The words we use: Instead of this, try saying that

As language teachers, we know the impact words have. So I appreciated a recent thread in a facebook group that Bill Langley (@welangley) posted for how teachers can use better language to provide a more welcoming environment in their classroom. There were some great responses and these were my favorites: Continue reading

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Time to talk about the elephant in the classroom

With the recent discussion about names, this message popped up:
What are your thoughts about this? Does this seem right? Would this spark controversary? Take a minute to gather your thoughts before reading ahead….

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Why giving “Spanish Names” in Spanish class has unintended consequences

What was once a very common practice in Spanish classrooms has now become a bit Why giving your students controversial. While many teachers are choosing to no longer give students random “Spanish names”, the practice still continues. But those that continue to give names may not realize the unintended and harmful consequences.

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First Days All in TL

We just finished up our first week of school and I wanted to get this blog post posted while I still have the energy to type. For those of you who haven’t started school yet (or those who will read this blog in future summers) I wanted to share how I used the target language during 90%+ during the first week of school.

First, let me say that on the first day, I’m not looking to bore the students by going over the rules or the syllabus. I’m sure they get bored of that in every class. Instead, I look to get off to a running start and let them experience how my class works by doing a lesson right away.

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Special Person Interviews

This is a guest post from Christy of Christy’s Classroom who tells how she incorporates the Special Person Interviews in her Spanish class.

This quarter in my middle school classes I have been incorporating special person interviews. This is a great way to get to know your students, build relationships and establish a positive class culture.

I am using the interviews and information from the interviews in a variety of ways to maximize input. Some ways I’m maximizing input beyond the interview are:

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Back to School 2019

Summer is coming to an end. A summer that we’ve been busy: planning a wedding, taking online courses, creating new lessons, working on our website, going on vacation, watching the Women’s World Cup ,and more all while being abroad in the beautiful country of  Colombia.

So here’s an update on what we’ve been working on in case you missed it:
1. CI Teacher’s Guide: We’ve put together a book for world language teachers that is perfect for new teachers or just teachers who are learning more about comprehensible input strategies. This includes strategies that we’ve successfully implemented in our own class and have kept us in the target language. This 48 page document details specific CI strategies to use as a lesson as well as specific reading strategies that will help you get the most out of any text.


2. Dolores Huerta Unit: This past school year we introduced our class to this important historical figure with a lesson starting about farm workers. After working refining the lesson for months, we finally published it. This lesson plan includes a set of storyboards about farm workers, various texts (including an editable version), prompts to go along with the documentary, Dolores, and a FVR Booklet that you can print and make available in your classroom library.


3. Everything CI Bundle: We’ve combined ALL of our CI materials into one mega download. This combines our MovieTalk Bundle, our TPRS Stories Bundle, and our FVR booklets and stories.

4. New Stamp Designs: We’ve already been working a lot on our Stamps available from
New Country Stamps: We’ve updated the designs for several countries: Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay, Estadios Unidos, y Guinea Ecuatorial. See the designs of all 22  country stamps:

We’ve also have been expanding our selection of proficiency and feedback stamps to other languages.

We also updated our “My Favorite Part Stamps” and have them available in multiple languages including Spanish, French, Latin,  and Chinese. Note: we can customize any stamp, so if you need a different language or are interested in something different, just let us know.

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License to speak

In the past we’ve used the analogy of acquiring languages as being like learning to swim. Is it best to jump in the deep end of the pool with no support? Is it practical to learn the techniques and physics of swimming before you get into the pool? Can a spray bottle simulate the same experience as being in water?

You can see our ever expanding Language Acquisition memes here.

Recently, we created this new meme with a new analogy: You don’t need to know how an engine works to drive a car. And you don’t need to understand grammar rules to speak a language.Learning Language and driving Continue reading

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Teacher Appreciation

This week only we are offering our lowest prices ever on our latest feedback stamps. Included is our “Me Gusta”, Me Encanta”, and “Mi Parte Favorita” stamp now available in this “3 stamps for the price of 2” deal. Get the deal now and check out all our stamps from

Discount available now until Friday, 5/10/19  4pm ET.

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Using Peardeck: a tutorial

After our Billy y Las Botas 3 lesson on making predictions using Peardeck, some teachers wanted more information about PearDeck. So here’s a brief tutorial:

If you prefer to read,  Continue reading

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Previewing a Wooly Story

After months of anticipation, this week we started the third (and final) installment of the Billy y las Botas saga. I like to use a variety of strategies when telling a Wooly story, so this time we focused on making predictions. This is a great way to preview the story, as well as letting your students show their creative side and impress you with their language.

Step One: I started by pulling out 12 slides from the Powerpoint of Stills available in the extras section of every story with a Pro-subscription (if you don’t already have this, leave this post, buy it, and come back).

This activity is similar to the “Bunches of Hunches” activity combined with “A Parallel Universe” story that some of you may have used during Wooly Week 2019. Careful, not to give too much away and certainly no spoilers; you want to leave some ambiguity.
Predicting Senor Wooly story with stills from VideoStep Two: Continue reading

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