My generation of polyglots

A language teacher's blog by Mike Peto

Béisbol, baseball

A little tweak that makes life easier for struggling beginners My Spanish 1 kids are at the point that they mostly understand many cognates when I say them in my … Continue reading

September 30, 2015 · 3 Comments

Choose your own adventure… readings?

An interactive reading activity In Spanish 1 we have been creating multiple variations of Little Red Riding Hood. This Caperucita Roja unit helps prepare my level 1 students to watch … Continue reading

September 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

Contact: a speaking game for native speakers

This is my absolute favorite speaking game for native speakers. It was introduced to me by a science teacher at Westborough High School in Massachusetts as a short brain break. … Continue reading

September 22, 2015 · Leave a comment

Ligia Elena: steps to make this song comprehensible

Rubén Blades is great! Every once in a while someone mentions that they have created a unit based around a set of socially-aware songs. Here is my contribution to such a … Continue reading

September 20, 2015 · 4 Comments

Reading pleasure

Books that Spanish teachers may enjoy reading for pleasure Teachers should be readers. During FVR sessions we should definitely be reading among our students, not completing school tasks. Diane Chamberlain … Continue reading

September 13, 2015 · 1 Comment

Finished!!! The last of the graphic novels…

So much work… I am so happy this is finally done! Last Spring Dustin Williamson and I started collaborating to create graphic novels to accompany the first season of El … Continue reading

August 30, 2015 · 4 Comments

The concrete poem that opens Superburguesas

This is a power point for teachers who are teaching from my TPRS novel, Superburguesas. Click here to see all resources available for teaching my novel. Chapter 0 starts with … Continue reading

August 30, 2015 · 1 Comment

Deskless and organized

For those of you who are going deskless, here are a few photos of my classroom to share what I do to prevent those chairs from migrating around the room. … Continue reading

August 26, 2015 · 3 Comments

Building a class library for heritage speakers of Spanish

During NTPRS I was impressed with how many teachers of heritage speakers follow my blog and, more to the point, how little there is out there to support those teachers. … Continue reading

August 9, 2015 · 8 Comments

Free Activities to Accompany Superburguesas

Somebody just bought a class set of my recently published TPRS novel, Superburguesas. I was so excited that I thought to myself: I should do something special to support that … Continue reading

August 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

Letter to parents about a deskless classroom

A teacher who is going deskless next school year recently asked me to repost this letter that I sent home to parents when I first went deskless. I think that … Continue reading

July 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

My new TPRS novel has been published

Earlier this week I published my first TPRS novel, a story that emerged in my classes some years ago and that has been re-written several times over the years. The … Continue reading

July 26, 2015 · 8 Comments

NTPRS 2015: my presentation on FVR

This is the power point that I presented at NTPRS 2015 in Reston, VA. If you missed my session or you could not make it to NTPRS this year then, … Continue reading

July 24, 2015 · 3 Comments

NTPRS 2015: Tech tools to make popular music truly comprehensible

These are the instructions for people attending my Thursday talk on music at NTPRS this week: Click here to see an example of the type of audio games you can … Continue reading

July 21, 2015 · Leave a comment

Language Shyness among Heritage Speakers

Let´s talk about the widespread belief among native Spanish-speaking parents that what their heritage speaking children really need is to be corrected every time they make a mistake. This belief … Continue reading

July 6, 2015 · 6 Comments

Book review: Speed readings for Spanish Learners by Eric Herman

The day that Eric Herman sent a message out to everyone on the moretprs listserve I happened to be online and I rushed to place my order. Today I received … Continue reading

July 1, 2015 · Leave a comment

Obsessed with slow

The “graphic novels” that I use to slow down and talk about El Internado Have you ever been on a plane next to someone watching a movie with headphones and … Continue reading

June 21, 2015 · 3 Comments

Un chico que habla demasiado: a story for Spanish 1 and above

I originally created this blog to share materials that I create for my classes. In that spirit, here is a simple reading that I wrote for the last semester of … Continue reading

May 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

How is that TPRS working out?

Comparing writing samples of level 1 and level 3 students taught entirely through TPRS and TCI Last Friday, after watching a portion of episode 2 of the Spanish telenovela El … Continue reading

April 25, 2015 · 19 Comments

Galeano & May Day

Eduardo Galeano, the Uruguayan author who had a tremendous impact on how Latin Americans understand history, passed away recently. His book about soccer, El fútbol a sol y sombra, is … Continue reading

April 17, 2015 · 10 Comments

Becoming Better at Asking

Recently I have been concentrating on techniques that guide me to ask rather than tell a story. Asking rather than telling a story seems like a basic TPRS skill, but … Continue reading

March 22, 2015 · 6 Comments

Are your Movie talks Step 2 or Step 3?

