Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

31: Picture and Movie Talks with Sarah Moghtader


In this episode we talk about movie and picture talks in the language classroom.  This a popular and effective Comprehensible Input (CI) procedure that uses visual story-telling.  This process helps students to acquire and reenforce vocabulary and language structures in context.  Sarah Moghtader, a French in Massachusetts,  joins me to talk us through the benefits of picture and movie talks and how to do them with students in the classroom.

Sarah speaks specifically about:

  • what picture and movie talks are
  • why picture and movie talks are a useful CI approach to teaching language
  • procedure and techniques
  • what to look for in a useful story, book, or movie clip
  • where to find these resources
  • working through a story and extension activities

Links references in the discussion:

Connect with Sarah Moghtader:

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30: Music in the Language Classroom with Allison Wienhold

In this episode we talk all about using music in the language classroom.  I’m joined by Allison Wienhold, a Spanish Teacher in Iowa, who speaks about the numerous benefits of music in our language classrooms.

Allison speaks about:

  • the value and benefits of using music in the language classroom
  • the flexibility of using music, from a few “quick wins” to diving into culture and representation
  • where can we find music to use in our classrooms
  • activities to engage with music
  • I have a song…What do I do before, during and after?

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29: Teaching Circumlocution Skills


As teachers, and proficient second language speakers,  we have figured out ways to communicate words that we don’t know. We can teach this skill to students early on so that they can begin doing it right away. Circumlocution is a strategy for describing or defining a concept instead of saying or writing the specific words (when we don’t know it). We can teach students how to do this and give them tools to help in the process.

In this episode I give some suggestions to teach students the art of circumlocution.  I also talk about some games that are useful for practicing this skills.

Blog Post on Circumlocution.

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28: Courageous Dialogues and Affinity Spaces with Vicky Wang

In this episode Vicky Wang joins me to address the effect of anti-Asian sentiment on Asian ( particularly Chinese) teachers in their schools and classroom.  Vicky Wang began an initiative, along with several colleagues, called Courageous Dialogues with Chinese Educators.

Vicky Wang is a Chinese Language and Culture Teacher in Maryland.  She helps us understand how anti-Asian language, actions and microaggressions have increased throughout the Covid Pandemic.  Vicky provides actionable suggestions for Asian (particularly Chinese) educators to confront these issues and for allies to support Asian colleagues and student.

Vicky speaks specifically about:

  • the inspiration to create a space for courageous dialogues
  • microaggressions and how are they damaging, particularly regarding Covid-19 and Chinese teachers
  • support and resources are available through Courageous Dialogues With Chinese Educators
  • Vincent Jen Chin and why 1955 is included in the CDCE social media handle
  • empowering Chinese educators, and essentially any teacher, that is marginalized or targeted by microaggressions or disrespectful language

Connect with Vicky Wang and Courageous Dialogues with Chinese Educators

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement”  by Paula Yoo.

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27: Diversifying World Language Curriculum with Ben Tinsley


In this episode we look at what world language curriculum has included and what has been left out, with a critical eye on diverse ethnicities and voices.  I’m joined by Ben Tinsley, a French teacher in Philadelphia.  He guides us through his own language learning journey as a Black student and how he did not see himself and the Afro-Black-Caribbean experience reflected in his language learning experience.

This prompted him to unapologetically center Francophone Black people in his curriculum.  This conversation will help us all provide our students with language learning experiences that authentically, and accurately, reflect the diversity of our target language cultures.

Ben speaks about…

  • his personal experience with language learning
  • what has been missing in language curriculum, particularly regarding diverse ethnicities, voices and lived experiences
  • why is it essential that we include diverse voices and ethnicities as an essential part of our curriculum, rather than one-off discussions
  • how to make sure that our students understand the full range of voices, ethnicities, and lived experiences of those in our target language cultures
  • where to find resources and how do you make them an organic part of the curriculum

Connect with Ben Tinsley:

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26: Languages: Vehicles for College and Career Readiness with Ryan Smith


In this episode we are take on the question that we often get from students…”Why are we learning this?”  Ryan Smith joins me to talk about how language teachers can infuse the idea of language learning as an essential skill when preparing students to be ready for college and careers.  Ryan points how many useful communication skills that are developed and honed in the language classroom in addition to language learning and cultural competence.

Ryan speaks specifically about:

  • why language learning is an essential aspect of being college and career ready
  • convincing reasons to learn a new language
  • skills that will make students college and career ready, particularly  21st Century Skills
  • some “carrots” to help motivate students to learn a language and hone their skills
  • how we can incorporate college and career readiness into our classrooms
  • Seals and Credentials, especially the Seal of Biliteracy 

Connect with Ryan Smith on Twitter (@renosenor).

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25: Go-To Activities for Your Teacher Toolbox (vol 1)


This episode is the first in a series of episodes that I will publish 4-5 times a year.  In these “Go-To Activities for Your Teacher Toolbox” episodes you will hear suggestions for go-to activities and games that require little-to-no prep and can be easily modified for any language or proficiency level.

Why Games and Activities:

  • useful teaching and learning tool
  • particularly useful when engaging and motivating unwilling and disinterested students
  • opportunities to practice speaking and understanding the target language
  • playing in (with) the language and building confidence
  • Brain Breaks – keep interest and focus
  • provide a relaxed context for risk-taking, lowering the affective filter
    and building community in the classroom.

4 games and activities that are:

  • little to no prep
  • can be pulled out at any time
  • are easily adapted to proficiency level of class

The games and activities:

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24: Redesigning Classroom Structure with Darcy Rogers


In this episode we look at how we structure our world language classrooms. How can we redesign our classrooms so that they are more communicative and support risk-taking, promote community, and help students rise in proficiency?  I’m joined by Darcy Rogers, Spanish Teacher and founder of OWL (Organic World Language), who helps us all re-envision what our classroom can be.

Darcy speaks about:

  • the traditional classroom structure and the obstacles it creates
  • how we can remove these obstacles
  • the linguistic and social-emotional benefits of removing these obstacles
  • the foundations of OWL methodology
  • infusing pieces of OWL into our classrooms

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23: What About Online Translators? with Bertha Delgadillo


In this episode we take on the question of online translator.  Like most teachers, you probably have experience with students resorting to using them.  But, what do we do about it?  They seem to be here to stay, so we need to figure it out.

I’m joined Bertha Delgadillo, a Spanish teacher in Georgia, who is well known for her work with acquisition driven instruction.  She helps us to understand why students use translators and offers tips and suggestions for meeting the challenges that this presents.

Bertha speaks specifically about:

  • why students use online translators irresponsibly
  • strategies to promote risk-taking
  • what we can do when students use online translators irresponsibly
  • when students might use an online translator as a resource

Connect with Bertha Delgadillo:

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22: 90% + Target Language Use

In this episode we are talking about 90%+ target language use in the classroom.  We start with where this comes from and why we want to do it, then I ask 4 questions about what is happening in your classroom.  These questions will help to focus on some of the challenge areas and I provide some ways to address them.

  • Q1: Are prompts and tasks at the appropriate proficiency level?
  • Q2. Do students have the language tools they need to communicate?
  • Q3. Are students held accountable for using the target language?
  • Q4. Are all the students actively engaged and interested?

Links referenced in this episode:

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