Before you begin, please be sure to download the LinguaFolio Jr. teacher guide.
Best practices mandate having a clear vision of where you are going. LinguaFolio Jr. facilitates this by providing clear end goals related to the ACTFL-NCSSFL Can-Do Statements (2015 ACTFL-NCSSFL Can-Do Statements, 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Interpretive Communication, 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Interpersonal Communication, 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Presentational Communication).
Set Learning Objectives, Lesson Plans, and Tasks
To answer students’ questions about learning goals and objectives, educators must first consider how to set them. Outlining the unit’s learning objectives as they relate to the lesson plans and the tasks that comprise the unit provides a clear starting point. Appendix 1 of the LinguaFolio Jr. teacher guide provides a template.
After deciding on the unit’s theme, identify the objectives of the unit by selecting Can-Do Statements (2015 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements, 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Interpretive Communication, 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Interpersonal Communication 2017 NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements for Presentational Communication) that are relevant to classroom goals. Educators can then personalize these Can-Do Statements with more concrete statements that specifically relate to the teaching objectives. For example, “I can say the names of familiar people, places, etc.,” becomes “I can identify pictures of Russian foods.”
While choosing tasks that illustrate the personalized Can-Do Statements, allow students to further personalize the Can-Do Statements by giving them power to choose how they will accomplish the task. With young learners, we are not talking about large decisions. An educator determines the task, but allows learners to choose some of the details. This ability to choose empowers and engages students in the learning process, a core principle of learner-centered classes.
Inform Students of the Learning Objectives
Informing students of the learning objectives is a vital step toward the goal of enabling learners. Giving students an explicit expectation of what they will learn focuses their attention. Furthermore, LinguaFolio Jr. seeks to foster students’ capacity to reflect on finished products and self-assess their abilities.
Decide How to Elicit Evidence
The explicit purpose of Can-Do statements is to elicit learner reflection: Can I …? Fostering accurate self-assessment of ability is one of the core principles encouraging autonomous learning.
For younger learners, the Can-Do Statements may be too vague for learners to accurately self-assess (e.g., I can answer questions about my preferences using simple words or memorized phrases on familiar topics), or too broad to be accurately self-assessed (e.g., I can say the names of familiar people, places, and objects in pictures and posters using simple words or memorized phrases).
When deciding on the evidence to include in students’ portfolios, allow students the freedom to choose how to apply their emerging language ability. These are the beginnings of the goal-driven behavior we wish to foster. For example, the evidence for a Can-Do Statement may allow students to choose three of the ten Russian foods they have learned themselves. They then complete the task of surveying their peers and filling in a graph according to the teacher’s instructions.