Monday, August 12, 2019

Resources from Minneapolis workshop

I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to get this published.  I had an incredible time with you all!  Please never hesitate to reach out if you have questions or need anything.


Sample of powerpoint  Remember that TPRS Books sells a DVD with all the powerpoint stories you could ever want...

Follow Daniel's Facebook page: Waasabiik Ojibwemotaadiwin and youtube

Watch the deer video but only if you are okay with crying a little bit...

Saturday, July 13, 2019

More Than a Choice NTPRS presentation

This past week, I got to go to my NINTH NTPRS!!!  Hopefully I will have time soon to sit down and digest my thoughts for you.

In the meantime, Eric Richards, my friend and co-presenter at NTPRS, asked me to upload our presentation on using a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel on this blog.  So, here it is!  Please let me or Eric know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

End-of-year Review

I was encouraged to share what I've been doing this week by my dear friend Elicia Cardenas (, so here goes!

Our seniors last day was THREE school days ago and I still had FOURTEEN days with the rest of my students, who, like me, really want summer to start.  I thought about doing a new story with new structures, but I feel like some students could really use some extra repetition without trying to cram more structures into their spring-fevered brains.

I decided to go back to the first story we did this year and do a post-reading review "game" with each story: one story per day.  So, the first day, we did the Lucky Reading Game.  This game is a great low-stress way to play a game where everyone can get the right answer and still there is a winner.  It worked very well, reminding me of what structures I let fall away throughout the year.

Next day, the second story of the school year with Snowball/Paper Airplace reading.   I projected the story and then had them translate one sentence of the story into English on their paper.  Then, they threw them at me (this part made it feel like a game even though it really isn't), picked up a different paper, and wrote the sentence following the sentence written on the paper.  Repeat until it gets boring and then offer three bonus points (worth absolutely nothing) if they can make a basket into the recycle bin.

Today, we did Write, Draw, Pass with them writing a sentence from the third story in French, then drawing the next sentence, then writing the third sentence, and so on.  Tomorrow I will hand them out and they can "read" the story as we pass them around the room to laugh at the drawings.

I'm not sure what tomorrow's post-reading activity will be yet.  Any ideas for me?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


I have hesitated to share too many resources here because a lot of what I do has been borrowed/translated/stolen from others and I use pictures from the internet without siting my sources...  But I was encouraged to do so by my main teacher man Jeremy Jordan, who shares SO MUCH for free.  

So here goes.  I only ask four things:
  1. A lot of these were done in haste, as I have five preps and only one prep period.  So, if you see a typo or an error, please email me and let me know so that I can fix it!
  2. If you want to make changes for your class, just make a copy of the google document and go ahead!  I know my students pretty well, so there are probably some things that I share with my students that you would not feel comfortable sharing with your students.  For example, I show my kids Cyprien videos, even though he sometimes curses in French.
  3. Use anything all you want in your classes, but please don't sell anything and if you remember it came from me, a shout-out would be nice.
  4. If you see anything that came from you and want it sited, please let me know and I will be happy to add a HUGE shout-out for sharing.
  • Daily info for the beginning of class PowerPoint:  This is the best thing I added this year.  It gives me a great opportunity to use some high-frequency structures that don't always come up in a natural story-asking day.  It is a work in progress, as I usually add the slide the day before/morning of.
  • My daily PowerPoints so far: This is how I organize my life.  With 5 different classes, it's nice to have one place to go.  I'm not sure if the sharing is on for every source, so if you click on something that doesn't work, let me know.  Also, most of the things I do in French 4/5 were created by my colleagues Nicole and Caitlin (BIG SHOUT OUT!!!) and they may not want to share their work.
Hope somebody finds this helpful.  If not, oh well!  I got nothing to lose!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

ACTFL presentation-Saturday 4:30

Here is my presentation.

Hello everyone!  I haven't blogged much this year because I've been trying a lot of new things that I can't wait to share once I stop drowning.  So...more about that later.  But two things I just have to say before I forget:

1. FIND A SMALL, INTIMATE PLC:  A few years ago, my friend Andrea Schweitzer and I started a weekly Skype session with Jeremy Jordan (who then abandoned us and was promptly replaced by Elicia Cardenas).  These sessions are invaluable to my life as a TPRS/CI teacher.  Just today, Elicia and I talked about classroom management, communicative ideas that our beginner students can use to communicate without spewing terrible French/Spanish, and supported each other through a couple of rough spots.  I left our conversation feeling uplifted and ready for my next class.  So, find someone (or a couple of someones) to meet virtually with NOW.

2.  I will be presenting a session called "Time Saving Tips for the CI Classroom" on Saturday at 4:30.  If you were going to attend my session, what would you want me to tell you?  What would you hope to learn at such a session?  I have a bunch of ideas, but I would love to hear of other ideas that I might not be thinking of.

