Hello! I’m Martina, and this is my blog.
The TPRS®/CI Transition
My first two years of teaching were at Syracuse University while I completed my Masters in Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture. Teaching everything from Spanish 101 to 400-level conversation courses, my classes were filled with (mostly) highly motivated students who spent many hours on their Spanish homework and studying for exams each week. In October 2008, my husband and I moved from New York to Alaska with the Air Force (he has since separated from the military and is now a Realtor). I began teaching full time in August 2009 at Clark Middle School in the Anchorage School District using primarily Cooperative Learning methods. In April 2010, I observed one of Michele Whaley’s Russian classes at West High School as part of ASD’s new teacher mentorship program. After a weekend holed up with NTPRS DVDs trying to make sense of what I had just witnessed, I began using TPRS/CI exclusively when I returned to class on Monday.
The School to Home Transition
After the birth of my second son in May 2013, I resigned from my position to be a full-time mom to my children. I now have four kiddos born in a four year span–yikes! Staying home with my kids has been my prayer and the desire of my heart since before they were born, and I am grateful every day that God has provided for my family and allowed me to do just that. In the Bible, He promised that He would grant us the desires of our hearts. It took some waiting, but mine was granted! Now that I am a full-time mom and a part-time curriculum developer and consultant, my prayer is that I can encourage and support other teachers to connect with their students and find joy in this most noble of professions. I now have five kids (born in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017), and the continued connection to language teaching afforded to me through this blog is one of the great blessings of my life!!
I am so thankful to everyone that has posted activities, story scripts, and assessments that they use in their CI classrooms. It is overwhelming to scrap almost everything that you used to do and start fresh, and finding random pre-made activities online has been my saving grace. I began “Lesson Plans for TPRS/CI Classrooms” in 2011 as a way to give back to the TPRS online community that had been (and continues to be) crucial to my success and growth as a language teacher. My hope is that beginning TPRSers will find this blog and my website useful, and that they will make your lives just a little bit easier. If you use any of my resources, PLEASE return the favor and send me something wonderful that you have used in the past, as well!! In the email, let me know if it is something that you would like me to share on the blog with other readers (credited to you, of course). I welcome constructive criticism and questioning of anything that I post. If our work is never questioned, we lose the valuable opportunity for professional growth that comes with critical reflection of our practice.
39 replies on “About”
Thank you for the information you provide on this blog and the documents and other resources for teachers on the martina.bex.com site. As you asked in the “About” section of your blog, I am sending you a link to some of the stories that my class has been creating since I used your “El chico perezoso” story script with my Spanish 1 class. I linked your site to the script to give credit where it is due.
Some background – I’ll try to keep it short:
About 6 years ago, I went to a Carol Gaab workshop on TPRS. Since then, I have used TPRS from time to time but, sad to say, I continued to use traditional instruction for the majority of my Spanish classes. In the last two years I’ve been reading anything I can find on TPRS because I wasn’t satisfied with my students abilities. For the last few years I taught Spanish 3,4 and 5. Each year I found that the students entering Spanish 3 were not able to communicate in the language, even after 2 years of the language. Last spring I asked our Asst. Superintendent if I could pilot a Spanish 1 class using the TPRS method. She agreed and now I’m using TPRS with 29 students in Spanish 1. Today marked the 25th day of class and I had the students do a free write (which I’m not exactly sure how or if I am to grade them). Their writing was similar to what many of my students coming into Spanish 3 were able to do.
I really wish I had started TPRS years ago when I first heard about it. However, I have learned so much from your blogs and others, which probably were not available at that time. So, thanks again for sharing with new TPRS teachers. It has been incredibly helpful to me!
Stories from my Spanish 1 Class: http://palmyraspanish1.blogspot.com/
Wow! Thanks so much for thinking out loud and creating a great place for TPRS teachers to get new ideas. I sure get stuck sometimes and this blog is very helpful. Thanks a bunch.
No problem!! Glad that it’s being used 🙂
Gracias por compartir!!!
Hi! I stumbled on your blog yesterday (looking for imperfect) and then as I read along I saw you mention ASD, which I recognized as Anchorage School District. I’m up in Nome & trying to learn the TPRS method & use it as often as possible. I really just started using it this semester, but so far it’s been a very positive experience (even though I consistently muck it up!) Thanks for creating your blog.
Awesome!! Are you familiar with AFLA, the state language association? Our conference will be in Fairbanks this fall and we’d love to have you join us! http://www.afla-ak.org/ Also, you should email Michele Whaley (firstname.lastname@example.org) and get on the TPRS listserv for the state…most of the things that we do are in Anchorage, but she frequently organizes opportunities for non-Anchorage teachers to Skype or otherwise ‘attend’ the professional development that we have!! Glad to connect with you 🙂
yep, familiar with AFLA & am on Michele’s list (I even skyped in to one of the meetings this winter.) Hopefully I’ll make it to Fairbanks in the fall.
Hope to see you there! We’ll be posting the official conference announcement with registration info within the next week.
Can I talk about how much I love twitter for teacher connections? I’m so excited to browse! I’m making the CI/TPRS jump in a few days after 8 years of teaching … Thanks for being an amazing resource and I’d love to share with you what I’ve got. I’ve got files on a Moodle (incl composed stories that go along with some Avancemos vocab).
AWESOME!! I want them!! Please send your Moodle’s link to me, if you don’t mind! email@example.com …or you could post it on here if you don’t mind for it to be public!
