Free Stuff

Free Stuff2019-02-14T14:20:50+00:00

TESTIMONIALS  Here is what teachers are saying about Bryce’s presentations, keynote addresses and materials.


For BER attendees: Wait, They WANT to Read? PowerPoint



REJOINDERS List  Lists of expressions to give students the tools too talk back in the Target Language.

Seven Levels of Questioning to Build Student Confidence in Speaking  Use simple questions to build student confidence using the language.

QUÉ HICISTE ESTE FIN DE SEMANA  Handy guide with just a few words to help students talk about the weekend.

Differentiated Comprehension Checks  Here is how to train teachers to use tiered comprehension checks to differentiate in a world language classroom


High Interest Easy Readers Updated 11/21/17  This is a list that I originally made for my students to help them choose books to read independently for FVR. We also used it to keep track of how many words students were reading on their own. It puts the novels with which I am familiar in order and adds the approximate class level when students can read these book on their own.

READING REFLECTION This form is short and simple and it is the best tool I have for getting students to enjoy reading because they get to express themselves. It corresponds to the ways of assessing reading explained in Free Voluntary Reading by Stephen Krashen and in Readicide by Kelly Gallagher.

DUAL ENTRY JOURNAL  Updated!  Medium level of accountability. Shows you care and are aware, but not smothering students with too many detailed questions about their reading.



High Frequency Verbs  The most important verbs for students to know based on word frequency, interest and usefulness in class.

PALABRAS IMPORTANTES  List of the most important function words, the short grammatical marker words that are the skeleton of a language. It is a relatively short list, and even beginning students can get most of them just by reading novels and by listening to stories in class.





These are the documents that were share with administrators in the two day track I facilitate at the National TPRS conference in Boston. Anyone involved in teaching or supporting world language instruction will find these documents helpful in explaining and defending TPRS.


Research Supporting TPRS in One Place  This is a web site from Kirstin Plante of The C.I. Bookshop and TPRS Academy in the Netherlands. This list of research is very thorough and is updated often.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDIES SUPPORTING TCI  This list was compiled from the website of Stephen Krashen,

Richard Baker’s Dissertation  This is the research of Richard Baker, Ed.D., a long-time TPRS teacher, for his doctorate. It gives insights into the challenges of teaching with TPRS that are valuable for administrators to know:  Baker, R. J. (2017). Teachers’ experiences with the Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) method of language instruction: A qualitative study using a quasi-phenomenological approach (Doctoral dissertation). Aston, PA: Neumann University.

THE RESEARCH SUPPORTING THE COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT HYPOTHESIS AND CI  These are some of the most common questions and misconceptions about TPRS with answers supported by research.

TEACHING WITH COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT FROM 1976  Advocacy for teaching with comprehensible input is not new. Here is a call for a “new kind of teaching” that will require a new kind of teacher” from 1976. This digest of the full article is by Eric Herman, owner of The Acquisition Classroom (highlighting mine).

 The Compelling Input Hypothesis–Krashen Article  This short paper explains a recent hypothesis by Dr. Stephen Krashen.


Checklist for Observing a FL Classroom  This handy informal evaluation tool helps observers to understand the best practices in a foreign language classroom

The New Bloom’s Taxonomy and FL Teaching  Here is an explanation with examples of how the New Bloom’s Taxonomy relates to language instruction. Engaging activities can help to mitigate classroom management issues. Alan Bloom’s classic 1956 taxonomy of learning was revised and refined in 2000 by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl. This chart explains how  TPRS activities can get students thinking at all levels, even in beginning courses. Be sure you are setting up your students to access all levels of thinking and not merely the lowest level of memorization.



UNDERSTANDING TPRS   Here is an explanation of what TPRS is, how it works and why.


This list was posted as a series on my blog and also on Facebook. They were some of the most read and liked posts on the page. All seven reviews are combined here for easy reference.

