Blog

LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE, THE PERFECT CHALLENGE

In his book Healthy Aging, Andrew Weil, MD, describes what we can all do to protect our brains throughout our lives. On pages 284-286 Weil writes about the protective value of learning another language. There are several comments that stand out in this section for language educators. The words in italics are those of Dr. Weil, the words in other print are my comments. IT’S THE EFFORT THAT COUNTS “You don’t have to succeed; it is the effort that increases brains plasticity and flexibility.” This meshes well with Carol Dweck’s findings on Mindset. Our students do not have to achieve [...]

By | January 21st, 2017|Acquisition, Mindset|0 Comments

AUTHENTIC TEXTS

Preparing for the reading portion of an upcoming workshop, Mary writes: "One question that I know will pop up is the use of authentic texts in our classrooms--it's in our standards and we have to assess it--that will be the main focus of our work this year. Any insight or suggestions would be appreciated." My Response: The authentic texts issue always comes up. It is a legitimate concern and we need to address it. When authentic texts are defined as written by natives for natives and that is the only thing we feel we can use, we put ourselves in [...]

LEVEL 1 STUDENTS CAN READ: BRANDON BROWN

Here is more evidence that level 1 students can read on their own, even early in the year. They begin to pick up on their own more than we are teaching in class. If they know much of the vocabulary in the novel they can do it. These simple beginner novels are just the ticket. This is the Dual Entry Journal Report of a level 1 student after 5 weeks. This one is from the first few pages of Brandon Brown quiere un perro, by Carol Gaab. They read in Spanish, but write in English to show understanding. Same level, same [...]

By | September 30th, 2016|Books, Compelling Input, Light Reading, Reading, Word Frequency|0 Comments

LEVEL 1 STUDENTS CAN READ: ISABELA NOVELS

There have been recent comments that level 1 students can not and even should not read novels. But they can and they should. We cannot just throw books at them. They need encouragement and modeling. They need some time and fun experiences with high frequency words.  And they need interesting and comprehensible books. But they can do it and when they do, magic happens, they begin to like it and they begin to pick up more than we could ever teach them. Here is some recent evidence from Spanish I students, true newbies. They picked a book that they could [...]

By | September 30th, 2016|Books, High Frequency Vocabulary, Light Reading, Reading|0 Comments

10 THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN TEACHERS START TO USE CLASSROOM JOBS

1. They doubt it will work. With traditional models of teaching hovering about us, doubts about classroom jobs are absolutely normal. Don’t beat yourself up for wondering if this will work. You are doing this for your sanity, even if no one else gets it. If you stick with it, you will succeed! 2. They begin to focus. When you first start to look at the tasks that need to be done in a classroom just a few potential classroom jobs will come to mind. But as the idea of sharing responsibility starts catching on you will see how much [...]

By | August 27th, 2016|Classroom Management, Daily Routine, Weekly Routine|1 Comment

FREE READING SUCCESS

This is the book checkout form for my Spanish classes for the first full week of school. Students are checking out books because they want to read them on their own at home. They get little to no credit for this--just the pleasure of reading a good book and my respect. I tell them over and over and in many different ways that this is different from most of the other reading they are asked to do in school. This is reading for pleasure. Reading for fun. Reading because you want to. For this kind of reading they need to [...]

By | August 26th, 2016|Books, Growth & Change, Light Reading, Reading|0 Comments