Packing for the Path to Proficiency-Part 1
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Packing for the Path to Proficiency-Part 1

I’m packing.  No.  Not guns.  Strategies, activities, techniques, differentiation.  All the materials I need to tackle the path to proficiency.  I love the title-Path to proficiency.  The word is so apt.  A path is long & winding, with mountains and valleys, obstacles, and rewards.  When we set off, we’re full of optimism and excitement, but […]

Telling (Childhood) Stories
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Telling (Childhood) Stories

I’ve been struggling hardcore with my one of my classes recently.  They’re an upper-level class, and I feel like we’re doing the same style of thing every day, or most days at least.  Their interest in conversation and authentic resources and real-life issues is not really that high, and I’m at the point where I […]

Perfect is Boring
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Perfect is Boring

Perfect is boring.  No one likes the person who is perfect, or thinks he’s perfect, or strives always to be perfect.  It’s exhausting and thankless work to be perfect, and honestly, it is really annoying to the rest of us.  Because at the end of the day, none of us is perfect and in that […]

Beyond Meaning Making – Establishing Language Ownership (Part 1)
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Beyond Meaning Making – Establishing Language Ownership (Part 1)

As our field grapples with the difference between performance and proficiency, translation and meaning making, fluency and errors, grammar and functional language use, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own language learning experiences. Born and raised in Germany, I was fortunate to be exposed a second language in elementary school by learning Russian starting […]

Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?
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Comparison: Challenging Tool or Thief of Joy?

Have you ever had someone say something so startling that, in an instant, their words seem to smack you in the face with a reality check? I recently had one of those moments: an abrupt and much-needed a-ha! moment, that reminded me to be my best teacher self, I need to give myself grace and keep it all in […]

Conversation on the fly
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Conversation on the fly

So lots of people have asked me about this post I made on Twitter about speaking circles, and I can explain it better here than in Tweets. Best day! Whole-class speaking circle but w/ teams, new topic every 8 min, TL earns pts for team, Eng loses pts, top team & Indiv get prizes — […]

Building Up
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Building Up

Teaching AP Spanish, for me, is as much a reflection on teaching Spanish 1 as anything could be. A couple of years ago, I was teaching several sections of Spanish 1 in addition to levels 3 and AP. Before that year, I knew what I was supposed to teach in level 1 because I was […]

Fashion Forward
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Fashion Forward

Last year I did an introductory vocab lesson about clothing that had high-energy, engaging, and competitive activities, and lots of Spanish.  What it definitely lacked was ANYTHING related to culture, authentic resources, or real people doing real things.  The lesson was fun, but as I try to improve what I do in the classroom, I […]

Solving the Note Taking Puzzle
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Solving the Note Taking Puzzle

So, here’s the thing that was happening in my classroom, and it has been making me crazy.  I am fighting every day to be the most engaging and interesting thing in the room so that my students will pay attention to me and learn Spanish.  I am speaking in the target language 90+% of the […]

Finding the Right Word
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Finding the Right Word

I read a scholarly article (that I have since misplaced in my digital hoard) that highlighted that native Spanish speakers employ the use of circumlocution because of the linguistic variety and different dialects.  As I thought about this, I realized that I also utilize circumlocution frequently (in both languages that I speak).  I decided to implement this process […]