Certification and Re-certification Tips for Teachers:  Janis Hennessey

Dear Highly Certified Teachers!

I recently had a conversation with Virginia Clifford, the Head of Credentialing, about the re-certification process: goals, inquiry question, self-eval (aka - long writing passages) vs counting the hours. She said the DOE had wanted to give teachers independence in deciding what they needed to become a better teacher using the write-up's, however, they have received many calls about the confusion of when is enough,enough? What am I really suppose to do? Why is my school doing this in a different way from another school? And, what really counts? And, this is taking me way too much time that I don't have, what can I do to shorten the write-up? The DOE has received many called from both teachers and Admin about all the confusion. And much more. She said it has been a mess.

As a result, Ginny said now the DOE will accept BOTH. What does that mean?

1. Within an SAU, different schools may do one way or another. The principal or superintendent may decide what all teachers in a school or district will do.

2. Within a school or department EACH teacher may decide to do the write-up's OR  count the hours (exactly like before - same number of hours and same categories.) Unless the Admin has decided that all teachers will do it one way.

3. Within the 3 year cycle, a teacher may do one year of hours and another year of write-up's.

4. However, the teacher may NOT do a mix of write-ups and hours within one academic year. That would be way too confusing.

If you have questions, you can contact the DOE or you can contact me. 


Checking a teacher's certification: The other day Ginny sent me the new DOE link to check if a teacher is certified. You would used this link, which is also at the DOE site, to see if a teacher who is applying for a job is certified. It can be used for teachers who "say" they have certifications in different areas.

It's very easy:Select the area of certification then first and last names and Voilà. The DOE tells you the teacher's cert # and the dates of his/her cycle. I tried it on "Janis Hennessey". I am happy to tell you that she is a certified teacher. 


Jan Hennessey, NHAWLT Board


Twitter for Professional Development:  Kara Jacobs - (Download this helpful hint as a PDF)

Twitter for Professional Development? Here are some ways that you can use Twitter for Professional Development at your finger tips:

Twitter is a great way to read short tweets in another language. You can read about news, weather, popular culture, sports, and personal information. Although tweets are limited to 140 characters, many people tweet links to articles, blog posts, pictures and/or videos, so there is actually much more reading and exploring that can be done. Search for some newspapers, famous people, companies, sports teams, or anything else that interests you and follow it. Many of the things that you read, you can even use in class. This is a great way to be reading authentic language on a daily basis, but easy to do even if you are very busy.

You can also search and follow hasthtags (#). A hashtag is used on Twitter to say, “hey, I am talking about this, and other people are too, so let’s use this #word to keep track of our ideas.” A few great #s for language teachers to follow are #langchat, #SpanishTeachers, #FrenchTeachers, and #authres (authentic resources). There is even weekly “chat” related to teaching languages every Thursday at 8:00. If you search #langchat, you will see the tweets streaming by. It can be a bit of a challenge to keep up at first, but even just “lurking” can be good professional development.

There are also some amazing, progressive teachers on Twitter who are sharing and collaborating on a daily basis. Follow some of them and start developing a PLN (Professional Learning Network)! Here are some to get you started. I apologize that they are mostly Spanish and French teachers!

@senorg (ACTFL Teacher of the Year)

@dr_dmd @sylviaduckworth



Non-language specific:

If you don’t already have an account, sign up at Don’t be an egghead, put a nice picture of yourself. And write a short description of yourself and what you will use the account for. Then, start following people, “talking” to them by mentioning them (@...), retweeting people, and sharing interesting resources, ideas and/or documents.

I hope to “see” you soon! - @karacjacobs 


Running of the Bulls Reenactment:  Michael Clauss - (Download this helpful hint as a PDF)

This activity is a great way of teaching about a specific cultural or historical event and energizing your class, Spanish club, or Spanish honor society.  I came up with the idea after watching a live television broadcast of the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  At the time I was the advisor for the Spanish club at Dover High School and decided it would be fun to create a video reenactment of the running of the bulls with the club.  It turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone involved.  The cost was very low.  I told the kids to wear white outfits.  We made some bull masks out of cardboard boxes from the recycling pile and some paint from the art room.  I bought a yard or two of red fabric from a craft store and we cut it into strips to use for neck scarves.  I hope you enjoy the final product and that it gives you some ideas about events you could reenact with your group.   One last piece of advice is to make sure that you clear it with your building administrator.

If you decide to do your own reenactment let us know how it turns out.

Here is one sent in from Susan Dromey Heeter of St. Mary Academy.


Teaching Tips for World Language Week:  Susan Dromey-Heeter - (Download this helpful hint as a PDF)

World Language Week 2012 - An amazing journey!

Do you need some ideas for celebrating World Language Week?  The following amazing events marked magically the week of March 5th - March 9th at Saint Mary Academy in Dover, NH.  All Guest Speakers were either parents of children at Saint Mary Academy or friends I have connected with here on the Seacoast.  People were thrilled to share their stories, their languages, their travel experiences - not one complained about coming in! And not ONE student fell asleep - especially with the African Drumming!

And for me? If I could press "Play - rewind, Play, re-wind, Play - re-wind" I would.  It is worth every bit of orchestration to have parents and friends come in and share their experiences. It also is a wonderful way to celebrate your own local community and its resources.

World Language Week 2012 was an amazing journey at Saint Mary Academy in Dover, NH! On Monday, 7th Grade students "travelled" with Denis and Isabella Barbini to Italy; Monday and Tuesday, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th grade students visited Guinea-Bissau and learned about volunteering with the Peace Corps from Molly Wade; yesterday 5th, 6th and 8th Grade students heard from native Guinean Alhassane and his wife, Liz (Guinea is located in West Africa).  If you heard drumming, yes, it was coming from the Spanish room.  And then the most wonderful Kristina Kalowski arrived with sushi, mango, artifacts and information about Hawaii, Japan and Guam.  Whew! I'm jet lagged! Thanks to all who have helped make this week truly international, truly exciting and truly educational.  We have an amazing community here at SMA, here in NH, here in New England, here in our World...

Also, Sue Tatten, a Senior Rule of Law Advisor from the United Nations, spoke of her experiences in Africa with the 7th Graders on Friday and finally, Jamie Wood of our neighbor to the north (oui, Canada) shared the value of being bilingual, sports as a unifying force in our multi-dimensional world, and information about Canada.

Another hugely popular event during World Language Week is to have a student speak a language over the intercom during morning announcements. All students are invited to "Guess the Language" and one winner is chosen at the end of the day.  I also invite Faculty and Staff to play as well. ( Students speak the language - generally, four or five sentences in whatever language they would like. They do not have to be fluent, they simply can go home, ask parents and grandparents for help, use the internet, go to a neighbor, whatever.)  During the week, it begins with one student, then, word spreads and everyone wants to speak a language over the intercom!  On Thursday of World Language Week, I had one student speak Spanish, another Dutch, one Greek, one Japanese and one French. One day a student even sang a song from Guam! It's a great way to promote enthusiasm. Prizes are a Toblerone bar. Fun, really, is had by all.  Enjoy!

You're Communicate!

Susan Dromey Heeter

ps - The Toblerones and large boxes of chocolates (for presenters) were the only expenses for this week. Really. Check out your resources; there are plenty!

Additional information