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 […]

“I don’t know how to teach” (#Teach2Teach Question 3)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 3 from Jennifer, about troublesome experiences (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 Jennifer’s question: “What has been your most troublesome experience with teaching and how did you handle it?” It’s difficult to […]

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. […]

A Celebration of Connectedness

The value of professional networks is so frequently touted that it seems almost abusive to mention it again. But I will, because this fortnight has been especially fun, illustrative of the quirky connectedness in the world of teaching and learning.  If the references or connections are insignificant to you, no problem! I’m thankful for and honored by them for their […]

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 […]

Rising Above School Politics (#Teach2Teach Question 2)

This is a response to #Teach2Teach Question 2 from Carrie, about school politics (full question below). Special thanks to Amy Lenord (whose response is here) and Karen Tharrington for starting the #Teach2Teach movement and to those who have responded to their call! Here is Carrie’s question: “How do you stay inspired and not get bogged down by the politics of […]

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 […]

Teachers: Visit Each Other!

There are lots of ways to connect with colleagues: professional conferences, email groups, web forums, blogs, social media, . . . . Teachers should take advantage of these to whatever degree is reasonable. But one of the easiest, most rewarding types of teacher-teacher interaction is simply to visit a colleague’s class, or even to get […]

Your Language-Learning Happy Place

Your Happy Place is a mental state or a physical setting in which you are most at ease or most energized. You may have a general Happy Place, or you may have a host of Happy Places for different activities or purposes. Do you have a language-learning Happy Place? Mine are (a) just after breakfast, in […]