Tag Archives: spanish teacher

96: Teaching Heritage Language Learners with Courtney Nygaard


Do you have heritage speakers in your language class or perhaps you have full classes of heritage speakers? In this episode, we are talking about how to design and implement curriculum and daily class activities that meet the specific needs of heritage speakers. Courtney Nygaard, who has full classes of heritage speakers in Minnesota, joins me to talk about how she designs her classes and offers useful tips and suggestions for working with this unique group of students.

Topics in this Episode:

  • who our heritage language learners are and how Courtney came to teaching this population of students
  • the early days, lessons learned and where Courtney is now with her heritage language classes
  • what the curriculum looks like with heritage speakers and how this differs from the “typical” second language curriculum
  • Courtney’s core beliefs behind her heritage learner curriculum
  • the core components of her curriculum and her process for delivering it
  • differentiating what can be a wide ranges in proficiency, particularly with regard to literacy

Connect with Courtney Nygaard:

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95: Curriculum and Structure in the CI Classroom with Adriana Ramirez

What does curriculum look like in a classroom that puts comprehensible input at the center of the language acquisition experience? Is it possible, in fact, to follow a curriculum, in either a traditional or reinvented way? In this episode, we look at this very question with Adriana Ramirez, a Spanish teacher in Canada. Adriana helps us to see what curriculum looks like in her classroom as she implements a CI approach to language teaching and learning.

Topics in this Episode:

  • the key aspects of a CI (Comprehensible Input) classroom that are a departure from some more legacy approaches
  • “curriculum” in a CI classroom and how do we plan for and document the learning
  • the structure of a lesson and the student experience
  • why  CI is ultimately more beneficial than a vocabulary and grammar-focused curriculum
  • some misconceptions and critiques about CI

Connect with Adriana Ramirez:

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94: Targeted Comprehensible Input with Angie Torre

How do we choose the input that we use when engaging students in comprehensible input activities?  In this episode, we are talking about the idea of targeted comprehensible input.  Angie Torre, a Spanish teacher in California, joins me to talk about the pros and cons of using targeted and non-targeted comprehensible input.  There are likely diverse opinions on this out there, so here is our chance to find the common ground.

Topics in this Episode:

  • what “targeted” and “non-targeted” Comprehensible Input are and their objectives
  • the varying opinions on both approaches
  • Angie’s personal reasoning behind using targeted Comprehensible Input
  • the benefits of considering age and developmental levels in the language acquisition process
  • planning of a lesson or unit that using targeted Comprehensible Input
  • sheltered videos, how do you use them, and the effectiveness 

Connect with Angie Torre:

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93: Integrated Performance Assessments (IPAs)

What is a highlight or takeaway from the first 100 episodes of the World Language Classroom Podcast?  Leave a 20-20 second audio recording. I hope to include you in episode 100.

How do you approach assessment in your language classroom?  Is it about quizzes and tests on particular vocabulary and language structures, or do you focus on students demonstrating what they can do with the Target Language?  In this episode I am going to focus on Integrated Performance Assessments (or IPA’s).  This type of assessment provides a chance to determine what students are able to do with the target language, rather than just what they know about the language.

Topics in this Episode:

  • Henshaw and Hawkins’ recommendations around assessments in Common Ground
  • aligning instruction with assessment
  • Success Criteria
  • what an Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA) is
  • the 3 sections of an IPA: interpretive, interpersonal, presentational
  • creating and IPA
  • assessing and IPA
  • Pros and cons of IPAs
  • tips for creating and implementing an IPA

Episodes Mentioned in this Episode:

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92: Critical Thinking Skills in the Language Classroom with Lisa Shepard


What classes do you think of when you hear about Critical Thinking Skills? Is this for science, social studies and literature, or is there a place for it in our World Language Classes.  My guest today, Lisa Shepard, a French teacher in Ohio, is here to show that our language classrooms are the ideal place to highlight and hone critical thinking skills.  Lisa shares her reasoning along with many suggestions for building these skills in the target language at every proficiency level.

