Differentiation in Foreign Language

YEARLONG READING PLANS FOR LEVELS 1 & 3

These are the reading assignments from the course syllabi in my level 1 and level 3 classes. Most of it is self-selected reading, even in level 1.Level 1 students can read on their own and read an amazing amount once they know the high frequency verbs. This plan really works for my students because it is self-differentiating. Every class we teach is a multi-level class, regardless of the course title... the students spread out all over the place in ability very quickly and allowing them to read what they want is the best i have found to accommodate those differences. [...]

LEVEL I KIDS JUST CAN’T READ & WON’T READ!

Ahem... er... well... Nope. They want to learn and they will read if we encourage and equip them. This is the book check out list from our classroom library for the second full week of school. 23 books checked out so far. Most of these kids are level 1 Spanish students with no exposure to the language before this school year. They have learned many of the high frequency verbs that are in the novels with classical TPR so far and we have done 8 "Persona Especial" interviews, but that's about it, besides three useful "Passwords". They have had  four [...]

KEEPING STUDENT INTERVIEWS GOING

When I started doing “Special Person” student interviews I had an interviewing model in mind. It was Oprah. Having that model in my head helped me to keep me on track in rambling interviews with kids that didn’t even know what they wanted to share. And Oprah was a good example. She could show that she cared and that she wanted to listen. I would imagine Oprah and use her body language and earnest questioning style with students in my classroom. Having a current model is even more necessary now as I try to explain the technique to teachers from [...]

A QUESTION ABOUT WRITING ACCURACY

Ashley has a good question about writing accuracy: Hi, there! I have a question for you! As my students are taking their SLO test (Georgia), I am noticing that their accuracy is quite poor. How do you balance fluency and accuracy in writing in your classes? Thanks so much for the input. It is invaluable! Ashley Hi Ashley, This is a common observation in comprehensible input-based classes. Students can understand so much more than traditional classes that it is natural to assume that their production would be equally as advanced. This is not always the case. I can offer a [...]

GERRY WASS ON MULTI-LEVEL CLASSES

Our friend and colleague Gerry Wass is retired from full time teaching. Here is a shot of his experience and wisdom. Hopefully with more time on his hands he will be able to write many more pieces like this. Gerry Wass was a teacher in the Purdy School District in southwest Missouri, with students in grades 6-12. He taught multi-level Spanish classes for four years and his Spanish Club members ran the Purdy Recycling Project, an industrial recycling that collected more than a million pounds of materials in ten years of operation. Gerry has retired from teaching but he is [...]

STARTING THE SCHOOL YEAR: MY FAVORITE BOOK BOX

I organize many of the books in my classroom library in discarded library magazine boxes. There are boxes on all sorts of topics and genres, but my favorite is the Butterfly box, labeled "Mariposas" in Spanish. Monarch butterflies captured my imagination years ago when I was driving across the country in the early fall on the way to my brother's wedding. Along the way, wave after wave of Monarchs were crossing the road. Millions of them. I was spell bound. How could there be so many? Can bugs actually migrate? How is that possible? Where did they come from? Where [...]