Enter the ACTFL “Can Do” statements. These are not new, but after many years of working with them, I finally feel that I figured out their true place in my classroom. Over the past few years of writing and re-writing curriculum, we’ve used a wide range of Can Do statements in our documents and with our students. I’ve created bulletin boards, created ranking documents and pretty much anything else you can think of. No matter what form they’ve taken, the self-assessment piece hasn’t worked for me.
This year, my team and I are taking a different approach to the Can Dos and self-assessment. In language learning, it is impossible to acquire something and then never use it again. Language builds on itself; we go deeper into topics and broaden our vocabulary around that topic. We constantly talk about spiraling curriculum and vocabulary, but how does that play out in the Can Do statements.
Enter the travel map.
As we go, students will be asked to shade each circle. Wait, shade? You read that correctly! Since language learning is not a one and done, we want to help students visualize they are consistently adding layers to their learning. By shading the circle, students demonstrate they are continuing to build their knowledge so that by the end of the unit they’ve had the chance to revise the Can Dos multiple times.
Part of my goal for the year is to help students understand that learning is a process and that it takes a long time to become proficient. I’ve been working on my Spanish since I was in elementary school and every day I learn new words and phrases and I work to refine my language. It is my hope that not only will they begin to understand the process of learning language, but will also be kind to themselves on the days where they struggle and extremely proud of themselves as they see the progress they’ve made.