Frequency Dictionary ImageSocialFluency Through TRP StorytellingReading FAQThe Natural ApproachReadicideMindset




Giving students classroom jobs not only helps the teachers, but they can help make kids feel like useful members of the class. Classroom jobs not only help the classroom run more smoothly, they also change the affective component, making students feel more welcome. When they are contributing, students become vested in the success of the class.  The result is often fewer behavior problems and less sabotage of the teacher’s efforts.  Recruiting students to do Classroom Jobs has always been popular among teachers in the lower grades. Ben Slavic contributed by creating several unique classroom jobs for his world language classrooms. Since then, many teachers have adapted and adopted classroom jobs. Here is a compilation of  jobs students can do in class with explanations: CLASSROOM JOBS (Updated, September, 2017)

This is a big help for little annoyances in the classroom. Stop misbehavior before it gets out of hand with the THINK SHEET

Here are Think Sheets for kindergartners by Tatiana Meza: Think Sheet Kindergarten Tatiana Meza 

New participation rubric adapted from Lauren Tauchman. As best I can tell, the original rubric was developed by Jen Schongalla and was referred to on Ben Slavic’s blog ( as JGR (Jen’s Great Rubric) : Participation Self Assessment

Study Partner Maps help students learn the geography of the target language world easily and quickly.



French (Thanks to Bridget Webster of Colorado Springs, Colorado for these):





Secret Word Cartoon

What’s The Password?  Bryce’s new book on classroom passwords has been compiled into a new book by Teacher’s Discovery. You can order it here

Thanks to Nina Barber for the cartoon. Perfect password.







Resources for the presentation:

Feeling Like a Citizen: Engaging Students and Building Community in the Classroom (Using the Special Person Activity All Year Long)

Read these before, during and after the presentation to get it to stick.

PowerPoint Presentation: Feeling Like a Citizen

Chart of the Process for Special Person Interviews

Here are the results of Personal Interviews after 2 months in Spanish 1:


Real Students + Real Language + Real Interest = Real Acquisition

“Special Person” student interviews are the very definition of student-centered learning. In this ongoing classroom interview activity we focus on the students and ask them questions about their lives, their interests and their goals.  A  common definition of student-centered learning is that it “… puts students’ interests first. It acknowledges student voice as central to the learning experience and allows students to choose what they will learn, how they will learn, and how they will assess their own learning.”

This is precisely what we do with personal interviews: We interview each student in the target language and the interviews grow in depth and complexity as the students grow in language ability. Students choose what they will share and the direction of the interview by their responses. Every so often we quiz the students on what they know about their classmates.

“Special Person” student interview questions and answers are available in several languages below. These questions can help provide a format to help you to begin this fantastically engaging activity with your students.

Personal interview questions are available in these languages:

** NEW! ** Chinese:  Chinese Special Person CLASSROOM POSTER 1   Chinese Special Person CLASSROOM POSTER 2 Thanks to Jian Li, of Dallas, Texas for these translations.

SpanishLA PERSONA ESPECIAL CLASSROOM POSTER There are also scores of sample questions in English to adapt for upper levels at the end of this document.

Student interview posters with graphics in Spanish for ELEMENTARY STUDENTS by Amy Roe

French:  LA PERSONNE PRECIEUSE CLASSROOM POSTER IN FRENCH Thanks to Carrie Ely from Lee, Massachusetts and Anna Gilcher in Cameroon for these.

Japanese:  SPECIAL PERSON QUESTIONS IN JAPANESE   Thanks to Betsy Paskvan from Anchorage, Alaska for these!

Russian:  “OUR STAR” PERSONAL INTERVIEW IN RUSSIAN Thanks to Michele Whaley for the language, and Don Read for the formatting on this labor-intensive PowerPoint for the Russian classroom. Follow Michele’s outstanding Comprehensible Input blog here.

Latin: Here is a link to the questions in Latin, the DISCIPVLVS ILLVSTRIS. Thanks to Lance Piantaggini for the work here. Visit his website,, for more Latin C.I.

German:  Superstar – Eine spezielle Person German PowerPoint      Superstar Interviewfragen-1 German   Thanks to Ulrike “Ulla” Seckler for creating and sharing these German Special Person Interview materials.

Hebrew:   שאלות לראיון תלמידים Special Person in Hebrew  Thanks to Howard Handler for putting in the work and time to create this poster of the Special Person Questions in Hebrew.

DutchLA-PERSONA-ESPECIAL-CLASSROOM-POSTER-DUTCH  Thanks to Kristin Plante for translating and sharing these posters in Dutch.

Focusing on a student and asking the right kind of questions to bring out her personality and make her shine like never before is a skill that can be developed. This article I explain how to put the focus on the students and make them a star as you do personal interviews in your classroom: Make Any Student The Most Interesting Person in The Room



Here is a format for a Special Person Quiz. They can write as many sentences as they like, but the grade is cut off at 25 sentences. No one can get more than 100%  now. Too many students were getting 200%. Special Person Quiz Form

Engaging Students With LA PERSONA ESPECIAL This is a popular and successful  activity in my classes that starts on day 1 and continues for the rest of the year, where we get to know one anther in the TL. It’s using real language and real interest in real people and the result is real acquisition.