Topics in this Episode:

  • what we mean by “critical thinking skills” 
  • why critical thinking skills are essential in our classrooms and as part of our curriculum
  • concern about addressing critical thinking skills in the target language, particularly at the novice level
  • strategies (activities and procedure) that focus on and hone critical thinking skills in the language classroom
    • – Analyze Authentic Resources
    • – Solve Problems Collaboratively
    • – Create informational and persuasive messages for cross-cultural audiences

Connect with Lisa Shepard:

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91: Story-Listening with Margarita Pérez Garcia


Have you heard about, or maybe even used, Story-Listening in your classroom?  I wanted to learn more about this interpretive listening procedure and how it can be used along with interpretive reading.  Margarita Perez Garcia, a Spanish and French teacher and author in Australia, joins me to talk through all the details of Story-Listening. Maybe you have the flexibility and autonomy to go all in with this methodology in your classroom.  If not, Margarita shares how we can use Story Listening along with other procedures.

Topics in this Episode:

  • what Story-Listening is
  • the benefits of Story-Listening
  • what does Story-Listening looks like
  • what you need to do if I want to use Story-Listening tomorrow
  • what happens after Story-Listening
  • Story-Listening.net
  • Stories First Foundation

Connect with Margarita Pérez Garcia:

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
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We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

Reflecting on Our Language Teaching

How often do we stop to reflect on our language teaching?  Hopefully we take the time and opportunity to do it regularly so that we are teaching our students as effectively as possible.

Reflecting on Our Language Teaching, French, Spanish

Let’s look at how we can think about our work as language teachers using Reflective Practice.  I know, this all sounds way up there in the theory world.  I promise you it’s not and that it’s fairly simple.  Stick with me you’ll be looking at your teaching in ways that help to confirm what you are doing as beneficial and successful, along with some ways to perhaps modify, enhance or improve.

Lesson Reflection

One of the things I appreciate the most about the language teaching community is how much teachers want to be effective with students.  The ethos of the group seems to be an openness and willingness to engage in reflective practice.

Why Reflect?

Reflection can help you to be more creative and try new things. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and it can be helpful to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. This can help to spark new ideas and ways of thinking.

Reflective Practice for language teachers

Here’s a simple way to look closely on how we are teaching and find those opportunities to confirm what you are doing as beneficial and successful, while also finding ways to modify, enhance or improve.

  1. Teach
  2. Assess the effect your teaching has on learning
  3. Consider what can improve the quality of teaching and learning
  4. Try the new ideas
  5. Reflect on effectiveness 
  6. Repeat

Number 3 is where the opportunity to modify, enhance or improve lies.

Success Criteria

Success Criteria helps to make this reflective process possible.  These concepts are from The Success Criteria Playbook by John T. Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Kateri Thunder, Nancy Frey (2021).  I spoke with Tim Eagan on Episode 60 of the podcast if you want to go really deep with Success Criteria. 

Reflecting on Our Language Teaching, French, Spanish

But to put it simply:

  • Success Criteria are essentially statements that specify the evidence to show whether or not you have met the learning intention, such as “I can” statements.
  • “what you want students to know and be able to do by the end of one or more lessons.”
  • Without learning intentions and success criteria, they write, “lessons wander and students become confused and frustrated.

The important and simple questions:

  • What will be learned?
  • Why is it going to be learned?
  • How will I know that it has been learned?
  • What will I do with what I learned?

Use the these Success Criteria questions to inform our Can Do Statements and to reflect on that important #3 in the reflective process above.

  • Consider what can improve the quality of teaching and learning

Put this together with the Success Criteria questions to determine the success or breakdown in what was learned? 

  • What will be learned?
    • Was what students were learning clear or unclear?
  • Why is it going to be learned?
    • Was the reason why students were learning the materia clear or unclear?]
  • How will I know that it has been learned?
    • Were students able to demonstrate mastery?
  • What will I do with what I learned?
    • Were students able to do something with what they learned?

Then, revisit the Can Do’s for next time and modify as needed.  

Reflective Practice for Language Teachers in a nutshell:

  1. Plan and Teach using success criteria
  2. Assess the effect your teaching has on learning
  3. Consider what can improve the quality of teaching and learning (success or breakdown on the success criteria)
  4. Try the new ideas
  5. Reflect on effectiveness
  6. Repeat

You can also listen to episode 77 of the podcast where I break down this reflective process.Reflecting on Our Language Teaching, French, Spanish

90: Parallel Texts in the Language Classroom with Kaitlin Leppert


Have you used a parallel text in your language classroom? Maybe this is a new concept to you, like it was for me, or maybe you could use some new ways of going about it.  Either way, stick around because in this episode, we are talking about using parallel texts. I’m joined by Kaitin Leppert, a Spanish teacher in Wisconsin, who has lots of experience to share around this effective teaching procedure.

