It’s been a fun Hanukkah, hasn’t it? I have so enjoyed reading through the comments and posts that you have made during this last week, and I will be sifting through the resources that you added to the target structure database, the MovieTalk database, and the authentic resource database (you have 8 hours left to enter the night 7 giveaway!) for weeks to come! THANK YOU, everyone, for sharing with the world language teaching community this week. With just one or two winners each night, you shared willingly knowing that you were unlikely to take home the prize. Thank you for your generosity!

Congratulations to Sarah Patin for winning the premium subscription to Textivate and to Laura Reyes for winning copies of “The Green and Red Bibles” (Fluency through TPR Storytelling and TPRS with Chinese Characteristics)!

I was trying to think of something more creative to do for the final night’s giveaway, but at the end of the day, we just want novels, don’t we? So, no surprise, tonight’s winner will walk away with a class set of novels from TPRS Publishing, Inc. or, in the case that TPRS Publishing does not have novels in your language of instruction or you really do not need a class set of novels, you can go on a $125 shopping spree at Because of the range of languages and levels that they offer, I am choosing TPRS Publishing for this giveaway so that the prize can be useful to any language teacher!!

As with all other nights, you must share something in order to enter. Tonight, please leave a comment on this blog post with either (a) the ONE piece of advice that you think is most important for a new-to-TPRS®/CI teacher to hear or (b) the link to a blog post with a helpful explanation/piece of advice that you think all new-to-TPRS®/CI teachers should read. (If you find yourself in that category, share something that has been helpful to you so far in your journey!) Once you’ve left your comment, click here or on the image below to enter the final giveaway. All entries must be received by 10:00pm EST on Monday, December 14, and the winner will have 24 hours to claim his or her prize.

I pray that your last few days of school leading up to break are full of joy and–yes–even peace! My favorite Bible verse to pray at stressful times (okay, all the time) is Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” We might get eaten up a little at the end of the semester…but we’ll not be consumed. I pray that your students and administrators will show you the same compassion that the Lord offers to you!

Happy Hanukkah, folks!

After leaving your comment, click on the image to enter the giveaway!

91 replies on “On the eighth night of Hanukkah…

  1. This is my second year teaching, and second year using TPRS/TCI strategies in my classroom. The best piece of advice I’ve received is to have fun! Simplistic, yes, but I have a blast every day with using TPRS/TCI in the classroom. The more fun you’re having giving comprehensible input, the more fun the input will be, and it will probably end up being compelling as well. It’s hard to be “on” for 7 hours straight but those days when I’m most “on” is when I’ve seen the best results from my students.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. The most important piece of advice is to try…….start slow, and never give up. Don’t be afraid to try. to start. If you think this is the way to go: just start.

  3. Thanks for the Bible verse! I’m glad that you shared it with us – it’s definitely needed in this crazy time!

    My advice for new CI teacher is that even though CI is much more engaging, fun, and exciting in general, sometimes things won’t work out like you want them to. Keep your chin up and keep trying. “The worst day of CI is still better than the best day of a textbook” or something like that!

    Read this post about what to do when CI falls flat, and don’t give up!

    1. You quoted it right!–Blaine Ray says “The worst day of CI is still better than the best day of a textbook”. This quote caused quite a stir on Twitter this past summer! I think that the idea behind it is that a best practice lesson that ‘flops’ will still be more beneficial to students than a bad practice lesson. Because we know that language is acquired through comprehensible input, any day that we are striving to provide our students with CI is better than a day in which we resort to other strategies (output based, using English, etc.). And that would be the THIRD time Señor Fernie’s post has been shared…has everyone read it yet?? If not, do!

  4. I am new to this idea, but when you want the fun the students have while learning and see what they are capable you will dive into CI. It is ok to tell your students well that failed lays try this again. They respect you are human. Follow Blogs!!!!!!d

  5. Okay, so as a first year Spanish teacher, who walked into a school that already had purchased an online textbook as the curriculum resource, I’ve been trying to weave TPRS/CI into my classes without really having any formal training… (I’m signed up for a conference in January though which I am very excited for!) For me videos on YouTube of teachers using TPRS/CI and this blog have been very helpful. The most recent thing I read that helped me to breathe and be patient was the blog post by Sr. Fernie that Martina shared on Facebook: Falling Flat on Your Face ( I think it’s important to remember that we’re all human and things aren’t always perfect in our classrooms but the wonderful thing is that we get a fresh start each day! Thanks for all the helpful hints and resources and happy holidays!

