On Friday, February 24, Lower School Language Teachers Natasha Hatcher, Rona Mattocks and Gaby Booth hosted the World Language Networking Meeting on the FWCD campus. FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary Level) teachers from around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex were invited to attend the daylong meeting.
Booth, who served as FWCD’s point person for the event, has been attending the World Language Networking Meeting for the past 10 years of her career. “It is a prestigious event to host,” she noted. “It allows elementary foreign language teachers to come together for a professional development opportunity and to learn about new projects, assignments and techniques that peer teachers are successfully using in their classrooms.”
Schools in attendance were Alcuin School, The Episcopal School of Dallas, Greenhill School, Hockaday School, The Lamplighter School, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, St. Andrew Catholic School, St. John’s Episcopal School, St. Mark’s School of Texas and Trinity Valley School.
“We had a good turnout of about 24 teachers,” Booth said. “Our conversations in the morning were insightful and the afternoon’s ‘swap workshop’ was fantastic!”
The group enjoyed a breakfast (graciously sponsored by Assistant Head of School for Academics Brad Philipson) and then dug right into discussion items that the teachers had emailed to the FWCD Lower School language team prior to the meeting:
- Best practices for the Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) Method
- Technology integration in language instruction
- Pictorial-based language instruction: QTALK (a method based on a series of icons placed grammatically and interpreted as full complex sentences from the very first lesson) and other methods
- Language promotion for your school
- Use of portfolios and standards-based planning and assessment
- Approaches to learning-style accommodations
- Integrating communicative activities with the teaching of culture
- Best practices for using songs and music in the classroom
- Inclusion of heritage speakers in the classroom
- Cross-divisional planning and alignment for language
After lunch, the group toured the campus. “The teachers were absolutely impressed by the beauty of Fort Worth Country Day,” Booth said. “It was the perfect after-lunch activity to get our minds working for the afternoon activity share.”
This activity share, or swap, has always been a highlight of the meeting. “Culture is a big part of our classroom, but it is the hardest to get to because we are so busy teaching,” Booth noted. “It’s so beneficial to meet with others and learn what they are doing project wise to impact their students.
It’s also refreshing for us all as teachers to gain new ideas and figure out how to use them in our classrooms,” Booth continued. “All in all, this was a refreshing day for foreign language teachers, filled with new ideas and great conversation about how to make a difference in the classroom.”