A Story-Based Approach to Teaching Grammar

DARMOK: The Power of Metaphor & Cultural Stories

By |2023-03-04T09:01:52-07:00March 3rd, 2023|

NOTE: I've been teaching Latin almost exclusively with Roman myths lately - with very positive results. I shared this Darmok activity some time ago. Since this technique is working so well, it bears repeating. Download the updated Darmok classroom activity here. If you love science fiction, like I do, [...]

Introducing the Subjunctive with a Story

By |2023-01-18T19:34:25-07:00January 18th, 2023|

NOTE:  This is from a unit that teaches the subjunctive with a story-based approach and compelling comprehensible input. You can get the entire unit here. The example in from a Spanish 3 class, but the principles apply to any language and any level. FOCUS STRUCTURE:         quiere que vaya [...]

LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE: A Culture Changed by Art

By |2022-12-04T18:13:53-07:00December 4th, 2022|

Language is more than mere vocabulary and grammar. Authentic cultural stories like this one can help students to communicate. Students need to know the background information that these kinds of stories provide to understand the metaphor-laden speech and imagery that every native speaker uses all the time—up to six [...]

Reading Quote #32: Acquiring Advanced Grammar

By |2020-11-18T11:57:50-07:00November 22nd, 2020|

All of our best tricks to get students to pick up the subjunctive pale compared to simple free voluntary reading. Think about using novels more. Fiction written from an omniscient narrator's perspective with plenty of scheming characters (like the Harry Potter series) works particularly well. Get unique novels by [...]

Reading Quote #31: Grammar Development

By |2020-11-21T21:43:42-07:00November 21st, 2020|

Producing the language by speaking or writing doesn't help students internalize grammar. There are benefits to production, but acquiring grammar isn't one of them. Reading and listening can do it though—and reading is the most differentiated because self-selected reading can reach each student at their own unique level.  

Reading Quote #12: Stories, Not Lists

By |2020-10-31T10:15:54-06:00November 2nd, 2020|

See the rest of of the insightful and stimulating reading quotes in this series here. Find free reading materials on Storylabs, an online library for language learning. Access their free materials here: https://www.storylabs.online/freebies. The stories on Storylabs have accompanying audio, online and printable activities, as well as usage tracking so [...]


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