The American Council of Teachers of Russian holds Development Seminar

posted Dec 9, 2009, 4:07 PM by   [ updated Dec 16, 2009, 3:53 PM by Maria Kotar ]

During the Columbus Day weekend in October, ACTR conducted a Professional Development Seminar for teachers of Russian. Nineteen Teachers representing different regions of the country and a variety of educational settings joined facilitators Betsy Sandstrom and Natasha Ushakova and American Councils staff for the four-day weekend.


The attending teachers were given a first look at exciting new resource-sharing tools that will soon become widely available on Russnet ( Over the past several months the multimedia team has been developing a comprehensive media management system that will be used extensively in Russnet and made available to American Councils’ programs and other Web-sites. The new system will serve as part of a broader resource-sharing model on Russnet that will allow teachers to share media, lessons, and activities with one another.


Using the new media management system, participants developed lesson plans centered on a media clip of their own choosing. In creating their lesson plans, participants focused particular attention on several key elements: they identified appropriate performance assessments for their lessons, learned how the same media clip can be used to spiral learning from higher to lower-level Russian, and created reading, listening, writing, and speaking activities appropriate for all levels. Throughout the process they gained experience in using the new Russnet resource-sharing tools to place their work in a common area for other teachers to use. The ACTFL Standards and Guidelines as well as the National Standards for Russian aided workshop participants as they produced lessons grounded in the Standards and suitable to their local conditions.


As a follow on, the nineteen workshop participants have been given the opportunity to participate in the initial plotting phase of resource sharing. As members of the pilot cohort, these teachers now have access to the new version of the Russnet Lesson Planner, which allows them to upload and tag multimedia files (images, audio, viedeo, and text) into a searchable database. Any lessons that they create will be available to other teachers in the resource sharing pool.


Participating in this seminar was Vera Skorteskull of St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy.