How Did This Get Here? (Activity + Add-On)

How Did This Get Here? is a simple, no-prep interaction that can be a standalone activity or a recurring routine. Inspired by “Thank the Farmer,” an activity in Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Mindful Games (p. 47), it invites students to ponder the provenance of an item they take for granted. Channeled through my language-teacher-brain, it also fosters […]

Introducing: Tuned-In Teacher Mantras

Both during my summer travels and in online teacher communities a recent pattern has stood out: anxiety for the new school year, often in spite of—or perhaps because of—extensive prior experience. Others experiencing anxiety are new to the profession or, like you, are boldly trying new ways of teaching. I identify so strongly with this […]

Marianne’s Takeaways from Agen Language Lab with JSB

Note: Marianne shared the following write-up with me after Day 4 (of 5) of my Latin language lab at the Agen Workshop that concluded yesterday. I found her observations to be both encouraging and practical. I have added several links to help you find more information about the things she mentions. Enjoy! Justin ~~~ In […]

My Outfits Are Ready for ACTFL

Are you? Tomorrow I head to New Orleans to join old and new friends in the CI Posse, a growing group of twenty-odd teachers and content creators working together to boost joy and success at ACTFL 2018 and beyond. If you haven’t discovered it yet, check out the CI Posse blog, which includes my “Why […]

Cut Yourself Some Slack. Actually, Tons of Slack.

Feeling guilty watching screaming goat videos instead of working? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Haven’t exercised since summer? Cut yourself some tons of slack. No time to write “good enough” replies to the emails stacking up in your inbox? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Did something for no good reason? Cut yourself some […]

YOU Are What’s Best for Your Students

Your students are tremendously fortunate to have YOU as their teacher. Don’t let anyone–including yourself–tell you otherwise! No one else cares about your students like you do. This makes you uniquely able to exercise the patience that teaching often requires and to advocate for your students–with the administration, with other teachers, in the community, with their […]

Your Teaching Body, pt 2: Movement & Posture

Your movement and posture can set the tone of your teaching without your changing anything else. If the post on body location and variation felt a tad intricate, I bet you’ll find this one simple, practical, and encouraging! (This post is the fourth in a series on tricks and techniques that observers in my classes at this […]

Your Teaching Body, pt 1: Location & Variation

Do you think of your body as an instrument for teaching? Your physical self is so incredibly versatile and valuable that I have planned no fewer than FIVE POSTS on making the most of it and taking care of it! Here’s a little overview: (This post is itself the third in a series on tricks […]

Your VOICE: a simple, powerful teaching tool

I often invite observers or members of my classes to list things they’ve seen me do that boosted their understanding of the language and their sense of being part of a language-learning community. I do this to help identify a bunch of techniques and skills that are highly learnable and coachable–without highlighting such skills, it’s […]