Showing posts from 2017

Infused Project-based Learning with these easy steps!

How to infuse problem-based thinking into your world language classroom
Fews years back when I was teaching in an International Baccalaureate middle school, I started the year dreamy-eyed with this cool social media project.  I could not wait to implement it.  Coming off a summer of PD around the Personal Project, a design cycle research project for students, I was sure this was going to be the year that we do big things and tackle relevant themes such: 
How do we interact with social media? What digital footprints are we leaving on the world? How to use social media thoughtfully and responsibly?
 I"d walk my students step by step in the target language. Then it happened. My hopes were dashed.  This critical and awe-inspiring week was met with three challenges: 
We had no working technology in schoolWe had no access to computers We could not use the textbook This was not going to work because the whole  crux of my plan was to get them to design their own websites of something of im…

Hablando se entiende la gente :Cultivating Spontaneous Conversation in the WL Classroom

How Do We Encourage Spontaneous Speaking in the WL Classroom? Like this! 

  was thoroughly intrigued by Amy Lenord's post on The Power of Just Talking.Not only because I agree that it is a good practice, but speaking is the "core" of what we do in this "labor of love." We give copious amounts of input, engage students in a wide range of language-building activities so that they can speak, and do it somewhat naturally. However, sometimes as language teachers, we over think things. I certainly do. Amy's blog post The Power of Just Talking resonated with me and challenged me to think more about this 'gift" that students already have. And don't worry about them making errors- we learn from our failures, and we fail forward. 

Spontaneous Speaking and the Creative Student 

Spontaneous speaking has always been at the forefront of my teaching philosophy, but not for pedagogical reasons necessarily. I've just always been interested in what students h…

Creative way to change seats in the WL class by using cultural realia

Creative way to change class seats by using cultural realia
I'll admit, I really suck at changing seats. I really get so used to where students are sitting that usually don't change seats. However, they always complain because they'd like to move around. Point taken! Last year, I'd have them move seats and ask questions that were similar to that of a personal interview. If you want to learn more about Personal Interviews, check out
So year, I am adding to this protocol. In addition to the run-of-the-mill meet and greet, I found a new fun way to move seats, keep students in the TL and add a bit of culture to the mix. 

Postcards from Spain (or any culture)  I am using these postcards that I purchased in Spain for organizing seats. If you've traveled and have a few, great. If not, you can download pictures from the internet to match the theme that you are teaching (see some online printouts below). 
How to use them? 

I bought 6 of each type of post card. …


This year I am so excited to begin the new year. As I flipped through my unit plans, I came across several engaging and language-filled beginning of the year activities.  I'd like to share a few ways that you can get your novice-level students to use the target language, meaningfully, from the day 1!
 #1 Speaking the TL from the very first day! 
So I teach really nervous nellies the first day of school. They come into my class with a terrified look on their face because for some of them this is their first time in a Spanish class ever. Last year many of my students had taken Hebrew as a second language and were totally unfamiliar with Spanish. I had to find creative ways to lower their affective filter but engage them in the language from the first day. My first plan of action is to get them to take the first step; introducing themselves and getting to know their classmates. 
As they file into my room:  I only greet them in Spanish and then after they have taken a seat.  I introduce m…

El Cine Colombiano: 11 Activities for Teaching Film

Cine Colombiano- ¡Qué chévere! 

This year's film unit is taking even a steeper climb through the South American Continent.( Click here to see the post about 5 film activities for your class. Most activities are free! ) I've added two films to explore cultural themes and social issues while conversing in the target language.  

On a personal/pedagogical note, this year I have been learning about MovieTalk, a TPRS strategy for enhancing listening comprehension and focusing on structures. I am still learning about this key strategy in facilitating conversation using film, I am no way an expert, but I have incorporated some of those practices in my class (Check out my Wanna-be-Movietalk activity: Eight free engaging activities for teaching the preterit and imperfect tenses). I am slowing incorporating these strategies as I go. 
Shall we take a peek? ¡Dale!
Film unit vocabulary and activities- absolutely free. Engage your students in the following activities: 

1. Vocabulary matching- in …

Incorporate classroom stories, without breaking the bank! Spanish series...tantalizing!

Incorporating reading into the World Language Curriculum has a plethora of benefits. Students increase their exposure to words and structures over time, which can really drive home a "grammar points" better than using worksheets, and countless hours of conjugation drills. However, having a novel-based curriculum can be very pricey, especially when you work in a cash-strapped district like mine. If you want to incorporate reading, but don't have the budget, check out some of the resources below. There are a host of short stories that can be printed out and distributed to students. All stories below have accompanying activities. 

Novel Series for Spanish 3+ (appropriate for level 2) 
If your students love drama (like mine), which most high schoolers do, "El secreto" and "La revelación" will be perfect for them. The novel has about 400 unique words, meaning that most other words are cognates, easily recognizable for students. It also comes with a glossary.…