The adventures of a CI teacher in the elementary classroom.
"We are very happy about the program [Allison has] created at MCS and installed love for language learning." Marion Cross School parent
Allison Litten has been teaching at the Marion Cross School, a public K-6 school in Norwich, Vermont, for 15 years. When she first started at MCS, students began studying French in fourth grade. In 2010, talks about expanding the program began. After a lot of research, time, and community input, the program expanded to third grade and, two years later, went all the way down to kindergarten. Allison really enjoys having the opportunity to work with the various age groups, and loves having a schedule when she sees different grades back-to-back.Her experience in each grade is totally different and she's constantly in awe of what her students can do at each level. (Check out her Instagram to see photos and videos of her classes in action.)
In 2011, she attended a life-changing conference organized by the amazing Carol Gaab of Fluency Matters. Since then, she has been teaching with comprehensible input and TPRS. The feedback she has received from parents and students throughout the years has been so positive that she has never looked back. She has presented on CI and TPRS activities and approaches multiple times at the VFLA annual conference, as well as ACTFL, iFLT, and NECTFL. Allison was honored and humbled to have received the VFLA Teacher of the Year award in March 2019 and looks forward to representing the Green Mountain State at NECTFL in February, 2020. When she's not teaching, Allison enjoys spending time with her dog, friends, and family, traveling, running obstacle races, researching and cooking vegan food, and keeping a really, REALLY clean house. (Just don't look at her classroom; it's usually a disaster!) She can't imagine doing anything else with her life, and hopes you will find some useful tidbits in her introspections that she posts here.
What other people are saying about Allison
From students Elementary "Thank you so much for a great year in French. You taught me so much, and I loved being in your class. I hope that you can keep inspiring students to love French."
"I just wanted you to know how grateful i am that you helped me with french. In french i will just think hmmm what did madame Litten tell me and I am almost guaranteed to get the answer right when I think that. I chose to spend my time learning french with you and it was definitely the right decision! I loved it and i can never forget it! Even though you know i tend to forget somethings easily. MERCI"
Adult "Allison surpassed our expectations for our French intensive weekend. She was undeniably well prepared & engaging the entire weekend. She is a dynamic & supportive educator."
"Allison was a great teacher. In spite of my rustiness, I found that I was advanced relative to the rest of the class. She was able to concoct ways to keep me active and on my toes while not leaving those at a beginner level behind. I would do this weekend again."
From administrators "It was clear to me that [our visitors] were overwhelmed with the energy and spontaneity of the class, and of course, the limitless energy you seem to provide on a continual basis. I would venture to say they had not witnessed such a high caliber of instructional practice before, which says a lot about you and your school."
"Allison inspires students to keep learning, and she does that, in part, by being a continual learner herself." "[What we observed in your classes] speak[s] volumes to the dedication, professionalism, and sheer talent you bring to our schools, and I wanted to take a moment and reflect upon all that you do on behalf of the students at Marion Cross School and the greater community of Norwich."
From parents "Thank you for teaching [our son]! His success is a sign of your wonderful teaching and enthusiasm over the years."
"[My son] has come home from school today speaking to me more in French than in English. He LOVED french class today. You have succeeded (or are succeeding) where I have not had much luck. MERCI MERCI MERCI"
"Thank you for taking the time out of your day to fill me in on how the kids are doing. They both speak highly of you and are really enjoying French. It appears to us that they are progressing nicely and generally happy to be there."
"[Our daughter] is loving French. Just to let you know how much fun she is having with you."
From teacher observers "I love visiting your classroom, and I am always impressed with what your students know in terms of language ability. Your enthusiasm and how expressive you are always makes me smile, and the fact that you always have students very much engaged, very "into it,", and always speaking in the target language, is wonderful...I wish we could have stayed for longer." "I have always been impressed with Allison’s eagerness to share with her colleagues. I have said it over and over, and will continue to say it, that Allison is my 'guru'. She showed me the ropes on how to teach kids in fun and effective ways, and she continues to regularly inspire and impress me. She is passionate about her work and makes time in her schedule to visit other teachers. When she is in the classroom, she gives her students 100% of her energy and enthusiasm. I always enjoy seeing the personal relationships she develops with her students."
From workshop participants "Inspiring. I came away with multiple ideas to implement in my own classroom."
"OMG, I can't believe what a generous presenter she is. Everything you could possibly want or need she has already anticipated and made available. I could spend all day listening to her and learning from her. "
"Very well done. Numerous examples to help beginning CI wrap our brains around it. And so generous to share her files."