Author: Megan Smith

First Days, First Impressions

There’s a lot to do the first week of class, but what we choose to include in our first lessons really shows our students what we value most. I want students to walk away with an experience with the language and a positive impression of language learning…starting on day one! The purpose of this first-day
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Spanish, French, German… oh my! (more downloads)

Do your students understand your questions? It’s easy for students to get most of what you say but miss the QUESTION word! For example: _________ did you eat? The question could have easily been… when, where, with whom, or why. The question words are important… and they take practice! That’s why we love these simple question
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Tell me how you really feel!

If we want students using the target language at the start of a new year (especially at the novice level), then we have to have resources to encourage it. I’d ask students “¿Cómo estás?” and most really wanted to answer me in Spanish. Without help though, they’d scramble up the easiest response (bien) OR jump
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Do you remember…

…what it feels like to be a novice? Remember how it feels to be surrounded by a new language?

Street Art Unit

Art is a pretty common topic in any upper-level language class. I spent a lot time researching and trying to learn art history and artists like Dali, Kahlo, and Picasso before teaching this unit. I thought that was what they “needed” to know for college, AP, or to support their Humanities course.  The more I
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A Quiz They Will Want To Take!

I try to offer a variety of reading for students – it stretches them to see new things and connects to more kids! Articles, infographics, tweets… if native speakers are reading it, then I’m going to consider using it for my classes. Here’s an interactive reading that has been catching my eye lately. In fact,
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Listen to (and learn) new holiday music!

Music is a big part of holiday traditions and I love how each culture has unique songs that connect to the season. There’s nothing wrong with Jingle Bells, but I like to expose students to music that is really original to the target culture (not just a translation).  What songs should our students recognize or
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ACTFL Takeaway – Cultural Contexts Make Learning More Meaningful!

One of my favorite sessions at ACTFL16 was a Sunday morning session by two teachers from the American School in London. The session was about incorporating tech projects in the language classroom and both teachers showed how they let students learn and practice language with fun, independent tech tools. I noticed something else. What stood
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ACTFL Takeaway – Real Audiences Matter

We had a great time presenting with Erika Shupe and Kris Morehead on a session called “Teaching outside of the box.” We all shared a story and it got me thinking about real audiences and how motivating they can be!

Is it communication? Don’t miss the mark!

Thanks to ACTFL for teaching us about the all important 5 C’s. Communication, Culture, Community, Comparison, and Connection. (I feel like there should be six, because who teaches without coffee?!? I’ll see what I can do!) We have been focusing on these a lot during workshops lately. Although we as teachers know they are the foundation
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