Here are some examples of using Special Person interviews with the present perfect verb form–sometimes thought of as grammar for a higher level class. If it is comprehensible and interesting it can work: Special Person with Traditional Upper Levels

Little Pig  Some Pig!  This is a summary of a Person Especial interview that generated enormous engagement with students.





READING REFLECTION This form is short and simple and it is the best tool I have for getting students to enjoy reading because they get to express themselves. It corresponds to the ways of assessing reading explained in Free Voluntary Reading by Stephen Krashen and in Readicide by Kelly Gallagher.

1) Be convinced yourself of the value of reading, and particularly self-selected reading

Language Acquisition and Reading

2) Model reading by reading to them and by reading in front of them

Kindergarten Reading

Favorite Spanish Picture Books

3) Teach them how to choose reading materials

How to Choose Reading Material

Summer Reading This is a list of books my level 4 & AP students said they enjoyed reading. It explains why reading novels is important and includes reading levels for many novels to help guide students into picking something comprehensible and interesting.

4) Provide plenty of reading materials that are comprehensible, interesting and (when possible) culturally relevant

5) Teach them how to read in another language


6) Make reading a regular part of the routine in your classroom and enforce it consistently

SSR Reading Poster


7) Continually point out why we are reading (like every single time they read until they can say it to your first)

QUOTES ABOUT READING Print these out, hang them around your classroom and shine your laser pointer at them when the “Why are we reading again?” questions start. they will eventually get to the place where they say, “I don’t really like to read in English, but for some reason I like it in Spanish.”

8) Hold them accountable for their reading (lightly)

DUAL ENTRY JOURNAL  Updated!  Medium level of accountability. Shows you care and are aware, but not smothering students with too many detailed questions about their reading.



Why use materials & training by Bryce Hedstrom?

Because Bryce’s materials and presentations can train your teachers in techniques that will connect with and engage students!  Teachers will be happier and students will learn more! He also offers a variety of  workshops to train teachers at all levels and in all subject areas in your department, school, district, or region. Teachers are raving about the results.

Contact Bryce today at:

Phone: 970-290-4228 
(talk or text)



USE THE MATERIALS BELOW TO ENGAGE YOUR STUDENTS: All of the lessons below support content in other areas. Kids want to learn and even seemingly reluctant learners will be more likely to engage with readings that have real content. Some students do not see the practicality of World Languages–they tend to see subjects like math and science as more valuable. This will help you bridge that gap.

USE THEM TO HELP WITH YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL EVALUATIONS: Readings like these can also be used as evaluation evidence for “designing coherent instruction” because they provide scaffolding for later learning. They access students’ prior knowledge about geography, math, science and other subjects. Cross-curricular and varied instruction like this can go a long way to “engaging students in learning”.

Guinea Pig on PlateThe popularity of eating guinea pigs is growing. It is sustainable, affordable, and oh so tasty. A short article for your students written in Novice Mid Spanish can be found here.




Corza Blanca Laughing at Esteban LA CORZA BLANCA Simplified summary with illustrations of the legend La corza blanca by the Spanish romantic poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer  as a pre-reading for the novel.




Paises Megadiversos Map PAÍSES MEGADIVERSOS / THE MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES  The “Mega Diverse” countries are those which have been designated as valuable due to their vast and different flora and fauna. An unusually large portion of these countries are in Latin America. Here is a reading in novice level Spanish about these biological treasures.



 EL JAGUAR Despite environmental pressures and declining overall numbers, the jaguar, most adaptable of the big cats, is expanding its range and can now be found from Arizona to Argentina. Read about it in novice level Spanish.

Espanol o castellano ¿ESPAÑOL O CASTELLANO? / SPANISH OR CASTILIAN?  The word castellano perplexed me when I arrived in Chile as a teenager: Everyone seemed to be telling me they did not speak español (in Spanish!) but rather something called castellano; it sure sounded like Spanish to me. This level I reading explains which word speakers use to refer to their language in the Spanish-speaking world.