Topics in this Episode:

  • what a Parallel Text is and why teachers should consider using them
  • engaging students in a parallel text
    – creating an original text
    – whole Class parallel texts
    – individual/small group parallel texts
  • specific examples of a parallel text activity that you Kaitlin has done with students
  • Kaitlin’s pro tips for those just starting out
  • Episode 79: How to do a Write and Discuss with Ben Fisher-Rodriguez

Connect with Kaitlin Leppert:

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.

Compelling Input and Output in the Language Classroom

It is essential that language be comprehensible so that that students can make form-meaning connections, however it also has to be of interest and compelling to learners. This is what motivates them to engage and make meaning. But, what about how students use the language they are acquiring?  That also needs to be compelling to students.  Let’s look at how to make input compelling along with output activities that are of particular interest to learners as well.

Compelling Input and Compelling Output, Comprehensible Inout, CI, French and Spanish.

Comprehensible Input Hypothesis:

  • Language acquisition occurs when learners are exposed to messages that are slightly beyond their current level of language competence
  • Learners acquire language subconsciously, through their own natural processing abilities, rather than through direct instruction or explicit grammar rules.

Compelling Input Hypothesis:

  • Learners are more likely to acquire language when they are exposed to messages that are interesting, engaging, and personally relevant to them.
  • Compelling input captures learners’ attention and motivates them to engage with the language, which can lead to more effective language acquisition.

Making Input Compelling:

  • Incorporate authentic materials, such as news articles, podcasts, videos, and TV shows, that are interesting and relevant to your students’ interests and cultural background. The format can be as compelling as the topic.
  • What movies, TV shows, books, games, sports events or local events are happening? School related activities?
  • Use exit tickets to figure out what the interests are?  Use Card Talk Drawings.
  • Focus on meaningful communication instead of grammar rules. Research has shown that language acquisition is more effective when students are focused on meaning rather than form.
  • at their age and proficiency level

Compelling Input and Compelling Output, Comprehensible Inout, CI, French and Spanish.

Compelling Input and Compelling Output, Comprehensible Inout, CI, French and Spanish.

 Making Output Compelling:

  • Provide students with opportunities to use the language in authentic situations, such as role-playing scenarios, mock interviews, and real-life simulations. 
  • Give students choice and autonomy in their learning by allowing them to select their own topics and projects. 
  • Provide feedback that is specific, actionable, and focuses on both form and meaning. 
  • Use the same formats for making input compelling to provide opportunities for compelling output.

Compelling Input and Compelling Output, Comprehensible Inout, CI, French and Spanish.

Compelling Input and Compelling Output, Comprehensible Inout, CI, French and Spanish.

Podcast episode on this topic:

References:

  • Krashen, S. D. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implication. 
  • Krashen, S. D. (2011). The Compelling (not just interesting) Input Hypothesis  

89: The Input is Compelling, But What About the Output?


Have you heard about Stephen Krashen’s Comprehensible Input Hypothesis?  If you’ve heard about CI, or use it in your classroom, then you know exactly what it is. Today, I want to take this a step further and look at making that input compelling or of particular interest to students.  Not only that, but what about making the output, or how students use the language, equally compelling or of specific interest to them? We’re essentially talking about ways to motivate students and we can always use some suggestions for that.

Topics in this Episode:

  • Krashen’s Comprehensible Input Hypothesis: Language acquisition occurs when learners are exposed to messages that are slightly beyond their current level of language competence, but that can still be understood with the help of contextual clues.
  • Stephen Krashen’s Compelling Input Hypothesis: Learners are more likely to acquire language when they are exposed to messages that are interesting, engaging, and personally relevant to them.
  • Five suggestions for providing compelling input
  • What about making the way students use the language compelling and of personal interest to them as well?
  • Five suggestions for providing opportunities for compelling output
  • Blog post about compelling input and output

Work with Joshua either in person or remotely.

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Teachers want to hear from you and what you are proud of in your classroom.
Join me on the podcast.
We record conversations remotely, so you can be anywhere.