  6. My two Ahha! moments/advice from this school year have to do with making language 100% comprehensible for students and taking the step towards having a deskless classroom.

    I thought I was pretty good at making my lessons comprehensible and not leaving students behind until Karen Rowan came over and visited my class. She said that if there is one thing new TPRS teachers learn well early on and never loose sight of is to MAKE SURE THAT LANGUAGE IS COMPREHENSIBLE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. When we ask for comprehension checks and students show us on their fingers (1-10) their level of understanding, an 8 would be too low. We have to make sure students have higher comprehension.

    Also, one of the best things I’ve done in my teaching career (in addition to switching to TPRS/CI) is going desk less. It’s a very scary experience in the beginning, but it is well worth it. Here is a blog past describing this experience when I first did it this year (2015), back in September. BUT, I firmly believe that we have to be comfortable doing TPRS before we switch to a deskless classroom AND behavior management is not something the teacher is “struggling” with.

    1. My piece of advice is to not give up. There will be days where it just doesn’t work the way you thought it would but don’t let a bad day keep you from trying again.

    2. Oooh, yes! What a great, tangible way to talk about comprehensibility of our lessons. An “8/10” is not enough!! And thank you for the word of warning about deskless classrooms–be comfortable with TPRS and have a handle on classroom management first, THEN you can reap the rewards of a deskless classroom!

  7. All teachers of TPRS can benefit from seeing it in action! Every time I see another teacher practicing Comprehensible Input in their class, I learn something. If you can’t afford to go to a training or conference (as most new teachers), check blogs for videos, Google “TPRS video” and see what comes up, read through the archived materials from the NTPRS conferences. You can create your own PD for free – that you can attend from the comfort of your home!

    Also, I happily give $4.95 a month to Ben Slavic’s Professional Learning Community. At first I resisted joining, but then I thought about all the stupid things I do with five bucks in any given month…and I signed up! It’s a great place to get inspiration, get help, vent, or read others venting about the same struggles. ‘Cuz let’s all admit it – being this kind of teacher is especially hard!

    1. I do stupid things with $5 just about every day…or my kids do. How do they ALWAYS sneak something past me at checkout at the store?? Yes, sign up for Ben’s PLC!

  8. As a first year Spanish teacher who started at a school with a pre-purchased online textbook as the curriculum resource I am trying to weave in TPRS/CI as much as possible and hope to fully convert next year (thanks to my purchase of Martina’s Curriculum). Some of the best resources I’ve used have been YouTube videos of teachers using TPRS and this website. Most recently Martina shared on Facebook a blogpost by Sr. Fernie titled, Falling Flat on Your Face ( which was helpful because it reminded me that all teachers are human and we aren’t perfect so not all of our lessons are going to be perfect either. The great thing is that we get a fresh start each day and can try again when things go wrong. Thanks for all the helpful resources and advice and happy holidays!

  9. Hi,
    Thank you for your site. It is really helpful! I did the TPRS workshop a year and a quarter ago, so I’m no expert. But I’m not that far removed from someone new to TPRS, so I have 8 pieces of advice to go along with the 8 nights.

    #1: Make sure you have the important aspects of a TPRS story memorized.
    #2: The corollary of #1: Be ready to be flexible and go where the kids want to take it
    #3: When you choose a story, have a learning goal in mind. I like to have a target structure (grammar) in mind, and I write a story using it over and over (and over….)
    #4: If kids aren’t getting your story, slow down.
    #5: Make the stories funny, or kids will tune out.
    #6: I didn’t start TPRS with an “all or nothing” approach. I started once a week last year, and now I’m expanding it.
    #7: Have fun with it. Start writing your own stories. Get kids to give you ideas for stories. Most importantly, TPRS is fun, so have fun!
    #8: Don’t be afraid of it. If it flops once, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to flop.

    1. Love the 8 for 8! I think my favorite from the list is #6: if you start small, you can work on the other pieces of advice without feeling overwhelmed and like a failure when you’ve not yet perfected all of them!

