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Showing posts from March, 2015

CU Immigration TV: Public Access Radio and Television for Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott

When you think of your students doing oral presentations, do you automatically assume that you'll have them prepare PowerPoint slides about a topic, stand at the front of the class, give the presentation to you and the classmates, then maybe quiz them on the content?

You don't have to do it that way, you know.

As I've written here many times before, it's popular to talk about using authentic language and authentic resources in the language classroom. I'm all for that, too. But I'm also very interested in some things that I don't hear people talk about:

Authentic purpose. Giving our students something to do in our courses that is not just a learning exercise, a hoop to jump through. (Which is not to say that our students aren't learning a lot when they do these academic exercises for the purpose of getting a grade. Yes, they do. But they could learn more. Learn differently.) So, for example, one semester my student's final exam was to cr…

Intercultural Competence: Darla Deardorff at Illinois' Faculty Retreat

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by Ann Abbott

For years I have been reading Darla Deardorff's work on intercultural competence. That's why I was so excited to see that she was going to be the keynote speaker at this year's campus-wide Faculty Retreat.

In languages, we're always thinking about and working with intercultural competence (or transcultural competence, as the MLA 2007 Special Report called it). However, other disciplines and the university as a whole have begun to give it much more thought, especially because of the increasing numbers of international students on campus. So this was a wonderful occasion to bring campus-level focus to an issue that I (and others in languages) care deeply about.

She provided a very helpful handout to us, and I'll share here some of my notes as well as information from the handouts.

Myths about intercultural competence (handout)
Students fluent in another language are interculturaly competent.Intercultural competence means mostly learning about others'…

Language Departments: Creating a Community of Practice with and for Students

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by Ann Abbott

I had such a wonderful visit at St. Olaf College last week. Darcy Lear and I were invited there to share with their language students and Romance Languages (French and Spanish) faculty about the combination of professional development and language curricula. As usual, I took away more than I gave.

First, I'd like to mention just some of the wonderful faculty we met:
Prof. Wendy Allen, Chair, was a lovely host. Both Darcy and I felt that we had met our third musketeer. She was forward-looking in all respects, yet grounded as well. What a terrific combination. I loved hearing about the "J term" course that she and her husband coordinate in both Paris and Morocco. (I ran home and told my daughter, who loves math, about the geometry course Wendy's husband teaches using the tile patterns in Arabic architecture. That would have been a math course even I could have enjoyed.) Finally, Wendy is an expert in content-based instruction, something near and dear to my…

Student Reflection

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by Annette Popernik

Entre los tres pisosMi preparatoria era chica, era de un piso y de forma cuadrada. Al entrar a la Preparatoria Champaign Central, me quedé asombrada. Era gigantesca, de tres pisos. Encontrar la entrada adecuada fue difícil pero al entrar a la oficina de Lorena Rodríguez, algo más que el tamaño de la escuela me dejo asombrada. En el escritorio de Lorena había una placa que decía “Secretaria Bilingüe.” Esa placa debería de decir mucho más. Al ver la placa, yo al inicio pensé que ella era la persona que se comunicaba con los padres cuando tenía que mandarles información. Pensaba que tal cual solo servía de traductora. Al conocer a los padres y los niños que llegaron a la oficina para las conferencias de los padres y los maestros y verlos interactuar con Lorena, me di cuenta del papel que Lorena realmente tiene.
Otros voluntarios y yo estábamos sentados en la oficina porque ese día seríamos traductores para los padres y los maestros con quienes platicarían. Entre esos …

Día a día: a Spanish textbook that presents Latin American Street Art

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by Ann Abbott
When you think of street art, what do you think of?

Do you think of Banksy, who is famous world-wide? (Here's a short video in Spanish about Bansky.)

Do you think of graffiti? That word has both positive and negative connotations. Which way do you feel about it? (Here's a short video in Spanish about "El arte de ser grafitero.")

Do you think of tagging? When you see word-based graffiti with a special signature, do you think that's art? Or do you think it's blight?

Perhaps a more important questions is: what do your students think about street art? I bet that your students are already aware of street art, especially Banksy. And even if they aren't, the creativity of street art, its brevity, and its ability to pack a punch with simple images is very appealing to people of all ages.

