After the fun I had reading through everyone’s entries for the last giveaway, how could I NOT make it a monthly thing?? I am not independently wealthy, so unfortunately I can’t give away a set of class novels every month (every once in awhile, perhaps!!), but I’ll always make sure that it is something that will be of great value to you even if the price tag isn’t that high 🙂

This month I am going to give away 20 Fluency Matters credits that can be used to purchase a one-hour webinar. (Click here to visit Fluency Matters.) Fluency Matters offers cutting edge teacher training in various areas related to language instruction: engaging reading instruction, the use of authentic resources, how to ask a story, teaching tenses, using novels, and more!


  • Leave a comment with  YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS (or email if you don’t want your email address published online).
  • In the comment, share a LESSON FLOP story: a time that your lesson completely flopped, and you felt like you needed intervention from an expert!
  • Remember to post YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in the text of the comment (unless you email me)
  • Enter before October 31 at midnight AKST!


The winner will be chosen at random using an online raffle on November 1. The winner will create a Fluency Matters account (free), and 20 credits will be added to his or her account so that s/he can access a one-hour webinar, gratis.

33 replies on “October Giveaway

  1. Lesson plan flop: when I come up with a great story and my students just stare at me and don’t laugh or participate. Only happens occasionally (with a certain class), but it’s the worst feeling in the world!

    1. I had a lesson flop today! I had spent so much time preparing “centers” for my Spanish Two class to learn about the Dirty War in Argentina and they totally just weren’t participating. If you came into my classroom just one hour ago you would have seen me near tears and my students acting totally crazy. I really want to use this differentiated method with them, and I want to do TPRS with them, but they are SO BAD. What do I do?! On a good note, I LOVE your website, and have used so many of the suggestions and lessons in my other classes, and they are a huge success! Thank you!!

  2. Lesson plan flop: my first attempt at using a tic-tac-know board to differentiate in my classroom. It was great in theory, but did not work at all like I intended. I sought help from my mentor teacher about how to make it better. Now, I can’t wait to try it again!

      1. Martina,

        Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! Tic-tac-know is similar to your “individual textivities,” but the students must choose 3 activities (out of 9 total) in a row. Ideally, the activities would be placed on the “tic-tac-know” board in a way that each student would complete a speaking, reading, writing, etc activity by the time they finished the activity. It is also great for differentiation! I am still playing around with perfecting it, but there are loads of ideas/examples on google!

        Thanks 🙂

  3. In my first couple of weeks of teaching, I planned a kindergarten day and had links to a few books in Spanish so I could show them on the smart board. I was a traveling teacher and using others’ rooms. In one room the technology would not work and I did not have a back-up lesson. I did not have books or supplies in that room and did not know what I was going to do with 23 8th graders for the next 45 minutes. I winged it and was a flustered mess! Moral: always travel with a back-up! Now I have my own classroom and wing it much easier. (I’ve been wanting to try a webinar from them…. Thanks so much for the opportunity!)

    1. So true! I remember a few years ago when my Promethean bulb went out and it took two weeks to get it replaced–I was a mess the whole time because so much of what I do on a daily basis–routines, fillers, etc–depend on the technology!

  4. I thought I had a great story planned for my class full of football players. Tim Tebow was the star of the story (picked by a student). For some stupid reason although i had the ending of the story in mind i went with some student input and tim Tebow died while jumping out of a plane.. What was I thinking??! Needless to say, my football players were not happy and we changed the ending. I have never had to change the end of a story before, but this one needed it! 🙁

    1. I hate it when I forget about some important key component of a story and we get to the ‘end’ and miss the whole point of whatever we were doing! Whoops!

  5. This is only my 2nd year using CI and TPRS, and I thought that this year I would have the same reaction from students as I did last year. Well, I have one class of 30 students (10th grade) that are just not responding. During our first story-asking day, it was very awkward because all they did was to stare at me and nothing else… I haven’t tried again, we have done a lot of CI activities, but I am scared of trying asking as story again… but tomorrow I will give it another shot!

    1. Some classes really don’t take to it, and others need specific scaffolding in order to make it successful. Storyasking is not the end-all, be-all, so sometimes we have to be content to use other strategies in our repertoire! I need your email address!

