Hola MALT members! Let me begin by saying thank you to all of our members who attended the full day institute with Megan Hambrick Wong. Megan has so many great ideas about keeping kids in the target language, putting learning targets in kid-friendly jargon, and generally selecting topics that will be interesting to students so they will be motivated to use the language in an authentic manner. Megan was also very cognizant of how much new information to give us before allowing us the time to put the new material into practice. Her entire presentation was an excellent example of how any learning environment should function. Friday was also filled with excellent information from our colleagues from across the state. There were sectionals on everything from using Brain Breaks to tips for using Padlet. We are lucky here in Montana to have so many talented and dedicated teachers in our field who are also willing to share their knowledge.
As a board we would like to give a big, “Thank you,” to Janine Cruz and Jenni Williams from EF Educational Tours. Janine and Jenni had a booth to promote student travel in the gymnasium at Skyview High School, and they hosted our Thursday night social at the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill. The social is always an excellent time to visit with colleagues and celebrate together, and this year was no exception. Thank you again ladies and EF for your continued support of our organization.
If you did not attend the MFPE Conference, I would also like to remind everyone that it is time to pay your dues. Our dues year runs from October 1st until September 30th, so even if you paid your dues at Spring Conference, they expired the end of September. The reason for this is that our timeline is tied to our affiliation with PNCFL. Dues to join MALT for one year are currently $40 for a full-time teacher. We are required to pay $12 of that amount to PNCFL (as a member of MALT you are automatically a member of PNCFL) and they require us to pay our dues by the 15th of November each year. In January, we are also obligated to pay $150 to stay affiliated with ACTFL, which most years works out to about $3 per member per year. Why is it so important to pay these fees every year? First, we do enjoy some benefits of being affiliated with the larger organizations. Being a PNCFL affiliate allows us to receive a small stipend to help defray some of the costs of our Spring Conference. Second, our Teacher of the Year candidate has to have been a paid member of PNCFL for the past three years to be eligible for the regional TOY who eventually goes on to compete for the ACTFL Teacher of the Year. Without our dues being current, even our most qualified candidates would not be able to be considered for this award. Finally, in order for us to be able to bring in some of the best presenters in our field, it costs money. Most presenters charge $1,700 - $2,500 plus flights and hotels. Keeping your dues up to date really helps us to recruit the best talent because we have the funds to pay them. Remember all of your board members donate their time, and we don’t use your dues to pay mileage or hotel fees when we travel to meetings. The funds we bring in go right back in to our organization, so if you haven’t yet paid your dues, here is the link to the membership form, so you can send them to Paul as soon as possible.
Speaking of the Teacher of the Year Award, Kristen Wolf from Bozeman is our selection for Teacher of the Year. Kristen has been a member of MALT for many years, and in the last three years has been a frequent presenter at the Fall Conference. She has worked with virtually all age groups, from elementary students through high school. She is enthusiastic and does an excellent job of using Comprehensible Input to reach her students. Last year she had an article published about using CI in her classroom, and she was our Teacher Spotlight in February of 2018. She will represent our state very well in the PNCFL regional competition. Congratulations, Kristen!
Our other award for Outstanding Contributions in World Languages goes to Sara Buley, retired Spanish instructor from Great Falls. Sara has served on the board, served as conference chair, and was an excellent mentor to her fellow teachers in Great Falls. Last spring she asked the board if we would be in favor of having Great Falls be the site for our conference, and she and her colleagues worked out all of the details. They contacted the presenter, found a venue for our workshop, arranged for the social, and even created gift bags for each of the attendees. Sara has been an inspiration to many of us, and we are happy to honor her for all that she has done for language education in our state.
My final thoughts for this month will be about our Spring Conference. Last year in Great Falls, several members mentioned that it would be great to earn college credits for our conferences. Well, that will become a reality April 12th and 13th in Dillon. Our vice-president, Blakely Hay, contacted University of Montana-Western, and they were very happy to help us work out a plan to offer one semester credit for our Spring Conference. One of the requirements is reading While We’re on the Topic by Bill Van Patten. The book is only available on the ACTFL website. Tina Hargaden will be our presenter, and you will be encouraged to incorporate Tina’s information with the information from the book. The application form should be updated on the website in the next few days. We look forward to seeing all of you in Dillon!
- Alice Nation, MALT President