Watch a Solar Eclipse

 Cómo mirar un eclipse del sol / HOW TO WATCH A SOLAR ECLIPSE  It is always gratifying to teach students concepts and skills that they may have missed in other subjects areas—and to do it in a second language! We have actually done this eclipse watching activity several times with novice Spanish students. The instructions were given, discussed, checked and re-checked for understanding and then we went out to experiment with the low-cost, low-tech eclipse watching equipment. No eye damage yet!

Introduction to Guatemala   (PowerPoint to introduce the country to level I Spanish and/or as a set for the Blaine Ray novel Patricia va a California.  Coordinates with the 5 themes that students learn in their geography classes)





This is a winner story for early level I language learners. It is now in English and Spanish to help teachers that teach languages other than Spanish: LA CHICA QUIERE CAFE THE GIRL WANTS COFFEE . This is a story in a simple format that was modeled for a new teacher observing my class. I wanted to show her that students could learn a story very early in the year and I wrote down the explanations I gave to her in our conversations afterwards. The super simple approach worked so well I plan on using it again.

Smiling Girl Dark Hair LA CHICA FANTASTICA. It is a continuation of the theme from the previous Spanish I story, LA CHICA QUIERE CAFE. This one is loosely based on a story by Mike Coxon.



4 El chico pequeno Y su amigoEL CHICO PEQUEÑO

This is a simple story for Level I  Spanish to review and consolidate  some basic grammar and vocabulary. There are 12 pages of notes, explanations and activities, plus illustrations for students to tell the story and write the story.



La Leyenda de la Llorona Embedded Reading is available for purchase.

La Llorona Silouhette

I just wanted to express my gratitude to Bryce and his La leyenda de la Llorona. This week I gave my students two exams.  One was the state exam where they had to write a story.  Many of my Spanish One students wrote out the story of la Llorona.  The vocabulary in that story is much higher than I had ever encountered in a Spanish One class and I was afraid that it was too high for my Spanish One students; however after seeing their writing and language after completion of the story and activities I couldn’t be prouder. They then had to do a five minute presentation of them talking to the class and talking to me afterwards about their story.  Many of them chose La Llorona.  They were spot on and many of them even picked up the words aside of the intended structures. I then asked my students about that story and why so many had chosen it.  I got the same response: that this story just stood out to them.  They loved that it was a legend as opposed to a class story and it was the only one that I had retold embedded style more than five times.  Bryce has added activities to go with each telling of the story and each one just helped the students to acquire the story and use the language outside of the story. I could not be happier with this story and the activities that he included.  I am definitely using it again next year and from then on.

—Nancy Wallace
What I love about your La Llorona project is that it gives a teacher 
a blueprint of how to work with a story. Your work helped me understand 
a lot better how to put some things together. 
—Michele Whaley, developer of Embedded Reading with Laurie Clarcq


Fat Cat Gray Black Tracing for Small Pictures  THE GIRL AND THE CAT This is a whimsical story for novice language classes that uses high frequency vocabulary. It deals with coming-of-age issues and also has elements of other disciplines, including numbers, built in to it. The nature of the story requires repetition in order for students to get the final question. The story and questions are in both Spanish and English and in the present and past tenses.



Gorilla THE JOB AT THE ZOO  This is a joke in Spanish (& in English on the second page) that my kids liked. More and more, I like telling jokes that impact students at multiple levels. This one is funny and students can relate to it, because it addresses the impostor syndrome, that nagging feeling that we might just be faking our way through life. Amy Cuddy addresses this issue in her book Presence. At least half of all successful people report feeling this way from time to time.



Boy with Book

El secreto de hablar con las chicas Here is a story for Spanish 1-3 about a boy who is popular with the girls by always responding with a simple “I understand.”  I offered it as a service to the guys in my class and it went viral in the school. Kids that were not even in the class, kids I didn’t even know, kept coming up to offer their opinions for or against the premise. I of course responded to all with “I understand.” Works like a dream, even with difficult people–especially with difficult people. Try it and see if it doesn’t work for you too.



Toad Brown Cowboy StyleThis is a Spanish 2 story that grew over a period of two weeks: EL AMIGO ESPECIAL. The girl in the story is a good-natured student in a Spanish 2 class that played along, and with whom the other students had fun giving ideas. It is about her special friend, a toad, inspired by the stuffed cane toad from Guatemala in my classroom.


Tortoise Smiling

IHare love Aesop’s story of The Tortoise and The Hare. I have always considered myself to be a tortoise in some ways and I want to encourage others to keep at it too. This version of the story is written as a Spanish embedded reading and includes color illustrations.  It is now expanded an available for purchase. There is also a teacher guide to help you teach the story and English embedded readings. See the Products Page for a sample and to get it for your students. We’re all in this together. Keep at the race, mis amigos tortugas.




