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The Fluency Matters Team has just returned from an amazing learning experience at ACTFL 2017, and although we are exhausted, we are invigorated! Our team presented to several hundred dedicated educators, some who already use comprehension-based strategies and others who are just beginning to transition to acquisition-driven instruction. We also talked with HUNDREDS of educators in the Fluency Matters booth! All of these teachers had one thing in common: They all spent hours writing requests/justification for funds for PD, making travel arrangements, writing sub plans, arranging for absentee parents at home and ultimately traveling to Nashville… all for the sake of becoming a better teacher.

That in and of itself was humbling, but what was more humbling was the gratefulness participants showed to our Fluency Matters Team. We were all showered with praise and gratitude for our sessions, for the time we spent connecting with colleagues in the Fluency Matters booth and for the fun activities we had prepped and planned for attendees. It didn’t matter if the lines for the prize wheel were long, the book displays were crowded or Brandon Brown was too busy for a selfie, everyone seemed overwhelmed with gratitude in spite of the sacrifices they had all made to be part of ACTFL 2017.

Brandon Brown Carol Gaab Dustin Williamson photo
Brandon Brown Carol Gaab Rich Emch photo

That gratitude inspired me to dedicate this week’s blog to being thankful. I am tremendously thankful to our supporters, friends and soon-to-be-friends (aka: colleagues), who continually sacrifice time, money and energy to become more effective educators. I’m thankful for your support, collaboration and cooperation as we strive to create high-quality materials and training that help us all raise the bar for student proficiency and drastically reduce the time, stress  and energy it takes to prep lessons that are conducive for SLA.

This past weekend at ACTFL, the entire Fluency Matters Team was blown away by your expressions of gratitude for our efforts to share acquisition-driven instruction and for prizes, whether big or small. From class sets of readers and e-course subscriptions to individual books and even “BUST” prizes, we heard words of affirmation, thankfulness, encouragement and praise. One of the most touching sentiments expressed to me personally was after a teacher had just spun the prize wheel and ended up with a bust that round. I told her I was sorry she hit a bust, and she said, “Are you kidding…I already won a set of readers! This was incredible! Thank you so much for doing this for us. You made ACTFL so valuable, fun and exciting.” She gave me a huge hug and proceeded into the booth to continue learning.

That was the highlight of my weekend for two reasons: 1) Because that teacher and countless others could see beyond the logo on our shirts to see a fellow teacher and 2) Because she realized that all of our efforts to create an engaging and educational activity were truly to show support, love and appreciation for YOU, our colleagues and friends. We, as a publisher, are not always viewed as what we really are… teachers, (and mothers, grandmothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters), who are dedicated to helping each other make each day in the classroom just a little bit better than the day before.

I am infinitely grateful for the Fluency Matters Team– for their unwavering confidence, love and support. I’m also very grateful for you– for your constant dedication to learners and your unceasing encouragement, collaboration and support. At this very moment, I’m especially grateful for those friends and colleagues with whom we had the privilege to connect at ACTFL 2017. Thank you for sharing with us, for learning with us and for appreciating us as one of you.

We are also grateful to all those who participated in our Tick Tock Trivia Game! Congratulations to the winners!

A. Whicker – a class set of readers!

E. Greenberg – an e-course for up to 150 students!

L. Horgan – free registration for IFLT 2018!

L. Avila – an e-course for up to 150 students!

Winner of our blog subscribers giveaway:

L. Caulfield – choice of a class set of readers or an e-course for up to 150 students!

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