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 […]

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. […]