The New Bloom’s Taxonomy and Foreign Language Instruction (PDF) Memorization is the very lowest level of learning. With comprehensible input strategies we can ask students to think at higher levels, even in beginning language classes.

Checklist for Observing a FL Classroom  (PDF) This latest version has more specific guidance built into the form to point out what good foreign language teaching should look like. This can be a big help to administrators and guests by giving them specifics to focus on. I give a copy to every observer in my classes to get some guided feedback and help me to get better.

Checklist for Observing a FL Classroom  This is the Checklist in a Word format so you can adapt it to your needs.

Rachel Seay from North Carolina modified the observation form with spaces for notes from the BSCS 5 E’s Instructional Model. Get it here.

UNDERSTANDING TPRS   Updated and Expanded –Formerly “The Basics of TPRS”

Language Performance Scale for Telling a Story 

You want differentiation? We got your differentiation right here. Check out an explanation from a workshop on how I use Susan Gross’s idea of Contrastive Grammar.



I like to put a funny posters on the door of my classroom  to delight my students.

Cinco signos que a una chica le gustas (5 Signs that a Girl Likes You) Careful, guys! There are more like this below.

APRENDA LAS EMOCIONES con Kristen Stewart   The many different and obvious emotional expressions on the face of a professional actress can help your students to learn the words for emotions in Spanish!

DarmokDarmok  This is an activity sheet based on a classic Star Trek the Next Generation episode, that is dearly loved by language teachers, where Captain Picard learns to communicate with an alien captain via storytelling and shared metaphors (or more precisely, analogies and strategies).

This article is referenced, of all places, on the German Wikipedia page about Star Trek! Check it out here  The link is at the bottom of the page in the Einzelnachweise Bearbeiten

[References Edit] section.

Valentine Get Off My CalendarEres Tu Valentine’s Day Activity  This is a type of “Occupy Valentine’s Day” activity for the 99% of our students that do not have boy/girlfriends and feel awkward and  unwanted on Valentine’s Day.

FUNNY PLACE NAMES Spice up your stories with these unusual places in the USA that actually exist.

Nicknames in Spanish Enough with Paco and Maria already. Give your students meaningful and descriptive names.

Songs All Spanish Students Need to Know Cliches? Maybe. They still need to know these songs.

SONGS–Dia de los Muertos & La Llorona


You know those one page ads you see taped to posts and stapled to bulletin boards, especially on college campuses? The ones with the little tear off strips? I have been experimenting with some funny ones and putting them in Spanish. The idea here is to use high frequency words (sheltering the vocabulary, but not the grammar) in a fun way to get students’ attention and to get them to read it over and over because it is so ridiculous, funny or stupid. They are also great conversation starters once students are in the classroom.

DERECHA Y IZQUIERDA POSTER Check to see if students understand left & right as well as their abstract thinking. Will this really avoid traffic jams at the classroom door?

HAS VISTO ESTE GATO  Another cat poster. Could this be the continuation of the old “Cat Story” by Blaine Ray?

HELLO HOLA LIONEL RICHIE & WALDO  This one has Lionel Richie giving Waldo a dirty look.

Hello Hola Lionel Richie  This one is Lionel Richie alone (Lionel who?) with the lyrics to “Hello?” in Spanish for students to tear off.

SE BUSCA AYUDANTES  Every evil genius needs minions! Join up!

QUISIERAS TENER UN PAPELITO  Who doesn’t need a little tiny lift?

ES ESTO TU GATO  Mistaken identity cat.

If you can not read Spanish, you can find the translations to the posters here.



INTERVIEW-QUESTIONS-with-SAMPLE-ANSWERS Looking for a new job in a school that teaches with comprehensible input? Look at these questions first to get your thoughts together.

Placing Students in Spanish Classes A native speaker in Spanish 2? An ELL student in level 1 so they can “learn English”? Nope. This document will help guide counselors, administrators, fellow teachers and parents in placing students in the appropriate class.

Placing Native Speakers If not in a lower level Spanish class, where do we put native speakers?

Alternative for Unwilling Students (in Word format so you can adjust to your needs) Despite our best efforts sometimes things do not work out and the rest of the class is suffering. Here is a way to deal with the occasional unwilling student.