How To Use Your Windows

I’m taking a sick day from skiing in Sun Valley. The upside is that I can finally write about windows, as promised in the last post, which dreamt of the ideal classroom. Through the window I can see one of my Happy Places–a snowy peak with a ski lift–from another: a quiet lodge with an oversize […]

The Perfect Classroom

What do you love about your classroom? What do you hate about it? If you don’t have your own, what do you love or hate about the ones you travel to? I have to be honest: the only thing I’ve really loved about any classroom I’ve ever taught in is the students in it. Given that […]

9 Ways To Happify Your Class

Is your class a Happy Place? Your students don’t have to be happy, and they certainly won’t always be, but they’ll probably acquire language better when they are. Most of the reasons why a student would be unhappy are out of your control, but many aren’t. Here are some ways to happify your class in service of language acquisition. […]

Preparing a lesson vs Preparing yourself (#Teach2Teach Question 1)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 1 from Garrett, about balancing “teaching” and “planning” (full question below). Special thanks to Amy Lenord and Karen Tharrington for starting the #Teach2Teach movement and to those who have responded to their call! Here is Garrett’s question: “How do all these teachers balance the workload between teaching and planning?  Now that I am […]

Pre-Reading and Three-Reading

The last post celebrated the benefits of rereading texts. This post delivers the promised rereading activity that you can use on your own or with a small group if you are an autodidact, or, if you are a teacher, can conduct in class or assign to students. If you’ve tried adding a bunch of different sounds […]

What You Can Do, I Can Talk About: Using students’ quirky skills to generate language

In the last post we talked about using party tricks as something to talk about in a target language. In a classroom setting, students’ special skills, including party tricks, are a compelling, useful source of content. Just like with a picture, movie, or story, the teacher can use students’ non-linguistic skills either to target specific linguistic […]

“Whatever” Works: Non-Targeted CI Lesson 4, “Frivolity Is the Mother Of Invention”

My second thought when I see this is “Think of all the classy waffles I could make.” This is the Pixel, a customizable waffle maker; you can create your own design by depressing any of the 81 squares. But my first thought is, “This is Non-Targeted CI gold.” That’s right, golden-brown on the breakfast table is straight gold an hour later. […]

“Whatever” Works: Non-Targeted CI Lesson 2, “Thank You, Justin Bieber”

Justin Bieber has done at least one good thing for me: He provided the impetus and the core material for this lesson. It’s another “Whatever Works” lesson, delivering non-targeted Comprehensible Input. (See yesterday’s post for an introduction to non-targeted CI and another lesson plan.) Really, this is another Quirky Feature (again, see yesterday’s post), which I […]