If flight attendants purposefully greet their passengers at the door in order to pick up valuable information about them, wouldn't it help teachers to adopt a similar practice? Starting a classroom password greeting ritual not only provides social and linguistic benefits, there are substantial classroom management advantages as well. The following article explains that when flight attendants take the time to look boarding passengers in the eye they can tell at a glance how much and what kind of energy a passenger has. They can see potential problems with items passengers are trying to carry into the plane, who is [...]

By | July 10th, 2017|Categories: Classroom Management, Daily Routine, Passwords|0 Comments


Will you be back to school with students on Monday, August 21? What a great day to be back, the day a total eclipse of the sun will pass across the middle of the USA. Talk about compelling input and cross-curricular learning! Here is how to set up a safe viewing experience of the eclipse with your Spanish classes in simple level 1 Spanish. If your school is back in session you have the opportunity to spark your students' wonder and curiosity by talking about the eclipse in the target language. Most of the country will see a partial eclipse, [...]

By | June 24th, 2017|Categories: Compelling Input, Geography, Supporting Content in Other Classes|0 Comments

High Interest Easy Readers

Just in time for the summer book-reviewing season!  Here is the most recent list of what I call High Interest Easy Readers. It is not a complete list of all books available in Spanish, just the ones I am familiar with. These are all books that I have in my classroom that my students have read and have reported their impressions to me. I originally made this list to help my students and myself. The idea was to help them find suitable books and to keep track of how many words each student had read independently. But recently I realized [...]


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