  6. My story flopped today. 🙁 It worked great in three classes but it was all crickets 6th period! I’d love to do a webinar on story asking.

    1. I would LOVE to watch a webinar on story asking. I have so much trouble with it–more so with upper levels for some reason.

  7. I will definitely agree with most of the posts thus far – Most definitely when a story goes awry and ends up being completely lame! Nothing worse than 30 sets of eyes giving you awkward silence and that glance upon completion of it. 🙂

    1. My apologies for two replies. At first it told me that it didn’t work. So I did it again – guess it worked! Feel free to delete either of my posts! 🙂

  8. Going to agree with most others here – when a story goes awry, especially at the end. Nothing more awkward than getting “the stare” from 30 sets of eyes and that uncomfortable silence upon completion of a story like that.

  9. Hello! I am hoping to become the lucky winner so that I can apply any strategies in my immersion classes of Spanish.
    My email address:
    Having started with a novel that was part of the curriculum, I entered my new school with the idea that these students were up to the task. The questions that I so diligently prepared and activities customized for the accompanying text went over like a lead balloon. I felt awful. Awful that the kids felt inadequate with the reading and the subsequent activities. I never want any student to feel that language acquisition is unattainable. So, since this, my quest has been to improve upon and change (what I can) to make my students succeed. I try to partake in anything that can help me become a more effective teacher. 🙂

  10. I always have one class who doesn’t like to share or participate, usually first period. It makes for a very long and boring time for everyone. I did a reading activity with partners once where they try to find the false statements, but I ended up copying the same paper for both partners. Totally my fault!

  11. I planned a great lesson based on your Day of the Dead activities. I arranged to take the class to the language lab. We got there and the kids had trouble getting online. Then we opened the documents that I had posted and they could not type in their answers because there were too many overlapping textboxes that we could not see. The next day, I tried using a different computer lab after I spent the night before reformatting all the documents. In the new computer lab, Microsoft Word took 30 minutes to load once the kids logged on the computers. Also in the 2 labs, we only have 24 stations and one of my classes is 30 students. I had a couple of kids who own their own laptops bring them in but even that was not enough. Finally, I had to just give up on the project. It makes me so frustrated and sad because they were going to use Glogster to create an alter for a final product. Glogster is such a fun tool. 🙁

  12. One time I tried to do a gallery walk with a particularly chatty class. They picked their main events individually, then in groups decided the 4 most important events and wrote them on the white boards. Then the groups walked around together and put stars next to important things. It was a disaster. Something that should have taken maybe 20 minutes max took about 40-50 minutes before I cut them all off. It turned into social hour with a special guest of draw inappropriate things on the board. That’s the last time I do gallery walks with that particular class!

    1. Yikes! I would say so! Did you have any behavior management tools in place? Using a hole puncher or stamp on their papers when they are or are not doing what they are supposed to be doing works for me, and then their grade is affected by how many stamps or punches they receive.

  13. Every time I try to do a group project, no matter how heavily structured, no matter how clear I am about expectations, I find that they are a complete waste of time! I’m always drawn to some sort of student-created production for the culminating assessment of our novels, but inevitably with students being absent, students at different levels…every group project FLOPS! I’ve tried three highly structured group projects and I am very hesitant to try again. I really enjoyed these types of projects when I was learning Spanish in high school, but maybe they just aren’t well suited to Level 1 and 2 since they need a lot more input?

  14. I always seem to have “that class” that just sits there and doesn’t want to respond. At the beginning of the year I had a hilarious (I thought) story another class had created with Reina the Dairy Queen who rode the royal donkey to school. I used it as a review with my classes and one group just sat there. I did get them to act out the story but grudgingly. We wound up reworking the story to one they liked. It was a very sensible, logical story. That’s pretty much how that class has been all year – sensible and logical!

    1. That’s the thing about personalization–kids want their own thing, and it might look totally different than someone else’s!! I have had the same experience! A story that I thought was soooo funny and creative by one class that I tried to push on another class, and they hated it!!

  15. I hate it when I have this grandiose idea for pre-teaching vocabulary (like using a x-word, ahem) and then….my students look at me and say that they can’t figure out the vocabulary. I tried this while using El nuevo Houdini vocabulary crossword; my students struggled because they hadn’t even seen some of the words. Reminder to self: use the crossword AFTER teaching the vocabulary.

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