  10. I think the one most important piece of advice I can give someone new to CI methods is to take baby steps. You do not have to completely overhaul all levels and units at once. It can start with one story unit, purchased from a tried and true expert source. You will not be an amazing overnight and there will be failures, so baby steps will help to lessen the blow of the fall. Once you have tried a story with one class, try another, or “special person” interviews,” or read a TPRS novel. Reach out to professionals in the field to help figure out what your next step can be. Just like language learning is a messy process, so is transitioning to a new method of instruction!
    Martina, thank you for all you have done to help me on this process. I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

  11. I am new to TPRS and I have found a few places useful such as this link from Crystal Barragan, following Kara Jacob’s journey through ci on her blog here and purchasing Martina’s units and implementing storytelling. My students love it! Every unit of hers that I tried has gone over so well and for that reason I keep going back for more. Finally, following @senoracmt and @placido ‘s ideas as they teach tprs storytelling novels has motivated me to try them out this year for the first time! I can’t wait! And iFLT Facebook group is great too! Thank u to all my inspirations!

  12. My piece of advice is: give yourself time, continue professional development, and don´t give up! I think most people go to a workshop and are blown away by what they see, and want to start using CI the very next day… but where to even start? At least, this was my experience! I can safely say that I spent a year and a half reading reading reading, and also experimenting with different techniques of CI/TPRS on my students (a MovieTalk here, a story there, reading techniques here and there, song, etc) before I felt comfortable enough it full time in the classroom, which I finally started this year. I think if I had started it any sooner my students would have sensed that I wasn´t completely ready, and it wouldn´t have the great results it is having now. Be patient!

  13. The best advice that I can give a New TPRS/CI teacher is to be patient with yourself at the beginning of this new journey. It will be ok. I will be wonderful and you will see how much you and your students enjoy teaching/learning using CI and TPRS. You will not go back to teach focussing in grammar structures and rules. Everything is going to be! You will be able to use circling, PQA, MovieTalk, etc with ease. Try one at the time but the most important, do not keep up! Even if you try and you felt that you were failing as teacher, your students were learning. Just read more about in the multiple blogs (as this one) , watch another TPRS teacher, follow all the gurus of TPRS/CI in tweeter and Facebook. . And remember you are doing the best with the tool you have. Now you know better so you do better!! Happy TPRSing!!

  14. The one piece of advice and the blog that has helped me the most are one and the same. I gladly have been paying a monthly $5.00 fee to Ben Slavic’s professional learning community.
    When I was just getting started and very insure the teachers on the Plc helped me. Now the Plc helps me to not feel like I’m alone ( since I’m the only TPRS teacher at my school). If you are just getting started or a tenured teacher the Plc is a place to share ideas and ask questions.

  15. If you are transitioning to CI/TPRS with students you’ve taught before, or who are used to teachers with a more traditional class format, know that students may have questions or even some pushback about the change. They also may not recall as much language from previous years as you’d hope, so don’t do what I first did — used way too much “review” vocabulary in stories. They acted bored but really just were unable to understand, and got sick of feeling lost and confused, so they acted out. Keep it all simple: the activities you choose, stories created, readings you provide.

    Sharing reasons why you’re changing how you teach can help them adjust. I share & discuss short quotes about Second Language Acquisition. I’ve found that teaching with CI changes the relationship with students — almost always for the better. We’re collaborating towards the same goal in a more real-time way. But it isn’t always a smooth transition. It has always been worth it, though!

    1. Diane, I appreciate your insights so much! The transition for students is not something that I usually think to discuss with TPRS newbies, and it is crucial! For anyone reading through these comments, make sure to follow the Ignite Chinese blog for excellent ideas and reflections from Diane and Haiyun Lu!

  16. I think everyone here has already given some great advice. Be patient. Follow Ben Slavic. One thing that was very helpful to me was to understand the QAR teaching strategy and to utilize it in my classroom. A great explanation of the QAR technique is here. I also watched webinars from Scott Benedict’s blog, Teach for June. He has lots of great webinars/ courses on Grading, Classroom Management and TPRS.

    1. Do you have any one webinar from Scott, in particular, that you think would be a good starting point for someone that wants to watch some of his stuff but doesn’t know where to begin?

