For the last week of school I have allowed students to choose their own passwords. What a fun way to start each class period this has been! They get to show how smart they are, and I get to admire and applaud them. This is just where we want to be in late May. Beats the heck out of the nagging and brow-beating that I used to do at the end of the school year. What makes this work is the ownership. The students choose what they want to say. Level 1 students could say any password they like from [...]

By | May 18th, 2017|Categories: Hope, Just for Fun, Passwords|0 Comments


This has been a challenging year at my school and in my personal life, especially this week (Type in "Trump" & "piñata" to get an idea. Not me, btw). Right when I thought my students were not achieving at the desired level in language or in attitudes, one girl in Spanish 1 (non-native) asks "Cuando Jenna vuelva, ¿puedo ir al baño, por favor?" Used the present subjunctive naturally and confidently, without any overt teaching on it. Three other students asked if they could read the rest of the draft of my novel--outside of class for no credit. I needed a [...]

By | May 10th, 2017|Categories: Encouragement|0 Comments


Dinosaur, CO—In a bold move, the staff at Dinosaur High School has declared that low student achievement is not their fault because all of the students are lazy and stupid. A declaration signed by 87% of the faculty blames the students for their low results on district, state and national tests. “What are we supposed to do? All of the kids in this whole region are either lazy or stupid or both” said Sandra Vieille-Ecole, a veteran French teacher. “It’s impossible to teach students like this. No one could do it. It’s definitely not our fault. At all.” said another [...]

By | May 8th, 2017|Categories: Satire|0 Comments


Mike Peto wrote this blog about how he uses "Conexiones" in his classroom--as a break from fiction and to acknowledge the interests of all students. Conexiones by Bryce Hedstrom A collection of short, non-fiction entries that excite a different kind of reader People sometimes ask me how I keep students from getting bored of my schtick creating class stories day after day. The key, of course, is that I am not doing the same thing every day. On some days we create class stories together, some days I tell a fable, some days we discuss the plot of short video clips [...]

By | May 7th, 2017|Categories: Geography, Growth & Change, Reading|0 Comments


There is a new reader for level one, La clase de confesiones by Alicia Quintero. This is the first of a two part series. Order it here: Unique words:  50 Total word count:  3,000 Level 1 – TPRS/Comprehensible Input-Friendly Language Learning Literature La clase de confesiones is a Spanish level 1 novel. It is written almost entirely in the present tense, with very few minor advanced structures. These structures and expressions are footnoted and detailed in the glossary so students do not skip a beat! The novel features vocabulary related to school such as supplies, classes and, of course, [...]

By | April 24th, 2017|Categories: Reading|0 Comments


The passwords this week are both tongue twisters and they are similar to one another. Upper Level classes:  Mi madre madrileña me menciona a mí miles migas malas. / My mother from Madrid mentions thousands of bits of gossip to me. Lower Level Classes:  Mi mamá a mí me mima. / My mom spoils me. Having similar passwords in upper level classes and lower level classes is a winner for many reasons: 1) The passwords support one another. Lower level Spanish students can use the upper level password if they want to. Upper level students can see a simplified version [...]

By | April 22nd, 2017|Categories: Passwords|0 Comments