Workshop Abstract:Activating Communication: Designing Learning and Creating Meaningful Assessments

Our 21st century learners need a multi-sensory learning environment designed around authentic learning experiences that encourage collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. How can we use focusing lenses to guide thinking when creating relevant instruction that is more meaningful, rigorous and engaging? How can focusing lenses be used to shape the instruction of a thematic unit? How can technology encourage learners to critically think of solutions to real-world global issues in innovative ways? And finally how can we assess our students so they can demonstrate their learning. During this workshop participants will explore these questions and experience learning activities that promote deeper, richer thinking that can enhance communication in all three modes.

Contact information
Toni Theisen
Thompson School District
Loveland, Colorado 80538
Connect with me -Toni Theisen: email
Connect with me on Twitter: tonitheisen Facebook


  1. Introduction, goals and learner targets
  2. Using focusing lenses to design learning
  3. Applying the rigor and relevance framework
  4. Using a framework to create thematic units and a learning progression
  5. Exploring and designing performance assessments
  6. Bringing it all together
  7. Next steps

Learner Targets

  1. I can use a variety documents to think differently about learning and designing instruction.
  2. l can use the concept of focusing lenses as a way to shape instruction at a deeper level.
  3. I can use the rigorous and relevant framework to move towards deeper learning.
  4. I can apply "I can" statements as learner targets in my instruction.
  5. I can create thematic units, learning progressions and assessments.


Powerpoint: a word cloud and polls using this site.

Videos from today

Lead with Languages video-ACTFL promotion video
  1. Lead with Languages
World Readiness Standards
  1. World Readiness Standards
Core Practice for Effective Langauge Learning
  1. Core Practice Information ACTFL
  2. Core Practices for Effective Language Learning

Resources to learn more

Using the three modes in instruction and assessment video-Tell Project
good examples and ideas
The three modes-assessment and perspective-Webinar-Tell Project
more focus on how-to's for three modes
Using the target language and providing comprehensible input-Tell project
Using the target language and CI-Reflection for teacher
Feedback form
Empowering students to use the target language-Growth Mindset-Tell Project
Empowering Student to Use the Target Language - Classroom Vignette-Tell project
Using sentence starters and sentence frames

TSD Mini Rubric for mini tasks:

Core Practices for Effective Language Learning

Learn more-videoCore Practices for Effective Language Leaning Preview Video

core practices.png



ACTFL Position Statement on Global Competence:

The ability to communicate with respect and cultural understanding in more than one language is an essential element of global competence.* This competence is developed and demonstrated by investigating the world, recognizing and weighing perspectives, acquiring and applying disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, communicating ideas, and taking action. Global competence is fundamental to the experience of learning languages whether in classrooms, through virtual connections, or via everyday experiences. Language learning contributes an important means to communicate and interact in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world. This interaction develops the disposition to explore the perspectives behind the products and practices of a culture and to value such intercultural experiences.

The Need for Global Competence:
Global competence is vital to successful interactions among diverse groups of people locally, nationally, and internationally. This diversity continues to grow as people move from city to city and country to country. The need to communicate with someone of a different language or culture may arise at any time; knowing more than one language prepares one to know how, when, and why to say what to whom.

Need in the Global Economy: Import and export data demonstrate the interconnectedness of the economies of countries across the globe; jobs increasingly depend on collaborating with clients/customers who speak other languages and contribute diverse perspectives and ideas; employers identify cultural knowledge and understanding plus communication skills in more than one language as increasingly important in their hiring.

Need in Diplomacy/Defense: The military identifies its mission balanced between defense/peace-keeping around the world and building connections with citizens in areas facing unrest or war; training of service personnel includes cultural sensitivity, understanding of diverse perspectives, and strategies for communicating with local populations speaking other languages.

Need in Global Problem-solving: Issues related to the environment, health, and innovation require collaboration across borders; creative solutions are more likely to occur when knowledge and unique perspectives and insights are shared.

Need in Diverse Communities: Opportunities to interact with people who speak other languages and who have different cultural practices, products, and perspectives are increasing in each community; heritage communities are supported when their languages and cultures are valued rather than eliminated.

Need in Personal Growth and Development: Global competence – the ability to interact and communicate with people from other cultures – opens doors to new relationships, knowledge, and experiences.

Describing Global Competence:
Global competence is the ability to:
  1. Communicate in the language of the people with whom one is interacting.
  2. Interact with awareness, sensitivity, empathy, and knowledge of the perspectives of others.
  3. Withhold judgment, examining one’s own perspectives as similar to or different from the perspectives of people with whom one is interacting.
  4. Be alert to cultural differences in situations outside of one’s culture, including noticing cues indicating miscommunication or causing an inappropriate action or response in a situation.
  5. Act respectfully according to what is appropriate in the culture and the situation where everyone is not of the same culture or language background, including gestures, expressions, and behaviors.
  6. Increase knowledge about the products, practices, and perspectives of other cultures.