  17. Hello! The link I’m including as a piece of advice to new teachers is a new post from a blog that I was introduced to via the iFLT/ NTPRS/ CI Teaching FB page. As someone has already mentioned, linking up with other teachers via social media–on FB, Twitter, or the yahoo group(s), it is important to find other likeminded teachers who you can celebrate with, bounce ideas, learn new things, and commiserate with. Know that it’ll be tough some days but so rewarding!

  18. I’m only in my second year of teaching with comprehensible input, so I am that beginning teacher who is seeking advice! But I think my best piece of advice would be to develop a growth mindset and just try CI/TPRS. At conferences this year I’ve heard so many teachers say that CI/TPRS “just isn’t their personality” or “style.” Perhaps not, but research shows its what’s best for students. You don’t have to always do silly stories or skits! There’s a lot of ways to work CI in!

    My other piece of advice would be to try and observe a CI/TPRS trained teacher in action. If you cannot do so in person, watch YouTube demos. Then practice, practice, practice. My poor husband (fiancé when I started using CI) had to endure so much of my practicing. 🙂 He did learn some basic Spanish though, so that’s just further proof that it works!

  19. If you are new to the whole process, don’t get overwhelmed! You don’t need to change your entire class overnight. Start with baby steps. Work on a few activities first, then part of a unit, then a whole unit. Every year work on changing something you want to make better. Also, rely on a support system.You may be a department of one, or the only person in your department using this method, but there are so many teachers willing to share and help you out. Become an active part of a PLN (such as twitter or blogs) and you will be inspired by all the great work that other teachers are doing.

    1. Yes, get connected!! It helps that there are so many DIFFERENT PLNs available; teachers can find one that works with their personality, style, and instructional goals!

  20. As a teacher who is still trying to find my way in the transition from grammar to TPRS/CI, my best advice would be to join Twitter and the #langchat community. The teachers who participate in the Thursday night/Saturday morning chats are brilliant educators with a great deal of experience in this area. Don’t be afraid to lurk for a bit in order to grow more comfortable. Then, just take the plunge. Ask questions, share your experiences and thoughts. The conversation is so rich, that you will certainly learn something or find a resource you can use in your classroom every week. You can find archives of #langchat here:

    Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. I have found this group of educators to be kind, generous, and genuinely happy to help any teacher who is making the transition, or just needs a resource to try something new. These teachers inspire me to be a better educator every day. They consistently take risks, and share their successes and their mistakes.

    1. Thanks for sharing the #langchat archives link! I have gotten many wonderful ideas from the chats and “met” teachers that have challenged and inspired me!

  21. My advice? Sweet and simple: go slow and be patient. Go slow with your speaking, pacing, and expectations. Be patient with yourself and your students.

  22. First, Thank you Martina for remember Hanukah, which personally means a lot to me.

    My advice: Don’t bite off more than you can comfortably chew and swallow. Take small steps, find ways to practice and master them. Just like the way we teach for mastery (we don’t overwhelm our students with too much content at one time or they become discouraged), we get to learn this craft slowly but surely. That means being patient because, like learning a language, it simply takes time. So focus on and master the basics like circling in a highly contextualized environment, like “Visual PQA” which are compelling images you choose and put on the screen, around which you ask progressive questions (circling). The images will provide the context for students to understand. Other basic skills: 1) Point and Pause; 2) All students answer all questions; 3) Students indicate when they don’t understand (mine smack their fist into an open palm). Whatever you choose, take a few weeks to get it down, do it for only 10-15 minutes (don’t wait until it’s uncomfortably or awkward, end that activity at the *height* of interest) and then go on to the rest of your regular lesson. The next day go back for more success and a good feeling for everyone. Remeber, nothing motivates like success, in this case, YOUR success!

    1. You are welcome! And thank YOU for this great overview of those key skills that are essential to the successful and CORRECT practice of CI in the classroom!

  23. I am very new to TPRS/CI. I just started implementing it this year. My inspiration was Kara Jacob’s blog. This post pushed me to try it. Being able to follow her journey helps me to feel that I am not alone,especially because no one in my dept. has adopted this methodology.

    Some other things that help motivate me are following experts on Twitter like @placido or @senoraCMT. Their creative ideas always spark me to keep trying new things and to have a fresh perspective. Their novels for TPRSpublishing and the ideas they give through blogging about how to implement them successfully are amazing and always include CI!

    I also recommend buying Martina’s units. They are fantastic and made me realize how powerful storytelling is for a class. Every unit I have used of hers this year has been 100% success and better than anything else I have ever done!

