Vocabulary Review Game

I used to use lots of games when I was teaching with the textbook, and I was trying to glamourized those long chapter vocabulary list. I found that now that I teach with Comprehensible Input I don’t need to come up with all these different activities to make grammar and vocabulary fun. Now, my students are engaged they ARE the lesson. However, my students like competition a lot and after one semester of playing flyswatter and spelling race they were just not into it as much. So I looked for a game that it was fun for the students, and that required little to no preparation on my behalf.
So I came up with this fun review game without a name. I guess I could have called it DAT for draw, act, and translate. You can find the template for this game here.
My T.A. did all the work of printing, laminating and cutting the cards. If you don’t have a T.A., then get some of your students to cut the cards. Yes, you will invest some time laminating the game, but you will be able to use it over and over again.
Get the students in groups of 3 or 4. Each team gets a board, a pair of dice (you can buy a package of 20 at the .99 cents store.) vocabulary cards, and some tokens. They will roll the dice and pick up a card. Students will read their vocab card to their group and perform the task required per color:
Red= translate
Blue= draw
Green= act/imitate
I’ve included high-frequency verbs ( sweet 16) in the third person. some family members and people. Perfect for review French 1 semester 1
Tip: For durability, print on cardstock paper and laminate.
Variation: you can make other cards with verbs in the past tense, story characters, other advanced verbs, etc.


Switching from textbook based teaching to TCI

Here is a helpful infographic that will give you some information and steps to follow during the transition. The transition process could be overwhelming so try to practice one skill at a time. Start with the basics, like the art of circling and then add more advanced activities to your repertoire.My personal advice is to start with TCI/TPRS curriculum already published and slowly find out how to make it your own. I see a lot of people going through hell by trying to learn a new methodology and creating all new materials at the same time. They get so exhausted that they eventually end up going back to their comfort zone. Also, although it is not mentioned in the infographic, when I was going through the transition process,  I read lots of books about this method ( I recommend TPRS in a  Year by Ben Slavic, and Fluency Through TPR Storytelling by Blaine Ray ). So every time I was having second thoughts, I would remember the theory and research behind this approach.

the-switch-infographic (3)




QR Codes

qrcode (1)

I recently discovered how to use QR Codes, and it turns out that they are very easy to create, and they have many different uses in the classrooms.  QR codes are a great tool to get students engaged and moving by placing them in separate areas of your classroom or school building. They are also an excellent resource to keep things new and exciting for your students. In my experience, most students were able to scan the QR code with their smartphones. The few students who didn’t have a phone available worked with other students. You can store several types of information on a QR code such as:

Free text

web address

Contact information

Text message

I have mainly used QR codes to give students access to information such a short text or quiz, to provide them with a link to a video or web address. But there are many different novel ways to use QR codes.  Click here to learn more about how to use  QR Codes in the classroom.

Here ar some of my students using QR codes to learn about poisson d’avril . You can access my poisson d’avril lesson here.


Lessons learned

This is my eight-year teaching and learning how to teach. Four years ago, I changed from a textbook-grammar based instruction to TCI. The first time I attempted this method I failed, I mean I bombed like a stand-up comedian who said a bad joke and nobody laughed. So what did I do? I went back to my comfort zone, the textbook. At the end of the semester, I gave my students an end of the semester survey . I was surprised when the vast majority of my students said they “really enjoyed when I told them stories and we did gestures.”

Lessons learned :

I  failed the first time I attempted TCI/TPRS but failure turned out to be a great teacher.

TCI/TPRS is effective even when it’s done poorly.

The following year, I was committed only to do TCI/TPRS, but I didn’t have the money to attend a workshop. So I googled, and I googled and then googled some more. I found Bryce Hedstrom’s website. I felt like I hit the jackpot! Bryce has so many wonderful resources some are free and some you have to buy. I spent about $15.00 that day, and I downloaded all the freebies. I used Bryce’s observation checklist to reflect on my teaching practice. (I still use it, and I gave it to my principal so he can use it during our formal observation.) Then, I clicked on all the people he follows, and I found a community of TCI practitioners willing to share lessons, materials, failures and successes.

Lessons learned:

There’s information is out there.

TCI/TPRS teachers are very generous.

 Bryce Hedstrom’s observation sheet is a great tool for beginners.

That year, I tried different activities some of those worked and some didn’t. I still made some terrible mistakes. I was telling stories to my students rather than “asking them stories” and I was also rushing my stories too much and trying to keep all the details of the stories the same. Still, my students were USING and remembering the language. I was doing this all on my own; I didn’t want anyone at school to know I wasn’t following the curriculum. Halfway through the semester, I was exhausted, but I was very happy with the results.

Lessons learned:

You will make mistakes but you will get better.

I still didn’t have any money for training. I discovered recorded lessons on youtube. In my opinion, observing teachers is what helped me to improve my TCI/TPRS teaching practice. The first video I watched was Michele Whaley teaching Russian. I have just read Ben Slavic book, but I understood circling and going slow after watching this video (I guess I,m a visual-experiential learner.) I found other videos by Susan Gross and Carol Gaab, I watched the videos, I took notes and then I tried what I learned with my class. Sometimes, I tried three different strategies all at once, and that was overwhelming to me and confusing to my students.

Lessons learned: 

YouTube allows you to observe teachers without ever leaving your classroom. 

Try one strategy at the time. 

I have to go to the Gym now, but later I will tell about the first time I met Jason Fritze.