The main thing to know about Bryce Hedstrom is that he wants to be a better teacher and he wants to help others that are working toward that same goal.
His habitual by-line is, “We all get better when we work together” because he believes that honey works better than vinegar, that cooperation works better than competition, and that an encouraging smile works better than a disapproving scowl.
Bryce is a teacher trainer in northern Colorado. He has a B.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, but claims that the biggest help to him as a teacher has been the on-going professional development at conferences and workshops, particularly those in his state organization, the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT). Bryce has taught at the elementary, middle school, high school and college levels. He received the Best of Colorado award from CCFLT in 2008, and was elected president of CCFLT in 2015.
Bryce taught Spanish in Colorado public schools for 30 years. He also taught at the college level from 1993-2014 at Aims Community College in Greeley and Loveland, Colorado where he received the Award for Excellence in Teaching. His teaching emphasizes a comprehensible input-based approach which includes storytelling, reading, music, student engagement and plenty of laughter.
Bryce has also worked with clients in the business world including Fortune 500 corporations Hewlett-Packard, ConAgra and Universal Forest Products, as well as influential regional companies Porter Industries and Group Publishing. He has taught Spanish classes and served as an editor and translator of corporate training materials and operations manuals. In the corporate world he has trained both Spanish-speaking employees and managers as well as provided Spanish language classes to everyone from hourly employees to corporate executives. He has also translated and done proofreading for Group Publishing.
Some of the most rewarding work he has done has been serving as an interpreter for short-term pediatric medical clinics in Mexico and Guatemala with a group of regional doctors, accompanied by area youth who spoke Spanish and entertained the throngs of children waiting for medical help.
Bryce is a regular presenter at regional and national conferences including the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT), the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT), the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the International Forum on Language Teaching (iFLT) conference and the National Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling conference (NTPRS). He loves conferences because of the enthusiasm of the attendees, their passion to become better teachers, and the camaraderie.
He has written scores of books, articles, blogs and lessons to train teachers and to teach Spanish learners. He produces training guides, posters and artwork for the same purpose. His articles have been published in the CCFLT Journal, The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching (IJFLT) and Language magazine.
Bryce lives in Loveland, Colorado. His interests include learning about language acquisition, reading, short-term medical mission trips for disadvantaged children in Spanish-speaking countries, playing the guitar, drawing cartoons, fitness, cycling and family activities (but not all at the same time, he’s not that talented). He can often be found on the Colorado Front Range back roads on his road bike. His cycling achievements so far include riding over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park (the highest continuous paved road in the world) six times and completing the annual Triple ByPass bike ride Between Avon and Evergreen, Colorado twice, where he learned what real perseverance looks like from an unusual and heroic fellow cyclist (ask him about that some time–you won’t be sorry).
Bryce started developing materials, presenting and blogging because:
“It disheartens me to see so many teachers try and then give up because they cannot make all the pieces of their teaching work right away. I also dislike the way that the inertia in education is crushing the dreams of so many gifted teachers and making students think that they are bad at learning.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I want to contribute to solving these problems of discouragement and abandonment of our profession by giving teachers some hope. I believe that success in the classroom is possible; that students can learn and that teachers can be both productive and happy. Comprehensible Input-based methods, solid classroom management, varied reading approaches and fresh student engagement techniques can help us to get there.”
This website is dedicated to training teachers with his blog, helpful links and free materials, as well as his books and other materials.
Here’s what one teacher who has a PhD and who had a tenured position at the university level has to say about Bryce’s teacher training:
Dear Mr. Hedstrom,I feel like I’ve been writing this email all school year. I just wanted to email you to say thank you for all of your incredible resources and support that you have given me (without knowing it) in my first year of secondary teaching. My name is Tim Foster, and I’m a Spanish teacher at Oskaloosa High School in Iowa. I saw you speak at the Comprehensible Iowa conference last summer as I was beginning to plan out my year’s curriculum and I INSTANTLY connected with your philosophy and methodologies. I’ve been a frequent flyer on your “Free Stuff” page, and I’m looking forward to ordering more materials this summer with some curriculum money.I’m coming to K-12 through a different path than many. I have a PhD in Spanish from Vanderbilt University, and had a tenure-track professor job in Texas for four years. COVID and some family situations made us realize that we wanted to raise our three daughters (2, 4, and 6) closer to family. So I undertook the certification process and got hired by my own high school in my hometown (where my mom taught and my sister currently is the librarian). It’s a rather unique situation, and I’m excited to build a program that will open these kids up to Spanish language and culture in the same way that I had growing up.I had studied some SLA in graduate school, but honestly not enough. I’ve really been going “back to school” on Comprehensible Input and other similar frameworks. I’ve been very impressed by your systematic but also fun (!) approach to language acquisition. This year I was teaching Spanish I with Free Voluntary Reading, Special Person interviews, and some other activities and routines sprinkled in. I’ve drawn heavily from your writings on the Special Person interview, have used the Top 400 words as a motivation and check, and created my own Rejoinder posters based on your list. I’ve learned to “SCRIMP”, become a “MANIAC” using contrastive grammar, and set up my classroom library based on your book recommendations and levels. In October we spent two weeks reading “La Llorona Embedded Reading” with WILD success. “Empuja en el río” quickly became a class meme, and featured prominently in most story asking stories for the rest of the year. In fact, this last week of school I had the kids reflect on the year and which activities they A) enjoyed the most, and B) learned the most from. In both cases, the hands-down winner was: La Llorona!! I should have known, because throughout the year I kept seeing kids grabbing out the vocabulary review sheet from “Versión F” to use for writing activities — that, in essence became our most enduring vocabulary list from the year (everything you need to tell a good story is there, from character relations to the super 7 verbs, and even question asking) As I’ve been reflecting on it at the end of the year, this has been a real moment of, “Duh, Profe, they needed more systematic review to help them put the pieces together”. The students praised the concept of embedded reading (as do you) and also really enjoyed all the legends we told this year (el Silbón, el Cucuy). I’m excited to find some additional embedded readings that I can use in this way in the future (or, who knows, create them?).I’ve found your content so refreshingly straightforward, rigorous but relaxed, structured but spontaneous, scholarly but relatable. These are qualities that I aspire to emulate as I continue to adjust to teaching teenagers! As I reflect on the year, all of the materials and procedures I’ve implemented from your site have been the most truly impactful experiences, where students acquired the deepest and most lasting language gain. I’m excited to keep refining my methods as I implement more of your procedures and materials and begin to craft my own. I’ll be following the same group of students next year to Spanish 2, as well as teaching 3 and 4 (AP), so I have a busy year ahead of me. Whether you knew it or not, you’ll be with me every step of the way.Sorry for the long email (I tend to write those), but I’m just so very appreciative for your support and obvious good cheer.(Si me permites) Un abrazo fuerte,Tim Foster, PhDSpanish InstructorOskaloosa High SchoolOskaloosa, IA
Bryce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presentations, Workshops, Awards and Activities
• Presenter for the Bureau of Education and Research (BER), the largest professional development organization in the US and Canada, 2017 to present.
• Keynote Speaker, Montana World Language Fall Conference, 2021
• Keynote Speaker, Comprehensible Iowa Conference (CIIA), 2021. Presenter and exhibitor 2017-2022.
• Keynote Speaker, Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers Association (OFLTA) Spring
• Keynote Speaker, Hawaii Association of Language Teachers (HALT) Summer Summit, 2020
• Keynote Speaker, Wyoming Foreign Language Teachers Association (WFLTA) annual fall state conference, 2016.
• President, Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT) 2016-2017, President-Elect 2015-2016, Past President 2017-2018; CCFLT board member 2014-2018.
• Keynote Speaker, Alaskans for Language Acquisition (AFLA) annual state conference, 2014.
• Internationally acclaimed teacher trainer who has taught teachers at many noteworthy schools including:
—Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa, Florida. One of the best schools in Florida.
—Denver Schools of Science and Technology, Denver, Colorado. Serving over 25% of the public school students in the Denver Public Schools.
— Rowland Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the best schools in Utah.
—Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, Chicago, Illinois, ranked the #1 International High School in the United States, has been in the top 10 schools for many years, according to US News and World Report.
—Yongsan International School of Seoul, Seoul, South Korea, one of the best private schools in South Korea.
—KIPP Schools of New Jersey and North Carolina, serving under-privileged youth in challenging communities.
—The Texas International Schools, Dallas, Texas
—The Lovett School, Atlanta, Georgia
—Holland Christian Schools, Holland, Michigan
—St. John’s Lutheran School, Orange, California
—St. Edward High School, Cleveland, Ohio
—Lutheran High School, Parker, Colorado
—Poudre School District, Fort Collins, Colorado
—Public schools in both rural and inner-city Antioquia (Medellín area) Colombia, South America
… and many, many others.
• National Teaching Proficiency with Reading and Storytelling (NTPRS) Conference presenter, 2009-2019
• International Forum on Language Teaching (iFLT) Conference presenter, 2012-2019), iFLT Language Lab teacher, 2012
• Featured article in Reporter-Herald.com
• Featured article in Language magazine, April 2017.
• SWCOLT Regional Conference presenter
• ACTFL National Conference presenter
• State and regional conferences presenter
• In-service trainer for public school districts and private schools across the country
• Awarded Best of Colorado by the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT)
• Recipient of the Excellence in Education Award, Aims Community College, Greeley, CO
• Interpreter in Guatemala and Mexico for short-term pediatric medical clinics, with student volunteers.
• Spanish language consultant, employee trainer, language teacher, translator and proofreader in the corporate world. Clients include Fortune 500 companies Hewlett-Packard, Con-Agra & Universal Forest Products, as well as regional powerhouses, Group Publishing and Porter Industries.
• Developer of the CCFLT free mini-conferences in Colorado to serve members in distant parts of the state, raise awareness and increase membership in CCFLT.
Some of Bryce’s favorite quotes:
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
—Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist (1879-1955)
Stick with what has worked. There is magic in traditional stories. They have survived for millennia for good reasons. Keep telling stories like those. Keep letting your students read them. they’ll be better off for it.
“Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. If we stay together, we survive.”
—Maximus (Russel Crowe) in the movie Gladiator (2000)
Stick together. Times are tough. Keep supporting one another. Keep working together.
“Assidus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit.”
“Diligent practice devoted to one thing often beats both talent and skill.”
—Cicero, Roman statesman and philosopher (106 BC-43 BC)
Stick with teaching. Don’t give up on your students or yourself. Devote yourself to your teaching. Keep practicing. Keep sharing. Keep learning. You’ll get better. Eventually you will be better at it than those who are naturally gifted.