Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

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).

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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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:

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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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

Connect with Darcy Rogers:

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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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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21: Unpack the 5 C’s with Catherine Ritz


In this episode we unpack the 5 C’: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities,  I am joined by Dr. Catherine Ritz who walks us through what exactly the 5 C’s are and the benefits of using them in our language classrooms.

Catherine speaks about:

  • the World Readiness Standards and their relationship to the 5 C’s
  • what the 5 C’s are with an example of what each might look like in a unit or lesson
  • whether the 5 C’s should be used independently or interwoven
  • addressing all of the 5 C’s in the target language, beginning at the novice level
  • examples of units that include the 5 C’s

Connect with Catherine Ritz:

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20: Rubrics for Assessment and Learning with Becky Bray Rankin


In this episode we talk about rubrics, not just as an assessment tool, but also as a way to help students grow in proficiency.

I’m joined by Beckie Bray Rankin, a high school French Teacher in Massachusetts, who has presented widely on the topic of rubrics…or, as she refers to them, the “thingamabob that does the job.”

Beckie talks about:

  • what pre-rubric teaching was like
  • how she discovered rubrics (or rediscovered)
  • the benefits of rubrics for students and teachers
  • rubrics and IPA’s
  • the Learn -Practice -Assess -Reflect cycle
  • how a rubric is never really “done” and what she continues to work on

Connect with Becky on Twitter (@BBRlaprof)

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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19: Centers and Stations in the Language Classroom with Trudy Anderson


In this episode we are talking about using centers (or stations) in the language classroom.  I am joined by Trudy Anderson, a teacher with considerable experience with designing and implementing centers.

Trudy guides us in understanding…

  • if centers are for useful for all levels and students
  • why we should consider stations
  • how to  set up centers
  • types of stations
  • materials and where to get them
  • logistics of setting up centers…how long, how many, when, assessment?
  • the benefits of adding MAGIC to lessons (Movement, Authentic Resources, Games, Interaction, Challenge)

Connect with Trudy at trudycamand@gmail.com.

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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18: Make Your Can Do Statements Communicative


In this episode we are talking about Can Do Statements.  Are yours truly communicative and proficiency-based, allowing students to show what they can do with the language?

We discuss:

  • what the ACTFL Can Do Statements are and why they were created
  • the Intercultural Can Do Statements
  • how to write an effective Can Do Statement that is rooted in the proficiency level of your class
  • what makes a Can Do Statement communicative
  • examples for modifying Can Do Statements to make them more communicative

Links mentioned in this episode:

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17: Increasing Student Motivation with Tracy E. Rucker


In this episode we are talking all about student motivation in the language classroom.  Where does it come from?  How can we motivate students?

I’m joined by Tracy E. Rucker, a widely respected and insightful French teacher, who walks us through his personal experience with student motivation and offers some actionable advice for all language teachers.

Tracy talks about:

  • what we need to understand about motivation
  • how we know when a student is motivated to complete a task, and not just complying
  • actionable ways that teachers can motivate students
  • obstacles to motivating students that teachers can plan for proactively

Connect with Tracy E. Rucker on Twitter.

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