God infuses our lives with the love and light of many people. Some are like lighthouses, steering us toward the good. Others are like lamps, filling us with warmth and a clearer view of where we are and what we need to do next. Who are the people who bring light into your life? Who in your life needs light from the darkness of hardship, anxiety, or illness? Write a brief prayer or the names of those you hold in prayer on a colorful tile and add it to the prayer candle. Our network will join you in lifting these prayers to the Lord.
Here’s a tool to capture student linguistic growth. VoiceThread allows teachers and students to create, share, and comment on images, presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs using microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload. Use this time at the Academy to explore the possibilities of VoiceThread. Grab an iPad or laptop and familiarize yourself with the platform. Then, think about your story, why you choose to teach in a Catholic school, or a special memory from your childhood. Collect and organize a gallery of images in VoiceThread that help capture this story. Using the VoiceThread tools, doodle and voice record your story as you scroll through your gallery of images. Save and share your product. Discuss with your team how this type of software can support various aspects of your bilingual program: communication between home and school, capturing student linguistic growth, student collaboration, and more.
Talking & Teaching
This mathematical task introduces teachers to some “literacy tools” that provide opportunities to increase student talk around math. This tool helps teachers consider ways to use literacy-based practices in the development of students’ academic conversation skills in math. See the activity’s handout for directions.
Virtual Reality Viewer
As educators, we inspire students to imagine unknown contexts as they explore the world. Virtual Reality Viewers allow us to move closer to these places and situations by offering visual experiences of different phenomena. This maker space invites you to a series of virtual adventures in the bioluminescent world. Experience the value and opportunity of this technology for today’s bilingual students.
This activity invites educators to work together to design and build a battery-operated firefly. Following the directions on the handout, teachers will assemble 3 elements: an electric circuit, a firefly, and a whimsical scene/setting for the firefly. After completing the project, team members are invited to reflect on the firefly as a metaphor for their students and the light it produces as the promise of faith and education. Consider these questions: How do my students experience my faith in the classroom? How do I share this light with them? How do we give light to those who are in darkness? What aspects of the school contribute to that light? Are there ways the faculty and staff could strengthen their connections (like an electric circuit) to generate more light for all students?
The Multilingual Classroom: What Does Your Classroom Set-up Say?
How are classrooms organized for learning? What does your classroom say about the kind of learning you value? Where are spaces for reading, collaborating, making messes, and group work? This activity invites school teams to reflect on the resources and curriculum of the classroom space. Each team member grabs a bag of manipulable shapes and a piece of chart paper. Organize the pieces on the paper to create an arial view of your classroom (principals are encouraged to do this for an area of the school, such as the front office): desks, bookshelves, windows, teacher resources, computers, etc. Draw on the paper what you can’t create with the shapes. Compare designs among your team. What do the designs say about what is important in the classroom? Is there a “front” of the room? If so, what is in the “back” of the room? How do the designs differ between teachers? Label the chart papers by school name and grade; take a photo of the design and tweet it at #TWINCS19. Now, taking a new piece of chart paper and more shapes, design a classroom that captures your ideal environment. Tweet that as well. A photo gallery of all the TWIN-CS classrooms will be housed on the website.
Shop & Map Scheduling
The what, where, and when of learning represent the most powerful dynamics in a school. Reflecting on and mapping your students’ movements and learning time allows your team to structure intentionally the dual language principles and characteristics of Catholic education into the student experience. One of the most common questions TWIN schools ask of each other is “How do you schedule your program?” This activity helps individual schools reflect creatively on these decisions and allows other schools to learn from each other. Produce schedule maps for individual grade levels on large chart paper, detailing the structure of the students’ day and/or week, the instructional language of different subject areas and activities, and other valuable factors. Write your school’s name on the map, clip it to a clothing hanger, and hang it on the display rack. Remember to browse, or “shop,” the schedules that other schools will hang throughout the week. The other examples can help you refine your team’s work.
Spiritual Reflection for the Bioluminescent Educator
Bioluminescence occurs in nature when two chemicals combine. The elements on their own can yield no light. This activity invites educators to recognize the elements in their lives that come together to yield the light of faith, hope, and love. Each teacher uses a dry erase board to draw 3 circles. Each circle represents a space or area of our lives: home, work, and faith. Draw the circles intentionally to represent how these three areas are or are not in relationship to one another, asking if the circles overlap and vary in size. Next, add names or symbols to the circles to represent those people or experiences that nurture your spirituality in each area, that bring light to your home, work, and faith. Share your illustration with members of your team. What patterns emerge? If there is time, repeat this exercise, this time drawing the ideal configuration of home, work, and faith. Explain what makes it ideal and what changes are needed to illuminate the new configuration.