Lake Bluff School District 65 made a commitment to rigorously implement a World Language program beginning in Kindergarten and moving through 8th grade. In a rigorous implementation, there are four domains of teaching and learning that must be present:
When all of these components are present in language learning programs, student growth is evident. This grant includes two items to support these goals: The Mantra Lingua PENPals and the LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit.
Mantra Lingua PENPals
Our new Mantra Lingua PENpals are digital readers that are programmable with a recording feature which lets you customize material to align with curricular learning tasks. The technology of the reader allows you to record information using an electronic sensor label. The sticker is coded with your recorded information so that when a student touches the pen to the label, the recorded content is played. Labels can be used in books, posters, or on objects in the environment. The recording feature on the PENpal allows the user to record specific content intended or could be used to record in-lesson information. Recordings can be played back to a listener or the recorder. The PENpal Class Kits comes with recordable labels, charging cables, batteries, and free software access to over 900 dual language audio files.
These devices benefit our students and learning in a number of ways. First, they provide the opportunity to make any book available in Spanish, as instructional support to the curriculum. PENpals give our teachers the opportunity to translate any book, regardless of the language in which it is written. With respect to curricular goals, this supports reading and listening. Second, with the recording feature, students have the ability to record responses and play them back. This meets three learning components of the outlined curriculum (speaking, listening, and presentational). Lastly, PENpals support both interpretive and interpersonal tasks when they are used for different activities like scavenger hunts or interactive group/pair work.
LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit
The resources in the toolkit promote the teaching and learning of Spanish. The Spanish Toolkit “comes with interactive activities to help students progress from word through phase to sentence levels.” This is one of the primary goals of our World Language program. We want students to learn the language in authentic and developmentally appropriate ways, use the language they are learning through natural yet intentionally planned learning activities, and to be able to demonstrate growth through programmatic performance-based assessments. The Spanish toolkit is equipped with audio books, PENpals loaded with LinguaTALK Spanish Audio (narrated by native Spanish speakers), Mini-book Creator Software, recordable stickers, picture bank of vocabulary and flashcards, thematic songs, 32 Charts, and a wide variety of teacher-based resources. Moreover, the book topics and charts are exactly aligned to the thematic curricular units of study, almost as if someone from Mantra Lingua was a part of the development of the thematic units. This spontaneous alignment of the LinguaTALK resources, alongside programmatic goals, provides an opportunity to capitalize on resources that will promote the Spanish language learning of our students and benefit their overall target language growth. Standards-wise, the LinguaTALK Spanish toolkit will align with reading, writing, listening, and speaking objectives in addition to supporting interpretive tasks, interpersonal tasks, and presentational tasks.