After the Honeymoon (#DEVOLSON)

We’ve all learned what you get if you multiply any number by zero. What’s not in the 3rd grade math curriculum, though, is that you also get the exact number of minutes I slept last night. I’ve never slept well, or much, despite having received medical and other professional attention, but this month sleep has been to me as a snow leopard […]

Back From Vienna, Part 2: Reactivation

This post has been long delayed, though not for the usual reasons of working on other projects or traveling. I simply realized that I didn’t have much to add to Back From Vienna, Part 1: Activation. At the end of that post, which dealt with my son’s linguistic experience on our recent trip, I promised […]

Back From Vienna, Part 1: Activation

R: Papa, I’m still hungry. May I have something more to eat? P: Do you want more Lucky Charms, or something else? R: Something else. P: What do you want? R: Hm…probably strawberry cereal and blueberries. This was part of a conversation my son and I had today, our first morning home since August 29. The […]

Back Home With a Bilingual Boy: Vienna 2015

This Saturday I’ll take my five-year-old son to Vienna, the city of my youth and still the one in which I feel most at home. Although I always speak German to my kids, the upcoming trip has made for extra-fun German interactions. Already a decent English reader, the boy has wanted to practice reading German, study maps […]

Grammar Is Not a Skill, or, What Does It Really Mean to Know a Language?

I’m thrilled to share my first contribution to the reinvented Musicuentos Black Box Podcast, a collection of resources created to form a bridge between Second Language Acquisition research and everyday practice. We hope that, whether you are a teacher or a learner, this new video series will provide you with both information and inspiration! This episode, […]

Riddle Me This!

What’s bright orange, red, and yellow, full of marshmallows on sticks, and freezing to the touch? If you’ve read much of this blog, you know I like to use and share simple activities or classroom features that (a) are a source of high-interest, level-appropriate content in the target language and (b) easily engender conversation in the target […]

Standardized Testing according to The Little Prince

I don’t know if our friend Antoine had testing in mind when he wrote Chapter 4 of Le Petit Prince / The Little Prince, but he could have. I’ll simply quote part of that chapter, with a rough English translation, as food for thought on standardized testing: Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres. Quand vous leur parlez […]

My Favorite Language-Learning App is Temple Run 2

There are lots of language-learning apps out there—duolingo, Byki, Busuu, etc.–not to mention all the flashcard and quiz apps. But my favorite language-learning apps are these: Temple Run 2, 2048, Civilization, and FIFA 2014. “Aren’t these games,” you ask?  Yes, and they’re free, too. (Except Civilization.) “But they don’t even have spoken words!” True, and I […]

On the Go, In the Language: Introducing #indwelli

You’re stuck in line at the DMV. (In other words, you’re at the DMV.) How do you you use the time? Maybe you check Facebook. That’s fine—probably better than checking it when you’ve got time to do something else. Maybe you make a shopping list. Maybe you don’t “use” the time at all; maybe you […]