A few thoughts on pitfalls of a popular strategy A few weeks ago a colleague confessed to me that she has been bypassing step 2 altogether. “Oh, you mean you´ve … Continue reading

March 15, 2015 · 1 Comment

An unusual class job

Many people have written about the positive impacts of creating class community through class jobs (for instance, click here and scroll down to “Classroom management” on Bryce Hedstrom’s website for … Continue reading

March 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

TPRS and TCI with advanced students

Enough people come to this blog looking at my AP syllabus that I think it might be valuable to share how I move through that syllabus, maintaining a comprehensible classroom … Continue reading

March 1, 2015 · 14 Comments

More high-interest novels for heritage speakers

I am definitely wading into deep, and potentially hot water with these latest acquisitions… but at least they are not being placed directly into my FVR library for any student … Continue reading

February 17, 2015 · 5 Comments

The Advantages of Posting High Frequency Verbs

Lately I have been becoming more conscious of how much I use the high frequency verbs posted on my wall. I originally posted them for students, and some of my … Continue reading

February 14, 2015 · 14 Comments

Global School Play Day

I am really happy that Tim Bedley, one of the forces behind the Global School Play Day movement, is an educator in my own school district. If you have not … Continue reading

February 2, 2015 · Leave a comment

Spanish 1 basic story: cómo hacer amigos

This is so simple that it might be useful as substitute plans Here is a very short story that I wrote so that I could focus on the verb hacer … Continue reading

January 22, 2015 · 3 Comments

Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes

Introduce students to Gabriel García Márquez´s iconic short story 1. Embedded reading The purpose of an embedded reading, to my thinking, is to make the reading experience much more enjoyable. … Continue reading

January 17, 2015 · 2 Comments

Pairing TPRS novels with Movie Talk

I have not been blogging lately because I have been teaching Carrie Toth´s and Carol Gaab´s wonderful novel, La hija del sastre, and on alternating days Movie Talking selected parts … Continue reading

January 17, 2015 · 2 Comments

Bryce Hedstrom Google Hangout tonight!

Bryce Hedstrom is conducting a one hour google hangout tonight, Monday January 12 at 7:30 MST. Bryce is an expert TPRS teacher who regularly presents at national conferences. Check out … Continue reading

January 12, 2015 · 1 Comment

Movie Talk: Un hombre triste se pone feliz

Movie talk on the fly Recently a teacher asked me to describe how I do movie talk with my classes. I believe that Movie talk is most effective when planned … Continue reading

December 9, 2014 · 3 Comments

Bear vs Shark: an animated movie talk for any language

A short video and two power points, one for teacher retell and one for student retells Do you have an extra day and don´t want to start a new story? … Continue reading

November 29, 2014 · Leave a comment

On transitioning an entire department towards CI/TPRS

Over the last few years I have led a gradual transition in my department towards CI/TPRS. I have heard horror stories from other schools about polarized departments and colleagues who … Continue reading

November 24, 2014 · 5 Comments

En el fondo del caño hay un negrito

A story to read and act out with native speakers, adapting TPRS techniques to heritage speakers classes The research literature clearly shows that reading fiction is the best way to … Continue reading

November 10, 2014 · 1 Comment

My favorite bailout moves

This post is a reflection on technique with no resources attached Almost everyday I am in the middle of telling a story, or in the middle of PQA, and something … Continue reading

November 9, 2014 · 10 Comments

Brandon y su gato

More Spanish 1 class stories: Most of our stories are co-created before doing the reading so that students are familiar with the basic plot before even starting, but occasionally I … Continue reading

November 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

El secreto en la mochila

This post has a link to a story that I am currently teaching to my level 1 kids… in fact click here to download it  and you can read the … Continue reading

November 4, 2014 · 2 Comments

TPRS Q & A by Chris Stoltz

One of my favorite blogs recently is the TPRS Q & A blog written by Chris Stoltz. Chris describes good teaching practices in simple prose and reminds me to keep … Continue reading

October 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

New resources for El Internado

Over the last month I have added quite a few new resources to use when teaching with El Internado. You can always see all of the resources by clicking on … Continue reading

October 26, 2014 · 1 Comment

Blaine Ray and La Gran Sorpresa

There is an interesting Blaine Ray story published in his book “Mini-stories for Look, I Can Talk!” about a restaurant that always surprises its customers. He posted a video of … Continue reading

October 23, 2014 · 1 Comment

The SSR Handbook (book review)

After a summer of reading about reading, my favorite book that I reach for to help me analyze my own SSR program is Janice L. Pilgreen´s The SSR Handbook. It … Continue reading

October 6, 2014 · Leave a comment

Episode 3 of El Internado

Here are a few resources for the first twenty-six minutes of episode 3 of El Internado. First, download this power point review of episode two prior to starting episode 3. … Continue reading

October 5, 2014 · Leave a comment

Animated GIFS

One of my colleagues and I offer lunch time tutorial sessions once a week for students who miss class. What a headache; three levels of students, all missing on different … Continue reading

October 3, 2014 · 4 Comments

Rumbo al hermoso norte (Book review)

One of my heritage speakers just finished reading Rumbo al hermoso norte by Luis Alberto Urrea. It is a touching story that I have read with several students over the … Continue reading

September 28, 2014 · Leave a comment

New activity reviewing episode 1 of El Internado

I just added a power point to my Internado Episode 2 materials. You can see the entire post about teaching episode 2 by clicking here or, if you only want … Continue reading

September 13, 2014 · Leave a comment

If anyone else uses, I am using their built-in quiz generator to provide extra reading for my level 1 students. I write a short short story using high frequency … Continue reading

September 5, 2014 · 2 Comments

El libro de los americanos desconocidos

I am still feeling a little devastated after having finished reading this beautiful novel by Cristina Henríquez, the first novel of a group of sixteen that I am reading with a … Continue reading

August 25, 2014 · 2 Comments

Palabras que empiezan con H

This post is about convincing heritage speakers that independent reading is important Yesterday, the second true day of instruction, we started our heritage speakers class looking at the books that we … Continue reading

August 19, 2014 · 1 Comment

Syllabus and Norms for a TPRS class

We have had one academic day of instruction. The administration suggested that teachers present syllabi on that day, but I decided to start straight away in Spanish as described in … Continue reading

August 17, 2014 · 5 Comments

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