    Thank you to all of you who have helped me along my journey. I am truly grateful for such an amazing PLC!

    1. Thanks for sharing that link to Kara’s blog! She is already contributing so much to the virtual world; I can’t wait to see what she comes up with as she gets farther down the CI road!

  24. I’m only in my third year of teaching, and my second year of using CI/TPRS, so I am that new teacher that often seeks advice online. At first it was easy for me to feel overwhelmed, and if things didn’t go as planned I felt like the strategy wasn’t working for me. Eventually I learned that even #langchat rockstar teachers have off days or lessons, and that’s it’s a part of the process.

    My advice would be to try and see a CI/TPRS trained teacher in action or, if that’s not possible, to watch online demos. Then, practice circling and checking for comprehension. At first, I practiced asking a story (with my poor fiancé), and scripted circling questions.

    Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help online! Many teachers are willing to help and share resources!

    1. Totally agree with the “try and see a CI/TPRS trained teacher in action”! Reading can get you far, but there is nothing so beneficial as observing well trained teachers.

  25. Love your students, every one of them, especially the prickly uncomfortable ones that are hard to Love they usually need it the most. Checking for understanding, going slowly and counting your reps all keep you honest.

  26. Best piece of advice? Take is SLOW. You won’t be awesome in one day it takes time.
    Also Twitter! It is the place where I have found the treasure chest to becoming a better teacher.
    Twitter is one of the best and cheapest! way to learning all of the things I didn’t learn in college 😛

  27. I think equity sticks work really well with circling during TPRS oral stories. It’s an easy way to make sure everyone gets to (read: has to) participate.

    I’d also say don’t be afraid to theme your stories. Other teachers in my district say TPRS doesn’t work with themed units and I disagree. As long as you keep to the techniques you can teach any vocabulary!

  28. You must feel comfortable with yourself in order to do TPRS and it’s ok to make fun of yourself. The kids appreciate and learn more when they are in a comfortable setting. It’s also important to have visual cues and words around the classroom to help the students-you can taper those off as the year goes on, but they are necessary, especially with beginners!

    1. I love this one! We want our students to become ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ and making mistakes, and we need to apply the same idea to our own teacher selves!

  29. I read a book named “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. I feel like this is TPRS/CI teaching- we have so many amazing resources and teachers, but until you make it your own, it means nothing. Make it your own. We are collectors as teachers- and we collect what is meaningful to us and our own teaching. Martina- you provide so many meaningful pieces to my curriculum- as does Blaine Ray, Stephen Krashen, Bryce Hedstrom, Jim Wooldridge, Carol Gaab, Mira Canion, Karen Rowan, Scott Benedict. You all embody my teaching. Very little of it is really mine- but gathered together and twisted, it is mine– and that resonates with kids. . He really gets going around minute 6:00-7:00.

  30. The most important thing is to be completely comprehensible as you go using word walls (which are vital), lots of body language and gestures, lots of props or visuals and as much playfulness as you can muster. CI/TPRS has really changed my classroom and students are so much more engaged and the humor and playfulness (albeit with plenty of structure) has been a game changer. Being willing to have fun with the students is important.

    When starting, you need to become an avid reader of blogs and attend conferences. I felt that I was on blogs every weekend for hours, yet I was totally having a blast, as the things I was learning were so practical and fun as well. TPRS Publishing has a fantastic conference in the summer where you can actually see teachers teaching this way with real students. Next year, it’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    You have to look at all your previous resources with a critical eye and ask yourself if it is communicative. If now, it has to move out to create space for the new. As language teachers we have so many things that we have used in the past, such as ppt’s that look good, yet explain about Spanish, but are not communicative in any way and are quite dry and boring. The ‘good from the past’ is the enemy of the great.

    Be willing to change how you assess and use ACTFL’s proficiency rubies and grade writing in paragraphs, listening assessments, speaking assessments, and reading assessments, and raise participation points to include interpersonal communication.

    Starting with units that are created by Martina Bex is a great way to start, as they are fantastic and the cultural units that attach to the stories are amazing. The main thing is to cultivate the strengths of persistence and curiosity as you move more and more to doing it full time. Now, I would never go back to my former way of teaching. My students learn so much more, are so much more engaged, and they go out of their way to even do extra just to learn. It’s so worth it.

