] product.” She added, “I will almost never ask my novices to find their own sources. [This results in endless] frustration and/or descent to English.” In terms of question creation, @SraSpanglish noted that novices again need more support: “I GIVE novices questions to copy and rephrase. Intermediates can come up with their own questions.”

Question 4: How do you ensure that students stay on task and focused?

Instructors agreed that interest and enthusiasm are key to focused inquiry. As @MrsCoblentz wrote, “If it’s something [students] want to do and are excited about, 99% will stay on target.” Similarly, @ksampson4 commented, “If the [students] are answering a [question that] they are interested in, they stay on task [and] go above [and] beyond.” @ProfesoraM207 added that, aside from interest, difficulty can play a big role in (lack of) engagement: “My [students] are off-task when the task is too easy or too hard. If they direct the learning, this might solve the problem.”

Langchatters suggested a number of ways to create accountability. @Marishawkins wrote, “I know you have to have specific end goals for each class period [for inquiry-based learning].” Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Daily exit cards: @MmeBlouwolff wrote, “I like daily exit cards for [students] and a chart where I’m tracking daily progress for me (with [a] clipboard).”
  • Blog updates on progress: @profepj3 said, “I’ve had my students write blog posts about their progress each week. Plus we’ve had ‘business [meetings]’ where I check in.” @SrtaGlynn echoed this suggestion: “Have [students] keep a blog of their progress/problems/questions/resources/etc. Share [these] on [the] school website.”
  • Google spread sheet: @ADiazMora shared an idea from @natadel76: “[On a] Google spread sheet students [can] track [their] progress and answer questions. [Teachers] can comment back.”
  • @nearpod: @SrtaGlynn suggested, “Use [a] tool like @nearpod to have [students] share progress with [the] whole class. Have them take accountability [and] pride in [their] work [through] sharing.”

Question 5: How can an inquiry model be integrated with a prescribed curriculum?

Participants acknowledged that inquiry models can and should be integrated with a prescribed curriculum. @krobertslwsd wrote, “I go rogue and add these units in :).” @KrisClimer proposed, “Use the prescribed material as ONE of the resources to which [students] can refer,” and @ksampson4 pointed out, “Having a textbook doesn’t mean you need to follow it page by page 😉 Skills [are] most [important and] that’s what [students] use in [inquiry-based learning].” @profepj3 lets students engage in the process of integrating inquiry-based activities into the curriculum: “I’ve done ‘match or scrap’ with my [students. They] write out [their] ideal objectives, [and] then match [or] scrap [them working with] the curriculum document.” @MaCristinaRV reminded instructors that they need not feel limited by the textbook or prescribed curriculum: “Use [the] textbook as [your] springboard… to infinity and beyond!”


Last week, participants described what inquiry-based learning looks like and discussed how to design and evaluate a quality end product. Instructors also shared tips on how to scaffold to support student inquiry in the target language at different proficiency levels and how to keep students on task. Finally, Langchatters reflected on how to integrate an inquiry-based learning model into a prescribed curriculum. Instructors acknowledged students’ role at the heart of inquiry-based learning, and they encouraged including them at every stage of the process—from planning to evaluation!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who kept curiosity alive on #langchat last week! Don’t forget that you can get your #langchat fill twice a week — both Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET AND Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. ET!

Due to space limitations, many tweets had to be omitted from this summary. To view the entire conversation, you can access the full transcript on our tweet archive. Have an topic that you’re impatient to discuss?! Send us your ideas for future #langchats!