The ‘Other’ ADHD (And What We Should Do To Encourage It)

*Note: If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, please click on the links (opens in a new tab) to go back and read those posts first.   THE "OTHER" ADHD In this, the last of my 3-part series on ADHD, I will talk a little about the "other" ADHD (why it's actually a good thing), … Continue reading The ‘Other’ ADHD (And What We Should Do To Encourage It)


High-Yield Instructional Strategies (and their role in the World Language classroom)

I became a teacher quite unconventionally. After a short career in the military, I earned my bachelor's degree in management and began my career as an accountant, while taking accounting courses on the side to eventually qualify to sit for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam. However, fate stepped in and I finally realized after … Continue reading High-Yield Instructional Strategies (and their role in the World Language classroom)

ADHD… From a “Christian” Perspective

BACKGROUND Shortly before Christmas break a few months ago, the topic of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) came up during lunch at the teacher's table in our school cafeteria. One of my colleagues mentioned that he had recently read a very controversial article on this topic by Dr. John Rosemond. If you are not familiar with Dr. … Continue reading ADHD… From a “Christian” Perspective

A common-sense argument for Standards-Based Grading (SBG)

I heard the strangest thing a few weeks ago, though I can't remember if it was online or in a conversation in the teacher's lounge. It was basically a defense of grades and support for the fact that there should be a "normal distribution" of grades in every class and subject. In other words, some students … Continue reading A common-sense argument for Standards-Based Grading (SBG)

Exhausting & Energizing: The Novice-Low Class


A Novice-Low class is the most exhausting one to teach at the beginning of the year. The good news is that an Intermediate class will be able to run itself eventually. So, hopefully, you have the good fortune to teach both.

It feels so exhausting because the beginners’ circle is powered by teacher energy. I knew this was true, but it hit me hard last week. Who can relate?

I thought I would share with you some of things we keep in mind when leading a novice-low class as we strive to set the tone for the year. These are elements I could write entire posts about (and probably will).

1. Repetition

The importance of repetition was made clear to me when I was a participant in Chinese, French and Arabic circles. I could only handle so much vocabulary. I craved repetition.

2. Fast-paced

Novice-Lows will resort to English if you give them…

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Implicit Contract

Profe Ashley’s thoughts on deskless and starting the year out right… with NO ENGLISH!!



Students are coming! They will be in our classrooms any minute. Are we ready?

The first week in  Spanish ets the tone for the rest of the year, the first day especially. We jump right in (literally and figuratively, right ? ¡Salten!).

The beauty of starting the circle immediately is that  we don’t have to explicitly tell students about the expectations. After being in class for a week, we take a break to debrief and THEY tell me what class is all about.

Why would I stand and talk at them about my expectations when instead I’m able to invite them to experience it?

After the first day, I expect it to be clear to students that:

  • No English is allowed.
  • You are going to feel frustrated.
  • You are required to participate.
  • You will be moving a lot.

Now, I won’t leave it at that or students might run away…

Above represents…

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Using CI in Elementary School

senor fernie

(My first idea was to call this post “TPRfleS, but I thought that might be too corny…Not that its corniness has kept me from writing it anyway 🙂 )

FLES Programs
Elementary school in Florida is not the place where one would expect to find foreign language instruction. It’s not a requirement in any of the districts that I have lived or worked in. The only place it seems to happen is in private schools (religious and secular). I wish that there were more schools that had it, but that’s beside the point.

In my school system, there are a lot of songs and chants and introduction to culture and mechanics of language, but not much actual communication. The teachers, while well meaning, are of the old-school, grammar-based methodology and because of that, the students aren’t able to speak at a functional level of proficiency. Elementary programs tend to be…

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