Let’s Make A Deal

I once had a native Spanish-speaking colleague propose a deal; in order to improve his English, he was to speak only English to me, and in order for me to improve my Spanish, I was to speak only Spanish to him. Without wanting him to know how I reaaaally felt about language acquisition so soon after meeting, I hesitantly agreed to the terms.

The results were disastrous.

Continue reading

Stolz’ Daily Routine PPT

If you missed Chris Stolz’ daily routine, go check out his post for the details. I like how this is both an extension, and reminder of his “how should I teach boring stuff?” post from years ago; just 2 minutes for the boring stuff, and then personalization really starts to lift off! Note how easily this daily routine could launch into a scene, or complete story!

Here’s a PowerPoint (ppt) to help get you comfortable with a daily routine:

Stolz’ Daily Routine PPT

Storyasking: Mixed Tenses

“Sheltering vocabulary while unsheltering grammar” refers to using ANY grammar necessary to express ideas while limiting words. This mantra has been instrumental in the design of our latest Latin novellas since it simultaneously reduces cognitive demand while casting a broad net of input, exposing students to different verb forms as they attend to fewer “big content word” meanings. Despite this unsheltering, sometimes we have to make a decision about when our story takes place! This establishes a focus—perhaps unwanted—on one tense or another.

If we, indeed, want to expose students to that broad net of input, we can respond appropriately without sacrificing any communicative value. Here are some very practical ways to conceptualize the use of different tenses in stories, and what to do in order to add variety to the verb forms used in stories and readings:

Continue reading