See you at ACTFL!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Beginning of the year

I feel like I post the same things at the same time of year every year, but here goes.  Every year is an experiment and here is how I'm experimenting this year:

  1. Away with the password at the door.  I've done it for several years, but it just wasn't connecting.  The kids weren't acquiring it.  So instead, I'm going to use rejoinder posters during stories because I've had better luck getting them to use them at appropriate times and continue using them that way.  But I'm still checking in with my kids at the door.  I ask them a question that they should be able to answer with no problem.  With my first and second year kids, that is something like "What's your name?" "Where do you come from?" "What grade are you in?" (from Special Person interviews).  With my upper-level kids, I try to ask them something that is a bit more thought provoking.  Some questions I've used this year, "Do you prefer your mom or your dad?" "What would you change about school?" "Who is your favorite visual artist?" 
  2. I changed my rules from a huge list of what it takes to participate to Six Keys to Listening (taken from TPRS Books trainings) Look at me Involve yourself Show understanding Tune back in En français No talking over me  It's very easy to figure out which "rule" is being broken.
  3. Party points and a brain break for every 8 minutes in French.  We used our party points on Friday and the kids were way more excited for what we were doing.  Maybe because they earned the time instead of begging for it?
  4. Breaking up La Personne Spéciale.  It used to be my only plans for the first few weeks of school for French 1 and 2, but this year I am breaking it up with classic TPR and mini-stories.  I got some great ideas for easy, introductory stories that could be told quickly from Tina Beard (a colleague from Kansas).  It really makes class go quickly, I don't get as worn out, and the kids are more engaged.
  5. Starting class with a "date talk".  I really don't know how everything in CI became a ____ talk, but I made a powerpoint with every day of the school year with a fun fact about that day.  For example, August 21st was the day the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by an Italian patriot.  I adapt my language for each class so that I use the same slide for every level, but the discussion is different for each level.  
  6. Intentional planning for each hour.  I know this seems like...duh!, but with 5 preps, I haven't exactly been the greatest at this in past years.  So this year, I am trying to be very intentional with my planning, having ideas for brain breaks and switching activities several times to keep the students' attention.
Those are some things that I've started doing, and, as we enter our third week of school, I'm pretty excited!

Friday, April 27, 2018

"Teaching" subjunctive

I got a huge kick in the pants yesterday during a one-day workshop from TPRS Books (they offered it free of charge to a local district, which was kind enough to open it to any teachers in the area).  Mike Coxon and Craig Sheehy were the presenters (full disclosure, I was there to be trained to become a trainer in the future).

I think that this time of year is a great time to do a re-start (and probably would have been even better last month...but I'll take what I can get).  I learned/was reminded of so much that I brought to the classroom today.

First, I had gotten lazy about requiring choral responses and was losing kids because of it.  So I started with that, saying, "When I say Classe, you say Oui!  Classe? Oui! Classe? Oui!"

Next, yesterday at training, Mike Coxon put me on the spot and said that he wanted to learn some subjunctive.  Confession: I'm not good at it and I'm never sure if you do or don't use it with vouloir (to want)...but I went with it on the spot and then looked it up later.  So, I had two actors.  I started by saying, "Classe, il voulait que Shakira soit sa copine."  Then I checked in with the actor, "Bart, est-ce que tu veux que Shakira soit ta copine?"  "Est-ce que tu veux que Shakira soit ma copine?"  Etc.

So, today I decided to try it out in class.  I had two actors: my first actor we talked about who she did/did not want to be her boyfriend.  Second person, I told the class that I had a magic wand (and I pulled out my awesome hand-carved wand) and I need to find out what we wanted her to be able to do "Qu'est-ce qu'on veut qu'elle puisse faire?"  In first hour, we decided that we wanted the actress to be able to transform into a tiger.  So, I got out my wand, said my magic spell, cut the lights, and the actress disappeared (hid in the back of the room) and was replaced by a stuffed tiger.  Hilarity!

The third sentence was that I told my kids that I wanted that they all go to France with me next summer.  "Je veux que vous alliez en France avec moi."

It was great.  My first hour was super into it and laughing and really playing the game well.  And I was so impressed with how I was able to make the subjunctive seem useful and meaningful.  Thanks Mike, for pushing me!!  And, if I made mistakes with the subjunctive, please let me know because I am NOT great at explicit grammar instruction myself, so I can't figure this out on my own!!  And there are only a few phrases that I have acquired and they don't always match up with what is useful to students.

Edit: Since posting this, a couple of awesome-sauce teachers reached out to tell me that I had an error, which I have since fixed.  If I ever make a mistake, I hope you all will tell me about it.  And I will assume that it is coming from a place of love and not judgement.  We're all in this together, right?

Second thing that happened is that a lot of people said that we should just use the subjunctive when it comes up naturally.  Absolutely.  But, in my non-native speech, it hasn't been coming out naturally, so I need to force it a bit so it starts to become natural.  Teaching TPRS has been the best thing I've ever done for my own French.  Before teaching, "Il lui a dit" would NEVER have come out of my mouth on its own.  But, because I forced myself to start using it in stories from the very beginning of French 1, it now falls out of my mouth as well as my students' mouths.  So, in summary...YES, the subjunctive should not be "taught" should be used naturally.  But I am forcing it a bit to make it work for me.

Here are some videos that a student snuck.  She thought she was soooo sneaky.  But I was happy to have the video of a happy class and she agreed to share with me what she took.

PS-I make mistakes.  I'm not a superhuman.  I hate watching myself.  I cringe hearing the errors my French 3s make.  BUT the love of the language and each other is there.  I hope you can see it.

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3