That's why we included a video in Día a día about street art in Costa Rica: ¨El arte callejero convierte la ciudad en galería¨. You can find it in Chapter 5, p.…

Extra volunteer opportunities

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by Ann Abbott

Sometimes students need extra opportunities to get their 28 hours during the semester. Here are some extra opportunities.
Parent-Teacher Conferences Dear Dr. Abbott,
We are once again in need of volunteers to help with Spanish translating during our parent teacher conferences next month.  Last semester your student’s help was a godsend.
I am hoping you can help us out again this semester?  Our conferences are Thursday, March 19th from 5:00p to 8:00p and Friday, March 20th from 8:00a to 12:00p.  If you know anyone who might be interested in helping, please have them email be at stratejo@champaignschools.org or call me at 217-351-3911. 
Thank you in advance for ANY assistance you can send my way!
Joanie Strater
Joan I. Strater Main Office Secretary Champaign Central High School (217) 351-3911
(217) 351-3782 Fax
Books for Prisoners Sheila Shenoy shared this with me:
This is the organization in Urbana that has volunteers help package books to those in prison. Somet…

Student Reflection

by Annette Popernik


Al leer este artículo y ver el primer video, me quede sorprendida al saber cuantos niños van a la corte sin un abogado. Tener un abogado para estos niños no es una ley y los niños que vienen de México y Canadá son deportados sin ir a la corte. El hombre en el video afirma que muchos abogados pueden hacer el trabajo y aprender fácilmente. Nos asegura que es un trabajo verdaderamente increíble. Los niños son el futuro de nuestra sociedad pero ¿cómo tendremos un futuro si no cuidamos nuestros niños? 

What Can You Learn about Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors in Your Area?

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by Ann Abbott

I will be out of town this week, giving talks in Atlanta, Georgia and in Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately, that means that I cannot be in class with my students this Thursday. Here's what we'll do instead.
Puppy-Chow Sale for Unaccompanied Minors 1. Read about this fundraising event. "Like" the event (encouraged, but not required). 2. Read the article included in the event description. 3. Do one (or both) of these things: Attend the fundraising event. (Students at the table will ask you to sign your name for proof.)Look up information about unaccompanied immigrant minors. On the Facebook event, add a comment with a link to a source with reliable information (please evaluate the information before posting). Add a brief comment about what you learned from that article/blog/video/etc.

Spanish Community Service Learning and ACTFL's Can-Do Statements

Can-do statements for spanish community service learning from Ann Abbott by Ann Abbott

It was such a pleasure to got to the Ohio State University last week. I had the opportunity to meet faculty and graduate students from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I learned about the wonderful community-based projects they are doing, and I shared some things with them, too.

In particular, I'd like to note the wonderful contributions to the areas of community-based learning, public engagement, heritage language speakers, and US Latinos done by the following faculty members there:

Glenn MartínezTerrell MorganElena FoulisAnna Babel Of course I also have to rave about my friend and co-author Holly Nibert who is their new Language Program Director.

But quickly, before I start this week by tackling my email (which I know is the opposite of what the productivity experts say you should do, but...), I just wanted to jot down the take-aways that I hoped to provide to the graduate students with…

Student Reflection

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by Annette Popernik

Una Voz
Al empezar a trabajar con La Línea, mi trabajo indicado fue ser una operador. Es decir, dos horas a la semana, yo tenía el teléfono de La Línea. El teléfono es chiquito y lo que muchos llamarían un “teléfono antiguo”. Pero este “teléfono antiguo” es nuestra forma de comunicación con todos nuestros clientes y con él hemos podido ayudar a muchas personas.  Casi todas las personas que son operadores son bilingües. Usualmente, contesto en español ya que la mayoría de los clientes prefieren el español. Uno no entiende el poder de hablar un idioma hasta que lo logra usar en la comunidad para ayudar a los demás. Me empecé a dar cuenta del impacto de que yo puedo hablar español cuando estaba en la secundaria y ayudaba con traducciones. Desde entonces, he sido voluntaria en muchos lugares usando mi español.
En La Línea, los voluntarios y especialmente los operadores tienen la gran oportunidad de ser una voz amable y ayudadora. Puede ser una pregunta sobre algo simple …

Student Reflection

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by Annette Popernik
Making ConnectionsAs a helpline that does not provide specific services but rather referrals to service providers and agencies in the local Champaign-Urbana community, we thrive off calls from local Hispanics and people in the community who need to be pointed in the right direction and need to know what agency to contact. We guide them through the process, and we also provide translation and interpretation services. However, during the winter months, our calls drop significantly. Having spoken with Lisa Sink, La Línea’s Director, I decided that a beneficial project would be for me to call different agencies in the community and tell them what we do at La Línea. We have a resources list, a “cheat sheet”, of various organizations and agencies in the Champaign-Urbana area as well as surrounding areas. That way, when a client calls us, we know how to best help them. However, it’s really no use to have these names and numbers if they do not know about us and refer client…