I am so thrilled that I found you! I’ve been teaching Spanish for 12 years in charter schools in the Colorado Springs area and started out with TPRS/Blaine Ray’s curriculum due to a seminar I attended led by Susan Gross. But due to various changes in administration etc. I’ve been using the textbook method for the last several years. I was just hired to teach Spanish 1, 2, 3 to middle-schoolers at a charter school with a principal very receptive to TPRS. After starting out with the text books (since I had no time to prepare and do otherwise) I’m going to begin TPRS next week – the start of our second quarter. I was privileged to spend some time with Ben Slavic in Denver a few days ago to observe him teach. My head is full of so many ideas regarding classroom management and where to start with stories – this site will be a blessing as I begin and try to put together a scope and sequence. Hope to share stories/ideas etc. with you in the future.
P.S. I also am a Bible-believing Christian with 3 children and worked as a missionary in Latin America for several years. After continually yearning to go back to the field, but having the Lord shut the door every time, I have finally accepted the fact that, “I am a teacher” (pretty unusual after 12 years but I guess I’m kinda hard-headed) and I’m so excited to have an opportunity to really ‘do it right’ and make a huge difference in the lives of these kids. But I’m also scared to death as I take my first steps into this strange TPRS/CI world! Please pray for me!
So glad to “meet” you!! Let me know how I can help as you navigate new territory. Praying now!!
Hey, Mrs. Bex its Jessica Francisco, I was in your class two years in a row 2009-2011. Just stopped by to say hi, and congrats on the baby even though your baby is probably big by now.
Jessica!! Email me!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Gracias por tu ayuda — tu sitio de web es EXCELENTE y me ayuda mucho . Muchas felicitaciones por su nene recien nacido, y suerte en tu vida elegida en el futuro 🙂
You are such a blessing to me, Martina. I am very encouraged and inspired by you. I am a Spanish teacher in a Christian high school in Arkansas, a mom of 2, and Jesus follower. We may live very far away, and you are definitely on a completely different level of awesomeness, but I feel like we are kindred spirits with much in common. Thank you for all that you post on here and tpt. It is changing the way I teach. Blessings, Jenny Rogers
My name is Tarrah and this was my first year in TPRS. I have been using Martina’s stuff for quite a while though. I saw your post in this thread and that you are in Arkansas. Are you still here? If so, please keep me in the loop with any TPRS/CI events going on in the state! I feel like it’s so hard to find TPRS buddies in the area.
I did not know you were going to be “leaving” us until I went to inservice today- and most likely because I was in my own world last year as I awaited the birth of my son, Noah!! So CONGRATULATIONS!! Noah arrived June 14th and I have been blessed beyond words to have been chosen to be his mom since we became a family through adoption. I am so excited for you- and hope that you continue to share your AMAZING ideas!! Shelley Cooper/South
I didn’t know that you were adopting!!! Adoption is most beautiful expression of God’s love that exists. Congratulations!! Was Noah also born June 14, or is he older?
I found your blog and Tpt resources a few months ago as I began researching TPRS to re-enter teaching. We are in opposite seasons of life. I stopped teaching public school 18 years ago when my first daughter was born. Like you it was my prayer to be home with my children. He was so faithful in allowing me to be mom and homeschool mom to them for this long. I am now teaching levels 1-3 in a large homeschool situation twice a week using CI and devouring your ideas, plans etc to help me teach these kids.
Praying for you as you enter this amazing season of your life.
I am so happy for you in having your dreams and wishes answered. I have to say that your blog has been a lifesaver for me in the first year of teaching and the ideas and lessons ARE loved by the kids in my classes! Thank you so much!
Hey, do you still check messages here? Can TPRS be incorporated with a textbook based curriculum?
Yes definitely! Check out Keith Toda’s blog (www.todallycomprehensiblelatin.blogspot.com and Bill Langely’s blog (https://languageley.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/tprs-with-a-textbook-is-really-easy/)
I am a Spanish teacher in San Diego, CA. Our district, Poway Unified Schools, is very large and transitioning to CI, but we do not want/have time to design lessons from the ground up. We need a resource that unifies us. Yours looks like it might fit the bill. On your TPT site is there away to buy the entire Span 1 and 2 curriculum and materials?
Yes Holly! Please reach out to me via email email@example.com and we will figure out which materials are the best fit for your district!
Thank you so much for all of the great content you have here on your blog, as well as the content on Pinterest! I just started a blog to document my CI teaching journey, and I have a section called “Inspiration Station” to give a sweet shoutout to those who have/are helping me on this journey. Would you mind if I give a shoutout to you, your blog, and your CI resources?
Thank you so much for all of the great content! I have not used my Spanish skills in 3 years and I want to get my fluency back. What suggestions do you have? My dream is to get my Spanish certification and teach using CI and TPR. Please help!
I would like to offer in-house PD at my school using information from your site. Could you contact me via email so we could talk details? (Compensation/usage rights?)
Region 12 CT (Shepaug Valley School)
Hi Heidi, please email firstname.lastname@example.org! Thank you!
Do you have any idea who tweeted about the Wedding game where the couple sits back to back and they each have one of their own shoes and one of the other person’s and then they answer questions by raising one of the shoes? Someone talked about doing it in the language classroom but I can’t remember who. I only wrote the game but no details on how to use in the classroom and thought it may have been you or you would know who :-). If not, any ideas/suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!
Oh I have no idea!
Hi Martina! I love getting so many new ideas from you and am interested in Somos, but I was wondering if there was anything equivalent to it for the upper levels! I have some teacher friends that use 1 and 2 and love it, but since I teach 2, 3 and 4, I didn’t know if making the switch would be worth it for just 1 prep.
Bonjour, Will you re- bundle French level 1 units 1-9 in the near future? I notice a sale is coming up tomorrow, but the bundle for French is just units 1-7.
Hi Flo! We are waiting to create a new bundle for French units until we have Units 10, 11, and 12 complete!
Hi Martina! I’m an ESL teacher and would love to do Somos with ESL kiddos to help them learn English. Do you think that you’ll be coming out with English any time soon?