Progress Toward Proficiency: Planning

One of our first tasks at TELLcollab was to describe an effective language educator in three words. It was amazing how many different variations there were, I chose progress toward proficiency.  This would be a great activity to use with students. Use three words to describe yourself, three words to summarize a reading, three words to describe an event, simply share out, or create memes and post to a padlet page.progresss 3

It’s not what the teacher knows it’s what they do.  What are these things the teacher does that make them more effective?  The TELL framework divides these things into seven domains.  These seven domains fit into three categories: planning for learning, advancing learning, and supporting learning.


Planning for Learning: Goal #2 How do you get started?

My opening routine allows me to start from day one, minute one with 90% of the class period in the target language, however this year I am adding a refined focus on the learning of the proficiency levels which might require a little more English, but I think it will be worth it.  After modeling the greeting and singing the song of the week, I get a writing sample to determine the starting level for each student.

Then, I do a proficiency level demonstration in the target language introducing my family. First, I give examples from novice-low with just relationship words like my husband, my daughter, my sons, and then give another demonstration at the intermediate-mid level describing each person.  This year, as a comprehension check, we will use English to have students demonstrate knowledge of the proficiency levels by describing Seafair to someone who has never been to Seattle, this could be done with any topic like a circus, or a school environment. Here is my day one lesson plan, Progressing Toward Proficiency Curriculum by Lynn Johnston, and practice activities, Progressing Toward Proficiency.  Also, check out the resources at SCS world languages weebly and the Creative Language Classroom.


Step one, set targets and educate students and parents about the proficiency levels.  Step two, monitor progress toward goals.  Another thing I am going to try this year is proficiency bulletin boards.  I like the idea from the Creative Language Classroom website of having the path visible and as a manipulative for students to celebrate their progress.


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Other hot topics at the #TELLcollab unconference under the planning category included: staying in the target language 90%, using comprehensible input, using authentic resources, designing thematic units, and using Integrated Performance Assessments, check out the resources at for more information on these topics. I really like this infographic.


At the end of the first day we were asked to tweet out our learning or take way for the day.  This would also be a great closure activity with students.  You can see these on twitter at #TELLcollab.  My take away is that we are all progressing toward proficiency and we are never done learning.


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