Je Suis Paris….

(posted by request from a piece on Ben Slavic’s blog)
I spoke with all of my classes today. In English and in Spanish. I primarily teach juniors and seniors this year, with about 20 sophomores thrown in. I was saddened to find out that most of the students had not heard anything about it in any classes.

Earlier this year we had done a series of things re: Charlie Hebdo and half of my students now were my students then.

It isn’t always easy to do. But a number of students had wonderful questions, astute observations, and several spoke to me afterwards about their own concerns. I think that it was important to do.

I have several points that I want them to consider:

a. Read, investigate and think. Media is more about money than information right now and sensationalism makes money. Read more than the headlines. Ask questions.

b. Be grateful if you live in a place of “safe harbor” (phrase from Bob Patrick). Many people in this world, in this country, and in our own community do not.

c. Fear is the weapon of choice here and that we can fight.

d. The power-hungry rarely do their own dirty work. The people who are “on the ground” committing these crimes have been recruited because they are empty, angry or powerless. The power-hungry tap into that, manipulate that, seek it out wherever they can. When we hurt, insult, shame, embarrass or bully others (or allow it to happen), we help create the people that the power-hungry need to carry out their goals. Each one of us can prevent that from happening to someone.

Having just finished In the Time of the Butterflies with one group, and looking at Franco’s rule in Spain with another, these are timely messages.

My hope is that helping them to become aware of the abuse of power on the larger scale will not only help them to become better global citizens, but also to be aware of it in their own personal lives….and to become happier, better people.

with love,

NYSAFLT 2015 Annual Conference

Thank you so much to everyone who attended the workshops in Saratoga Springs! (Don’t forget to pencil in Oct 13-14 2016 in Syracuse, N.Y.!!)

The first workshop offered on Friday afternoon was entitled: On Your Feet! Powerful Practice and Positive Feedback for the Comprehensible Input Classroom (note to self: shorter title next time!!)

What a great group of enthusiastic and passionate teachers!!

The participants worked in groups of 6-10 as we went through a series of exercises. There was a lot of laughter and a great deal of insight. I asked each group to make a list of what they observed/learned from each other during this first segment. I’m sharing these below…just remember that the lists will make much more sense to the list writers than they will to those who were not there. :o)

(I know that they appear to be going all different directions but if you click on them individually they show up correctly!!)






In the next segment of the workshop, we practiced with an individual sentence in each group, showing how to circle (ask a large number of questions) and to personalize (connecting the statement and the questions to others in the group) Then we added details.

Along with this segment, we added illustrations…and I want to make sure that I show some samples of how illustration helps with visualization which increases engagement and comprehension:

drawing 1


Along with an illustration of how what we think we are drawing doesn’t always quite turn out the way we thought it would….tee hee


I must apologize to the group that created an amazing poster/sentence for our president Francesco Fratto who makes World Languages SEXY !!! I didn’t get a picture of his poster before we gave it to him as a gift!! If one of you has it, please email it to me and I’ll include it here!

In the third segment we watched as Nora and Birgitte each taught a short lesson and received feedback from students and observers. What amazing teachers! Students and observers were able to see, experience and appreciate all of the positive attributes they had been practicing…and much more. We used the Coaching from the Heart format and there were so many insightful reflections and observations.

I’ll add the PowerPoint that outlines what we did ASAP! Thank you so much for being part of a giving and sharing community!

May you all have a wonderful week with your students!!
with love,