Monthly Archives: January 2010

Lomb Kató

One of the greatest DVD’s I ever saw on second language acquisition was the Krashen Seminar. It was produced by Blaine Ray in the late 90’s and on the DVD Krashen, in a very light and informative manner, outlines how we learn languages. If you want a copy of the DVD let me know and I’ll get one to you.

Anyway, on the DVD Krashen mentions a woman from Hungary by the name of Lomb Kató. [In English her name would be Katherine Lomb] She was a woman that learned 16 languages, mostly by self effort. I find myself asking the question, “What can I learn from Lomb Kató?”

Well, here are a few things that I gathered. She mentions that she drove three autos in World Languages: autolexia [reading for myself], autographia [writing for myself], and autologia [speaking with myself]. When thinking about my own language learning , it makes me feel better to know that she mentioned these three tools because I wasn’t sure if I was normal.

I also think about whether I am providing this for my students. Do we have a time where they can read what they want? This is basically FVR. I wish I did it more often and I think it would be good for the students. I am still getting my act together for a grant for some money.

Do we also have a time where the students have a time where they write for themselves? The closest I come to this is freewrites. I wish that they could do more free journaling in L2 and I wonder if my students are at a level where they can express themselves this way. It is a good thing to think about.

While I am not sure that autologia leads to acquisition, I do think that it leads to feeling like you are part of a club of language learners, which is very important. This is especially important for teenagers who are so locked into social approval. This happens in my room when I give a brain break and have them do mini-retells with each other. To be honest, it could happen more. I also think that this is something that can be encouraged to do on their own.

Other comments that she made was that when learning a language, we focus on the essence of the grammar and the important words. How true this is! I don’t know why so many programs use grammar to teach the language. Grammar will not win over the majority and will deprive the learner of the joy of natural language.

She also mentions that we need to cling to the enjoyable side of language study. Am I really providing this for my students? I really think so because we have stories that are all about their life and we are reading things that bring up real life situations. Reading can be a very enjoyable side of language study if we get kids into good stories and books!

These are just a few things that I learned from Lomb Kató. I find myself asking the question, “What good does all the Spanish I am teaching the students do if they never take charge of their own language learning?” I think that we need to help our students to acquire the language, but also to know how to acquire a language so that when they leave they can continue this language acquisition journey.



Filed under Encouragement for hard days, Reading, Storytelling tips, Teaching Discoveries, teaching grammar

Email subscription

Hello! I added an email subscription if you want to be updated when I make a post. You can find it on the right side. Thanks go to Maria for suggesting this!


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My latest classroom management tool

Lately, I have introduced a new classroom management tool that is quite effective and also adds fun to the classroom. No, I’m not talking about Fred Jones or Love and Logic, which are both great. My new classroom management tool is simply a squirt bottle.

It is amazing what a little water will do for a class. It adds instant attention, especially if someone decides to put their head down for 2 seconds or if you just want to randomly squirt people. Of course I avoid nice clothes and faces, as well as the obvious places, but it really can be quite fun. It creates an environment of fun in the class as well as takes care of unwanted behaviors, like speaking English. Now, I still use other classroom management skills, which are vital to success in tprs. But this was a nice addition to the classroom that gets students to do what we need to do and have fun at the same time.

One student even donated a super soaker to class that sprays 3 different directions and also has an option that creates a pleasant mist. Pleasant to me, of course. The next day another student brought in a different type of super soaker. Who could have thought that a water gun would be such an effective management tool that leads directly to acquisition and lowers the affective filter. Why don’t they teach this stuff in college?


Filed under Classroom Management

The Questionnaire I use

This is the questionnaire that I use at the beginning of the year to get to know my students before we really start to have some fun.This is modified from Anne Matava’s questionnaire.


In order to tell and write interesting stories that involve you, I need some information about each of you.  Please fill out as much of this as applies.  You can make up answers if you want to in order to make it more interesting. Be aware that anything you tell me may show up in a story some day!  Thank you very much.

Name: ____________________________________________________

Nickname: __________________________________________________

Birthday: __________________________________________________

Names and ages of siblings: _____________________________________________


Town you live in: ______________________________________________________

Pets and their names: _____________________________________________________

Your favorite things to do: _________________________________________________


Your job (If you don’t have one make it up): _____________________________________________

Instruments, sports, or games that you play: ______________________________________________


Sports players, artists, or musicians whom you admire:



A celebrity whom you find attractive: _____________________________________________

Your favorite music groups/singers: _______________________________________________


What you like to eat and drink: __________________________________________________


Some things you REALLY don’t like: ______________________________________________


A place or places that you sometimes go and why (example: I visit my grandmother in Colorado):   ___________________________________________________________________________


Chores you have to do around the house: __________________________________________


Your favorite item(s) of clothing: _______________________________________________


Any abilities or talents you have, however unusual: _________________________________


Something you have that is unusual: ______________________________________________

Something you don’t have that you really want: _______________________________________

Any interesting or unusual facts about you: _________________________________________


Name of your best friend(s): ____________________________________________________

Your favorite store: ___________________________________________________________

Something you fear: ___________________________________________________________

Someone you admire: _________________________________________________________

Your favorite movie(s): ______________________________________________________________________________


Would you be willing to act in class:              yes                               no

Would you be willing to draw in front of the class:               yes                               no

Would you be willing to draw something for the class at home:                   yes                   no

Would you be willing to donate a prop to the class for our stories:               yes                   no

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Filed under PQA, Storytelling tips, Teaching Discoveries

Fun Makes Even Exercise Fun

I am sure that many of us have heard of the wii. Many people bought a wii simply because it made exercising fun. We have done the same thing in World Language instruction through TPRS. Check out the video below.

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