Means to Achieve Global Competence:

Individuals will follow different pathways to reach global competence. Developing global competence is a process that needs to be embedded in learning experiences in languages and all subject areas from prekindergarten through postsecondary. Identified by the various initiatives around this common goal, effective practices include the following actions:
  1. Recognize the multiplicity of factors that influence who people are and how they communicate.
  2. Investigate and explain cultural differences as well as similarities, looking beneath the surface of stereotypes.
  3. Examine events through the lens of media from different countries and cultures.
  4. Collaborate to share ideas, discuss topics of common interest, and solve mutual problems.
  5. Reflect on one’s personal experiences across cultures to evaluate personal feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and reactions.

  • Global competence is a critical component of education in the 21st century, as reflected in national initiatives focused on literacy and STEM at the PK-12 level and included in the essential learning outcomes of the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) program of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

Approved by the ACTFL Board of Directors-August 2014.

National Links

1. National World Language Standards refreshed 2014-World-Readiness Standards
for Learning Languages
How are our standards refreshed to meet the perspectives of the 21st century?
  1. World-ReadinessStandardsforLearningLanguages.pdf
  2. ACTFL Position Statement:
    ACTFL Position Statement -Final - Languages as Core - May 2013.pdf
2. ACTFL 21st century skills map
What are 21st century skills defined through the eyes of a world languages context?
  1. ACTFL 2011 P-21 worldlanguages skills map.pdf
3. ACTFL Proficiency guidelines
What are the performance levels?
Describes what language learners can do regardless of how the language was acquired.
  1. ACTFL Prof. Guidelines 2012 update with samples
4. NSCCFL-ACTFL "can do" statements
What can students do?
States what learners can do specific to each communication mode and level of proficiency.
  1. NCSSFL ACTFL Can-Do_Statements.pdf
    NCSSFL ACTFL Can-Do_Statements.pdf
5. ACTFL performance descriptors
How do I explain performance levels to my students?
Describes what language learners can do based on instruction in an instructional setting.
  1. ACTFLPerformanceDescriptorsLanguageLearners.pdf

6. Interculturality "can-do" statements
How do embed culture?
Thanks to Jacque VanHouton and Ruta Couet, NCSSFL
  1. Novice:Novice_intercultural_can_dos-2-1.docx
  2. Intermediate:Intermediate_intercultural_can_dos-1.docx
  3. Advanced:Advanced interculturality Can-Do_Culture_Advanced_MCwebsite-1.docx

7. ACTFL Crosswalk aligning document with the Common Core
What are the connection between the WL standards and common core?
  1. ACTFLCrosswalkFinalAligningCCSSLanguageStandards.pdf ACTFLCrosswalkFinalAligningCCSSLanguageStandards.pdf
  2. Common Core ELA Standards:CCR_Anchor_Standards.pdf

8. Bloom's taxonomy charts with questions and activities

  1. Bloom's taxonomy chart.pdf

9. Rigor and Relevance Framework
How can we make instruction more rigorous and relevant?
  1. Rigor and relevance framework

10. AP/IB Comparison chart
How can we make instruction more rigorous and relevant with attention to culture?
  1. AP/IB Comparison chart:AP-IB themes comparisons chart 2011.pdf

11. Thompson School District world languages site
How can I see others' work to help me with mine?
  1. TSD WL Wikispace with thematic units, rubrics etc.

Thematic Units

Terrill-Theisen UbD Hunger Unit

Theisen Thematic unit samples
  1. Terrill-Theisen Hunger Unit Wikispace
  2. French V AP/IB "papiers et sans papiers" unit: "Papiers et Sans Papiers"unit
  3. French V AP/IB L'Alimentation: Goût et Gaspillage
  4. French V AP/IB L'éducation
  5. French IV La Mode: L'économie et les politiques des vêtements
  6. French IV Les Problèmes sur la Planète
  7. French III-La santé
  8. French II- Paris et l'art
  9. Used for all levels to start the year-(activities modified for each level) Expanding our cultural perspectives
I can understand how to build a meaningful unit such as
"from the café unit to the hunger unit in Level 1", as well as design others.
Theisen-Ousselin thematic unit on girls' access to school in school:
Fairness, Respect and Dignity: Connecting to the world using global units
  1. Fairness, Respect and Dignity: Connecting to the world using global units-Theisen and Ousselin ACTFL presentation
I can apply concepts of social justice to a thematic unit
ACTFL The Keys to Planning for Learning
  1. Sample curriculum units and lesson plans
I can examine a variety of assessments as resources.
Kansas assessments
  1. Samples assessments and benchmarks
I can examine a variety of assessments as resources.

