Should language teachers teach vocabulary?

Many of us learned language through an explicit instructional model, in which words and concepts were taught, practiced, and memorized. When I began teaching, I started out with that same explicit model of instruction: working from a textbook curriculum that laid out thematic vocabulary to memorize and grammar concepts to practice and master in each chapter.…

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Alphaboxes: kickstart your conversation!

Alphaboxes is a fairly common activity that is most often used at the elementary level for the purpose of reviewing content. As I worked with Meghan Loveless to finish up the last of the Flex units this spring, she suggested we find an Acquisition-friendly way to use it in the curriculum. We did, and we…

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Tener (“to have”) people search

Being a comprehensible input teacher demands that students have opportunities to produce output. Read why here. Once we understand output is not a taboo for a TCI teacher, we can start the search for fun ways to allow students to build productive confidence and competency! “People searches” are one of the fastest, easiest, and lowest-anxiety output…

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Word Race Stories

Generate comprehensible input and provide opportunities for output from a traditional vocabulary-review game that is played with a partner! This activity makes for a great sub plan component, even when your sub doesn’t speak the target language. PREPARE THE WORD RACE STORY WORKSHEET To get started, download the game template here! Once you’ve got the…

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There is/There are

“There is” or “There are” is one of the highest frequency word(s) in any language. In Spanish, the word “hay” is nearly unavoidable as we share stories with our students. Because it is difficult for students to form a mental picture for the word, however, the lack of visualization presents a challenge for getting the…

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Pencil Grab True-False game

Pencil Grab is a super simple activity that I learned from Carmen Andrews-Sanchez via Kristin Duncan’s blog (update: her ‘TPRS Teacher’ blog is no longer active). Pencil Grab requires zero preparation, is easy to play, and it’s fun for students! Update: You may also know this activity as “The Marker Game“! What is Pencil Grab?…

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