Engaging students at a personal level is the way to their hearts and minds. Aaron Mendelsohn, a high school teacher in Massachusetts, sent me this note the other day: I just want to share with you that I have gotten A LOT of mileage out of Persona Especial!  What a great activity.  Thank You! When I asked him to elaborate, he replied with this: Persona Especial has been a success for a number of reasons.  I'm gonna start off by sharing what was on my mind when I wrote to you a few days ago:  PE is almost a O [...]


The student has excelled the teacher, the ultimate wish of any educator. I received word the other day from a former student, David Dalton, that he has a PhD in Spanish and is now an assistant professor at The University of North Carolina. He has a book coming out next month called Mestizo Modernity: Race, Technology, and the Body in Post-revolutionary Mexico. Here is a pdf where you can get a discount on the book: file:///C:/Users/bryce/Downloads/Mestizo_Modernity_INDIVIDUALS_AU718.pdf Dr. Dalton's faculty page is here: https://pages.uncc.edu/ddalto14/  

By |2018-07-29T16:04:49+00:00July 29th, 2018|Categories: Books, Hope, Uncategorized|0 Comments


These contraseñas are ones that we have used to enter the class this year. They are well-known Spanish cultural sayings, quotes by famous Spanish speakers, phrases that require a subjunctive, useful idiomatic expressions, or just for fun. Write in  Spanish. (Answers and commentary will be shared in an upcoming blog here.)       “Little by little one goes far.”                     _ I was born the (#) of (month) of the year (#). “Zamora was not won in an hour.”                             What English saying conveys a similar message? I forgot! / It forgot me! It left me. / It went away from me. [...]

By |2018-05-21T16:30:16+00:00May 21st, 2018|Categories: Passwords, Uncategorized|0 Comments


More teachers are discovering the joy of teaching with comprehensible input-based methods like TPRS. To effectively implement the WHAT and the HOW of these methods, understanding the WHY is crucial. Dr. Stephen Krashen’s Hypotheses of Language Acquisition are the why. In this series of posts we will explore each of Krashen's major hypotheses and how they apply in the classroom. Krashen’s is not the only model of learning teachers need to know, but due to their enormous influence, it is crucial that modern language teachers understand these hypotheses and how they apply in the classroom. This is the same series of lessons [...]

‘La Preuve’ and The Case for Multi-Level Classrooms by Gerry Wass

“La preuve que il a existé c’était qu’il était ravissant.”  –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry A year and a half after retiring, I continue to get requests for help about how to run a multi-level language classroom.  Most come from teachers who already find themselves in this situation out of necessity, but others are intrigued because they believe that the model could produce a beneficial shift for them and for their students.  Many teachers are already doing some version and bring their positive experiences to the discussion. One of those recent requests came from Jen Schongolla, directed to both Michele Whaley and [...]


I enjoy teaching with very few props or electronics. Relationship-based teaching (passwords, discussing reading and persona especial interviews) propped up by well-honed TPRS questioning skills are the go-to tactics in my classroom. But I have discovered that there are two tools without which I can no longer function optimally, and they both seem a bit gimmicky: a handheld mechanical sports counter and a stop watch. It was disconcerting to realize that my students and I lean upon these devices so heavily. Our routines were disrupted and students with classrooms jobs no longer had the tools of their trade. My mechanical [...]

By |2018-02-14T20:55:50+00:00February 14th, 2018|Categories: Classroom Jobs, Daily Routine, Rejoinders, Uncategorized|0 Comments