  31. I have a hard time circling/getting reps so it was recommended to hang the circling questions on the back wall of the classroom so I wouldn’t forget. On the back wall is a sign that is +, _ , or… That helps. Also, I keep many of the written retells to use as readings on tests the next year. It helps save time when you have a lot of preps and their stories are fun.

    1. GREAT advice! I did the same thing at first; I forget who suggested it to me. Maybe Susie Gross? Terry Waltz sells some circling cards that are helpful, too–you shuffle them and then hold on to them as you are asking questions, and they randomly assign you a question type to ask. Helps us from being too predictable!

  32. I just started using TPRS/CI this year, and it amazes me how much students love the props I brought in to use for stories. Hit the after-Halloween sales, and pick up some crazy wigs for students to wear as you tell a story. I actually have kids wanting to reserve their spot as an actor before class has even started!

  33. I am working hard to incorporate comprehensible input strategies as a part of my Spanish classes. We currently have a very traditional grammar instruction academic structure, but as I explore blogs and resources graciously created by others, I am seeing the high level of engagement and excitement that can be achieved using comprehensible input, and I am hooked. : ) I started investigating different strategies due to interest in FVR for my AP students. That led me to Mike Peto and his “My Generation of Polyglots” blog and his post about the value of exploring alternatives to direct grammar instruction. That led me to you(!!!) and your fantastic resources, Cynthia Hitz, and other wonderful people who have generously posted so many helpful resources! I am a work in progress! : )

  34. There are so many little things that have helped me along the way – go even slower than you think you need to, don’t be afraid to try and fail (and then try again), don’t be afraid to laugh with your students, read as much as you can about TPRS/CI and the stories of teachers who are doing it, see it in person, and most importantly, surround yourself with positive people at work, regardless of their subject matter, that push you to be the best teacher you can be!

  35. I am in the category of learning and when I came across your site, I was super excited. I have been following the last couple of weeks and am really enjoying everything. I purchased your packet for el sorteo de navidad from TPT and it has been great! I´m looking forward to finally having a way to revamp my classes. Thank you!

    1. So glad to hear it, Cynthia! That unit contains a lot of content that is most effectively taught after a teacher has developed his/her essential CI skills, so make sure you check out the “TPRS 101” series of posts on this blog to get the basics down, too!

  36. When I first started using TPRS/CI I felt very unqualified and unskilled. The best advice I heard/read was to remember that ‘Even a little comprehensible Input is better than no CI’. It reminded me that even if I felt like I wasn’t doing an adequate job or “covering” the curriculum, my students were still benefiting because I was giving them meaningful comprehensible input.

  37. I feel like even after using TPRS in my classroom for 4.5 years, I still have more questions than advice. So therefore, my advice is: Read blogs. I’ve learned almost everything that I know about TPRS from blogs. Thank you, Martina and all you other bloggers out there, for blogging! You’ve given me mil reasons to continue through the good days and the struggles.

  38. I am glad to be commenting now because the previous post from senoremeduri is the same idea that I wanted to comment on…
    My best advise is to throw out your old curriculum to the best of your ability! Now, I realize that this is impossible for many out there, but this is my first year truly as a CI teacher and last year when I first started just dabbling in it, I had a really hard time! Feeling like I hard to “cover” or “follow” what I had done in previous years was completely stressing me out! So after attending the iFLT conference this summer I decided to 100% revamp the curriculum that I had control over and embrace the fact that my students would definitely still be learning and acquiring the language as long as when actually used the target language all the time in class.
    I have to credit the first person who really turned me on to this revolutionary idea (for me at the time, anyway), which is Eric Herman. I saw Eric present at a New Hampshire Association of World Language Teachers 2 years ago and he sure knew his research! His presentation was great and his MovieTalk demo was what made me think, “OK, I think maybe I can do this.” See his website here, if you are interested:
    After this amazing intro from Eric, I followed joined Ben Slavic’s PLC (, bought his “TPRS In A Year” book, and found Martina’s site ( Now I recommend those resources to everyone I know!
    So, just keep in mind the motto that I have heard many others say before me: “Even bad TPRS is better than no TPRS” and keep re-working your curriculum to the best of your abilities to be more CI/ TPRS- like. Your classes will go more smoothly, your students will learn and use more of the language, and you might even like your job better! 🙂

    1. Ya, saying Eric Herman sure knows his research is like saying ice sure is cold! He is such a great person to learn from! Thank you so much for sharing his website and Ben’s PLC!