I want to use these resources-templates, rubrics, rubric score convertor, goal setting sheet, reflection sheet

UbD template to create a thematic unit

TSD UbD units
WL 5 C's UbD Unit Template Oct.2013 Theisen use.d
Goal Setting sheet with reflection for side 2 of bubble learning targets
Goal setting and reflection log for bubble sheets-page 2.docx
Sample Spanish I learner target bubble sheet-Template
Spanish I Unit 5 Learner Target Bubbles 2013.doc
Learner target bubble sheet template
NCSSFL ACTFL Can-Do_Statements.pdf
TSD Template Learner Target Bubbles 2013.doc
Presentational speaking rubrics
TSD WL Presentational Speaking Rubrics 2013-2.pdf
Presentational writing rubric
TSD WL Presentational Writing Rubrics 2013-2.pdf
Interpersonal speaking rubric
TSD WL Interpersonal Speaking Rubrics 2014.pdf
Interpersonal writing rubric
TSD WL Interpersonal Writing Rubrics 2014.pdf
Conversion chart for rubric grading to regular percentages
TSD World Language Rubric Convertor 2014 use really.docx

World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages video

world readiness standards.png
world readiness standards.png

pyramid chart.png
pyramid chart.png



The Keys to Planning for Learning (Curriculum design) ACTFL

Words and actions-Social action

Pinterest Boards-Resources

Resources from Pinterest Boards

Thanks to so many teachers and
organizations who have
shared these pins. Very helpful for all.
How can I found some
other authentic resources for class?
  1. French board 1
  2. French Board 2
  3. French Board 3
  4. French Board 4
  5. Fr. Andrea Behn Board 5
  6. German board 1
  7. German Board 2
  8. German Board 3
  9. German Board 4
  10. Spanish Board 1
  11. Spanish Board 2
  12. Spanish Board 3
  13. Elementary Spanish Board 1
  14. Dual Language Spanish Boards
  15. Chinese Boards
  16. Arabic Board 1
  17. Arabic Board 2
  18. Japanese Boards
  19. Latin Boards
  20. Teaching World Languages Board
  21. Technology for Teachers Board

Integrate technology to transform instruction only in a well-designed standards-based thematic unit using backwards design.

Technology Tools
  1. Ed Puzzle
  2. Wideo - Digital Storytelling Web tool
  3. Shadow Puppet EDU - iOS Digital Storytelling tool
  4. Haiku Deck-presentations and digital storytelling
  5. Padlet
  6. Kahoot
  7. TodaysMeet
  8. Poll Everywhere
  9. Kaywa QR code generator

Resources for locating images and photos
1. Tag Galaxy
Search for photos from Flickr
2. Fotopedia
Collaborative photo encyclopedia
3. Goggle Art Project
3D art tours of many museums
4. MorgueFile
Lots of free photos

Using images and information to make stories, comics, books, magazines and speaking activities
1. Wordle
word clouds
2. Tagxedo
word clouds in shapes
3. Bubblr
Comic strips using Flickr photos
4. Piclits
Creative writing using images
5. Five Card Flickr Story
Create a story from 5 random pix
6. Issuu
Make a magazine or newsletter
7. Storybird
Collaborative Storytelling

Technology to enhance speaking and writing Presentational communication
1. Glogster
Digital Poster
3. FaceinHole
Put your face in pix
4. Blabberize
Make picture talk
5. Make Beliefs Comix
Make comic strips
6. Padlet
Digital post it notes
Resources for using and creating videos
1. Video writing prompts
Site with writing prompts and popular videos
2. Video creating tools
Series of video creating tools grouped
3. Aminoto video
“music videos”
4. Dvolver video maker
cartoon videos

Technology to record voice or use computer generated voice
1. Vocaroo
Simple podcast
3. Go Animate Edu
4. Google Voice
Students call and answer ?
5. AudioBoo
Record and upload audio

Technology to enhance speaking and writing Presentational communication
1. Glogster
Digital Poster
2. FaceinHole
Put your face in pix
3. Blabberize
Make picture talk
4. Make Beliefs Comix
Make comic strips
5. Padlet
Digital post it notes
Other great tools to impact learning
  • Wikispaces for Education
  • DropBox (filesharing)
  • Slideshare (share powerpoints)
  • Scribd (share documents and pdf’s)
  • Polleverywhere
  • Google Docs
  • Quizlet-create and use flashcards
  • Remind-a safe way to text students and parents
  • Kahoot-game-based blended learning
  • Piktochart-make your own infographic
  • Kawya qr code maker

ACTFL Position Statement: Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness and Documenting Student Growth Position Statement

The educator is the catalyst for developing learners’ language proficiency and global competence so that learners are prepared to interact and communicate successfully in the global community. Student growth and educator effectiveness are intrinsically connected. The purpose of demonstrating student growth is to show learners’ progress toward higher levels of proficiency while using language in a culturally appropriate manner. In addition, measures of student growth show the educator’s impact on student language learning, taking into consideration each learner’s engagement and motivation for learning. Such evidence will also demonstrate for multiple constituencies the value of successful language learning and teaching. Educator effectiveness and individual student growth are best measured based on frequent and multiple measures of language performance over time, demonstrated by each learner, connected with evidence specific to language learning rather than from other subject areas, and indicating growth in language performance through:

  • balanced evidence of learners’ performance across the three modes of communication (Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational)
  • performance assessments, aligned to NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements or progress indicators set by state standards
  • informal and formal assessments of language learning
  • web-based and comprehensive portfolios

Approved by the ACTFL Board of Directors-November 2015