Bronxville Teachers Present Their Work at
National, Regional Conferences
Denise Flood and Toby Gillen
Bronxville High School teachers Denise Flood and Toby Gillen recently presented their work on foreign language curriculum and social-emotional learning at two virtual conferences. They were invited to share their best practices at the American Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages from Nov. 19-21, and the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES’ Supporting the Whole Child Regional Conference on Dec. 2.
For the national conference, Flood and Gillen created an on-demand video session, “No Place Like Home a– A Thematic, Vertical Approach to World Languages.” They explored how the foreign language department designed a thematic unit across the 6-12 continuum that helped students organize their knowledge, make connections across grade levels and develop a reflective portfolio that revealed the students’ growth in language over time.
“In Bronxville School, students traced the concept of home over the course of seven years of language study,” Flood said. “‘Home’ was chosen because it is a significant aspect of one’s identity and provides a wealth of information not only about the individual, but about the society and culture of the individual. Using this as our model, our curriculum work revolved around two essential questions: How do you define home? How does learning another language transform you? From there, we were able to create a common thread across the languages from level 1 to Advanced Placement and beyond that embraced technology and encouraged reflection, metacognition and critical thinking.”
At the BOCES conference, Flood and Gillen discussed social-emotional and mental health practices during their “Music, Mindfulness and Movement in the Classroom” workshop. They shared insight into how to seamlessly integrate music, movement and mindfulness into lessons to create a supportive, positive and fun environment for teaching and learning. They also shared how different SEL strategies can help students reduce anxiety and stress and improve concentration and focus.
The conference brought together educators from across the region and provided them with opportunities to explore emerging and promising practices in instructional strategies, SEL and mental health practices, and school and districtwide support models that support the growth of all learners. They also reflected upon the successes and challenges of educators and engaged in professional development opportunities.