  39. As an AP Spanish teacher, I didn´t realize that the TPRS novels could work for me in an advanced class, but I.WAS.WRONG. Nothing has helped my kids understand advanced grammar construction, learn vocabulary and ENGAGE like these books have. I can attest to a “before and after” since I have taugh 31 years and last year was my first to use novels. I highly recommend following the blog for phenomenal units to accompany these novels and provide much extended learning for advanced students.

    1. Aaaah! I love that you shared this feedback on novels in AP! So often I am at conferences and teachers scoff at the idea of using non-authentic texts at any level, much less AP!!! Thank you for sharing your personal experience!

  40. This is my first year using TPRS/CI, and I’m truly enjoying the change in the way I approach my students. I cannot thank enough all the generous members of this teaching community online for the sharing of ideas, help when down, and resources. I agree whole-heartedly with the above posts too, but one of my favorite take aways was from a Blaine Ray conference I attended. He told us, it’s not our business how quickly each student acquires the language, it’s our job to keep giving them the input that they need until they do. This takes my moments of frustration down. Instead of thinking why in the heck are they still not getting this, I now think lets try this again. Keep looking for breakdown, pause, add a parallel character, personalize and with all that repetition the slower processors will be able to come along for the journey and the faster processors will still get lots of good practice and content!

    1. Now THAT is a quote worth keeping: “it’s not our business how quickly each student acquires the language, it’s our job to keep giving them the input that they need until they do.” – Blaine Ray

  41. I am relatively new to CI, but am very much enjoying the process of implementing this in my classroom! I am so grateful to all who provide resources so freely online to help others to begin to see how it works! I first found Mike Peto and “my generation of polyglots” when looking for FVR ideas for my AP classroom. While exploring his blog I also came across his argument against grammar-based classrooms ( I also found there many lessons that are easily understandable and applicable to what I had in mind. That led me on a happy and circuitous exploration of many other blogs and lots of reading of THIS blog in particular! Thank you! The help of those more experienced in this has been inspiring and motivating every day!

  42. Speak slowly, even more slowly, and then slow down some more. It’s so easy as a native speaker to pick up the speed, especially when the story gets exciting. Train your students to slow you down with a gesture. This is particularly important in the beginner class.

    Also, be patient with your students. You have to trust the process – that with enough CI, students will start to produce spontaneous output. For some students, this will come very early. For most others, this will take longer. And then there are students with whom you wonder whether it’s ever going to happen. It is… (if they are truly paying attention and comprehending the target language in class.)

  43. Don’t give up!!! There are times I get (like all of us) very frustrated as I work out the details. But don’t give up!! I think if we just keep trying and never give up, we can always know that our students will learn with meaningful repetition and personalization. Don’t give up!!

  44. My advice is have a story typed up with the structures you want to use as a back up plan. Then start personalizing, circling, and story asking using those structures with students. If it is going well, students providing details and helping to create a story, you won’t need the story you created, save it for another day. However if it not going so well that day, I have students illustrate sentences, translate, or act out the story I created. Having a back up plan gives me the confidence to “play’ in the target language and allows me to relax and stay in the moment with the kids not worrying about what the next detail is going to be.

    There is a sample of how I would prepare for a story here La madre y la manzana in Spanish and La Mère et La Pomme in French. There is a form I adapted from Melinda Forward that I use for storytelling. I keep a stacks of blank copies in my room to pull out when needed.

  45. You are beginning a marathon, not running a sprint. If you are like many (if not most) teachers new to CI/TPRS, you are not just changing your methodology; you’re engaging in a paradigm shift and asking your students and their parents to do the same. Be patient with yourself and your students when things don’t go as planned. I believe the greatest key to success is building your relationships with your students. If you are personalizing the content and students feel safe with you, they will support and hang with you through the highs and lows. Finally, definitely tap into your resources – your face-to-face support system, if you’re fortunate enough to have one, and our amazing online community (blogs, the Facebook TPRS/CI group, Ben Slavíc’s PLC, etc.) will offer invaluable help and support. You are never alone!!!

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